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The True Spirit Of Christmas And The Birth Of Jesus Christ
Journey To Bethlehem
There's No Place Like Home
The Spirit Of Christmas
Christmas, the most wonderful and magical time of the year has its very own traditional pageantry and beautiful old customs that are celebrated throughout the Christian world as a major festival, public holiday and, important family feast day. The traditional twelve day festive holiday begins Christmas Day until Epiphany in the New Year which falls on January 6th.
Christmas should be a happy time yet, there are many people who find themselves struggling with different problems. There are those going through times of hardship, suffering and pain, there are those who are alone or, don't have the extra money to buy presents for the one's they love while others are saddened when they think of loved ones who will not be with them for Christmas.
Yet, in the midst of difficulties there is always hope to endure and to keep moving forward. Like a bright shining light in adversity, it gives comfort and peace of mind knowing that there is a brighter tomorrow.
The spirit of Christmas embodies many wonderful qualities for those people who feel it in their heart and have the eyes of faith. The season is so full of wonder, meaning and tradition, with its wonderful sights and sounds that can be felt, seen and heard everywhere that bring out the best in people.
It's a time for spreading good cheer and for remembering others less fortunate than ourselves. It reminds us that Christmas is a time for giving, a time for peace on earth and goodwill to all that crosses all boundaries and reaches out to all people as we look forward to the joy of the season.
Nativity scenes, Father Christmas, Christmas Carols, Christmas trees, stockings hanging by the fireplace, mistletoe and holly, sparkling, colorful lights and decorations in the city and suburbs and Christmas work parties all add to the Christmas spirit.
It is a time of happiness and excitement for children all around the world as they look forward with anticipation and begin the count-down for Father Christmas with his big bag of toys to arrive with his sleigh and reindeer in the early hours of Christmas morning to deliver their presents.
Children will re-enact the events of the Birth of Jesus with Nativity scenes while people display them in their homes, to portray Mary, Joseph, the Infant Jesus in the Manger, the Three Wise Men and Shepherds in a stable with livestock along with Angels, and the Star of Bethlehem.
Thousands of happy, smiling people visit shopping centers, stores and markets decked with glitter and color and stocked with Christmas food, gifts and specials.
As Christmas approaches they stay open till late playing the traditional Christmas Carols while groups of people will sing them out in the streets to help raise money for charities. All these wonderful things add to the Christmas spirit.
Is There A Santa Claus?
The Spirit Of Giving
Give And Thou Shalt Receive
Gift giving conveys the spirit of Christmas as symbolic expressions of love, respect, gratitude, friendship and charity to family, friends and charities.
The tradition of gift giving started the moment God gave humanity the Gift of His only Son. The Three Wise Men brought gifts to honor Him at His Birth with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gifts From The Heart:They are a part of the spirit of Christmas that comes in many forms and provides the opportunity to help others without expecting anything in return.
Living Out The Vision Of God And Following In The Footsteps Of Jesus Christ: You reap a rich harvest of spiritual blessings that fill the body, mind and soul with inner happiness and an indescribable peace of mind when you reach out to those in need and hold the hand of those in sorrow. The joy of giving are good works that manifest the Kingdom of God.
"You will show me the path of life, in Your Presence is fullness of joy, at Your Right Hand are pleasures for evermore".
A Saint Behind The Story Of Santa Claus:Father Christmas is a part of the Christmas Story. He is identified with Saint Nicholas (His feast day is December 6th), the historical Bishop of Myra who had a reputation as a secret bringer of gifts to poor people and children.
He was born about 270 AD in Patara, Asia Minor, when the region was Greek in its heritage and culture but, under Roman occupation. Born to wealthy parents, he used his inheritance to assist the needy and dedicated his life to serving God.
One of the best known stories of Saint Nicholas' generous gift giving involved a pious Christian with three daughters and not enough money to provide them with dowries which meant they could not marry. Nicholas walked by the house on three successive nights and each time threw a bag of gold through the window thus providing them the opportunity to marry.
Father Christmas:With his big bag of toys, Father Christmas arrives on a sleigh in the early hours of Christmas morning to place presents for children in Christmas stockings or by the family Christmas tree.
Is There A Santa Claus?:Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun.
"Dear Editor, I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, If you see it in THE SUN it's so. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"
Newsman Francis Church wrote The Sun's response to Virginia on September 21, 1897. It has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial.
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."
Away In A Manger
How Great Thou Art
Truce On The Western Front
Sadly, the only knowledge many people read or hear about Jesus in the world of today are through Christmas Carols.
Their joyous themes, wonderful words and lyrics and, their heart-warming messages of praise and joy, make everyone feel the Christmas spirit with love and good cheer every year. They invoke warm and happy childhood memories of special times and express the joyful and merry sounds of everything that Christmas stands for. They will always have a special place in the hearts of young and old and remain a part of our most beloved in our Christian heritage.
The Story Behind Silent Night:One of the most famous Christmas Carols of all time is Silent Night. Written by Father Joseph Mohr in 1816, its music was added by choir director, Franz Xavier Gruber in 1818.
