Why Is Christmas Important To Christians?

Why Is Christmas Important To Christians

What is the importance of Christmas Day to Christians?

The Christian Church: Festivals – Christian festivals help people to remember the story of Jesus’ life. They are also times to give thanks to God for His blessings and to celebrate the saints.

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Christmas is a fixed festival, It always falls on the same date each year, as it does not matter on which day of the week Christmas is celebrated. No-one is certain of the date on which Jesus was born. The early Christians did not celebrate Christmas, and it wasn’t until the fourth century that the date of 25 December was decided on.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Christmas Day is celebrated on 7 January. For Christians, Christmas is all about God sending His son into the world as part of His plan to bring salvation to people everywhere. Christians also think about the ‘incarnation’ – literally meaning ‘in the flesh’ – when God became man in the form of the baby Jesus.

The incarnation reminds Christians that Jesus is a human being, the son of Mary and Joseph, and that he is also divine, There are many customs and traditions that are associated with Christmas. Some are related to events in the Bible (such as the nativity play ) while others have been invented by Christians to make their celebration of Christmas more meaningful and enjoyable (for example, Christmas cards and carol singing ).

What is the main importance of Christmas?

Significance of Christmas – Christmas, in general, is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ. But in the real sense, it symbolises the truth of spiritual life. When Jesus Christ was born, the world was full of hatred, greed, ignorance, and hypocrisy. His birth transformed the lives of the people.

He taught them the importance of spirituality, purity, and devotion and how they could change their lives for the better. The festival of Christmas shows us that a life full of knowledge and light can take over the darkness spread in the corners of the world. Jesus Christ taught people that they could only awaken their spirituality if they sought it.

He taught them to live a humble and simple life and give up the desire for worldly pleasures, because satisfaction comes from within and not from the things we seek outside. Christmas Eve celebrations in India and across the world have their own customs and traditions. One of the most widely practised traditions is going to the Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, people do not eat or drink on Christmas Eve, and then the main meal is eaten after the Midnight Mass Service.

Like several traditional events and festivals in India, Christmas is the time to relish delicious food and desserts like Christmas cake with friends and family. People follow the tradition of singing Christmas carols with a dedication that shows their love for God. They put up a Christmas tree and decorated it with twinkling fairy Christmas tree lights and ornaments.

It brings in festive vibes and fills the hearts of people with joy and enthusiasm. And nothing can beat the fun of exchanging Christmas gifts with loved ones who make the occasion even more exciting.

Why is Jesus the reason for Christmas?

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON A Child is born to us! A Son is given to us! And He will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6) CHRISTMAS: IT’S ONLY ABOUT JESUS Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour, the King above all. We can never celebrate the birth of Jesus without looking ahead to His death on the cross, where He paid for every sin.

  • We can never celebrate the cross without looking ahead to His resurrection and to His ascension.
  • Jesus went to heaven, where He is preparing a place for us.
  • Now we are looking forward to the day that He will come again on the clouds.
  • For God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 GNB) CHRISTMAS: IT’S NOT ABOUT.

Christmas is not about having a feast of food, wearing a Christmas hat, blowing a whistle, singing Jingle Bells and having a party until midnight. It’s not about wrapping and unwrapping of gifts, it’s not about Father Christmas in his red suit, not about spending money, sending cards, eating fruitcake,

  • No! Jesus should be the only reason why we celebrate Christmas.
  • GIFTS JUST FOR YOU FROM GOD God gives you some everlasting gifts this Christmas.
  • It is not wrapped in shiny gift-wrapping, no, it is wrapped in strips of cloth.
  • The gift is not under a Christmas tree, but in a manger.
  • The gift is His Son, Jesus, the Saviour of everyone who believes in Him.

God gives you a light that can shine in the darkness of this sinful world. The Light is bright and beautiful and invites you to God. Jesus is the light. “I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in Me should not remain in the darkness.” (John 12:46 GNB) God gives you a cross, the cross where Jesus paid for every sin, where He bought you with His blood, where you can be cleansed and set free, where you can receive eternal life.

