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Meaning of Christmas, Origin, Development and Significance

Hello everyone, i want to share with you in this post, the Meaning of Christmas, Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, actually, it is not Christians who celebrate Christmas, most idol worshipers does

The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice.

The corresponding terms in other languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French—all probably denote nativity. The German word Weihnachten denotes “hallowed night.” Since the early 20th century, Christmas has also been a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike, devoid of Christian elements, and marked by an increasingly elaborate exchange of gifts.

In this secular Christmas celebration, a mythical figure named Santa Claus plays the pivotal role. Christmas is celebrated on Friday, December 25, 2020, do you know the Meaning of Christmas?.

Meaning of Christmas,: ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT

The early Christian community distinguished between the identification of the date of Jesus’ birth and the liturgical celebration of that event. The actual observance of the day of Jesus’ birth was long in coming. In particular, during the first two centuries of Christianity there was strong opposition to recognizing birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus.

Numerous Church Fathers offered sarcastic comments about the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays when, in fact, saints and martyrs should be honoured on the days of their martyrdom—their true “birthdays,” from the church’s perspective.

The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date.

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One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer.

Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. One of the difficulties with this view is that it suggests a nonchalant willingness on the part of the Christian church to appropriate a pagan festival when the early church was so intent on distinguishing itself categorically from pagan beliefs and practices.

A second view suggests that December 25 became the date of Jesus’ birth by a priori reasoning that identified the spring equinox as the date of the creation of the world and the fourth day of creation, when the light was created, as the day of Jesus’ conception (i.e., March 25). December 25, nine months later, then became the date of Jesus’ birth. For a long time the celebration of Jesus’ birth was observed in conjunction with his baptism, celebrated January 6.

Christmas began to be widely celebrated with a specific liturgy in the 9th century but did not attain the liturgical importance of either Good Friday or Easter, the other two major Christian holidays.

Roman Catholic churches celebrate the first Christmas mass at midnight, and Protestant churches have increasingly held Christmas candlelight services late on the evening of December 24.

A special service of “lessons and carols” intertwines Christmas carols with Scripture readings narrating salvation history from the Fall in the Garden of Eden to the coming of Christ. The service, inaugurated by E.W. Benson and adopted at the University of Cambridge, has become widely popular.

Meaning of Christmas,: SIGNIFICANCE/IMPORTANCE

Toward the end of the 18th century the practice of giving gifts to family members became well established.

Theologically, the feast day reminded Christians of God’s gift of Jesus to humankind even as the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to Bethlehem suggested that Christmas was somehow related to giving gifts.

The practice of giving gifts, which goes back to the 15th century, contributed to the view that Christmas was a secular holiday focused on family and friends. This was one reason why Puritans in Old and New England opposed the celebration of Christmas and in both England and America succeeded in banning its observance.

The tradition of celebrating Christmas as a secular family holiday is splendidly illustrated by a number of English “Christmas” carols such as “Here We Come A-Wassailing” or “Deck the Halls.” It can also be seen in the practice of sending Christmas cards, which began in England in the 19th century.

Moreover, in countries such as Austria and Germany, the connection between the Christian festival and the family holiday is made by identifying the Christ Child as the giver of gifts to the family.

In some European countries, St. Nicholas appears on his feast day (December 6) bringing modest gifts of candy and other gifts to children.

In North America the pre-Christmas role of the Christian saint Nicholas was transformed, under the influence of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (or “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas”), into the increasingly central role of Santa Claus as the source of Christmas gifts for the family. While both name and attire—a version of the traditional dress of bishop—of Santa Claus reveal his Christian roots, and his role of querying children about their past behaviour replicates that of St. Nicholas, he is seen as a secular figure.

In Australia, where people attend open-air concerts of Christmas carols and have their Christmas dinner on the beach, Santa Claus wears red swimming trunks as well as a white beard.

In most European countries, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with the notion that the baby Jesus was born on the night of the 24th.

Talking about the Meaning of Christmas, the morning of December 25, however, has become the time for the exchange of gifts in North America. In 17th- and 18th-century Europe the modest exchange of gifts took place in the early hours of the 25th when the family returned home from the Christmas mass.

When the evening of the 24th became the time for the exchange of gifts, the Christmas mass was set into the late afternoon of that day.

In North America the centrality of the morning of the 25th of December as the time for the family to open presents has led, with the exception of Catholic and some Lutheran and Episcopal churches, to the virtual end of holding church services on that day, a striking illustration of the way societal customs influence liturgical practices.

Given the importance of Christmas as one of the major Christian feast days, most European countries observe, under Christian influence, December 26 as a second Christmas holiday.

This practice recalls the ancient Christian liturgical notion that the celebration of Christmas, as well as that of Easter and of Pentecost, should last the entire week.

The weeklong observance, however, was successively reduced to Christmas day and a single additional holiday on December 26.

Japan serves as illustration of a different sort. In that predominantly Shintō and Buddhist country, the secular aspects of the holiday—Christmas trees and decorations, even the singing of Christmas songs such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “White Christmas”—are widely observed instead of the religious aspects.

Purpose of The Birth of Jesus Christ:

The Meaning of Christmas will not be completely understood by anyone until he or she accepts Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. As we celebrate Christmas today the 25th day of December 2020, it is very important that we understand the reasons we are celebrating; this will enable us benefit from it.

Therefore, as you celebrate today, bear in mind the followings:

  1. He was born for our redemption – Galatians 3:13-15
  2. He was born for our freedom from Satan nd his cohorts – Mark 16:15-17
  3. He was born for healing – 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5
  4. He was born to make our lives meaningful and glorious – Colosian 1:27
  5. He was born to make us candidates of God;s kingdom – John 3:19

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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