Christmas is celebrated across the globe in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Different traditions have been practiced that are associated with Christmas. In fact, different cultures have their own way of celebrating the holiday. Whatever the culture and tradition may be, one thing is for sure. Christmas is a joyful day when the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled – a Saviour is born.
How December 25 was chosen for Christmas?
No one knows exactly when Jesus Christ was born. In fact, there are no historical records that specify the date when the Saviour was born in the manger. In the 4th century, the Church decided to institute the birth of Jesus Christ as a Christian holiday. However, the dilemma was the date on which many would agree. Some experts believe that Jesus may have been born in the spring. December 25 was chosen by Pope Julius I to adopt the pagan tradition of the Saturnalia festival. This festival was celebrated in honor of the god of agriculture, Saturn. The chosen date for Christmas eventually spread to Egypt by the end of the 6th century, England has accepted the tradition.
How the holiday is celebrated
In addition to being a religious holiday, Christmas is a worldwide commercial and cultural phenomenon. Different countries, culture, and people have their own way of celebrating the day. Some of the popular practices or customs are decorating the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, attending Christmas mass, and the overrated Christmas meal with family and friends.
Churches are also decorated with bright and colorful lights. Christmas carols are sung to commemorate the birth of the Saviour. Homes and different establishments are decorated with lights, stockings, tree toppers, glass balls, garlands, and lanterns. These are displayed to create a joyful and festive atmosphere.
Who is Santa?
The story of Santa can be traced back to St. Nicholas, an early Christian bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. He is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker because of the miracles attributed to his intercession. His reputation evolved due to his habit of gift-giving that gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.
In the United States, his popularity rose in pop culture when Dutch families gathered to honor the anniversary of the death of St. Nicholas. As such, the giving of gifts has become a worldwide tradition. It is believed that Santa or Father Christmas would come to every house to give gifts.
The true meaning of Christmas
Though there are many reasons why we celebrate Christmas, here is what we call the real Christmas story. It is the story of God becoming human in the person of Jesus Christ. The true meaning of Christmas is love in which God gave His only Son so that we will not perish from our sins. Why do we celebrate Christmas? It is showing our gratitude to God for His gift to humanity.
This year, before the much-awaited Noche Buena, remember the Christmas story and how the story became a tradition. Merry Christmas!