  • Jesus is the Saviour.
  • Christ Jesus came into the world to give salvation to sinners” (1Tim 1:15 BBE); “This very day your Saviour was born -Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:11 GNB) God gives you a crown,
  • He makes you His child, the child of the King.
  • So a crown will be given to me,” (2Tim 4:8 CEV) Jesus is the King.

“He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1Tim 6:15 GW) Any gift that you may receive this Christmas won’t last very long and it won’t give you joy forever. It may be something that you cannot use maybe you expected something better, bigger, brighter! Maybe you won’t even receive any gifts! BUT the gift from God is forever, it is free, it is all you need.”.God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23 GNB) “Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift He gave us in His dear Son!” (Eph 1:6 GNB) YOUR GIFT TO HIM Give yourself to Jesus this Christmas.

So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.” (Rom 12:1 GNB) Jesus, all for Jesus All I am and have and ever hope to be Jesus all for Jesus All of my ambitions, hopes and plans I surrender these into Your hands “Lord I give You my heart, I give You my soul, I live for You alone” MAKE ROOM FOR JESUS When Jesus was born in Bethlehem there was no room available for Him in the inn, except in the manger.

“She gave birth to her first Son, wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger – there was no room for them to stay in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 GNB) This Christmas will you make room for Jesus in your heart? He wants to come into your heart “Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they will eat with Me.” (Rev 3:20 GNB) Even if Jesus was born a thousand times, and He was not born in your heart, Christmas will be meaningless to you.

  • Make room for Him today,
  • But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV) THE TRUE MEANING OF C H R I S T M A S C is for the Christ child who was born 2000 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem.
  • And you will have a son.
  • His name will be Jesus.

He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High.” (Luke 1:31,32 CEV) H is for the hope Jesus brings to all who believe in Him and trust Him for their salvation. “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of everyone, but especially of those who have faith.” (1Tim 4:10 CEV) R is for the resurrection of Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was both man and God, died on the cross for all our sins, and then was raised from the dead and is now sitting at the right hand of God in heaven.

  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1Pet 1:3 ESV) I is for Immanuel – God with us.
  • A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Mat 1:23 CEV) S is for the salvation that Jesus offers to all who are willing to confess their sin, believe in Him, and profess their believe in Jesus.

“Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.” (Acts 4:12 CEV) T is for the empty tomb on Easter morning. “He isn’t here! God has raised Him to life.” (Mat 28:6 CEV) M is for the mercy God has shown the world by sending His only son to suffer for our sins and bridge the gap between man and God.

  1. But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you.” (Eph 2:4 CEV) A is for our awesome God who loves us all unconditionally.
  2. But God has shown us how much He loves us – it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! By His blood we are now put right with God (Rom 5:8,9 GNB) S is for the shining light that Jesus brought into the world.

“Then again Jesus said to them, I am the light of the world; he who comes with Me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life.” (Joh 8:12 BBE) May this Christmas be different, than any other day before. May Jesus be born in your heart, and may He give you peace and joy, and the free gift of eternal life.

Does the Christmas story matter to Christians?

Christians use the birth stories not only to guide them in their celebrations at Christmas, but also to remind them about the place of Jesus in the ‘big story’ of God’s relationship with humans.

What are the three purposes of Christmas?

In those three statements of the angel, we find the three purposes of Christmas. The three sessions in The Purpose of Christmas look at each of those purposes: Christmas Is a Time for Celebration Christmas Is a Time for Salvation Christmas Is a Time for Reconciliation Three sessions.

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What is the value of Christmas?

The Indian School-Second Shift “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” ― Winston Churchill Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ. Although it is a Christian festival, people of different communities celebrate it with great fervour and enthusiasm. Christmas was celebrated at The Indian School-Second Shift with enthusiasm and cheer. Students of Pre school were dressed as Santa and celebrated the occasion with a ‘ Show and Tell’ presentation on Christmas symbols. The children presented a dance to Jingle bells and showcased craftwork comprising Santa masks and bells.

Pre Primary conducted a special assembly on Friday, 24th December’ 2021. The assembly commenced with a welcome and a brief introduction to explain aspects of the festival and how it is celebrated across the world. The story of the birth of Lord Jesus was narrated. The children then sang carols like “Joy to the world”, “Jingle bells” and “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer”.

