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The Christmas Story and History

Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Christmas festivals often combines the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals. Traditions include the display of Nativity scenes, Holy and Christmas trees, the exchange of gifts and cards, and the arrival of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Popular Christmas themes include the promotion of goodwill, compassion, and peace.

The story of the Jesus Christ:  Mary, Jesus Christ mother, was promised to Joseph to be his wife. But before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby. It was by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, the man she was to marry, was a good man. He did not want her to be ashamed. So he planned to leave her without telling people about it. While he was thinking about this, he had a dream. An angel of the Lord came to him. He said, `Joseph, David's son, do not fear to take Mary to be your wife. Her baby is by the Holy Spirit. She will have a baby son. Name him Jesus, because he will save his people from the wrong things they have done.' All of this had been told long before by the Lord through his prophet. It came true. The prophet said, `A young woman who has not slept with a man is going to have a baby son. His name will be Emmanuel. That means "God is with us." Joseph woke up and did what the angel of the Lord told him to do. He took Mary to be his wife. But he did not make love with her until her first son had been born. He named him Jesus.

The visit of the wise men:  Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in the country of Judea. Herod was the king. After Jesus was born, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, `Where is the child who has been born to be King of the Jews? We saw his star rising and we have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this, he was very troubled. All the people in Jerusalem were troubled also. He called all the chief priests and the scribes of the Jews for a meeting. He asked them, `Where is the Christ to be born? They told him, `In Bethlehem in Judea. That is what the prophet, the man of God long ago, wrote: "Bethlehem in the country of Judah, you are not the least among the leaders in Judah. A leader will come from you who will rule over my people Israel." Then Herod called the wise men to talk with them secretly. He found out from them what time they saw the star. He sent them to Bethlehem. He said, `Go and ask everywhere until you find the child. When you have found him, come and tell me, so that I myself may go and worship him.' After they heard what the king said, they went away. And the star, which they had seen rising, went in front of them. It stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were very glad. They went into the house, and there they saw the child and Mary his mother. They kneeled down and worshipped him. Then they opened their bags and gave him gifts. These gifts were gold, and frankincense and myrrh. In a dream they were told not to go back to Herod. So they went home by a different road. After the wise men had gone, Joseph had a dream. An angel of the Lord came to him and said, `Get up. Take the child and his mother, and go quickly to the country of Egypt. Stay there till I tell you, because Herod will try to find the child and kill him. Joseph woke up. He took the child and his mother in the night and went to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod died. What the Lord told through his prophet long ago came true.

The killing of baby boys:  Herod saw that the wise men had fooled him. He was very angry. He sent men to kill all the baby boys in the town of Bethlehem and around it. They killed all the boys who were two years old or less. Herod remembered what the wise men had told him about the time they first saw the star. So what the prophet Jeremiah said came true.

The return from Egypt:  Herod died. Then Joseph had a dream. An angel of the Lord came to him in Egypt. The angel said, `Get up. Take the child and his mother and go to the country of Israel. The men who wanted to kill the child are dead. Joseph woke up. He took the child and his mother and went to the country of Israel. But he heard that Archelaus was king of Judea in his father Herod's place. So he was afraid to go there. In a dream he was told what to do. He went to the country of Galilee. He went and made his home in the town of Nazareth.

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