Christmas is the most wonderful time
of the year because it's the time when all of the world's children receive gifts
! But that 's not all ! Christmas is an opportunity to choose a Christmas tree,
a great excuse to go into the forest to cut a tree , to take home and open
boxes of tinsel and Christmas balls to hang on the branches carefully .
Christmas is the time of year when we eat delicious food cooked by our families
and where we can help make great pastries. It is a time of sharing that
everyone loves , where people sing Christmas carols from the heart , where you
can reconnect with people you don't have the chance to often see , and see the
joy of our loved ones when they are offered the gifts that their loved ones
prepared . But it is also the period when Santa Claus is preparing his sleigh
and his reindeers for his big trip, aided by his elves and Miss Claus. He leaves
at night of the big party, as everyone knows he leave his icy country to go
around the world in one night thanks to the magic of his powder, he alone knows
the secret to it! Christmas is also a time to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus
, and maybe you installed the Christmas crib on your own, with the ox and the
gray donkey , but also with the three kings Magi Melchior, Gaspard and Balthazar , who
brought him lavish gifts worthy of a king , having been guided to him by the
evening star . As Christmas is in winter it is also the perfect time for a
snowball fight or make snowmen, decorated with what you can find around your
home, small stones to make the buttons on the belly, a scarf to brighten
everything and sometimes branches for arms . If you love the special holiday atmosphere
you can find it through all the proposed designs here , by coloring according
to your tastes to recapture the magic of Christmas in the most festive and
adorable decorations proposed in this
selection of images made especially for you. If you feel like you can even
offer your colored images to your friends or members of your family on this
special day of sharing!
The Origin of Christmas - Story of Christmas Day
As early as the first century BC, we celebrated in Rome the cult of Mithra, of Persian origin, imported to Rome by the Roman legionaries. Mithra was the Persian deity of light. On the 25th of December, for the winter solstice, the birth of Mithra, the undefeated sun (Dies natalis solis invicti). It was celebrated by the sacrifice of a young bull. In 274, the emperor Aurelian declared the cult of Mithra religion a state and he sets the solstice celebration to take place every 25th of December.
1. Origin of the liturgy of December 25
Christmas did not exist at the beginning of Christianity. It was only from the second century that the Church sought to determine in the year the day of the birth of Jesus on which the Gospels say nothing. Different dates have been proposed: January 6th, March 25th, April 10th ...
Around 330 or 354, Emperor Constantine decided to set the Christmas date on 25 December. In 354, Pope Liberius inaugurated the feast of December 25, which marks the beginning of the liturgical year. The date of December 25 has a symbolic value. Indeed, inspired by Malachi 3/19 and Luke 1/78, the coming of Christ was considered as the rising of the "Sun of righteousness." The festivities of Christmas on December 25 thus celebrates the birth of Jesus sun of justice.
The celebration of December 25 has gradually arrived in the East and in Gaule: during 379 at Constantinople, at the beginning of the fifth century in Gaule, during the fifth century in Jerusalem and at the end of the fifth century in Egypt. In the Eastern Churches, in the fourth century, the manifestation of God was celebrated in various forms on the 6th of January.
2. The story of Christmas until the end of the Middle Ages
The Emperor Theodosius in 425 officially establishes the ceremonies of Christmas. The celebration of December 25 has become exclusively Christian. Clovis was baptized on the night of December 25, 496. In 506, the Council of Agde made it a day of obligation. In 529, Emperor Justinian made the holiday of December 25 a day off. The midnight mass is celebrated from the fifth century, with the pontificate of Gregory the Great. In the seventh century, the custom was established in Rome to celebrate three masses: the vigil in the evening of December 24, the mass of the dawn and the mass of the day on December 25.
Christmas has spread gradually in Europe. It was celebrated at the end of the fifth century in Ireland, in the seventh century in England, in the eighth century in Germany, in the ninth century in the Scandinavian countries, in the ninth and tenth century in the Slav countries. From the twelfth century, the religious celebration of Christmas is accompanied by liturgical dramas, the "mysteries" that feature the adoration of shepherds or the procession of the Magi. These liturgical dramas were played primitively in the churches, then on the forecourts.
3. The story of Christmas since the Renaissance
Church crèches appear in Italy in the 15th century and the Christmas tree in Germany in the 16th century. Then family crèches, Neapolitan and Provençal, develop from the seventeenth century. At the time of the Reformation in 1560, Protestants oppose the nursery and prefer the tradition of the tree. With the counter reform in the seventeenth century, the representations of liturgical dramas are prohibited by the Church because they have become too profane.
In the nineteenth century, Santa Claus appears in the United States. It spreads in Europe after the second world war. From the nineteenth century, charities offer the poorest the traditional meal. Currently, this day tends to become primarily children's day and family day.
Christmas Day has a human meaning and a Christian meaning
From the human point of view, it has a family sense and a social meaning. From the religious point of view, Christmas Day, or rather the celebration of Christmas, expresses a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith: the coming of the Son of God in the world for the happiness of men. Presently, it must be noted that the human sense of the day has more place than the Christian meaning of the nativity of Jesus. According to a survey, only 14% of French people consider this holiday as a religious day.
