Merry Christmas is celebrated every year to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated around the world with decorative trees and well-lit streets.
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As the year 2018 is coming to end, it’s time for Christmas Celebration, the day the Holy Jesus took birth in Jerusalem.
Christmas is an annual cultural festival observed among billions of people across the world. It is basically a feast related to Christian liturgical year.
It succeeds the previous twelve days fast and that fast ends with this feast. Christmas forms an integral part of the holiday season.
Everyone rejoices in this season and wish each other “Merry Christmas 2018”. Digging into the history you cannot really find the exact date of birth of Jesus but the western Christian Church had placed Christmas on 25th December and it was later adopted in the east.
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With the each passing day, the Christmas Eve is approaching near, and the excitement for the Merry Christmas 2018 has started raising its heights in the hearts of people all over the world.
The Christmas is celebrated as a cultural and religious celebration annually for commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and the Christmas Cookies are distributed to poor and disabled people.
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Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, on the night before Christmas, a little child was wandering all alone through the streets of a great city. There were many people on the street, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, and even gray-haired grandfathers and grandmothers, all of whom were hurrying home with bundles of presents for each other and for their little ones.
Fine carriages rolled by, express wagons rattled past, even old carts were pressed into service, and all things seemed in a hurry and glad with expectation of the coming Christmas morning.
From some of the windows bright lights were already beginning to stream until it was almost as bright as day. But the little child seemed to have no home, and wandered about listlessly from street to street.
No one took any notice of him except perhaps Jack Frost, who bit his bare toes and made the ends of his fingers tingle. The north wind, too, seemed to notice the child, for it blew against him and pierced his ragged garments through and through, causing him to shiver with cold. Home after home he passed, looking with longing eyes through the windows, in upon the glad, happy children, most of whom were helping to trim the Christmas trees for the coming morrow.
“Surely,” said the child to himself, “where there is so must gladness and happiness, some of it may be for me.” So with timid steps he approached a large and handsome house. Through the windows, he could see a tall and stately Christmas tree already lighted. Many presents hung upon it.
Its green boughs were trimmed with gold and silver ornaments. Slowly he climbed up the broad steps and gently rapped at the door. It was opened by a large manservant. He had a kindly face, although his voice was deep and gruff. He looked at the little child for a moment, then sadly shook his head and said, “Go down off the steps. There is no room here for such as you.
” He looked sorry as he spoke; possibly he remembered his own little ones at home, and was glad that they were not out in this cold and bitter night. Through the open door a bright light shone, and the warm air, filled with fragrance of the Christmas pine, rushed out from the inner room and greeted the little wanderer with a kiss.
As the child turned back into the cold and darkness, he wondered why the footman had spoken thus, for surely, thought he, those little children would love to have another companion join them in their joyous Christmas festival. But the little children inside did not even know that he had knocked at the door.
The street grew colder and darker as the child passed on. He went sadly forward, saying to himself, “Is there no one in all this great city who will share the Christmas with me?” Farther and farther down the street he wandered, to where the homes were not so large and beautiful.
There seemed to be little children inside of nearly all the houses. They were dancing and frolicking about. Christmas trees could be seen in nearly every window, with beautiful dolls and trumpets and picture books and balls and tops and other dainty toys hung upon them. In one window the child noticed a little lamb made of soft white wool.
Around its neck was tied a red ribbon. It had evidently been hung on the tree for one of the children. The little stranger stopped before this window and looked long and earnestly at the beautiful things inside, but most of all was he drawn toward the white lamb. At last creeping up to the windowpane, he gently tapped upon it.
A little girl came to the window and looked out into the dark street where the snow had now begun to fall. She saw the child, but she only frowned and shook her head and said, “Go away and come some other time. We are too busy to take care of you now.” Back into the dark, cold streets he turned again. The wind was whirling past him and seemed to say, “Hurry on, hurry on, we have no time to stop. ‘Tis Christmas Eve and everybody is in a hurry tonight.”
