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The History of Christmas and The Miracle of Jesus' Birth
For unto us a child is born. -Isaiah 9:6
Why do you celebrate Christmas? Is it to continue the tradition of Santa Clause or old Saint Nick? Is it to Celebrate Jesus' birth? Is it to spend time with family exchanging gifts?
I celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus!
History of Christmas:
According to whychristmas.com Christmas was first recorded and celebrated on Dec. 25th, 336. This was during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine. It was officially declared that Jesus' birth would be celebrated on Dec. 25th by Pope Julius I.
According to History.com "Pope Julius 1 decided Dec. 25 because it was commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century."
On June 26, 1870, the US declared Christmas as a Federal holiday.
So although Christ wasn't actually born on Dec. 25th that is when Christians in 336 decided to celebrate and it ended up spreading worldwide! People first celebrated the winter solstice. Some Russians and Greeks celebrate Three Kings Day which is 13 days after the 25th.
The Story of St. Nicholas:
In the fourth century, Bishop St. Nicholas lived in Myra in Asia Minor. Asia Minor is now known as Turkey. He was left an inheritance by his parents making him a rich man. He had a reputation for being a kind man that helped the poor and gave gifts to the needy. This is where the stories of Ol Saint Nick started. There are many different stories of St. Nicholas and no one knows if any of them are true.
The Story of Santa Clause:
Santa Clause was developed by a Cartoonist named Thomas Nast in 1881. He created the first likeness of Santa to go with Moore's poem. He drew Santa as cheerful, with a white beard, big belly, and holding a sack full of toys for good kids.
Different stories of Santa Clause have developed over the years including stories of Santa's naughty and nice list.
The Story of Jesus' Birth
"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus." - Neil A. Maxwell.
'This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.' Matthew 1:18-25 NIV
His name is JESUS!
What a beautiful story of Jesus' birth! He chose a virgin to birth him to show people a true miracle. People didn't and still don't believe that Mary was a virgin, but the Bible clearly states that she was and because she was a virgin that is one reason why God chose her! Joseph and Mary got to experience one of the greatest miracles of Jesus first hand.
'After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him, When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," They replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.' " then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. ' Matthew 2:1-12
Do you see the miracle here? King Herod was disturbed at the news of Jesus being born and people worshiping him. He lied and told the Magi that he wanted to worship Jesus. The Magi was warned not to go back to King Herod. What would have happened if they went back to King Herod? The King would have forced them to tell him where Jesus was and he would have gone to kill him.
The other miracle is Jesus' birth. Why was Jesus born? For the very purpose of dying for our sins. (John 3:16). God sent his son (to be born), to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life. The miracle wasn't just a temporary miracle, it was one that has lasted for thousands of years. The miracle
just started when he was born. The miracle of his birth going into his death has got to be the longest lasting miracle anyone has encountered. Jesus is the best gift ever given!
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
This story right here is why I celebrate Jesus' birth. He may not have been born on December 25th but we can certainly celebrate him then. He has given us the greatest miracle of all!
"Maybe Christmas, "He thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!" - The Grinch