What Various Christmas Traditions of the Nativity Are There?

Christmas Nativity Scenes Present the Miracle Birth of Jesus the Savior of the World



When we celebrate Christmas in our churches, we are commemorating one of the most significant events in the course of human history--the incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is an event worth remembering, worth celebrating, and worth investing with adequate preparation, forethought, attention, and passion. To help you with your media needs during the Christmas season, Sharefaith offers a powerful solution.Learn more or click here to get started.

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Winter is a season that is celebrated in many different cultures all around the world. In America, the most significant winter celebration is Christmas, observed on December 25. Because Christmas falls at the end of each calendar year, it is often a time of reflection on the past year with all of its warm and rich memories. Because of this, it is also a season of anticipation for the New Year.

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For Christians, it is a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. It is believed that December 25 is not the exact birth date of Jesus. It is simply the date chosen to honor the birth of mankind’s Redeemer.

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Throughout hundreds of generations, the Christmas holiday has carried many traditions, from decorating Christmas trees to cooking special holiday foods. Traditions often inspire joy and a sense of belonging. Traditions also help create heartwarming memories for children and adults alike for many years to come. Yet it is fascinating to learn the history behind some of the traditions that are so fondly and fervently embraced.

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Perhaps the oldest and most recognized traditional icon for the Christmas season is the nativity scene. St. Francis of Assisi was the first to introduce the use of the three-dimensional nativity scene to Italy in 1220. In a cave near the town of Greccio, a straw-filled manger was constructed and placed between a real ox and donkey. The manger served as the altar for a Christmas mass at which Francis preached. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_scene) Throughout the years since then, the nativity scene has evolved into the various forms that are seen today.

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Some nativities are not much more than simple paper cut-outs. Others are elaborate three-dimensional clay figures. They can be made of ceramic or plastic. They can be life-size or miniature. They can be placed upon the fireplace mantle, or arranged right out in the front yard. No matter the size or medium, nearly every Christian home will have some form of the Nativity scene this holiday season. But the real significance of this age-old tradition is founded on perhaps one of the greatest moments of all time.

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The birth of Jesus Christ was a humble event that changed the course of human history forever. The long-awaited Messiah, the son of David, the Shepherd of Israel had finally come. The angels announced His birth with great celebration. The shepherds came to the manger with eagerness to see the babe. During Jesus’ life, many sought Him. Many desired to be healed. Others desired to hear the words of truth that He spoke. Some longed to have their dead loved ones raised to life again. And in the end, a multitude shouted to have Him crucified. But the One who was born in the stable in Bethlehem did not remain dead. Just as angels announced the birth of Jesus, angels announced His resurrection. And the son of God still lives today.

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Yet no other Christmas icon has been more despised by those who see the Nativity scene as as a Christian symbol that should be outlawed. In December 2006, the state capitol turned down a request to display a Nativity scene on the rotunda of the legislative building in Olympia. A menorah, the candelabra with seven branches that symbolizes the Jewish faith, and a Christmas tree were already on display. But it was decided that a Nativity scene carried a much louder religious message and therefore was denied.

It is true that the Nativity scene represents more than just a religion. It memorializes the birth of Jesus Christ. It captures that single moment in time when God, because of His mercy, sent the Savior of the world.

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In addition to being the foremost provider of church media, Sharefaith also manages an influential Christian blog, the Sharefaith Blog, with information, insights, and helps for pastors and church leaders.

Written by: Amy Miller

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