The Nativity and the Feast of Christmas are for Christians’ reasons for joy and hope in their hearts. We all hope the coming year will be better, more peaceful, and, why not, more prosperous. Christians prepare for this feast beforehand, both in spirit and body, by fasting from 15 November to 24 December.
The Nativity of the Saviour is regarded as one of the miracles at the heart of the Christian religion. The story of Christ’s coming into the world began 2000 years ago. When Rome was a great empire ruled by Caesar Augustus. And Israel was ruled by King Herod, who was subordinate to the Roman Empire. In a small village in Nazareth lived Joseph. A skilled carpenter falls in love with the innocent Mary. Shortly after she becomes his wife, she tells Joseph about a strange dream she had had. She was visited by an angel, Gabriel, who gave her the astonishing news that she would bear a child. And that his name would be Jesus. The story seemed incredible to Joseph, especially as his relationship with Mary had not yet been consummated.
For many, the Christmas holiday is an excellent opportunity for the family to get together and spend more time together. On Christmas morning, Christians go to church to listen to the Mass of the Nativity of the Saviour. And the Mass of St John Chrysostom. Christians listen to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. When the Virgin Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem, the baby was born at night in a cave—receiving gifts from the Magi like a king: gold, myrrh, and frankincense.
Christmas is a magical time full of traditions, customs, and ever-present superstitions. We all try to be better, give, and spend time with family. The Christmas holiday allows many of us to relax and socialize more. And leave chores behind. Family and friends are at the center of our attention, and nothing should spoil this atmosphere of love, peace, and joy that Christmas brings us.
Jesus’ birth takes place annually on 25 December, the first fixed date feast in the chronological order of the Saviour’s life. The birth of the Christ child occurred towards the end of the reign of Herod the Great, also known as Idumaeus (74-4 BC). On the site of the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem, a church was built by the Holy Empress Helena.
After the birth of the baby Jesus, he was placed under an apple tree. And Santa Claus began to pick fruit to throw joyfully to the children passing by. This is where the custom of Santa bringing gifts to children comes from. The tradition of giving gifts is also linked to the gifts given by the Magi (gold, myrrh, and frankincense) to the Holy Child.
Read also: Was Jesus born in a cave?
Jesus’ birthday in the Bible
The emperor sent word to the kingdom when Mary’s doom almost came. That the inhabitants should take a census to collect new taxes. Since the place where the census was to be held was Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph set out for Bethlehem. After a long journey, they chose Bethlehem in the evening and found shelter in a stable.
Jesus’ birthday in the Bible is presented as Christmas, established as an official holiday. In 325, the first Christian Roman emperor. Constantine the Great, when it was set for 25 December. In 354, Liberius, Bishop of Rome, officially reconfirmed the exact date for the Nativity. It was in the 4th century that the Romans regulated the celebration of this great event because the end of December coincided with the Saturn festivals, called Saturnalia, which were a form of worship of the sun, the light that overcame the darkness.
Herod also learned of the miracle in the stable in Bethlehem and began a persecution against all newborn babies, ordering his soldiers to kill all the babies. However, Joseph and Mary protected their baby and arrived safely in Nazareth.
Read also: Was Joseph married before Mary?
Story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible
Jesus is the Son of God, but he was born of a woman on earth. The name of this faithful woman was Mary. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, many signs and angels appeared so that faithful people could find Him and show their respect. You’ve probably seen this illustrated in the Christmas ornaments of this holiday season.
The birth of Jesus Christ in the Bible was not an ordinary event. But is recorded at the beginning of all four gospels. It was marked on God’s eternal calendar, and “when the fullness of time had come. God sent forth his Son, born of woman” (Galatians 4:4). It is the fulfillment of the first promise God made after sin entered Eden (Genesis 3:15).