A dance by the children prompted their parents to dance along making for a heady Christmas mood! Some of the children dressed as Santa and the reindeer had the audience squealing in delight! The enduring message of Christmas – sharing and caring was the takeaway.

Class 1 students made reindeer craft using paper folding and the Christmas tree using the quilling. The students of class 2 made Christmas cards and a snowman with old socks.They made Christmas cookies and shared a virtual Christmas treat. Teachers shared them videos of Christmas celebrations in different countries.

December brings a lot of warmth, hope and glad tidings. To spread the message of love and good cheer, the students of class 3 presented a special assembly on 24.12.21. The celebration started with a skit- ‘True Sense of Gifting’. The choir played the angels descended on Earth.

The day concluded with a scintillating dance by students, Students of class 4 participated in a Christmas special class organised by their class teacher. On the eve of Christmas, Akshat and Omar sang popular carols for all attendees. Jay, Aahil and class 4B students presented stories. Students enjoyed a fun round of quiz that incorporated their knowledge of the occasion.

At the end Suryanshi and Aadit surprised all with a dance presentation followed by a small coded Santa gift for everyone. The festive session concluded as participants listened to and hummed along with Arlin as he sang ‘Merry Christmas’. Classes 5 and 6 had a Skype class with Kenyan peers where our students showcased Christmas cards and participated in a storytelling session, which was an enriching experience for all.

They wrote letters to Santa too. They were shown short Christmas movies to add to the festivity. The students of class 7 made beautiful Christmas cards in class and noted one-line messages of things they feel grateful aboutm Students were encouraged to speak about Christmas and its importance. Students also spoke about how they celebrate Christmas.

They also shared their messages written on the cards to their classmates. In Class 8 the teacher showed a video and talked about the importance of Christmas and the values that it comes with. Christmas reminds us of the importance of giving and sharing with friends and family.

What does Christmas mean to Jesus?

The true Christmas meaning is the birth of Christ. Even in the Bible, there was a celebration. After hearing the good news, shepherds came to visit the baby Jesus after his birth. Everyone rejoiced that Jesus was the Son of God and Saviour of all mankind. Celebrations in Biblical times were different from those today.

Why was Christmas chosen?

‘The real reason for the selection of Dec.25 seems to have been that it is exactly nine months after March 25, the traditional date of Jesus’ crucifixion. As Christians developed the theological idea that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same date, they set the date of his birth nine months later.’

Does Bible say anything about Christmas?

Christmas is on Dec.25, but it wasn’t always. Dec.25 is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus’s birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth.

  • As a result, there are a number of different accounts as to how and when Dec.25 became known as Jesus’s birthday.
  • By most accounts, the birth was first thought — in around 200 A.D.
  • To have taken place on Jan.6.
  • Why? Nobody knows, but it may have been the result of “a calculation based on an assumed date of crucifixion of April 6 coupled with the ancient belief that prophets died on the same day as their conception,” according to religionfacts.com,

By the mid-4th century, the birthday celebration had been moved to Dec.25. Who made the decision? Some accounts say it was the pope; others say it wasn’t. One of the prevalent theories on why Christmas is Dec.25 was spelled out in ” The Golden Bough,” a highly influential 19th century comparative study of religion and mythology written by the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer and originally published in 1890.

(The first edition was titled “The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion”; the second edition was called “The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.” By the third printing, in the early 20th century, it was published in 12 volumes, though there are abridged one-volume versions.) Frazer approached the topic of religion from a cultural — not theological — perspective, and he linked the dating of Christmas to earlier pagan rituals.

Here’s what the 1922 edition of the “The Golden Bough” says about the origins of Christmas, as published on Bartleby.com : An instructive relic of the long struggle is preserved in our festival of Christmas, which the Church seems to have borrowed directly from its heathen rival.

In the Julian calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the Sun, because the day begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning-point of the year. The ritual of the nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated in Syria and Egypt, was remarkable.

The celebrants retired into certain inner shrines, from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry, “The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!” The Egyptians even represented the new-born sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday, the winter solstice, they brought forth and exhibited to his worshippers.

No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte. Now Mithra was regularly identified by his worshippers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they called him; hence his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December.

