MERRY CHRISTMAS 2022: Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Christmas’ is derived from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service is where Christians remember that Jesus died and then came back to life. The earlier term Yule is also associated with Christmas. It may have derived from the Germanic “jōl” or the Anglo-Saxon “geōl”, which refers to the feast of the winter solstice. Here’s all you need to know about Christmas:
The real birth date of Jesus Christ is unknown and it is unclear when December 25 was assigned as the date of his birth. The New Testament also provides no clue in this matter. It was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth in the year 221 by Sextus Julius Africanus. Later this was universally accepted.
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While Christmas began to be widely celebrated in the 9th century, it did not attain the liturgical importance of either of the other two major Christian holidays. That is Good Friday or Easter. Even the two branches of Christianity celebrate the Christmas mass at different times of the day. Roman Catholic churches celebrate the first Christmas mass at midnight, while Protestant churches hold the Christmas candlelight services late on the evening of December 24.
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The service has “lessons and carols” along with Christmas carols, Scripture readings narrating salvation history from the Fall in the Garden of Eden to the coming of Christ. This service was inaugurated by E.W. Benson and adopted at the University of Cambridge. It has since become widely popular.
Christmas is as much a day of celebration as it is of remembrance. Not only does this day mark the celebration of the birth of the God’s son, Jesus Christ, but it is also a day to remember that he walked on this earth knowing the journey ahead of him, yet he persevered.
It is also a day about family and friends and a day of worship. Christians believe that on the occasion of Jesus’s birth, it is important to pray to God and thank Jesus for his sacrifice.
The most popular custom from the West is perhaps placing branches of fir trees in houses. It was first recorded by the Renaissance humanist Sebastian Brant, in Das Narrenschiff (1494).
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Even though the precise date and origin of the tradition of the Christmas tree is unknown, it seems that the first known incident of decorating fir trees with apples was in Strasbourg, France in 1605. Similarly, the first use of candles on these trees is recorded by a Silesian duchess in 1611.
Another rather popular tradition is the Advent wreath. This is a wreath made of fir branches, with four candles denoting the four Sundays of the Advent season. It has roots in the 16th century, where 24 candles were placed on the fir wreath denoting the 24 days before Christmas, starting December 1. However, so many candles on the wreath became awkward and the number was reduced to four.
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