Holiday Celebration Series | Christmas
Holiday Celebration Cultural Awareness Series | Christmas
[VIDEO DESC: Joey, a white male, is wearing a long sleeved gray shirt and Santa hat. Behind him is a white background with the Christmas tree with presents underneath to the right.]
Happy Holidays! At DCARA, we want to acknowledge and recognize other holiday celebrations & traditions to increase cultural awareness for our community.
Today we want to recognize and celebrate Christmas on December 25th.
Today there are many traditions that have their roots in winter festivals. These include candles and decorations made from green bushes and trees, symbolizing everlasting light and life.
In Roman times, they had a mid-winter festival, a lot of relaxing time with a lot of parties and giving other people small gifts. This festival lined up with the celebration of the winter solstice which was on December 25 in the Roman calendar. That influenced how we celebrate Christmas Day in the USA.
December 25 was declared a federal holiday in the United States in 1870. Since then Christmas Day has become an important holiday.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE
People celebrate Christmas Day in many ways. Many people decorate their homes, visit family or friends and exchange gifts. Many people decorate their homes and yards lights, Christmas trees etc.
[Slide content shows: Christmas lights, tree, wreath]
It’s very common that people celebrate Christmas with a lot of festive foods and give children gifts from someone named Santa Claus.
[Slide content shows: a family gathering, presents, Santa Claus]
[VIDEO DESC: Ann Lynn, an African American female, is wearing glasses, a black headband, and a maroon blouse. Behind her is a partial view of a decorated Christmas tree with gold and silver ornaments and white lights on her left, and blue background screen.]
Today we want to recognize and celebrate Christmas from a religious perspective on December 25th. Christmas is celebrated by many Christians like myself who believe in Jesus Christ, as the son of God, who took on the form of a baby and became Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”
During the Christmas season, Christians will display or depict the nativity scene from the Holy Bible, explaining the accounts of the birth of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. You may have seen this scene across different yards or inside people’s homes.
[Slide shows a picture of nativity scene]
Christians celebrate Christmas not because of gifts or decorations, but the most interesting facts surrounding this holiday is the location of the birth of Jesus.
According to the story about the birth, a young woman named Mary who was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. Before they got married, Mary was informed by an angel that she will become pregnant even though still a virgin, through the power of the Holy Spirit. When Mary shared with Joseph, he didn’t want to be embarrassed because of strict Jewish customs, so he wanted to break the engagement quietly. That night, an angel appeared in Joseph’s dream and encouraged him not to be afraid and continue planning to get married. The angel emphasized that Jesus’s birth is important to God because he would save people’s lives. Joseph accepted and traveled with Mary to his hometown in Bethlehem to report for census.
As Mary is about to give birth, an angel announces the birth of Jesus to the shepherds who visited the humble site where they found Jesus lying in a manger (a trough for cattle feed). Why didn’t Joseph and Mary find a better place to give birth?
There was no room at the inn for Joseph and Mary to give birth. All the rooms at inns were sold out because everyone, who were born in Bethlehem to be registered for census count, came to town and slept at inns. Mary brought forth her firstborn Son, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
That’s why the Nativity Scene is so important — to remind us of the humility and scarcity of life.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE
Typically, Christians go to church for Christmas services/plays and Nativity scenes to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. People gather together, exchange gifts, sing carols and hymns, host special feasts and enjoy themselves.
The main point of the history of Christmas is to learn about the good news of the gospel, and appreciate peace on earth. I wish you a Merry Christmas!