The Gospels say nothing as to the day of Christ’s birth, and accordingly the early Church did not celebrate it. In time, however, the Christians of Egypt came to regard the sixth of January as the date of the Nativity, and the custom of commemorating the birth of the Saviour on that day gradually spread until by the fourth century it was universally established in the East.

  1. But at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century the Western Church, which had never recognised the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, adopted the twenty-fifth of December as the true date, and in time its decision was accepted also by the Eastern Church.
  2. At Antioch the change was not introduced till about the year 375 A.D.

What considerations led the ecclesiastical authorities to institute the festival of Christmas? The motives for the innovation are stated with great frankness by a Syrian writer, himself a Christian. “The reason,” he tells us, “why the fathers transferred the celebration of the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December was this.

It was a custom of the heathen to celebrate on the same twenty-fifth of December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and festivities the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day and the festival of the Epiphany on the sixth of January.

Accordingly, along with this custom, the practice has prevailed of kindling fires till the sixth.” The heathen origin of Christmas is plainly hinted at, if not tacitly admitted, by Augustine when he exhorts his Christian brethren not to celebrate that solemn day like the heathen on account of the sun, but on account of him who made the sun.

In like manner Leo the Great rebuked the pestilent belief that Christmas was solemnised because of the birth of the new sun, as it was called, and not because of the nativity of Christ. Thus it appears that the Christian Church chose to celebrate the birthday of its Founder on the twenty-fifth of December in order to transfer the devotion of the heathen from the Sun to him who was called the Sun of Righteousness.

Yet an account titled “How December 25 Became Christmas” on the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Web site takes some issue with this theory: Despite its popularity today, this theory of Christmas’s origins has its problems. It is not found in any ancient Christian writings, for one thing.

Christian authors of the time do note a connection between the solstice and Jesus’ birth: The church father Ambrose (c.339–397), for example, described Christ as the true sun, who outshone the fallen gods of the old order. But early Christian writers never hint at any recent calendrical engineering; they clearly don’t think the date was chosen by the church.

Rather they see the coincidence as a providential sign, as natural proof that God had selected Jesus over the false pagan gods. Furthermore, it says, the first mentions of a date for Christmas, around 200 A.D., were made at a time when “Christians were not borrowing heavily from pagan traditions of such an obvious character.” It was in the 12th century, it says, that the first link between the date of Jesus’s birth and pagan feasts was made.

It says in part: Clearly there was great uncertainty, but also a considerable amount of interest, in dating Jesus’ birth in the late second century. By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized — and now also celebrated — as Jesus’ birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor).

The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem.

  1. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.
  2. The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs.
  3. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae : “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea ” So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter.” Bottom line: Nobody knows for sure why Dec.25 is celebrated as Christmas.
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—- Here’s a little more history, this on the non-religious figure of Santa Claus. According to the St. Nicolas Center (whose Web site has a subtitle: “Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus”), the character known today as Santa originated with a man named Nicolas said to have been born in the 3rd century A.D.

In the village of Patara, then Greek and now Turkish. It is said his parents died when he was young and that the religious Nicolas, who was raised by his uncle, was left a fortune. Ordained as a priest, he used his money to help others and become a protector of children, performing miracles to help them.

He was, the center says, persecuted by Roman Emperor Diocletian and buried in 343 A.D. in a church, where a substance with healing powers, called manna, formed in his grave. The day of his death, Dec.6, became a day of celebration. How did this man seen as a saint become Santa Claus, the one with the red suit and white beard? The St.

Nicolas Center says Europeans honored him as a saint over the centuries, while St. Nicolas was brought to the New World by Columbus, who named a Haitian port for him in 1492. According to the center: After the American Revolution, New Yorkers remembered with pride their colony’s nearly-forgotten Dutch roots.

John Pintard, the influential patriot and antiquarian who founded the New York Historical Society in 1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city. In January 1809, Washington Irving joined the society and on St. Nicholas Day that same year, he published the satirical fiction, Knickerbocker’s History of New York, with numerous references to a jolly St.

