To Our Harrison Family,
It’s Christmas Eve, and on behalf of my fellow Township Committee members, Don Heim, Julie DeLaurentis, John Williams and Adam Wingate, I wish you a temporary shield from this COVID cloud this holiday weekend. This is the perfect time to allow the spirit and light of the holiday to dominate our thoughts as we focus on our loved ones and all the good in our lives.
Historically, Christmas Day is recognized by all Christians as the day a spiritual savior was born to the world, but was December 25th the actual date of this event? The truth is the month and date of the birth of Jesus Christ are unknown, but the Romans celebrated the day for the first time in 336 AD.
The celebration evolved through the centuries and took on different customs regionally. By the 17th century, the Puritans of England condemned the holiday as a “Catholic invention”, while the Anglican Church instituted a more elaborate observance of the feast. American settlements varied, with the New England Pilgrims sharing the Protestant disapproval of Christmas and outlawing its observance in Boston in 1659. At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely. Pennsylvania German Settlers did too, even founding boroughs named Bethlehem and Nazareth in the early 1740’s.
Who knew of this American Christmas controversy? The reality is that Christmas Day was not established as a federal holiday until 1870. So this year marks the 150th anniversary of the official observance of Christmas in America.
I could make the case why Christmas 2020 is monumental, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Regardless of our faith, we are all connected like never before and that is what we will carry with us post-pandemic. Let that feeling fill your heart and mind in these coming days. We are a strong community and I know I speak for all of you in stating how thankful and blessed we feel to have each other.
Together for Harrison Township,