Again and again the little child rapped softly at door or windowpane. At each place he was refused admission. One mother feared he might have some ugly disease, which her darlings would catch; another father said he had only enough for his own children and none to spare for beggars. Still another told him to go home where he belonged, and not to trouble other folks.
The hours passed; later grew the night, and colder grew the wind, and darker seemed the street. Farther and farther the little one wandered. There was scarcely any one left upon the street by this time, and the few who remained did not seem to see the child, when suddenly ahead of him there appeared a bright, single ray of light. It shone through the darkness into the child’s eyes. He looked up smilingly and said, “I will go where the small light beckons, and perhaps they will share their Christmas with me.”
Hurrying past all the other houses, he soon reached the end of the street and went straight up to the window from which the light was streaming. It was a poor, little, low house, but the child cared not for that. The light seemed still to call him in. From what do you suppose the light came? Nothing but a tallow candle, which had been placed in an old cup with a broken handle, in the window, as a glad token of Christmas Eve.
There was neither curtain nor shade to the small, square window and as the little child looked in he saw standing upon a neat wooden table a branch of a Christmas tree. The room was plainly furnished but it was very clean. Near the fireplace sat a lovely faced mother with a little two-year-old on her knee and an older child beside her.
The two children were looking into their mother’s face and listening to a story. She must have been telling them a Christmas story, I think. A few bright coals were burning in the fireplace, and all seemed light and warm within.
The little wanderer crept closer and closer to the windowpane. So sweet was the mother’s face, so loving seemed the little children, that at last he took courage and tapped gently, very gently on the door. The mother stopped talking, the little children looked up. “What was that, mother?” asked the little girl at her side.
“I think it was some one tapping on the door,” replied the mother. “Run as quickly as you can and open it, dear, for it is a bitter cold night to keep any one waiting in this storm.” “Oh, mother, I think it was the bough of the tree tapping against the window-pane,” said the little girl. “Do please go on with our story.
” Again the little wanderer tapped upon the door. “My child, my child,” exclaimed the mother, rising, “that certainly was a rap on the door. Run quickly and open it. No one must be left out in the cold on our beautiful Christmas Eve.”
The child ran to the door and threw it wide open. The mother saw the ragged stranger standing without, cold and shivering, with bare head and almost bare feet. She held out both hands and drew him into the warm, bright room. “You poor, dear child,” was all she said, and putting her arms around him, she drew him close to her breast. “He is very cold, my children,” she exclaimed. “We must warm him.” “And,” added the little girl, “we must love him and give him some of our Christmas, too.” “Yes,” said the mother, “but first let us warm him.”
The mother sat down by the fire with the little child on her lap, and her own little ones warmed his half-frozen hands in theirs. The mother smoothed his tangled curls, and, bending low over his head, kissed the child’s face. She gathered the three little ones in her arms and the candle and the firelight shone over them. For a moment the room was very still.
By and by the little girl said softly, to her mother, “May we not light the Christmas tree, and let him see how beautiful it looks?” “Yes,” said the mother. With that she seated the child on a low stool beside the fire, and went herself to fetch the few simple ornaments, which from year to year she had saved for her children’s Christmas tree.
They were soon so busy that they did not notice the room had filled with a strange and brilliant light. They turned and looked at the spot where the little wanderer sat. His ragged clothes had changed to garments white and beautiful; his tangled curls seemed like a halo of golden light about his head; but most glorious of all was his face, which shone with a light so dazzling that they could scarcely look upon it.
In silent wonder they gazed at the child. Their little room seemed to grow larger and larger, until it was as wide as the whole world, the roof of their low house seemed to expand and rise, until it reached to the sky.
With a sweet and gentle smile the wonderful child looked upon them for a moment, and then slowly rose and floated through the air, above the treetops, beyond the church spire, higher even than the clouds themselves, until he appeared to them to be a shining star in the sky above.
