For Christians, Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year, and it does not have anything to do with presents. Oftentimes as busy as the holiday season gets, we forget what the true meaning of the special holiday is. Christmas is a holiday when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who is God’s only son that He sent down to save us from our sins. I thought I would give a little bit of fun background information and history before diving into the final question.
Before Christmas was a thing what was there:
Many Europeans celebrated the end of a long hard winter on the winter solstice (December 21st), but slaughtering cattle, drinking wine and feasting on fresh meat. Similar celebrations happened all around Europe in different cultures.
The story of Christmas:
I am sure many of you have heard of this story so I will keep it nice and short. God sent an angel Gabriel down to Galilee to a virgin named Mary. The angel told Mary that she would have a son that would be named Jesus and would be the son of God. Mary told Joseph (the man she was engaged to), who was confused because Mary was a virgin. The angel Gabriel then came down and told Joseph that Mary would be pregnant by the Lord, and that they were to name him Jesus.
A Roman emperor ordered a census to be taken, which meant that Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem. Mary was very pregnant at the time, and all of the inns were full. Finally, an owner of an inn saw how pregnant Mary was and offered both of them to stay in their stable. Once they got settled into the stable, Mary went into labor and gave birth to Jesus.
At the time that Christ was born, an angel went to the fields near Bethlehem and told the shepherds who were flocking their sheep the good news of the birth. They immediately went to find Jesus, and would later be known as the three wise men.
As the shepherds traveled, they saw a big bright star that was right over where Jesus was. They traveled in the direction of the star until they found him. Once they arrived, they worshiped him and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
What are the 12 days of Christmas?:
This one is a little bit random, but I found it really interesting. In Christian history, the 12 days of Christmas marks the time between the birth of Christ, and the time that the Three Wise Men came. The 12 days starts on December 25th and ends on January 6th. Most people see the 12 day of Christmas as before the 25th, but those days are called the advent. The Advent begins four weeks before December 24th. Different churches celebrate it differently, for example some will celebrate Christmas on January 7th, and others will give one gift each day leading up to the Epiphany (the day the Three Wise Men came).
So where did Santa come from?:
The whole idea of Santa came into pop culture in the 18th century from a poem called The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas). But before that, there was a legend of Santa Claus that traces back to Turkey in 280 A.D.. The legend talked about a monk who gave away all of his inherited wealth, and traveled the countryside helping out those who were poor or sick. For whatever reason it may be, the anniversary of his death was celebrated which happened to be on December the 6th. The man soon became known as the protector of children and sailors. When Dutch families gathered to celebrate the death of Sint Nickollas (Dutch for St. Nicholas), it was noticed and written about, and then later became popular in pop culture. Eventually, your shopping mall Santa came to life as a way to see “the real life Santa”, and the rest is history.
What is the true meaning of Christmas?:
Christmas is a way to celebrate the birth of Christ. It does not matter quite as much the way we celebrate it as it does the purpose of the celebration. Whether you celebrate it surrounded by family, giving gifts to each other, or attending church this Christmas season, remember what the true meaning is, the celebration of the birth of Christ.
During the Christmas season it is important to show your love and faithfulness for God because He made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his only son to die for us. Do not forget to, wrap yourself up in the remembrance of the birth of Christ while you fill your heart with the spirit of Christmas and surround yourself with your family, friends, while bringing others joy.
➳ Journal Prompt: How does your family celebrate Christmas? How do your Christmas celebrations honor and celebrate the birth of Christ?
➳ Prayer: Ask God how He can show you the true meaning of Christmas
➳ Bible Verses: Matthew 1, Matthew 2:1-11, Luke 2:1-20
Grit. Grace. Gratitude.
Here are the links for the sources I used: