What is Christmas?

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Sure, you may have heard of the big guy who lives up at the North Pole with his reindeer and elves, but the origin of Christmas has little to do with him at all! Christmas is actually an important religious celebration, and people who observe it believe that its purpose is to mark and honor the birth of Jesus Christ, a central figure in the Christian religion.

2008 years ago, according to the New Testament in the Christian Bible, there lived a woman, Mary, and her husband, Joseph. One day, even though Mary was pregnant, she and Joseph decided to take a trip to a city called Bethlehem; however, once they arrived, they were unable to find an inn to stay at. One innkeeper was kind enough to offer shelter in his barn, and this is where Mary ended up giving birth to a son that she named Jesus.

Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God and, when he was born, a star was placed in the sky above the barn where Mary and Joseph were staying to mark his birthplace. Some nearby shepherds saw the star, believed that it announced the birth of the “king of men,” and took it upon themselves to spread the good news, while three traveling wise men brought Jesus gifts once they learned of his birth.

Because Christmas is celebrated by so many people all over the world, the emphasis of the holiday is sometimes less on the religious story and more on using Christmas as a period to give thanks, relax, and spend quality time with family and friends. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate that!

 

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Nowadays during the holidays you might see statues or arrangements of figurines depicting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the barn surrounded by visitors and animals. This set-up is called a “nativity” - see if you can spot one the next time you find yourself out and about during the season.

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