Jesus’ virgin birth contradicts any natural process and cannot be explained scientifically or by naturalistic philosophy. Even Mary asked, “How shall this be done because I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel assured her that this was to be the work of the Holy Spirit (verse 35). And that “no word from God is without power” (verse 37). Her immediate and faith-filled obedience is remarkable: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your words!” (verse 38). Any question posed by man, however ordinary or logical, must bow before the divine answer. Confident that the plans of the One who knows and can do all things are best.
Jesus actual birthday
Many calculations based on Old Testament prophecies have been made to determine the year of Nativity – Jesus Christ’s birth. Estimates and links with Roman traditions were also made to fix the day the Saviour was born in the manger in Bethlehem.
Tertullian writes that Jesus’ actual birthday was on December 25, 28 years after Cleopatra’s death in 30 BC, which still gives us 2 BC as the year of his birth. St. Irenaeus, born about a hundred years after Jesus, also writes that the Lord was taken in the 41st year of Augustus’ reign. Since Augustus began his reign in the autumn of 43 BC, we still get the year 2 BC. Eusebius (264-340 AD), known as the “Father of Church History,” places the Lord’s birth in the 42nd year of Augustus’ reign and 28 years after the conquest of Egypt following the death of Antony and Cleopatra.
The 42nd year of Augustus’ reign lasted from the autumn of 2 BC to the autumn of 1 BC. The conquest of Egypt took place in the autumn of 30 BC. The 28th year lasted from the autumn of 3 BC to the autumn of 2 BC.
The day Jesus was born.
The first official mention of 25 December appears in the Calendar of Philocalus (354), Which the Holy Fathers of the Church to end all disputes over the date of the Lord’s birth.
According to Christian historians, Jesus was born on 25 December. Also, in the Julian calendar, 25 December was the winter solstice. He was also celebrated as the birthday of the sun god. On that date, the day and the sun’s power begin to increase.
Going back to the early Christian centuries, the Roman Empire was still very popular for the Saturnalia, a celebration of the god Saturn, which took place between 17 and 23 December. On this occasion, people visited each other and gave each other presents. December 25 was also the feast of the Persian god Mithra, the god of justice. Roman polytheists also took up a dinner.
The year Jesus was born.
Jesus Christ is the most famous figure in human history. His birth has long been unknown, with historians disagreeing on when the Virgin Mary brought the Son of God among men. After much analysis and calculation, it turns out that the Saviour was not born on 25 December, as is celebrated by Christians worldwide every year.
According to historians, Jesus Christ was born in 2 BC. Pope Benedict XVI has considered the date of 1 AD incorrect for the birth of Jesus, estimating the event to be between 7 and 2 BC.
However, the Armenians have kept the tradition and celebrated the Savior’s birth on 6 January with his baptism. The Feast of the Nativity was separated from the Feast of Baptism in the Church of Antioch around 375, then Constantinople in 379. In the first half of the 5th century, 25 December, the date of the Nativity, was also introduced in the Church of Alexandria and Jerusalem and became widespread throughout most Eastern Christianity.
Birthplace of Jesus Christ
Some 720 years before the birth of the Messiah, the prophet Micah foretold the place where the infant Jesus Christ would be born: “And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah. Though you are small among the thousands of Judah. Out of you will come to a ruler over Israel, and his birth is from the beginning. From the days of eternity” (5:1).
Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Though the place of King David’s birth (I Kings 16:2-4), the city of Bethlehem was relatively small and insignificant. In Joshua’s census of towns, “Ephrathah or Bethlehem” (15:59) appears on the side of Judah. This is also where Rachel’s traditional tomb is found.
Jesus Christ is the founder and central figure of Christianity, considered the Son of God, the Messiah proclaimed in the Jewish Old Testament, and the second personage of the Christian Trinity.
Sermon on the birth of Jesus
It was fitting that Christ should be born on Sunday, for on that day, God said that light should be made, and it was made light – in which He Has the Light not fit to shine to the world. And that Christ was to be born in the night. The hours thereof, with prophecy, it was said before in the books of Wisdom thus: “For the still silence of all things, and the night in its haste being stilled, Thy Almighty Word from heaven, from the throne of the kingdom, the fierce warrior, is come into the midst of the perishing earth.”
