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Home > Article > Christmas Day
 
Christmas Day
 
Merry Christmas
 
Christmas Day is an annual Christian and secular holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, along with themes such as family, goodwill, giving and compassion. Christmas traditions include Nativity scenes, the exchange of gifts, the arrival of Santa Claus, Christmas cards and decorations and the display of Christmas trees.

The word Christmas is derived from Christemasse and Cristes mæsse which is a contraction meaning “Christ's mass”. Christmas is traditionally celebrated on December 25 which is preceded by Christmas Eve. Some Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7, which matches to December 25 of the Julian calendar. These dates are simply traditional and neither is thought to be the actual birthdate of Jesus Christ.
 
The Nativity
The Nativity refers to the birth of Jesus. According to Bible, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem. The birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals, and the infant Jesus was laid in a manger. Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Christians believe that the birth of Jesus fulfilled many prophecies made hundreds of years before his birth.

Remembering or re-creating the Nativity is one of the central ways that Christians celebrate Christmas. In some Christian churches, children perform plays re-telling the events of the Nativity. Nativity scenes traditionally include the Three Wise Men, Balthassar, Melchior, and Caspar, who are said to have presented gifts to Jesus shortly after his birth.
 
Christmas Tree
The evergreen fir tree has been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years. When fir trees were first used as Christmas trees is not known. It probably started about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe.
The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.

Another story says that St. Boniface of Crediton left England and traveled to Germany to preach to the pagan German tribes and convert them to Christianity. He is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshipping an oak tree. In anger, and to stop the sacrifice, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement, a young fir tree sprang up from the roots of the oak tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith and his followers decorated the tree with candles so that St. Boniface could preach to the pagans at night.

Another legend says that once on a cold Christmas Eve in Germany, a forester and his family were in their lodge gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest sons own bed. The next morning, on Christmas, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ child. The Christ child went into the front garden of the lodge and broke a branch off a fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas Tree into their homes.
 
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