I’m not a religious person. I’m not anti-religion, I’m just not for it either. I’m the kind of lame person that celebrates Christmas for the presents, the tree, the excitement of decorating.
How many of you are like me? I was talking to my younger brother about this, and he doesn’t know the real reason we celebrate Christmas. That worried me! I thought everyone knew it! So, for the sakes of all of you who don’t, here is the Christmas story, from whychristmas.com. I’ve edited it slightly, so we don’t have all the stuff about murder. Because that’s not why we celebrate Christmas!
Long ago, about 2000 years, when King Herod ruled Judea (now part of Israel), God sent the angel Gabriel to a young women who lived in the northern town of Nazareth. The girl’s name was Mary and she was engaged to marry Joseph.
The angel Gabriel said to Mary: ‘Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.’ Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel meant. The angel said to her ‘Don’t be afraid, God has been very kind to you. You will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy and you will call him Jesus. He will be God’s own Son and his kingdom will never end.’ Mary was very afraid but she trusted God. ‘Let it happen as God chooses.’ She replied to the angel. Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who everyone thought was too old to have children, would have a baby boy whom God had chosen to prepare the way for Jesus.
Mary said goodbye to her family and friends and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. Elizabeth was very happy to see Mary. She knew that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son. An angel had already told Zechariah that Elizabeth’s baby would prepare people to welcome Jesus. He was to be called John. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home to Nazareth.
Joseph was worried when he found out that Mary was expecting a baby before their marriage had taken place. He wondered if he should put off the wedding altogether. Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: ‘Don’t be afraid to have Mary as your wife.’ The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named Jesus which means ‘Saviour’ because he would save people. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had told him to do and took Mary as his wife.
Mary and Joseph travelled a long way (about 70 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph’s family came from.
When they reached Bethlehem they had problems finding somewhere to stay. So many people had come to register their names in the census, that every house was full and every bed was taken in all of the Inns. The only shelter that they could was a stable or cave with the animals. In this poor place Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God. In those days it was the custom to wrap newborn babies tightly in a long cloth called ‘swaddling clothes’. Jesus’ bed was the manger that the animals ate their hay from.
In the hills and fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds looked after their sheep through the long night. As the new day began, suddenly an angel appeared before them and the glory of God shone around them. The shepherds were very, very scared, but the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.’
Then many more angels appeared, lighting up the sky. The shepherds heard them praising God singing: ‘Glory to God in highest, and peace to everyone on earth.’ When the angels had gone the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem to see what has happened.’ So the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph. The baby Jesus was lying in a manger as they had been told. When they saw him, they told everyone what the angel had said and everyone who heard the story were astonished. Then the shepherds returned to their sheep, praising God for sending his Son to be their Saviour.
When Jesus was born, a brand new bright star appeared in sky. Some Wise Men in faraway countries saw the star and guessed what it meant. They were very clever men that studied the stars and had read in very old writings that a new star would appear when a great king was born. They set out to find the new king and bring him gifts.
The Wise Men followed a star towards Bethlehem (where it said that the king would be born in the old writings). It seemed to stop and shine directly down upon the place where Jesus was.
The Wise Men entered the house where they now lived and found Jesus with Mary, they bowed down and worshipped him. The Wise Men spread the the gifts they had brought before Jesus. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh.
And basically, that’s the end! Until Easter, when Jesus did some more stuff. Did anyone not know that? Did I miss out some stuff? Let me know! 🙂