The joy of Christmas begins with the Holy Sermon of Mass. The Feast of the Nativity will bring the faithful to the places of worship to receive the holy mystery of the feast.
Believing without a doubt that He is Christ the Lord, the awaited Messiah, Who came into the world to save the human race, all worshipped Him and told all that they had heard and what the angel had told them about the Child. Then all who attended, Joseph and Salome, and those who happened to come there at that time, marveled at what the shepherds had spoken. Especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had been born without corruption, kept all these sayings, putting them into her heart. And the shepherds returned, praising and blessing God.
Read also: Who Are The Saints In The Catholic Church?
Things that you might want to know…
Joseph, father of Jesus
Joseph sees goodness and righteousness in his attitude toward the Virgin Mary’s pregnancy. Not only does he not make a legal denunciation, which would have resulted in Mary’s being punished by death according to the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). But he thinks of not making it known that she was pregnant by secretly running away. In this way, he wants to avoid disgracing her, for in such cases, the woman. Even if she were not reported, she would have her reputation tarnished in the eyes of men (Matthew 1:18-19).
The righteous Joseph is the adoptive earthly father of Jesus Christ and was a carpenter by trade (Matthew 13:55), a business that Jesus would later learn from him (Mark 6:3). By the time he became engaged to Mary. He was already of a respectable age. The Protoevangelium of James tells of how he was chosen as the betrothed of the Virgin Mary—telling how, as a testimony to his honesty and righteousness, he is the only one of the widowers of Israel whose staff was flourishing—showing him worthy of this marriage.
Joseph listens to the voice of the angel in the dream, who tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the child she bore was of the Holy Spirit and to name the child Jesus (meaning Saviour), for he was to save the world from its sins (Matthew 1:20).
Jesus was born in a cave.
Christmas is the most popular holiday in the world. It is the day when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in Judea. It’s a childhood celebration reminiscent of carols and carols. Despite society’s evolution, Christmas is a magical time when adults dream together with the little ones.
According to the Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, the Saviour Jesus Christ was born in a cave. And not in a stable of cattle, as the liturgy of the Nativity of the Lord testifies, saying: “The Virgin today gives birth to the Highest. And the earth the cave of the Unholy One brings forth.”
The cave appears in some of the most critical moments in the life of our Saviour Jesus Christ: in the cave, he is born, and in the cave, he descends after his death on the Cross. With his shelter in the cave of the tomb. And with his spirit in the cave of hell. Thus, the passage of the incarnate Logos on earth took place between two caves: the cave of Bethomem (the home of His birth). And the cave of Jerhomem (the place of His burial).
- In the humble Bethlehem fishery, the Nativity of the Lord fulfills all prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures about the coming into the fullness of time of the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.
- Christmas is not only about presents and Santa Claus but also a time of religious significance for all believers. Therefore, you can better explain to children what Christmas means through these drawings. How the Nativity took place, and what the elements in the drawings symbolize.
- That cave served as a stable for beasts, where the Blessed Virgin prayed to God in the middle of the night. With her mind set on God, burning with His desire and love. Gave birth without pain to our Lord Jesus Christ on the twenty-fifth day of December.
The Christian feast of the Nativity, which we celebrate on 25 December, dates back to the beginnings of Christianity. Christmas is a day of great joy for the whole Church when we celebrate the Birth in Bethlehem of Judea of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Young Child, God, Forever and Ever, as we learn from the conduct of this royal feast. From the hymnography of this feast, we know that Your Birth. O Christ, our God, has dawned to the world the light of knowledge. That is, the world has received the ability of the truths revealed by God, which were fulfilled in the Incarnation of His Son.
The birth of Jesus Christ is a biblical event that we learn about in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. At the same time, we have information about the Nativity of the Lord that we find in the Tradition of the Church. In addition to these elements, we also have the historical certainty of the reality of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.