Sunday, 20 August 2017
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How did Christmas start?

How did Christmas start?
Since about 400 AD, Christians have celebrated the birth of Jesus. 'Christ' means 'Messiah' or 'Anointed One' - the title given to Jesus - and 'Mass' was a religious festival.
In the West today, the real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. It has become a non-religious holiday! More children believe in Father Christmas than in Jesus. Christmas Day is a time for eating and drinking too much and watching television.
But the real Christmas story is found in the Christian Bible. It is told in two different books: Matthew and Luke chapters 1 and 2. If you have no Bible, you can read these chapters online. You may think that the story of the birth of Jesus, and the way that the West celebrates Christmas today, do not seem to have many connections
These chapters tell how Jesus was born as a baby to Mary. This was no ordinary birth! She was not married, she was a virgin, (yes, really!) and an angel had told her she would bear a special baby. Her husband-to-be, Joseph, did not believe her at first. Who would? Then an angel told him in a dream that it was true! Probably no one else believed it. So when they had to travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem (near Jerusalem), to register their names with the ruling Roman government, they probably escaped many hard words from other people
Jesus a refugee Herod, the evil king of the area, heard about the child, saw Him as a threat, and sent soldiers to kill Jesus. But God told Joseph in a dream to take Mary and the baby and escape to Egypt. They lived there till King Herod died and then went back to live in Nazareth. We read nothing more about the life of Jesus, except for one story when he was 12, until He reached 30. By the way - note one important thing: Jesus was not a white European, and Christianity is not a Western religion. Christmas cards from different countries often show Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the landscape of that country, and with the racial appearance of that nationality, be it black African, Indian, or Japanese. This is good and right - Jesus came to identify with every racial group. He is "Everyman" for us all.
The Arrival of Jesus to Bethlehem
Arrival in Bethlehem brought worry and upset: there was no room for them to stay at the hotel. There was only space in the stable - the animal house for travellers' donkeys and horses.
Jesus was born that night, and as they had no bed for him, they used an animal feeding box filled with the dry grass the animals ate. Christmas cards and pictures today make it all seem very nice. In truth, it must have been dirty and frightening for a young couple, far from their home and families. Possibly the birth was premature after the stress of the journey. This was a very poor place for Jesus to start his life on earth.
God's plan?
Christians believe that it was exactly God's plan that things happened this way. They say that it shows that Jesus came as a humble, poor person and not as a strong, rich king. They also claim that the birth of Jesus was told many years before in the books of the prophets.
Five hundred years before, the prophet Micah had said,
"But you Bethlehem, though you are small, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
The prophet Isaiah had written,
"A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, "Wonderful Counsellor," "Mighty God," "Eternal Father," "Prince of Peace." His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace....
He will rule as King David's successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time."
These are only two of many prophetic words that told of the birth and life of Jesus, written hundreds of years before His birth.
The end of the story?
there is a newspaper cartoon printed some years ago, showing Santa reading the Christmas story to a child. "But how did it end?" the child asks. Behind them, there was a Cross (execution pole) on which Jesus was killed at the age of 33. Jesus was indeed "the man born to die". But that was not the end of the story. It is still going on, and you can be part of the story, if you wish.
No other person has had such an effect on human lives as Jesus. He came back to life again, and millions say they know Him today as a friend and helper in their lives. You owe it to yourself to find out more about Him. Is He who He claimed to be? Can He help us in our lives today? You have nothing to lose! Christmas is the time to stop and think about these important questions.

The Creche
"Put candles around it, or even lights. You can even put your gifts at the foot of the creche, reminding everyone of the Christian origin of gift-giving, especially the children, who are not often reminded that they are receiving gifts because they are the children of God. It may just make their gifts more valued and appreciated."
"Gifts are given to commemorate the Christchild first. Children receive gifts to remind them that they are loved by Christ."
From the team of ORSRADIO to all our listeners enjoy the christmas music and have a merry christmas and happy new year 2012.