At last he disappeared from sight. The astonished children turned in hushed awe to their mother, and said in a whisper, “Oh, mother, it was the Christ-Child, was it not?” And the mother answered in a low tone, “Yes.”And it is said, dear children, that each Christmas Eve the little Christ-Child wanders through some town or village, and those who receive him and take him into their homes and hearts have given to them this marvelous vision which is denied to others.
The Birth of Jesus
So, while Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant just as the angel had said. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he must have felt disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph had the right to divorce Mary, and under Jewish law, she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame and decided to act quietly.But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. The angel explained that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus, and that he was the Messiah.
But since then, perhaps because of our increasing secularization and modern doubt over the Christmas story (C’mon – a virgin birth – Really?!), we have culturally swapped that story for Santa and his mission to give gifts to boys and girls who have managed to stay off the naughty list. It is a great story for kids, and it can safely be discarded when we get older since it never claims to be true – just safely fun.
It seems a better story in our modern world when we can take a needed break from the harsh realities of real life and experience, with our kids, a fun story. So Santa dominates our radio and television and ‘Happy Holidays’ is becoming the Christmas greeting of choice. It is safer for a modern world steeped in doubt, anxious to avoid offending, and happy to have a season to pretend.
‘The True Story of Santa Claus’
Santa Claus was not always a jolly old fellow. He did not always have long white whiskers, and he did not always wear a big red suit.
Long before he lived in the North Pole, and long before his yearly Christmas visits brought joy to all the children of the world, Santa Claus was a child himself. He was once just an ordinary baby boy named Nicholas. The baby boy was just like any other, but his parents hoped for great things from their only son. They named him Nicholas, which means “hero of the people.”
Even at a young age, Nicholas was a kind and generous boy. He often helped the people in his village. He shared his meals with those who had nothing to eat, he was always the first to lend a helping hand, and he brought joy to young and old alike. There was no better friend to have than young Nicholas.
At a very young age, Nicholas joined the church. It was his duty to help people. Nicholas gave special attention to the children of his village, and they were very fond of Nicholas for his playful and joyful manner.
Nicholas became well-known throughout the land as a kind and wise young man. He was soon named a bishop of the church. Because Nicholas was still so young, people called him the “Boy Bishop.”
Nicholas wore a long red robe with a red hat, and he traveled on horseback. At every village, happy children would spot his bright robe from a distance and gather in the road to greet him.
In one village, Bishop Nicholas heard the sorrowful tale of a poor old man and his three young daughters. It seemed the man could no longer feed his daughters, and he feared he would have to send them away from him. Nicholas knew he could help this family.
That night, while the whole village slept, Nicholas crept up to the hut where the three sisters lived. He climbed up to the rooftop to find the chimney. There Nicholas dropped three bags of gold, one by one, down through the chimney stack.
Earlier that day, the three sisters had hung their newly washed stockings by the fireplace to dry. Each small bag of gold that Nicholas dropped fell into one of the stockings below.The next morning, the girls were overjoyed to find gold coins in their stockings. “Father!” they called, running to wake him. “We have received a magical gift!”
As the story of these three sisters spread from village to village, other people began to hang their stockings by the fire, hoping to find a secret gift when they awoke the next morning. Though this was Bishop Nicholas’ most famous gift, it was not his first good deed. And it would certainly not be his last.
Bishop Nicholas enjoyed surprising people. He began to deliver his secret gifts of hope and joy only at night, while his friends were asleep.
For all of his good deeds, Bishop Nicholas was named a saint. He is honored as the saint who looks after all children. Like other saints, St. Nicholas was given a name day. One day each year everyone celebrates the saint’s good deeds. St. Nicholas’ name day is December 6.
People all over the world began to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. They hung their stockings by the fire the night before and awoke the next morning to find them filled with candy, fruit, nuts, or toys. St. Nicholas had left a magical gift at each home!Many years ago, people began to celebrate St. Nicholas’ good deeds on Christmas Day, another holiday in December. St. Nicholas has many names around the world. In some places he is called
“Sint Nikolass” or “Sinterklass.” Many people know him today as Santa Claus.
