Jesus' birth, the events around it, and the festivities the celebrate those events.

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What is the significance of the three different gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) given to Jesus by the Magi after his birth?

In Matthew 2:11, we read that the Magi or wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Were these common gifts to be given at that time or did each of them hold significant meaning, ...
15
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4answers
376 views

On which date was Christ born?

Most Christians celebrate the birth of Christ (Christmas) on December 25. But was this really the day of Christ's birth? What was the actual date of Christ's birth?
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0answers
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2answers
32 views

What does Greek Christos mean

It is claimed that Greek Christos given to Jesus means anointed one and thus the same as Messiah. But I need to have proof and evidence that Greeks christened (anointed) kings or priests before Jesus ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a basis for Christian holidays in the Bible? [closed]

I was just curious if holiday celebrations like Christmas and Easter were written in the Bible, not merely mentioned but specifically indicating that people should celebrate them. It seems to me that ...
3
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2answers
76 views

Why are wise men common in contemporary [American] nativity scenes?

It is widely supported that the wise men were not present at the time of Jesus' birth. (ie. What is the basis for the belief that the wise men did not arrive in Bethlehem until several months after ...
5
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2answers
469 views

What is the Book of Mormon story of Christmas?

The Bible proclaims the birth and life of Jesus Christ. We all know the classic rendering of Luke 2 which is tradition to read every year, as well as all the prophesies concerning the Lord's birth ...
3
votes
2answers
104 views

Within the Catholic Church, when and by whom did the story that Jesus was born in a house arise?

This post is a counterpart to this other question of mine: What is earliest mention of the Church tradition that Jesus was born in a cave? In the World Library Publications Missalettes, which have ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

What is the basis for the belief that there were twelve Magi?

Matthew, the only gospel of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, does not mention their number. Many traditions say there were three, presumably because of the three gifts. The Syriac ...
3
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2answers
77 views

When is earliest mention of the Church tradition that Jesus was born in a cave?

The birth of Jesus as recounted by Luke says that: 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them ...
3
votes
3answers
178 views

Do churches host distinctive, special services on Christmas, Christmas eve, and Easter?

I have read before that some (nominal) Christians only attend worship services on Christmas and Easter. Are there anything special about those two holidays that compel them to attend church during ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

What is the source of the tradition that animals can speak on Christmas Eve?

If one googles animals talking on Christmas Eve a wide number of hits will mention this practice. I get the connection to the animals in the manager, but I'm trying to ascertain the origin of this ...
5
votes
4answers
441 views

How did the wise men (Magi) know the country where the new king was born?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

Why do (at least some) Messianic Jews celebrate the birth of Jesus on the 15th of Tishri?

In an (attempted) answer to the question of Why is Christmas on December 25th? from the perspective of Messianic Judaism, it was stated that Messianic Jews believe that Jesus (Yehu’shua HaMashiach) ...
10
votes
1answer
196 views

Why don't Mormons sing the second verse of, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”?

We were singing Christmas Carols tonight and noticed that in the Mormon Hymn book, the following verse has been omitted from, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing": Christ, by highest heav'n adored: ...
19
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5answers
779 views

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

Why was December 25th chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus' birth?
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votes
1answer
99 views

good ways to deal with “It's just a pagan holiday, he wasn't even born then” [duplicate]

I roll with some atheist and agnostic friends. At a fundamental level I consider [a lot of things] this question a defeat. It doesn't need to be. I lack the faith to speak the answer with conviction-- ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Burying a fish as a Christmas tradition?

To me this almost sounds like a joke, and I want to know if this is really a tradition... I was at a dinner tonight with some vendors, one of whom was from New England. He was telling the group ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

When is the end of the Christmas season for Latin rite Catholics?

When does Christmas really end for Catholics? I know it starts different for most Eastern Orthodox, but for Latin Rite Catholics, like myself, I don't know when it actually is supposed to end. At the ...
5
votes
4answers
423 views

Was Christmas a replacement of the feast of Hanukkah or of the 'Invincible Sun'?

