Christmas is an ancient holiday that has been celebrated for centuries. Christians around the world recognize Dec. 25 as the birth of Jesus. His birth is the basis of the Christian religion. In order to understand the celebration, it's important to know the history of the event.
Christians believe that Jesus was born as a human being. He had a mother and a father just like us. His mother's name was Mary and her husband's name was Joseph.
About the time that Mary was supposed to have her baby, the emperor sent a notice to all the people that there would be a new tax. The couple had to go to Joseph's hometown of Bethlehem to be counted for a census. It was a long way, so Mary rode on a donkey while Joseph walked beside her.
The night they arrived in Bethlehem, the town was very crowded. By the time that Mary and Joseph got there, they couldn't find anywhere to stay. Mary was very close to delivering the baby and needed to rest. They finally found a stable, which was usually used for animals, where they could stay the night.
That night, Mary had her baby and named him Jesus. They kept him in a manger filled with hay that normally would be used to feed the cows and sheep.
According to the story, a huge star appeared over Bethlehem. Angels from heaven told some nearby shepherds. They said, "Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day in Bethlehem - a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."The shepherds visited the baby and spread the news of his birth. Jesus' life and death are the foundation of Christianity.
GIFT GIVING The tradition of giving gifts has its roots in the birth of Jesus. Three kings saw a bright star shining over Bethlehem. They knew it was a sign of something important and set off to follow the star.
The three kings were Caspar - the King of Tarsus, Melchior -the leader of Arabia, and Balthazar - the king from Ethiopia. They traveled on camels for many days over the mountains, deserts and plains.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, they found the child in the manger. The three kings offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the family.
Even today, gifts are given as a way of showing love and affection at Christmas time.
All Christians throughout the world celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. To them, it is a time of great happiness and joy and remembering the importance of the holiday.
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