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20

Word origin As stated in previous answers, the "X" in "Xmas" comes from the Greek word for Christ, Χριστός. However, since precision is important, I want to clarify when the abbreviation was first used in English. The 1511 date comes from the Oxford English Dictionary entry for ''Xmas'', which reads: 1551 in E. Lodge Illustr. Brit. Hist. (1791) I. 145 ...


19

This is a good recent blog post covering Pope Benedict's thoughts on the matter. The key is the date set for the annunciation (March 25th): Traditionally held to be the first day of creation Traditionally held to be the date when Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac after a 3 day journey to Mount Moriah Extrapolated to be the date of Jesus' annunciation (when ...


19

Great Britain monks used "X" for "Christ" nearly a thousand years ago. They used "X" for "Christ" while transcribing manuscripts in Old English. They did so because the Greek word for Christ, ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, begins with the letters "chi" (or “X”) and "rho" (or "P"). And the monks used either "X" or "XP" in writing as an abbreviation for "Christ." The first ...


15

Attitudes on birthdays In the early church, birthdays (in general) were not seen as something to celebrate. For example, in Origen's 8th homily on Leviticus he writes: But the saints not only do not celebrate a festival on their birth days, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse that day. According to an article by Andrew McGowan (Bible Review, ...


13

Neither Easter, nor Christmas, nor any other Christian holidays that I am aware of are mentioned in the Bible. Many of the traditions we adhere today are, indeed, pagan in origin. There's plenty of material on the web to support this. ChristianAnswers.Net discusses the origin of the name Easter, as well as the Easter Hare (the original Easter Bunny), ...


12

One theory: It's not the easiest thing to follow, but http://bethlehemstar.net has a very interesting hypothesis on the subject. The information is all there, especially in footnotes, but unfortunately it's not presented very clearly on the site itself... they want you to get the video.* The upshot is that the date is most likely 3BC, and maybe 2BC. You ...


11

"Chronograph" 1 – a document dating to 354 AD 2 in Rome: This was a list of martyrs and their birth dates, and a list of bishops of Rome and their birth dates. The Chronograph lists these dates (birth dates) in calendar order. The first date listed is the "8th of Kalens of January" ("Kalens" is used to refer to the first of a month – putting a number in ...


10

Keep in mind that there is no “official” or “correct” way to pray the Rosary. The Rosary is just a devotion, and if someone prays it, he should do so in the way that is most helpful to him. However, it is recommended that the mysteries contemplated should correspond the liturgical calendar. For example (as the O.P. asks), it would seem fitting to pray the ...


9

The origin of the Christmas tree is very well documented elsewhere, including Wikipedia. There are some Christians that disapprove of the use of a Christmas tree (one reason documented also at wikipedia, and further discussed (with rebuttal) here). There are some groups that do not use Christmas trees, for various reasons. Some Amish do not use Christmas ...


9

The exact day for the birth of Jesus is not known. You can find a lot of info on Wikipedia, with references. The most interesting for this question might be: The precise day of Jesus' birth, which some historians place between 7 and 2 BC, is unknown. In the early-to-mid 4th century, Western Christianity first placed Christmas on December 25, a date ...


9

Well, there certainly isn't anything in the Bible about it, for the simple reason that there isn't anything in the Bible about celebrating Christmas in the first place. (Not to mention electricity!) However, hanging or holding up lanterns to provide festive illumination after dark for festivals or celebrations is an ancient custom in many cultures, dating ...


9

The advent wreath is an evergreen wreath with four candles. One is rose (pink) and the other three are purple. Before lighting any candles on the wreath you should bless the wreath on the first Sunday of Advent. Make the Sign of the Cross 1 The Father or head of the household then prays "Our help is in the name of the Lord." The family then responds "Who ...


8

In Persia is the city called Saveh, from which the three Magi set out when they came to worship Jesus Christ. Here, too, they lie buried in three sepulchres of great size and beauty. Above each sepulchre is a square building with a domed roof of very fine workmanship. The one is just beside the other. Their bodies are still whole, and they have hair and ...


8

St. Nicholas of Myra predates the Great Schism by over 600 years. His feast day traditionally was December 6th, but has been taken off the Catholic calendar recently. Orthodox celebrate the feast of the nativity on the same day Catholics do, but their celebration with gifts, etc... is 12 days after (like it is in Spain and parts of Louisiana) on 3 kings day ...