  • Nicholas character.
  • This was not the saintly bishop, rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe.
  • These delightful flights of imagination are the source of the New Amsterdam St.
  • Nicholas legends: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St.
  • Nicholas; that St.
  • Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; that the first church was dedicated to him; and that St.

Nicholas comes down chimneys to bring gifts. Irving’s work was regarded as the “first notable work of imagination in the New World.” The New York Historical Society held its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner on December 6, 1810. John Pintard commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion.

  • Nicholas was shown in a gift-giving role with children’s treats in stockings hanging at a fireplace.
  • The accompanying poem ends, “Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend! To serve you ever was my end, If you will, now, me something give, I’ll serve you ever while I live.”,1821 brought some new elements with publication of the first lithographed book in America, the Children’s Friend,

This “Sante Claus” arrived from the North in a sleigh with a flying reindeer. The anonymous poem and illustrations proved pivotal in shifting imagery away from a saintly bishop. Sante Claus fit a didactic mode, rewarding good behavior and punishing bad, leaving a “long, black birchen rod,

directs a Parent’s hand to use when virtue’s path his sons refuse.” Gifts were safe toys, “pretty doll, peg-top, or a ball; no crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets to blow their eyes up, or their pockets. No drums to stun their Mother’s ear, nor swords to make their sisters fear; but pretty books to store their mind with knowledge of each various kind.” The sleigh itself even sported a bookshelf for the “pretty books.” The book also notably marked S.

Claus’ first appearance on Christmas Eve, rather than December 6th. Then, in 1823, the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” later known as “The Night Before Christmas,” became popular, and the modern version of the plump Santa started to become established, what his sleigh led by reindeer and the chimney as his delivery system.

By the 1920s, a jolly red-suited Santa was depicted in drawings of Norman Rockwell and other illustrators, and by the 1950s, he was portrayed as a gentle gift-giving character. That Santa became the one kids in the United States and other parts of the world know today, though in many other countries, St.

Nicholas — not Santa — is still celebrated as well. Was Nicolas real? The bottom line from the Web site on Santa: Some say St. Nicholas existed only in legend, without any reliable historical record. Legends usually do grow out of real, actual events, though they may be embellished to make more interesting stories.

Many of the St. Nicholas stories seem to be truth interwoven with imagination. However, facts of the life of St. Nicholas could contain some part of historical truth. They provide a clear sense of his personal characteristics which are further elaborated in other narratives. (You can read about those “facts” here in a piece titled, “Was St.

Nicolas a Real Person?”) So there you have it. Some history of Christmas you may not have known before. If you made it this far, now you do.

What does Bible say about Christmas?

45 Bible Verses to Celebrate Christmas December 03, 2020 Why Is Christmas Important To Christians It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Concordia University Texas! The campus boasts festive decorations, and our giant Christmas Tree stands shining at the end of the Pier against the backdrop of the nature preserve. We have compiled 45 Bible verses to help you prepare your heart for the true meaning of Christmas: celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the salvation He achieved through His death and resurrection.

  • Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)
  • “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
  • Matthew 1:22-23 (NKJV)
  • So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
  • “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
  • Isaiah 9:6-7
  • For to Us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

  1. Luke 1:30-32
  2. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
  3. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.
  4. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David,
  5. “and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
  6. Luke 1:46-47 (NKJV)
  7. And Mary said:
  8. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
  9. Luke 2:4-7
  10. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

  • Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
  • And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
  • An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

  1. Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)
  2. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
  3. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
  4. Luke 2:15-20 (NKJV)
  5. So 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.”
  6. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
  7. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
  8. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
  9. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
  10. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
  11. John 1:14 (NIV)

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  • John 3:16 (NKJV)
  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • James 1:17 (NIV)
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
  • Isaiah 53:2-6
  • For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.
  • He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
  • Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
  • But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.
  • All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
  • Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB)
  • But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters.
  • Romans 6:23 (NASB)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Romans 3:28-31 (NIV)
  • For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.1 Corinthians 16:22-23 (NIV) If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

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Did the Bible mention anything about Christmas?

Two Christmas stories: An analysis of New Testament narratives The New Testament contains two Christmas stories, not one. They appear in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2. They have some points in common. But there are many differences in their characters, plot, messages, and tone.

