Fact cred: Funology.com
Heads up! This is going to be a long entry, not because I don't know how to summarize (well...), but because I feel that the information matters. :-)
Christmas is so full of wonder, meaning and tradition. But, where did all these things that we now call "Christmas" come from?
The Biblical Celebration
What an amazing picture of Christ's coming to us. As John 1 says, He came to a sin-darkened world, He came as a Sunrise from on High and offered a free gift of salvation and liberation from servitude to the servants of darkness. Actually, John 1 says a lot more than that...worth a complete read.
The True Christmas Story
The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-20)
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of Heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in Highest Heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to Heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Christian Meaning in Some Ancient Traditions
Some Modern Additions
This past November, I visited the Outer Banks. A favorite landmark of many who live and vacation there is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Here are some pictures of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, both the old and new locations.
A few fun facts about the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse:
Poem Author Unknown (but I'd be happy to credit him/her if I knew who wrote it)
Jesus is the gift that perfectly fits every heart,
and it is with His love that all celebration starts.
We rejoice in Him as we remember His birth
and thank God for sending His only Son to earth.
His life led from a manger to a cross on a hill
where He faithfully followed His Father's perfect will.
He freely laid down everything so that we could live,
and there is no greater treasure anyone could give.
Like a scarlet ribbon, His love wrapped around the cross
and He offered it all to us at the greatest cost.
So each time we give gifts, we remember what He has done
and honor the perfect gift, God's one and only Son.
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