8

The Book of Mormon does not have a "story of Christmas" in the same sense as the Bible does, because it was not set in the land of Israel (except for the very beginning of the book.) Therefore, there is no coverage of the birth of the baby Jesus and the events surrounding it. It does, however, repeatedly prophesy of the coming of the Savior, that he would ...


7

Because both the Gospel of Mathew and Luke agree that the birth took place before the death of Herod (who died in 4 BC), historians generally assume Jesus was born around 5 BC or slightly before. Source: WikiPedia


7

As far as I know there is no proof of any certain date of Christ's birth. And it is only by tradition that we accept it as the 25th of December. Now I'm not one for following tradition for traditions sake, but according to this site a lot of the evidence that people provide to rule out December as Christ's birthday is not rooted in fact. I don't think the ...


7

If Christians were left to celebrating sacred events on days where no other pagan celebration has ever occurred, there would be no days available for Christian celebrations. So, on a day where some people at a certain time celebrated the birth of a god that never existed, Christians (Catholic and Protestant) choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus the ...


7

The complete text of the carol can be found here. It seems that of the five verses, only verse one and three are included in the (english) Hymnbook (linked by OP). This specific verse seems of rather trinitarian thought, that may be a reason. Seeing that two other verses have also been omitted: Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home; ...


7

This is a good question and has a simple answer. Nativity scenes are intended to be representations of Jesus birth, not a historically accurate depiction. In other words they are there to remind us of the important elements of the birth, not to be a photorealistic documentary. Therefore the shepherds, the wise men, angels are all included because they were ...


6

It has it's origins in the reformation. One German legend claims that Martin Luther was responsible for introducing the use of Christmas trees in the home, in Germany. According to the legend, on his way home one evening, Martin Luther was so overcome by the beauty of a fir tree and stars in the sky, he wanted to tell his family about it. However, upon ...


6

I believe that Dr. Richard P. Bucher provides an excellent analysis of this question. Luke 2:1-3 specifically states the purpose of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem (Roman census ordered by Caesar Augustus). And, from extra-biblical sources, we know that Augustus ordered a census in 27 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD. So 8 BC seems the most reasonable answer ...


6

Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas because of the pagan origins of many of our current customs. They cover this in several articles on their site. A search of their site returns many, but here is the first. They also reject several other holidays, citing similar reasons. Several other denominations have similar beliefs, and even within ...


6

I've heard a few different things. You're right though: it's not in canonized scripture. The idea of "three" wise men is only (mostly unimportant, but interesting) tradition. The enumeration of three specific gifts contributes to the "trio" of persons. Their alledged names even appear in writings later in history. Dr. Talmage remarks on this in his ...


6

Part of the reason seems to have been wanting to minimize the drive to direct the Messiah toward worldly goals. Many people wanted a worldly king, e.g., John 6:15 (NIV): Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again into the hills by himself. and there was a desire for "bread and circuses" (well full stomachs and ...


6

Why should Christmas be meant to replace anything? The liturgical year is riddled with merriment, every other day is a feast or a solemnity or at least an observance of some pious memorial. Other than to denounce Christ or the Churches that keep Christmas, there is no reason to conflate some pagan festivity no one cares about with Christmas. If there ...


6

The earliest reference I can find is Justin Martyr (c. 100 – 165 AD) who wrote in Dialog With Trypho: But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger. (1)


6

I generally agree with another answer and comments that “modern translations are better”, but I will elaborate a bit on how the variant translations came about. The Hebrew of interest: כְּתֹ֨מֶר מִקְשָׁ֥ה הֵ֙מָּה֙ kətōmer miqšâ hēmmâ They [the idols] are like a tōmer of a miqšâ Both tōmer and miqšâ are somewhat obscure. Tōmer appears only here in ...


6

The Greek letter Χ <"chi"> is the first letter in the word Χριστός < Christ >. It was often used in the past for easier transcription of scripture (from Greek to English). There is nothing wrong with using it, but the common mortal on the street most likely does not know its origin. Just use "Christmas".


6

The Cherry Tree Carol is thought to date to the 16th or 17th century. The history of its development is murky, but it may be traced to a 15th century Coventry play1 and beyond that to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, a 7th century apocryphal work describing the birth and childhood of Jesus. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which titles itself The Birth of the ...



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