1. Christmas day a family holiday and children's day
Christmas Day is a family celebration: a special time to gather together as a family, all generations together. This day in all its forms of expression, it creates common memories and maintains the feeling of belonging to a family. Everyone finds, in their own way, this way of building this bond: share a meal, a vigil, listen to stories, gather around the crèche. With the growing place of the child in the family, the day of Christmas has become a day of the children: a magical night where the wishes of children are realized, to the delight of adults.
2. A Message of peace, share the joy
"Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth!" This is what the angels sang at the birth of Christ. The announcement of the birth of the messiah is a message of peace. The pope addresses every year on Christmas Day a message of peace to the world.
For all those who in some way find themselves excluded, it is important to share the joy of the nativity. The night before Christmas, the little brothers of the Poor are waking up with the elderly. Charitable organizations organize Christmas presents for the homeless, the isolated, the sick, the elderly.
3. Christmas, a celebration of the coming of the Son of God to the world
After seeing different human aspects, let's look at the Christian meaning. Christmas celebrates the coming of the Son of God in the world. With the birth of Jesus, it is the mystery of the incarnation that is fulfilled: it is the only Son of God who became man. To use the vocabulary of the Gospel of Saint John (2/14) "the Word became flesh and lived among us." This is also what St. Paul says in the epistle to the Philippians (2: 6-8). "Jesus, of divine condition, jealously held the rank that equaled him to God, but he annihilated himself by taking the condition of the slave and becoming like men. "
God became man so that we participate in his divine nature and forgive our sins. This is the purpose of the incarnation. He shared in all the human condition.
His birth in destitution brings justice and peace to the world, to the men he loves. This is the meaning of the day of the humble, because God has been humble among us. It is the solemnity of the Savior of the World come as a child, while we waited for God in thunder and lightning, supremacy and judgment. This birth profoundly upsets our representations of God: he is not the domineering overarching the world and our lives. He is an "Emmanuel", a "God with us."
Ecumenical and inter-religious aspect
1. Orthodox Christmas
From the fourth century, the Eastern Churches celebrated the birth of Jesus on January 6th. This Orthodox Christmas celebration commemorated both the manifestation of the birth of Christ to the shepherds and the magi and the manifestation of Christ at his baptism. It is the solemnity of God's manifestation. It also marked the return of the divine light. Currently, the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch and the Church of Greece celebrate the birth of Jesus and the visit of the Magi on December 25 because they adopted the Gregorian calendar. Russian, Serbian, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian churches celebrate the birth of Jesus and the visit of the Magi on January 7 (13 days after December 25), because they kept the Julian calendar.
Orthodox Christmas preparation is a time of fasting. Indeed, the greatest solemnities are prepared by a time of fasting. The eve of the Orthodox Christmas is as important as the day itself, it is mainly marked by fasting. The nursery is not traditional in orthodox churches, because the worship devoted to statues of holy personages is prohibited. The Orthodox represent the nativity by icons.
2. Christmas for Protestants
Protestant churches have three cults: at night, at dawn, and in the morning, all three of which may include the celebration of the Last Supper. In 1560, at the time of the Reformation, the Protestants refused to represent the Nativity by a nursery like the Catholics. They prefer to develop the tradition of the fir tree, which symbolizes the paradise of Adam and Eve and the knowledge of good and evil.
3. Christmas Day for Muslims
In France, Muslims are divided on this subject. Some celebrate Christmas Day for children and think that a Muslim can accept the invitation of his Christian friends to participate in this day. But, in principle, a Muslim should not celebrate a non-Muslim religious celebration.
However, the Quran (Surah III, verse 42/47) states that Jesus was born of a virgin miraculously. Indeed, Muhammad knew the birth of Jesus by an apocryphal gospel, and the Koran recognizes Jesus as a prophet. But does Islam allow to celebrate the birth of the prophets? Muslims are also divided on this point.
4. Christmas Day and Christmas Time for Jews
The Christmas party for Jews has no meaning.
Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah, the celebration of lights. During this ceremony, everyone lights a candle from an eight-branched candlestick each night of the week. During Hanukkah, a gift is also exchanged daily for eight days.
Celebration of the Holy Family
The celebration of the Holy Family was established by the Roman Church in 1893. The festivities of the Holy Family take place on the Sunday following December 25th. This date of the feast of the Holy Family was set at the liturgical reform of 1969. The festivities of the Holy Family extended to the universal Church in 1921. It is a religious Canadian who is at the origin of the worship of the Holy Family which spread in the nineteenth century with the support of Pope Leo XIII. In the homily of the celebration, the Holy Family is presented as the model of the Catholic family.
The story of Christmas- The holiday of December 25 came gradually to the East and in Gaul. Church crèches appear in Italy in the 15th century. Protestants oppose the nursery and prefer the tree.
Celebration of the Orthodox Christmas - The preparation of the Orthodox Christmas is a time of fasting. The nursery is not traditional in Orthodox churches. Christmas Day for Jews has no meaning.