Origin of Christmas Day

Every year, Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, for who Christians believe is the Son of God.

Although, The New Testament in the Bible does not provide any clues in regard to the actual date of Jesus’ birth, there are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25, many different traditions and theories suggest reasons as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.

A very early Christian tradition, according to History.com, said that the day when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus was on March 25th - and it’s still celebrated today on the 25th March. Nine months after the 25th March is the 25th December. 

According to whychristmas.com, the name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life.

The ‘Christ-Mass’ service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight. That is how the name Christ-Mass, shortened to Christmas.

According to Brittanica.com, during the first two centuries of Christianity there was strong opposition to recognizing birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus. December 25, was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. 

Although the day is believed to have originated from pagan traditions, Christmas is important to many Christians because it reminds them that Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth for all people, symbolised through the visits of the wise men and the shepherds and that Mary and Joseph both had a strong faith in God, despite the difficulties they faced.

Today, Christmas is celebrated in a variety of ways. The story of Jesus’ birth, called the nativity, is often retold by children in nativity plays. Church services also often include a carol service and ome Christians start Christmas Day with a midnight service, called Midnight Mass.

English author Charles Dickens is known for creating the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, in the early 1800s. The story’s message-the importance of charity and good will towards all humankind-struck a powerful chord in the United States and England and showed members of Victorian society the benefits of celebrating the holiday. As a result, Christmas provided families with a day when they could lavish attention-and gifts-on their children without appearing to “spoil” them.

Christians often celebrate Christmas by giving and receiving presents and cards. This reminds them of the gift of Jesus, beginning his earthly life.

According to History.com, the legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to a monk named St. Nicholas who was born in Turkey around 280 A.D. St. Nicholas gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick, becoming known as the protector of children and sailors.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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