This timeless classic was heard for the first time in the small, village church of Saint Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria. From here, it went on to have such an impact around the world that it has been translated into over 44 languages.
Silent Night even caused one of the most unusual events in military history during World War One. A temporary cease-fire occurred as British, French and German soldiers sang of heavenly peace from their trenches on Christmas Eve.
Away In a Manger:Another of the best known and loved Christmas Carols featuring the humble Manger with its simple words, beautiful and serene melody expressing love for the Infant Jesus.
The song was first published in Philadelphia by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in its collection, Little Children's Book for Schools and Families with two verses in 1885.
In 1887, American hymn writer James Ramsey Murray included the song in his Dainty Songs for Little lads and Lasses with the title "Luther's Cradle Hymn" and the note composed by Martin Luther for his children.
How Great Thou Art:In 1885, Carl Gustaf Boberg, a pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament wrote the words of a poem entitled, “O Store Gud” which was published in 1891 in Witness of the Truth, the weekly newspaper that Carl edited.
He was enjoying a walk one day when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere. After the storm was over, he looked out over the bay and heard a church bell in the distance. There was such calmness after the storm that the words to the beautiful gospel How Great Thou Art began to form in his mind-O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made.
This poem, titled O Store Gud (O Great God) was later translated in German. In 1927, it was published in a Russian version of the German text and then translated by Stuart K. Hine, the English missionary to Ukraine who sang it at an evangelistic meeting with his wife.
He then translated the first three stanzas into English, which was sung at an evangelistic meeting in England during World War One. He published the first three verses (in both English and Russian) in 1949 in Grace and Peace, a Russian evangelistic paper which Hine edited and later wrote the fourth verse as a triumphant message of eternal life.
Silent Night Bing Crosby
Away In A Manger Bing Crosby
The Bonds Of Family
Christmas Eve Church Service
Home Is Where The Heart Is
At Christmas, all roads lead home. - Marjorie Holmes
No matter how humble, home is a place that is dear to the heart and where our fondest dreams are centered. And Christmas has always been about home and the bonds of family where love and comfort surrounds us.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being with those you love at Christmas its heartwarming family gatherings. Home is where the heart is, with the people you love and where you always have that sense of belonging and, pleasant childhood memories of Christmases past.
Christmas is also a time that reunites many family members who are separated by miles. People will travel from all over the world to once again mingle with family and old friends in their hometown in an incredible atmosphere of joy as they celebrate their unforgettable and moving Christmas traditions.
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
How Great Thou Art Elvis Presley
Dreaming Of Santa Claus
The Festive Christmas Table
The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve with last-minute shopping for presents or food. Children willl hang their Christmas stockings for the arrival of Santa Claus in the early hours of Christmas morning with their presents. People and churches will organize groups to go Christmas Caroling from door to door, or in public venues to raise money for favorite charities.
"Twas The Night Before Christmas"
Clement Clarke Moore
One of the most traditional and most read poem that tells the story of Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve at a typical household. Clement Clarke Moore wrote his immortal poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for his family on Christmas Eve 1822 without intending it to be published. A family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem from Moore's children and submitted it to the editor of the Troy (New York) Sentinel where it made its first appearance in print on December 23, 1823.
The poem began to be reprinted in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines and first appeared in a book in The New York Book of Poetry in 1837. In 1844 Moore acknowledged authorship in a volume of his poetry entitled Poems, published at the request of his children.
December 25 is Christmas Day. On Christmas morning, children will open beautifully wrapped gifts laid underneath the Christmas Tree that came with love. And, in every kitchen, stoves and ovens are fired up as housewives and daughters prepare all the mouthwatering food that will be served on this special day.
On the beautifully decorated Christmas table, there may be traditional roasted meats like turkey, duck or goose, leg of ham and, mouth-watering accompaniments like seasonal vegetables and salads. There may be traditional Christmas pudding, enticing deserts and Christmas biscuits. The festive Christmas table is sure to please, as we celebrate the true spirit of Christmas, on this special day, the Birth of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A Christmas Carol
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens 1843 classic Christmas story is a tale of human redemption and spiritual transformation in Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution and deals with the gap between rich and poor and with social injustice. Ebenezer Scrooge is a rich, cold-hearted, old miser who despises Christmas and has only disgust for the poor, thinking the world would be better off without them, "decreasing the surplus population."
Scrooge's selfish nature who think only of their own well-being is contrasted with his good-hearted, nephew Fred, who radiates the Christmas spirit and refuses to let his uncle's "Bah! Humbug!" attitude bring him down. Bob Cratchit, a symbol for the Victorian poor, is the underpaid and overworked clerk of Scrooge and his youngest son, the crippled Tiny Tim, symbolizes the overwhelming goodness of the Christmas spirit.
On Christmas Eve, four ghosts visit Scrooge to show him the error of his ways. The ghost of his friend and business partner Jacob Marley, is the first to appear and attempts to save his friend's soul by warning him of the suffering awaiting him if he does not change. Marley's ghost is damned to walk the Earth for eternity, bound by the heavy chains he "forged in life," from selfishness and greed.
