Christmas Day

25 December

Christmas Day is the largest Christian celebration across the world. It celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in the town of Bethlehem in Israel in approximately 4AD.  Unlike most other Christian holy days and feasts, Christmas celebrates a birth not a death. In the Western church, Christmas Day is celebrated on 25 December. In many branches of the Eastern church, particularly in Russia, the birth of Christ is celebrated on the 7th January.

Christians of almost all denominations observe Christmas with various forms of service and ceremony. It is one of the few Christian celebrations that attracts the observance by millions of non-believers around the world each year, many of whom attend Christmas Carol events and Christmas Eve services.

The story of Jesus’ birth is found in the the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 1 and 2, and the Gospel of Luke, chapters 1 and 2 in the New Testament.

Matthew Chapter 1:18-25

Christ Born of Mary

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a justman, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His nameJesus.

And…

 

Luke Chapter 2:1-20

Christ Born of Mary

1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17Now when they had seenHim, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

 

Christmas Eve is the last day of the Advent season in churches, and Christmas Day is the first day of the Christmas season, or Christmastide.

The Nativity Window in St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
Columbus, Indiana

 

At Christmas, in the western world, children leave out stockings or shoes for Santa Claus, sometimes known as Father Christmas, to leave gifts in. Santa Claus is believed to be based on the real person of Saint Nicholas.

Discover more about Jesus here.

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