A true hero of the people, St. Nicholas still delivers his magical gifts each year at Christmastime. The gifts Santa Claus delivers, gifts of hope and joy, bring the joy of giving to all the children of the world.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.
All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
‘Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus’
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life at its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?
Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. — By Francis P. Church, The New York Sun, September 21, 1897.The spirit of Santa can exist in anyone who chooses to believe in it, as you’ll find out in the story on the next page, “Will Santa Claus Come for Christmas Dinner?”
I first saw him at our friends’ wedding rehearsal. The resemblance was uncanny. There was no red suit with white fur trim, no fat belly, and no sleigh and reindeer. But the beard was the purest white I had ever seen. It was the most authentic Santa beard anyone could conceive. My adult mind kept playing a childish refrain. “It’s Santa! It’s really Santa!”
How appropriate that the wedding would be on December 23. Santa was to provide the music. He was rather solemn as the others celebrated in a festive mood. The minister showed him where to stand during the ceremony. I assumed he would sing. But the thin, bearded Santa in blue jeans reached down, opened a violin case, and lovingly took out his instrument.
Santa was not just a man playing a violin. It was obvious even to the untrained ear that the strings were in the hands of a master. People who had been chatting in various parts of the church slipped into the pews one by one, moved by the talent of this quiet gentleman.
He sat across the table from me at the rehearsal dinner. He did look like Santa, but carrying on a conversation with him was quite difficult. I learned that he was a plumber, not a professional musician, and that there was no “Mrs. Claus.” He would be spending Christmas alone.
The idea preyed on my mind all night. Santa spending Christmas alone? The next day I asked the bride-to-be, “What’s with Santa? No twinkle in his eye, no family, and no one to spend Christmas with?” She looked at me. “You don’t know, do you?”
I instantly knew that I was not prepared for her answer. She said that Santa had loved his wife and son very much — he was a devoted husband and father. Several years ago, he came home from work in early December to find them both gone — their lives snuffed out by an intruder. He hasn’t been the same since. There is no twinkle in his eyes. And he can’t bear to hold little children and listen to their precious requests as he had done for so many years. No more Santa in the red suit — just the plumber in blue jeans.
At the reception, he stood all alone. I did manage to engage him in some small talk. “Yes, it was a beautiful wedding.” I looked him in the eye. “Will you come to our house for Christmas dinner?” His face flushed. I could see his hands shaking. “We have five sons. May I tell them Santa is coming for Christmas dinner?” I slipped him a note with our address. He stared into space. I turned away unacknowledged.
As I tucked the younger boys in bed on Christmas Eve, I spoke softly. “Maybe we will have a special guest for dinner tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe Santa himself will be here!” I prayed as I laid my head on the pillow. “Please don’t let Santa be alone on Christmas.”
The turkey was browned perfectly. The desserts were arranged on a special table, and everyone was starving. One o’clock and time for dinner. That morning, each of the boys, one by one, had come to ask me. “Mom, did you really invite him?” “Do you think he’s going to come?”
My answer: “I hope so, Son.”
We couldn’t wait any longer. “Time for Christmas dinner!” Everyone gathered around the table. I saw the disappointment in the boys’ faces. But just as the “amen” at the end of the blessing was pronounced, we all heard a car door slam. The boys raced to the back door. I could tell by the amazement on their faces who was coming up the back steps. “Mom, it’s him! It’s him! It’s really Santa Claus — in his everyday clothes, the ones he must wear all year in his workshop!”
The boys never saw the tears I brushed away as they rushed to welcome Santa into our home. After we opened our presents (there were even two for Santa), Santa spoke. “May I give your family a gift now?” He went outside and came back with his old black violin case. As he played, I was sure I could hear angels joining in as we sang.
After he put the instrument away, our two-year-old toddled over to Santa and gently stroked his beard. “Santa, tan I sits on ur lap?” I saw all the color drain from Santa’s cheeks. For a moment, he was as white as his beard. Then slowly, slowly, Santa eased back into his big chair, and finally he stretched out his arms.