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Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

The true story of Christmas

BIG LITTLE PEOPLE - Grace D. Chong - The Freeman

I asked a few friends this question: “What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Christmas?”

They had different answers:

“Christmas tree with blinking lights.”

“Santa Claus.”

“The little drummer boy.”

“Crowded malls; expensive.”

“Exchange gifts.”

Unfortunately, none of those are found in the Bible, where the first Christmas is told.

* * *

Our Christmas celebrations today have become an odd mixture of pagan ideas, superstition, legends, and merry making. Add to these the fancy things (decorations, firecrackers, special meals, party ideas) that business people have suggested and created so people would spend more money on Christmas.

Result? Many of us are now confused as to what Christmas really is. 

Let’s try to go back to the beginning – that very first Christmas.

In the good Book, we find not only the source of the original narration of Christmas, but also what God says about it.

* * *

Long, long ago, when King Herod ruled Judea (now part of Israel), God sent the angel Gabriel to a young woman named Mary, engaged to be married to Joseph. The angel said, “You will become pregnant and give birth to a boy whom you will name Jesus, Saviour, and God’s own Son.”

After Joseph and Mary were married, the Roman Emperor Augustus wanted a list of all citizens to make sure they paid their taxes. He ordered everyone to return to the town where their families originally came from, and enter their names in a register (or census) there.

Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem, where Joseph’s family came from. They travelled very slowly because Mary was already due to give birth to Jesus.

When they reached Bethlehem, they couldn’t find a place to stay. All houses and inns were full. The only available space was with the animals. (People then kept animals in the lower level of their houses.)

In that lowly place, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus’ bed was the manger, the trough from which the animals ate their hay.

Meanwhile, in the fields outside Bethlehem where the shepherds took care of their sheep, the sky lit up and an angel appeared saying, “Don’t be afraid. I have good news! Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born; the baby is lying in a manger.”

Then more angels appeared, brightening up the sky even more. They were praising God and singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to everyone on earth.” 

When the angels had gone, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem and there they found Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus lying in a manger. After they saw Him, they happily told everyone about the news and returned to their sheep, praising God.

* * *

The first Christmas was dark and quiet.

It was not festive nor lavish at all – not the way many people make it today. In fact, God chose the lowliest of people, the shepherds, to proclaim the good news of our King’s birth and to be the first visitors of our Saviour. How privileged they were!

As you prepare for your own celebration of the Holy Birth, try to pause and remember that very first Christmas – and find meaning in what God really wants us to treasure in our heart.

Email me at: [email protected] or send me a message through my website: http://leavesofgrace.blogspot.com.

Grace Dacanay-Chong is the author of over 50 books as of 2015, 36 of them for children. Her writings have won six Palanca Awards and a Gintong Aklat Award.  She teaches college Business Communications and Marketing/Advertising at Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities (SISFU), in Metro Manila.

 

 

 

ACIRC

AFTER JOSEPH AND MARY

BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING

CHRISTMAS

FOREIGN UNIVERSITIES

GINTONG AKLAT AWARD

GOD

GRACE DACANAY-CHONG

HOLY BIRTH

KING HEROD

MARY AND JOSEPH

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