Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Secrets!!

 Christmas festive!! 3 days to go.., and excitement is all in the air. Christmas is the favorite season of the year for all age groups. Shops and malls are filled with beautiful things to decorate our houses and Christmas tree and also many more valuable things to gift our loved ones. Preparations are already started, houses will be decorated with candles, evergreen trees, holly, ivy, poinsettia, and with mistletoe symbolizing light and life.

 Christmas is derived from the Latin word "missa est" means “Christ of Mass”.

Birth of Jesus

In the small village of Galilee in Nazareth, Israel, lived Mary a young virgin who was engaged to be married to Joesph, a Jewish carpenter. An angel visited Mary in her dream who told her she had been chosen to bear a Son of God and his name was to be Jesus. And thus, it happened that when Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit. When Mary told Joesph, naturally he felt betrayed, but an angel visited him in his dream too and came to know what Mary had told him to be true. He thus took Mary to be his wife despite a possible public disgrace.

At that time, Caesar Augustus declared that a census should be taken of every person in the entire Roman Empire. And, everybody had to go to the place to which they belong to get registered. As Joseph, was of the line of David, he and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to register. Joseph and Mary left Nazareth for Bethlehem. Mary, who was pregnant, and close to the due date, rode on a donkey while Joseph walked beside her. They traveled for many days and only rested at night. When they reached Bethlehem it was night. They looked for a place to rest but there were no empty rooms when they reached the inn. As they were being turned away Joseph mentioned that his wife was pregnant and close to birth. The inn keeper took pity on them and told them of some caves in the nearby hills where shepherds would stay with their cows and sheep. So Joseph and Mary went up into the hills and found the caves. In one cave was a stable room. Joseph cleaned it and made beds of fresh hay. He found a feeding trough which he cleaned and filled with hay to use as a crib. The next night Mary gave birth to a son and they named him Jesus, as the angel had said.

When the child was born a shining star appeared over Bethlehem that could be seen for miles around. In the fields nearby were shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep. An angel appeared to them surrounded by bright light. The shepherds were frightened and tried to run.

"Fear not," said the angel, "For I bring you tidings of great joy”. For unto you, born this day in Bethlehem - a Savior, who is Christ (lord).

"And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

Suddenly the sky was filled with angels, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace.

After the angels departed the shepherds set out for Bethlehem. When they reached the cave they found the stable and inside was the child wrapped in swaddling clothes. The shepherds left, praising the lord and soon spread the news about this miraculous child who was to be the Savior of the world.

Three kings of the east saw the star. They knew it was a sign and they set off to follow the star. There was Caspar - the young king of Tarsus, Melchior – the king of Arabia, and Balthazar - the king from Ethiopia. They traveled on camels for many days over mountains, through deserts and plains always following the shining star.

There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born and they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And though Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed. The star, which they saw in the east came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

When they finally arrived in Bethlehem they found the child in the manger. The three kings bowed to the child and offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They stayed the night in the cave and returned the next day to their lands to spread the news.

In the Western Christian churches, the Christmas vigil services are done either in the afternoons or the evenings on this day. Through out the world, on this Christmas Eve all the churches celebrate their midnight mass. However due to time restrictions today most of the churches decided to celebrate the services and masses in the late evenings. On the Christmas Eve, many catholic churches also organize a candle service. Some of the churches take initiatives on this Christmas Eve to organize skits portraying the nativity scenes. No one remains behind; even the protestant churches organize prayer services. Churches are often wonderfully decorated on Christmas with poinsettias flowers, Christmas evergreens and Nativity scenes. Get-togethers with friends, folks are quite common.

Christmas is a time for numerous social events. Many people get involved in voluntary work during the yuletide season -- collecting money for charitable purposes or personally helping out in the local community. Christmas is also a season for parties. Christmas celebration is a fun time for everyone.

The kids get their long holidays at Christmas time and they look forward for this big occasion from pretty much earlier. Children love to dress up. Christmas is a festivity for the entire family. The children especially look forward to it. If you have children in the house, it will most likely please them to hold a Christmas party for their friends.

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