Christmas is celebrated every year on the 25th of December as the anniversary of the birth of baby Jesus. This holiday season is celebrated around the world with great joy and cheer. It is a time of love and peace and people generally attend Masses at church. The spirit of Christmas is a time that is full of joy and peace to one and all. When one associates Christmas to physical attributes, then Christmas trees, snow, the warm fireplace, family get-togethers and nativity scenes are the first things that come to mind. The nativity scene is popular in Western culture and has been so for a very long time. People set up little figurines with a manger and various characters from the Bible, such as baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, shepherds and even animals. There are also life-size versions of the nativity scene that are set up before Christmas and can be seen at various churches. In some places, people also have a live nativity scene where people gather and take part in the scene as characters from the Bible. Find out more about the legend of the nativity scene here.
The Birth Of Jesus Christ
The story of the birth of Jesus dates back to over 2,000 years ago. In Nazareth, there was a lady named Mary who was betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph. Mary was virtuous and kind and therefore, the Lord chose her as Jesus's mother. Mary had a dream where in an angel told her that she was to bear the child of the Lord and name him Jesus. Joseph also had a dream where an angel told him that Mary was chaste and pure and would give birth to the Lord's child. People found out that she was pregnant and called her a woman with loose morals. Joseph, who knew what was happening, married Mary. While Mary was pregnant, King Herod put down a law stating that everyone was to go back to their birthplace to pay a tax. Joseph, originally from Bethlehem, travelled to his birth place with Mary. When they finally arrived at Bethlehem, it was difficult for them to find a room and Mary was ready to give birth. One innkeeper offered them a place to stay in his manger. Joseph and Mary took the manger where Joseph made a crib out of the hay. A few hours later, the child was born. They swathed the baby in pieces of cloth and laid him on the hay.
People Who Visited Baby Jesus
As soon as the baby was born, an angel appeared telling nearby shepherds that their Savior, the son of God, had been born. The angel then told them how to reach the manger and the shepherds went to see baby Jesus. They were overcome with love and respect and knelt down before him. At the same time, Three Wise Men, viz. Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, from the East sighted a new star in the sky and understanding the significance, left for Bethlehem with varied gifts. There was the little drummer boy, an old widow, Befana and many others who came to meet the young child of God.
Nativity scenes are put up to re-enact the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger. It was St. Francis of Assisi who originally popularized the nativity scene. In the 13th century, St. Francis wanted people to look at Christmas as something more than just a festival of presents and gifts and that is how the practice of making nativity scenes started. Over the period of time, these scenes have undergone many significant changes. Today we have statues, but in those days, people played the part of both animals and characters from the Bible. Towards the 19th century, nativity scenes became a part of the customs and till date, remain more popular than the Christmas tree. There are elaborate scenes created and figurines made of wood, wax, paper and even ivory set against beautiful backdrops.
A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior
I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?
- Ben Jonson.
Christmas is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ. The legend of the nativity is about how the Lord's child was born. One must remember that the essence of Christmas is not about just the gifts and presents, but also about love, cheer and faith.
The 25th of December marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Read on to find out more about the legend of the nativity.