Was Christmas a replacement of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah that was celebrated by the early Christians or was it to replace the Pagan festival of the 'Invincible Sun' instituted in 274 CE.
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Is Jeremiah 10:2-5 referring to a Christmas Tree? [duplicate]

"Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed by the signs in heaven; For the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one ...
2
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2answers
1k views

What is the religious significance of Christmas lights? [closed]

What is the religious significance of the modern practice to decorate the outside of the house and front yard with strings of light? Is it entirely secular?
8
votes
2answers
216 views

The Luke 2 census - did everyone travel?

We know from Luke 2 that each person (or, certainly, adult male) was required to register to his own town. We also know that Joseph travelled (with Mary) from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that they could ...
8
votes
2answers
531 views

How did the “wise men” become known as 3 kings?

In Matt 2, the men from east who came to visit Baby Jesus are referred to as wise men. However, now they are also known as three kings. When did they become known as "kings" rather than "wise men" ...
5
votes
1answer
366 views

Why didn't Mary tell Joseph what Gabriel had said to her?

From Gabriel's visitation of Mary in Luke 1:26-38, ending with this famous line: "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." Then the angel left her. And also ...
2
votes
1answer
707 views

What kind of star was shining when Jesus was born? [duplicate]

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they ...
14
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2answers
423 views

What is the origin of the Christmas tree and is it accepted in all Christian traditions?

What is the origin of the Christmas tree and is it accepted in all Christian traditions? I'm certainly not aware of a "Christmas" tree appearing in the Christmas story, so I'm curious when it was ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Is it immoral to allow children to believe in Santa Claus? [closed]

St. Nicholas, who is one of my favorite saints, is well known for his charitable witness to the Gospel. His legendary reputation, along with his feast days, have carried his spiritual presence down ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any tradition that informs us of the possible age of Mary on Christmas day?

I have heard that the legal age of marriage was quite young in Jewish culture at the time of Christ. I believe a young girls at the age of twelve could marry. However, I find it difficult to imagine ...
8
votes
2answers
118 views

Why did God enter humanity so silently on Christmas day?

I know it was not absolute silence. A few shepherds, a few wise men from a distant land and some close family witnessed the miracle. Also the new star even led to a mad search to hunt and kill the ...
3
votes
2answers
698 views

How was 'a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger' a sign?

The angels told the shepards: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you:you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

When is the Christmas Season?

So, Christmas is, of course, on December 25th* . Technically, Advent precedes Christmas, and Epiphany follows it. But, in several traditions, Christmas is the set of Sundays following Christmas, ...
10
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2answers
264 views

Who were the “wise men from the east” (Magi) spoken of in Matthew 2?

I have heard a few ideas about who the wise men from the east were who came to Jesus at his birth (or shortly thereafter) and offered gifts. What are the best theories on this and what evidence is ...
3
votes
1answer
229 views

How did Psalm 124 become associated with the Holy Innocents?

The Holy Innocents are the children mentioned in Matthew's gospel (2:16-18) as having been murdered by Herod. Many churches celebrate a Feast of the Holy Innocents, or Childermass, on one of the days ...
7
votes
2answers
299 views

History of the “three” wise men

From Matthew 2, NIV: 1bMagi from the east came to Jerusalem... 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does TS Eliot mean by “old dispensation” in The Journey of the Magi?

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Journey of the Magi he's offering a imaginative view into the interior experience of one of the wise men from the East who came to Jesus's birthplace. The last few lines of ...
4
votes
1answer
322 views

Why do some traditions *not* celebrate Christmas or Easter in any official fashion?

Following-up to these previous questions, why do some traditions not celebrate the birth and death (or, more accurately, His resurrection) of Christ as "official" church "events"? I understand that ...
23
votes
3answers
340 views

In which year was Christ born?

This question is a spin-off from On which date was Christ born? There are differing views on the birth year of Christ, which also affect the dating of the resurrection (as we know Jesus's age on ...
10
votes
1answer
534 views

When did Christmas (the birth of Christ) first begin as a Christian celebration?

I remember hearing something about a true Saint Nicholas who maybe helped poor children or something, but to be honest, I really don't know much about when Christmas began to be celebrated by ...
13
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3answers
8k views

Why is Easter celebrated on a different day every year and Christmas is not?

It is well known that on Easter we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, but every year it is held on a different date, whereas Jesus' birthday—Christmas— is celebrated on the same day every ...