The Origin of Christmas
Christmas Day-December 25-which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ,the founder of the Christian religion,is the biggest and best-loved holiday in the United States.
According to the Bible,the holy book of Christians,God decided to allow his only son,Jesus Christ,to be born to a human mother and live on earth so that people could understand God better and learn to love God and each other more."Christmas"- meaning "celebration of Christ "- honors the time when Jesus was born to a young Jewish woman Mary.
Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph,a carpenter,but before they came together,she was found to be with child.Because Joseph,her husband,was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace,he had in mind to divorce her quietly.But after he had considered this,an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,"Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.She will give birth to a son,and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins."
Although the exact date of the birth of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago is not known,the calendar on the supposed date divides all time into B.C.(Before Christ )and A.D.( a Latin phrase,Anno Domini,"in the year of our Lord.")For the first 300 years,Jesus' birthday was celebrated on different dates.Finally,in the year 354,church leaders chose December 25 as his birthday.
It is said that in the year of 300 AD, there was a kind old man and his name was Saint Nicholas. He was always ready to help the poor and often gave presents to them.
Today, Father Christmas is an imaginary figure, but nearly all young children believe in him. They think he is a happy old man with a long white beard and a long red robe.
On the night of the twenty-fourth of December every year, Father Christmas from some cold northern land comes down the chimney of the fireplace to put presents by the beds of children or to fill their stockings. So when children go to bed that night, they hang up their stockings, and on Christmas morning they wake to find them full of presents. Of course, it's really their parents who fill the stockings.
Another name for Father Christmas is Santa Claus.