Every year on December 25th we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas trees, presents, family gathering, Christmas Eve celebrations. But who is Jesus? Where was Jesus born? Why do we actually celebrate Christmas?
Jesus is the most important figure of the Christian faith. Our era begins with its birth more than 2000 years ago. Jesus is born in Bethlehem, in the land of Israel. His mother’s name is Mary. She receives a special message from an angel that she will become pregnant with an extraordinary child. Mary will remain a virgin but God creates new life in her womb. The Son of God.
Where was Jesus born?
Joseph, her fiancé, is shocked when he learns that she is pregnant. They’ve never had sex, so she must have been unfaithful. In a dream God tells Joseph that he should step forward to take care of the child. Joseph and Mary live in Nazareth, also in Israel. Just before Mary has to give birth, all residents are called to register in the village where they originally came from.
Joseph and Mary have to go to Bethlehem. Quite a journey when you are heavily pregnant. When they arrive in the city, it is difficult to find a place to sleep. All they are offered is a stable in some kind of cave. Here Jesus is born. Between the animals. That is why you often see animals in Christmas stalls and Jesus is lying in a manger.
A new beginning
The birth of Jesus is celebrated because his coming marked a new beginning. God wants to be close to people. Many of us don’t want anything to do with God. Perhaps also because God feels so far away in heaven. God has come closer in the form of Jesus.
When was Jesus born exactly?
We do not know the exact date on which Jesus was born. The current date of December 25th was chosen four centuries after his birth. As a counterbalance to a pagan winter festival in honor of the sun god Sol Invictis, the conquering sun. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah also takes place during this time. This date was actually chosen to replace the other celebrations. In some Eastern churches the feast is celebrated 13 days later.
The beginning of the life of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. More to discover about Christmas right here. At Easter his death is commemorated but also celebrated that his death was not the end. Want to know more about Easter? Click here.