Three other ghosts take the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey, each, revealing scenes from his past, present and future. He experiences remorse with the Spirit of Christmas Past, repentance with the Spirit of Christmas Present and redemption with the Spirit of Christmas Future making the final transformation from a cold, unfeeling miser to one of warmth, compassion and filled with the Christmas spirit.
Scrooge wakes up to find it is Christmas Day and that he is able to right the wrongs of his past. He sets out to help his nephew Fred, the Cratchit family and, especially Tiny Tim who is in need of medical attention. And, he begins to give generously to charity. At the family Christmas dinner, Bob Cratchit offers a blessing. "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us." "God bless us every one! said Tiny Tim.
Adelaide Christmas Pageant
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant-South Australia
Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, the City of Churches, with its tree-lined suburbs, quarter-acre block homes, large public squares and city entirely surrounded by lush, green parklands is famous for its Christmas Pageant
The arrival of the festive season in Adelaide is always marked by the Credit Union Christmas Pageant staged in early November every year, on a Saturday morning. which starts the countdown to Christmas.
The Christmas Pageant is a Heritage Icon that has been held annually since 1933. It is the largest event of its kind in the world, attracting crowds of over 400,000 that line the 3.3km pageant route to see Santa Claus and a huge line-up of floats, clowns, bands, dancing groups and walking performers wind through the city in a colorful spectacle. and televised to millions more and concludes at the Magic Cave.The pageant is a state institution and is sponsored today by four local credit unions.
It was founded by Sir Edward Hayward, owner of the Adelaide department store John Martin's, who opened the first pageant on 18 November 1933 and saw it as a way to bring joy into the lives of the people of Adelaide during the Great Depression.
The Three Wise Men
The Real Christmas Story
True Meaning Of Christmas
"Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your Birth may we begin to see the world in the light of understanding you give us. As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart. May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving. Amen."
Karen L. Oberst
As Christians, we must also celebrate Christmas as a Holy Day because the real Christmas story is found in the Holy Bible with the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Kings and queens have come and gone, but it is Jesus whose Birth we still celebrate over 2000 years later and who remains the only constant, durable message of love, hope, forgiveness and faith and whose guidance and light says, "This is the way." This is how the Apostles of our dear Lord, Jesus Christ were able to preach and change the world.
Jesus is the Name given to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:31). Christ comes from the Greek word "Christos", meaning “Anointed One of God" (Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1).
The followers of Jesus Christ became known as Christians because they believed Him to be the Messiah (Christós) as prophesied in the Holy Bible. A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity based on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Sadly, our Christian heritage is being slowly stripped not only from Christmas but also from the very things that are moral and good. While Christmas should be enjoyed for the many things it represents, we cannot leave "Christ" out of Christmas and lose sight of its Divine Origins. Jesus Christ is the Son of God Born that first Christmas night over two thousand years ago marking the beginning of the Christian era.
The Birth of Jesus begins with a reference to Caesar Augustus, Emperor of the powerful, Roman Empire and, of Jesus, a Jewish, Baby Boy Born into poverty. The contrast couldn't be greater.
Mary and Joseph had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph's ancestral home on a humble donkey to find no room at the inn.
"And so it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And all went to be registered, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be registered with Mary his espoused wife who was expecting a being Child and who also, was a descendent of King David and of the tribe of Judah. While there, the time came for the Baby to be Born."
Mary, a young Jewish girl from Galilee, gave Birth to the King of Kings in a humble stable in Bethlehem and placed in an animal feeding trough for a Crib surrounded by farm animals. That humble stable however, was filled with the Presence of God.
Angels proclaimed the joyous event of the Birth to shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flock that first Christmas Eve. It was accompanied by Angelic praise. “And the Angel came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". (Luke 2:10, 11)
The three Gentile (non-Jewish), Wise Men from the east followed the bright Star of Bethlehem and bowed before Him to acknowledge His Deity and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Santa Claus symbolizes this spirit of gift giving and, we identify him with Saint Nicholas with his good deeds and charitable gifts.
The Gentiles later, would make up most of the Christian world because, from that foundation, Christianity grew, sending off branches in many directions from ancient Jerusalem.
The Birth Of Jesus Gave The World A Savior: "God loved the world so much, that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost but have eternal life". (John 3:16). Jesus came into this world in humility, simplicity and in poverty to identify with the poor, and the down-trodden. He is the Good Shepherd Who came to shepherd God's people to greener pastures so we can inherit the Kingdom of God.
The Birth of Jesus Christ divided history into the BC/AD system of dating. B.C. means “Before Christ”. A.D. is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” the Latin phrase meaning “In The Year Of Our Lord,” referring to the year of Christ’s Birth. Every historical event after that is dated "The "Year of Our Lord" used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Since His Birth, the Christian Calendar has been measured as A.D. and, we have been living "in the year of our Lord."
"Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind;
Teach us to be patient and always to be kind."
Helen Steiner Rice