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What is Christmas?

Not Familiar with Christmas? Want to learn more? Below we've briefly explained both the non-religious and the religious significance of Christmas holiday.

Religious - Jesus' Birth
Santa Clause & Christmas Trees

Religious Significance

Christians throughout the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th each year. But who is this Jesus Christ being celebrated? And why is he celebrated?

Who is Jesus (in life):

Jesus is the literal and spiritual Son of the Christian God who was sent to earth to redeem or save His people. He was born into humble circumstances as a Jew in a city called Bethlehem (in the region today known as Israel). During his lifetime, he taught people to live a higher law than that of the current Jewish law. He taught, love, forgiveness, obedience, service and selflessness.

During his teachings, he often performed miracles, healing sick, curing the blind, walking on water, turning water to wine, and many more. He established a church, designating leadership and organization to teach the world about him and his teachings. In private, among just a few of his followers, he suffered for all the people of the world, feeling their sorrows and pains, paying for their sins and misdeeds, and preparing a way for those who would believe in Him to return to live with God after death.

Jewish leaders despised him and sought to eliminate him because he was a threat to their way of life. The people were following him and seeking him out. They believed him. So the Jewish leaders captured him, turned him over to the roman political leadership and demanded he be convicted of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God. This was punishable by death, and he was killed in the traditional manner by hanging him on a cross (crucifixion).

Read about His Life: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament (Holy Bible).

Today Christians revere him and celebrate his birth, marking the coming of the Savior of the world. All who believe in Him can be saved. Many Christmas Carols echo the rejoicing for his birth: Angels we have Heard on High, Silent Night, O’ Holy Night, What Child is this, We Three Kings, and so many more.

Who is Jesus (in a broader sense):

Before the world was created, in the heavens God (the Father) had a plan. We were his spiritual children but had no bodies, and we had no experience. His plan was to create a world to make a place for us to live, receive bodies and gain experience. We would need to prove that we could be obedient and follow His instructions or commandments. If we could successfully do this, we could return to live with Him, if not, we could not return to His presence.

God realized that we could not complete this task perfectly. We would all fail in some way or another and would not be able to obey him perfectly. He would need to send a Savior; someone who could live perfectly and who would pay for the shortfalls of everyone else. Jesus, God’s firstborn spirit Son, volunteered. Jesus was perfect and was the only one of God’s spirit children who could do the task that God needed done.

Jesus was chosen, and together they created the world for us. Before Jesus was born into the world, he chose leaders called prophets to receive instruction from Him directly and teach and prophesy the people about Him and His laws. Jesus was known as Jehovah during this time period. These writings are found in what we call today the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.

Many prophets from the Old Testament prophesied of the coming of Jesus. When he did come, these prophesies were fulfilled: He was born in a town called Bethlehem in what is now known as Israel; He was miraculously born of a virgin, Mary; he was born into very humble circumstances in a stable, and when Jesus was born, angels (or messengers from God) visited many telling of his coming. Because of this, many came seeking Jesus to see Him and worship Him, even when he was a baby or very young.

The people of Israel had been looking for the coming of this Savior. Their prophets had long foretold of One who would free them from bondage. Many Jews/Israelites, did not recognize Jesus as the Savior or Son of God because they were looking to be freed politically (the Jews were currently under Roman rule). Jesus only came to free His people from the bondage of sin to allow them a way to return home to their Father in Heaven.

Though Jesus did many amazing things during his life, there are three actions that stand far above the rest:

First, shortly before His crucifixion, with just a few of His closest followers, Jesus went into a private garden to pray. During these hours of prayer that took up much of the night, Jesus suffered for all mankind. Jesus not only paid for all the sins and misdeeds of the world, bleeding from every pore, he also felt all the sorrows, pains and hurt of everyone. This is referred to as the Atonement. Why was this done? He paid for the sins of all, so that we might return again to our Father in heaven; that through Christ, we could be forgiven for our shortfalls, if we repent and come unto Him. He suffered our sorrows and pains so that he would know His people, understand what and how they felt, so he could succor them or rush to their aid, lifting them up, and so he could be our perfect judge, knowing all that we were going through when we sinned. This was his most critical work.

Second, Jesus died on the cross. This is important because it was prophesied that because of what he taught and did, he would be put to death, but that he would conquer death. Prophecies stated that Jesus would rise from the dead to take back his body and live forever. Death was necessary for this to occur, and the Jews, not recognizing him as the Savior, were all too eager to remove him from the world because of His popularity.

And Finally, His Resurrection. On the third day after His death, Jesus rose again, taking back His body to live forever. Only a person who had lived perfectly in accordance with the Father’s commandments could have done this. And again, this was important for us. One of the purposes of our coming to this earth was to gain a body. When we are born, we receive a body, but when we die, we lose it. We needed someone who could give it back to us. Christ through living a perfect life and dying for us, was able to not only take back his body, but conquer death for everyone, paving the way for all of us to receive our bodies back in the end.

The birth of Christ is celebrated in all Christian faiths and denominations because of the great importance His life has to our mortal lives here on the earth as well as our eternal lives. He makes it all possible. Through Him all things are possible.

Read about this in the Old Testament and New Testament of the Holy Bible.

The Christmas season is also a great reminder for us to be more like him, treating people with utter kindness, charity, service, humility, and love, to help others in need, to give to others who struggle, to be a friend to those who have none, to cheer up the sad, to visit those who are sick, lonely or otherwise in need, or to ultimately be the friend that we all wish we had.

May we all find the time and ways to be more like Christ and celebrate him this season and every season.

See how you can “Light the World” and make the world a brighter place by living like Him.

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Santa and Christmas Trees

Somewhere along the long line of time various traditions of Christmas were incorporated, eventually becoming the current celebrations of Christmas involving decorating trees, feasting, giving and receiving gifts, Santa Claus, reindeer and so on. Below we've outline the most common traditions for Christmas.

christmas tree decorated Santa Claus:
Santa is a large stout man who magically lives at the North Pole. He wears a red and white suit with a funny hat. Santa spends the year with elves who make toys for all the boys and girls of the world. On Christmas Eve, he rides in an old school snow sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer who fly. He magically travels the world and delivers toys to all the 'nice' girls and boys ('naughty' kids don't receive presents).

This fun and mythical tradition stems from several real individuals, but is obviously embellished. Find out more on Wikipedia.

Christmas Trees:
Today Christmas trees are placed in most homes during the holidays. The tree should traditionally be an evergreen tree (pine or fir). The tree is placed in a stand with various decorations hung on it's limbs; from lights, to pictures, shiny ornaments depicting all things Christmas, balls, etc. The tree is usually capped with a star or an angel. Gifts are placed under the tree until Christmas morning when they can be unwrapped.

This tradition also stems from several older cultural traditions and has evolved over the years. Find out more on Wikipedia.