Christmas is the most important festival for the Christians all over the world. It is celebrated on the 25th of December every year.
This festival is celebrated for the birth of Jesus, the Son of God in this world. The celebration of Christmas lasts for twelve days till Epiphany.
Just like how Durga Puja, Diwali is important for the Hindus and Eid for the Muslims; the same way Christmas is for the Christians.
This festival is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus, reuniting with families, decorating the house, exchanging gifts, joyous time with neighbours etc. Christmas brings joy and happiness among everyone.
History of Christmas (Story behind the celebration of Christmas)
Christmas is celebrated on different dates according to the Gregorian and Julian calendar respectively. In spite of the different dates, the reason of this celebration is still the same.
The history of Christmas goes back to centuries. According to the Gospel from the New Testament of the Bible, Angel of the God spoke to Mary that she will give birth to a son and they will name him Emmanuel, the Son of God.
Mary informed Joseph about this news. So, they decided to get married. They were travelling to Bethlehem for the census. During the journey, Mary was tired.
But they could not get a proper place but a small stable in Bethlehem, Jerusalem. There were many other animals in the stable.
The shepherds were looking after their flocks in the nearby fields. When Jesus was born, an angel appeared to these shepherds. The angel informed them about the birth of Jesus whom they would find in a manger.
Soon, the three Magi or the three Wise Men came to know about this and they travelled to the place where the star was in the sky.
When they reached the place where the star was, they found baby Jesus. They knelt down in front of him and gave gifts to baby Jesus. These gifts were of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This is the reason why Christmas is celebrated. Jesus was sent by God to save the world from sins and danger. God sent his only son in the world so that we humans have a wonderful life without any suffering and trouble.
What is the reason of celebrating Christmas on 25th December?
No one knows when exactly the birth of Jesus was. There is no mention in the Bible about the date when Jesus was born.
But, there are some instances in the Bible which can tell that Jesus was born much before 25th December. First, Mary and Joseph were travelling for the census.
Census refers to the counting of people in the city. No census is held in any city during winter. Second, according to the Bible when Jesus was born the shepherds were looking after their flocks in the nearby fields.
During winter the shepherds do not leave their flocks out.
Instead, they search for shelter of their flocks. Then why is Christmas celebrated on 25th December? During the fourth century, the Roman church was growing and there was a wide spread of Christianity. But before that Pagans were ruling the land and December 25th was important day for them.
They celebrated this day for the birth of Sun God. The Roman Church adopted this day because the pagans started to enter the church.
So, they kept this day as the celebration of the birth of Jesus so that the Christians could be diverted from the feast of Pagans. So, the birth of Sun God was celebrated was as the birth of the Son of God by the Christians.
How is Christmas celebrated?
The Christmas preparation starts with the beginning of the season of Advent. The season of Advent starts after the feast of Christ, the King. The season of Advent is similar to the season of Lent.
But people do not abstain the way it is done during Lent. Christians all over the world prepare for the coming of Jesus. Much before 25th December, the houses are cleaned and set to be decorated.
Few weeks before Christmas groups of children and elders go from one house to another singing Christmas carols. The Christmas carols are hymns about the birth of Jesus.
There are many Christmas carols like- Joy to the world, Angels we have heard on high, Hark the herald, Long time ago in Bethlehem, Jingle Bell, Sing Noel, Go tell it on the mountain, Oh holy night etc.
The Christmas carols make everyone excited for Christmas. The children are excited for Christmas from a long time. Christmas means gifts and Santa Claus for them. They believe that on the eve of Christmas Santa Claus will come to give gifts to them.
The family members start to decorate the home a few days before Christmas. They make a small stable with the statues of baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, angel, three Wise men, shepherds and the animals.
This small depicts the scene of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The house is decorated with lights, stars, flowers and other decorative stars.
A big star is hung at the top of the house similar to the star which was in the sky when Jesus was born. Christians attend midnight mass for the Christmas celebration.
On the day of Christmas, they pray, sing Christmas songs, eat delicious food, celebrate with loved ones and give sweets to their neighbours.
Christmas is not just about good food, new clothes or stars or Christmas trees. This day is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ who came to this earth to save us from sins.
Even though there is no exact date about the birth of Jesus and people celebrate it on different dates according to their calendar or on a day when Jesus was not even born.
This is not important when he was actually born. The thing that matters to us is that how do we welcome the coming of Jesus. Does only celebration means Christmas to us? Is it more than that?
The most important part of Christmas is that we remember the birth of Jesus, pray to him and ask forgiveness for the sins.
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