CHRISTMAS

Christmas is celebrated on the the twenty fifth day of December every year.
It is the celebration of the birth of a Saviour or Messiah to parents Joseph and Mary in Judea modern day Israel more than two thousand years ago.
He was supposedly born in a small manger in the town of Bethlehem, not far away from the holy city of Jerusalem and was believed to be the son of God.
The story goes that after twelve days, three wise men came from the east, bearing gifts for this new born child while shepherds minded their flocks of sheep at night and an angel appeared before the shepherds to confirm the prophecy.
The custom of exchanging gifts on Christmas Day has evolved from that story.
The modern day Santa Klaus (or Father Christmas if you so prefer) is just a further extension of that story.
At the time of Joshua’s birth, Judea was a distant colony in the east of the powerful Roman empire.
Joshua spent many years travelling around Judea teaching and preaching a new faith. He proclaimed himself to be the son of God.
He was followed by disciples who continued to spread the gospel of his teachings long after his death.
This made him unpopular with the Roman and religious Jewish leaders.
Jesus was unceremoniously arrested in the Garden of Gethsamme in Jerusalem on the eve of a Jewish passover.
Within hours, he was rudimentarily trialled and publicly crucified on a cross.
The new faith was written into a book of common prayer called the Bible and the new faith became known as Christianity.
It was only after the new Christian religion had been embraced by the Roman Empire, notably under Emperor Constantine, that Jesus by name appeared as the figurehead of this new religion and Jesus the name replaced that of Joshua in translation.
Christmas Day, today, is celebrated by the exchange of gifts and a family gathering with much food, drink and general merriment.
The Christmas celebration usually lasts for twelve days from 25th December until 6th January.
The origins of Christmas celebration lie not with Joshua or Jesus at all but in pagan idolatry and sun worship.
Nimrod, grandson of Ham and son of Noah, is thought by many to be the real Father of Christmas. It is he to whom we can attribute the concept of the Christmas tree and leaving gifts under the tree if not for the fairy lights which decorate it.
Christmas, in fact, was not celebrated by the Christian world at all until the middle of the nineteenth century when it became re-invented, partly due to books such as ‘A Christmas Carol’ by English writer Charles Dickens and the inception of public holidays to enable the celebration to be enjoyed.
Christmas today is a razzmatazz of extravagance, over-indulgence and festive goodwill. Christians look forward to its coming with a lot of forboding but are glad at its passing until another year.
The internet has given us all an opportunity to re-appraise childhood beliefs and thoughts about something for which we understood there was only one sacred, irretractable definition.
Not believing about Jesus does not make you any more or less a Christian than it does that Jesus is the Son of God or that you idolize a persona of a man who is largely unknown.

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