  1. In the familiar version of the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
  2. Because there was no room in the inn, the baby Jesus is born in a stable and placed in a manger.
  3. His humble birth is celebrated by choirs of angels and shepherds, and he is given precious gifts by the mysterious Magi.

This version freely blends material from the two biblical accounts. It has become enshrined in Christmas carols and stable scenes as well as the liturgical cycle of readings during the Christmas season. Giotto’s “Nativity, Birth of Jesus” from Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, Padua, Italy c.1304-1306.

My purpose here is not to criticize blending the two Christmas stories or to debate the historicity of the events they describe. What I do want to show is that by harmonizing the two stories we may be missing points that were especially important for Matthew and Luke, respectively. I want also to suggest that appreciating each biblical account separately might open up new perspectives on the infancy narratives for people today.

In, Marc Z. Brettler, Peter Enns, and I explore how each of our religious traditions—Jewish, Evangelical, and Catholic—tries to bring together the modern historical-critical reading of the Bible and contemporary religious faith and practice. There are, of course, many differences among us.

  1. But there are some principles we hold in common: the value of reading biblical texts in their original historical settings, the need for careful analysis of the literary dimensions of each text, and respect for what seems to have been the intentions of the original author.
  2. Applying these principles to the two Christmas stories in the New Testament will reveal more clearly their historical significance, distinctive literary character, and theological riches.

Matthew wrote his Gospel in the late first century CE, perhaps in Antioch of Syria. He was a Jewish Christian writing primarily for other Jewish Christians. He wanted to show that the legacy of biblical Israel was best fulfilled in the community formed around the memory of Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Now that the Jerusalem temple had been destroyed and Roman control over Jews was even tighter, all Jews had to face the question: how is the heritage of Israel as God’s people to be carried on? Matthew’s answer lay in stressing the Jewishness of Jesus.
  • This setting helps to explain why Matthew told his Christmas story as he did.

He begins with a genealogy that relates Jesus to Abraham and David, while including several women of dubious reputation who nonetheless highlight the new thing God was doing in Jesus. Next, he explains how the virginal conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy (7:14), and how Jesus the Son of God became the legal Son of David through Joseph.

  • Besides Jesus, Joseph is the main character in Mathew’s Christmas story.
  • Guided by dreams like his biblical namesake, he is the divinely designated protector of Mary and her child Jesus.
  • The Magi story in Matthew 2 is part of a larger sequence that involves danger for the newborn child and his parents.

When King Herod hears about the child “King of the Jews” as a potential rival for his power, he seeks to have Jesus killed. As a result the family flees to Egypt, while Herod orders the execution of all boys under two years old in the area of Bethlehem.

Only after Herod’s death does the family return to the Land of Israel, though to Nazareth rather than Bethlehem. At each point in their itinerary, the family is guided by dreams and texts from the Jewish Scriptures. In his Christmas story Matthew wants us to learn who Jesus is (Son of Abraham, Son of David, Son of God) and how he got from Bethlehem to Nazareth.

Thus he establishes the Jewish identity of Jesus, while foreshadowing the mystery of the cross and the inclusion of non-Jews in the church. The tone is serious, somber, and foreboding. Luke wrote his Gospel about the same time as Matthew did (but independently), in the late first century CE.

He composed two volumes, one about Jesus’ life and death (Luke’s Gospel), and the other about the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts of the Apostles). The dynamic of the two books is captured by words now in Luke 2:32 taken from Isaiah (42:6; 46:13; 49:6): “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel,” While in his prologue (1:1-4), Luke shows himself to be a master of classical Greek, in his infancy narrative he shifts into “Bible Greek,” in the style of the narrative books of the Old Testament in their Greek translations.

Also there are many characters besides Jesus: Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, and Simeon and Anna, as well as various angels and shepherds. These figures represent the best in Jewish piety. Thus Luke creates an ideal picture of the Israel into which Jesus is born.

In the gross structure of his infancy narrative, Luke seems intent on comparing John the Baptist and Jesus. His point is that while John is great, Jesus is even greater. So the announcement of John’s birth as the forerunner of the Messiah is balanced by the announcement of Jesus’ birth as the Son of the Most High (1:5-25; 1:26-56).

