KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: The Joyous Birth and Meaning of Christmas — Part II of the Trilogy

The greatest story ever told was that of the coming of the Christ child called Jesus.  Being of the house of David, Joseph and Mary of Nazareth had to pay taxes in Bethlehem, city of David.  There Jesus was born. The Bible, according to the Gospel of St. Luke, noted that an angel appeared to shepherds tending their flocks  in fields near Bethlehem and announced the recent birth of Jesus. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells of the three wise men who were directed to Jesus’ birth place in Bethlehem by a bright star that pointed the way.  Soon the wise men departed after presenting their gifts for the Christ child.  Then, Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod.  This is recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was born at the time when shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem when an angel appeared to them with the joyous report of the Savior’s birth. Certainly the joyous announcement must have awed the shepherds.  And in those days, long before modern writing materials such as pens and pencils, paper, typewriters or computers existed, such events were very carefully and accurately recorded by scribes on parchment.

CHRISTMAS, a day in the Christian calendar, instituted near the 4th century by Emperor Constantine was officially established as the birthdate of Jesus our Lord and Savior to be December 25th. The Bible tells us that he may have been born sometime in August due to the account of shepherds who were known to tend sheep and a bright star that appeared during that period in the Heavens that attracted the three wise men to Bethlehem.

A lot of Christmas customs vary from country to country and are characterized by joy of family and merry-making. Many customs grew out of the Roman winter festival. The exchange of gifts and lighting of candles customary at Christmas as well as the exchange of green branches from evergreens that supposed good fortune and luck may well find the origin in Roman culture. They also sent holly as gifts. Later on the legend arose that a Christian bishop by the name of St. Nicholas brought gifts to children at Christmas.

The Yule feast among the Anglo-Saxons became identified with Christmas after their conversion to Christianity.  The Yule log and the Christmas Tree probably appeared first in Germany during the Middle Ages.  The mistletoe, a sign of peace and goodwill among the Celtic druids was adopted as a decoration by the English.

Today we have an abundance of Christmas music and carols and many books and stories with a Christmas theme.

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