This is the greeting you receive if you celebrate Old Christmas. Back before the calendar was changed Christmas was celebrated on January 6. but after the calendar was changed and more days added Christmas was moved to December 25. The Scotch-Irish called December 25 New Christmas. They saw it as the commercial Christmas. they would also celebrate Old Christmas on January 6 which was a spiritual Christmas. It would be a time of music, storytelling and worship and good old fun.

A former pastor at our church started celebrating Old Christmas since we are in the Appalachian Mountains which is where a lot of the Scotch-Irish moved to in the New World. so they continued to celebrate New Christmas and Old Christmas. When our minister resigned from our church he arranged to celebrate in Tennessee's oldest town of Jonesborough for several year.

I took part in some of the celebrations by singing. A friend would tell the story of "Silent Night" and I would start singing the first verse. I also sang a song that our minister found in his research. If you have heard some versions of "The Cherry Tree Carol" this song uses the same tune that most people use. Here are the words:

Joseph and the angel

As Joseph was awalkin' he heard an angel sing:
"This night shall be the birthnight of Christ the heavenly king."
"This night shall be the birthnight of Christ the heavenly King."

"He neither shall be borned in house nor in hall Nor in a king's palace but in a manger stall."
"Nor in a king's palace but in a manger stall."

"He neither shall be washed with white wine nor red But with the clear spring water with which wee were christen-ed."
"But with the clear spring water with which wee were christen-ed."

"He neither shall be clothed in purple nor in pall But in the fair white linen which usen babies all."
"But in the fair white linen which usen babies all."

"He neither shall be rock-ed in silver nor in gold but in the wooden cradle which rocks upon the mold."
"but in the wooden cradle which rocks upon the mold."

"On the sixth day of January His birthday shall be When the stars and the mountains shall tremble with glee."
"When the stars and the mountains shall tremble with glee."

"As Joseph was awalkin' thus he heard the angel sing."
"And Mary's son at midnight was born to be our King."
"And Mary's son at midnight was born to be our King."

Our minister also found a true story which was my favorite out of all the stories that were told at the celebration. It is about the first Christmas tree in Appalachia.

the Solomon family was moving west one winter when it started snowing. I think they were in the area of where Wytheville, Virginia is now. The wife was pregnant so she and her husband found an outcropping of rocks in the mountains. so they got under those rocks to shelter them from the snow that night.

they ended up staying there. He cut down trees and enclosed the front of the rock outcropping. She gave birth to a boy they nicknamed Solly.

When Solly was six years old his mother said they needed a Christmas tree but there was not room for one under that same outcropping of rocks that they still lived under. So his father went looking around the woods around their dwelling and found a holly tree that had the perfect shape. He found a limb out of another tree that had fallen to the ground. He made a cross out of it and used a thong made of deer hide to tie the two pieces of wood together. then he took bear tallow and put it all over the cross. Then he climbed up into the holly tree and used another deer thong to tie the cross to the top of the tree.

On Christmas Eve they invited other families to join them for a celebration.
After it got dark they lit the end of a branch and lighted it up to light the cross. Of course, the fire burned through the deer thongs and the cross tumbled out of the tree and down the hill toward the creek.

Several years later Solly's father saw a native American that had been mauled by a mountain lion. so he took the native American to see if he could mend his wounds. The native American then told Solly's father about the night the burning cross tumbled down towards the creek. That night there was going to be a raid to kill the white man. The native Americans had been preached to by missionaries so knew about the cross but when that flaming cross came towards them where they were hiding they ran. So the cross saved the lives of the white white man several ways.

Dean Masters