And so the account of John’s birth and naming is balanced by the birth and naming of Jesus as Savior, Messiah, and Lord (1:57-80; 2:1-40). Luke portrays Jesus and his family as observant with regard to Jewish laws and customs. At the same time, there are subtle “digs” at the Roman emperor and his clams to divinity.

  • The narratives are punctuated by triumphant songs of joy.
  • They are well known by their traditional Latin titles: Magnificat (1:46-46), Benedictus (1:68-79), and Nunc dimittis (2:29-32).
  • These are pastiches of words and phrases from Israel’s Scriptures, and they serve to praise the God of Israel for what he was doing in and through Jesus.

With his infancy narrative, Luke wants to root Jesus in the best of Israelite piety, while hinting at Jesus’ significance for all the peoples of the world. That is why Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (3:23-38) goes back beyond Abraham all the way to Adam. Luke’s infancy narrative has provided the framework for the traditional “Christian story.” Its tone is upbeat, celebratory, and even romantic.

  • I have shown one way to read the Christmas stories of Matthew and Luke.
  • It is a way that respects their historical contexts, literary skills, and intentions.
  • It is not the only way.
  • Indeed, during this Christmas season I will be celebrating (God willing) the traditional Christmas story in the two parishes in which I serve regularly as a Catholic priest.

What I hope to have shown here is that there is more to the biblical Christmas stories than gets included in the traditional account. : Two Christmas stories: An analysis of New Testament narratives

Is Christmas God’s generosity?

The unavoidable generosity of Christmas – It is a commonplace to deplore the commercialization of Christmas. We see the decorations that appear in October, the advertisements urging us to spend, save, and give, all without reference to Jesus, who is the “reason for the season.” But the wonder of God’s lavish generosity in giving his only Son is so intrinsic to the celebration that it is impossible to miss the meaning of Jesus’ birth.

We all know in our heart that giving generously is what defines Christmas — Immanuel, God with us — the amazing generosity of Christ entering the world, living among us and dying to take our curse. It is the incarnation that illustrates just how generous our God is. Although, in the words of the hymn we are “self-destroyed,” our Creator has given himself so that we might have new life.

The Apostle Paul captured the essence of the incarnation when he wrote: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9) The Redeemer family of churches and ministries exists to share the amazing riches of Christ with our congregants and neighbors in New York City so that many more can experience the life-changing power of the incarnation.

  • Literally thousands of people from our community are living examples of the hope of Christmas all across the city.
  • People from every Redeemer congregation serve with HFNY affiliates, provide toys for His Toy Store, serve on Sundays for special Advent and Christmas Eve services, open their homes to Community Groups, and give generously to the Diaconate Mercy Fund and other worthy ministries and causes.

Christmas is when we are both giving the joy and hope that comes from Immanuel and experiencing it for ourselves. It brings both a humility and a hallelujah! Christmas is a time to give thanks that the God of the universe came to dwell among us, to be one of us, to die for us, and to save us.

  • It reminds us of his incredible generosity, and it is His great love that motivates our hearts to be more generous.
  • As we give thanks for all the ways God is working in and through each of us and our church, remember that it is our generosity that God uses to extend the hope, joy, and peace of the gospel to our city.

In order to do the work God has called us to, Redeemer churches and ministries count on individuals like you. So as you think about how you can generously share the hope of Christmas, please be generous with your gifts to Redeemer too. It is the faithful support of many at the end of each year that has allowed Redeemer’s ministry to flourish, and year end giving is when we most count on the generosity of the Redeemer community to help meet our financial needs.

What is the most important fact about Christmas?

As the year draws to an end, millions of people around the world look forward to sparkling decorations, colourful lights, delicious food, jolly music and exciting gifts. Yup because Christmas is coming! But how much do you know about this super-fun holiday? It’s time to find out in our ten facts about Christmas 1) Christmas is a Christian festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe was the son of God.

What Christmas means to you?

What Does Christmas Mean to You? What does Christmas mean to you? Christmas is again upon us and people around the world are busy with their preparations for their own version of a Christmas dinner. Christmas is a time for family reunions, family bonding, renewing friendships, exchanging gifts, and going on holidays.