Recursos para Navidad en inglés - Free resources and materials in English for Christmas
Christmas Day is a family holiday: a special moment to gather together as a family, all generations combined. This day, through all its forms of expression, creates shared memories and maintains the feeling of belonging to a family. Everyone finds, in their own way, this way of building this bond: sharing a meal, a wake, listening to stories, gathering around the cot. With the growing place of the child in the family, Christmas Day has become a children's day: a magical night when children's wishes are fulfilled, to the delight of adults.
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Origin of the liturgy of 25 December - Christmas party - origin - Christmas Day story
Christmas did not exist at the beginning of Christianity. It was only from the 2nd century onwards that the Church tried to determine in the year the day of Jesus' birth, about which the Gospels say nothing. Different dates have been proposed: January 6th, March 25th, April 10th ...
Around 330 or 354, Emperor Constantine decided to set the date of Christmas at 25 December. In 354, Pope Libertus established the feast of 25 December, which marks the beginning of the liturgical year. This date of 25th December has a symbolic value. In fact, inspired by Malachi 3/19 and Luke 1/78, the coming of Christ was considered to be the rising of the "Sun of Justice". Christmas, the feast of 25 December, thus celebrates the birth of Jesus the Sun of Justice.
The feast of the 25th of December gradually came to the East and to Gaul: in 379 in Constantinople, at the beginning of the 5th century in Gaul, during the 5th century in Jerusalem and at the end of the 5th century in Egypt. In the Churches of the East, in the 4th century, the Manifestation of God was celebrated in various forms on the 6th of January.
History from Christmas to the end of the Middle Ages
Emperor Theodosius in 425 officially codified the ceremonies of the Christmas festival. The feast of 25th December became exclusively Christian. Clovis was baptised on the night of 25th December 496. In 506, the Council of Agde made it an obligatory day. In 529, Emperor Justinian made the feast of 25th December a day of rest. Midnight mass was celebrated as early as the 5th century, with the pontificate of Gregory the Great. In the 7th century, it became customary in Rome to celebrate 3 masses: the vigil on the evening of 24th December, the dawn mass and the day mass on 25th December.
Christmas has gradually spread throughout Europe. It was celebrated at the end of the 5th century in Ireland, in the 7th century in England, in the 8th century in Germany, in the 9th century in the Scandinavian countries and in the 9th and 10th centuries in the Slavic countries. From the 12th century onwards, the religious celebration of Christmas was accompanied by liturgical dramas, the "mysteries" which featured the adoration of the shepherds or the procession of the Magi. These liturgical dramas were first performed in the churches, then in the parvis.
Christmas history since the Renaissance
Church cots appeared in Italy in the 15th century and the Christmas tree in Germany in the 16th century. Then family nativity scenes, first Neapolitan and then Provençal, developed from the 17th century onwards. At the time of the Reformation in 1560, Protestants were opposed to the cot and preferred the tradition of the tree. With the counter-reformation in the 17th century, representations of liturgical dramas were forbidden by the Church because they had become too profane.
In the 19th century, Santa Claus appeared in the United States. It spread to Europe after the Second World War. From the 19th century onwards, charitable organisations offered the traditional meal to the most destitute. Nowadays, this day tends to become mainly a day for the child and the family.
Christmas Day has a human and a Christian meaning
From a human point of view, it has a family and social meaning. From the religious point of view, Christmas Day, or rather the feast of Christmas, expresses a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith: the coming of the Son of God into the world for the happiness of mankind. At present, it must be noted that the human meaning of the day has more place than the Christian meaning of the Nativity of Jesus.
From the 4th century onwards, the Churches of the East celebrated the birth of Jesus on 6th January. This Orthodox Christmas celebration commemorated both the manifestation of Christ's birth to the shepherds and the Magi and the manifestation of Christ at his baptism. It is the solemnity of the manifestation of God. It also marked the return of divine light. Currently, the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch and the Church of Greece celebrate the birth of Jesus and the visit of the Magi on December 25th because they have adopted the Gregorian calendar. The Russian, Serbian, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian Churches celebrate the birth of Jesus and the visit of the Magi on 7 January (13 days after 25 December), because they have kept the Julian calendar.
Preparing for Orthodox Christmas is a period of fasting. Indeed, the most solemn celebrations are prepared by a time of fasting. Orthodox Christmas Eve is just as important as the day itself and is marked mainly by fasting. The cot is not traditional in Orthodox churches, as the cult of statues of holy people is forbidden. The Orthodox represent the nativity with icons.
Christmas for Protestants
Protestant churches have three services: night, dawn and morning, all three of which may include the celebration of the Lord's Supper. In 1560, at the time of the Reformation, the Protestants refused to represent the Nativity by a cot like the Catholics. They preferred to develop the tradition of the fir tree, a tree that symbolises the paradise of Adam and Eve and the knowledge of good and evil.
Feast of the Holy Family
The Feast of the Holy Family was established by the Roman Church in 1893. The Feast of the Holy Family takes place on the Sunday following 25 December. The date of the Feast of the Holy Family was fixed in the liturgical reform of 1969. The Feast of the Holy Family was extended to the Universal Church in 1921. It is a Canadian religious who is at the origin of the cult of the Holy Family which spread in the 19th century with the support of Pope Leo XIII. In the homily of the feast, the Holy Family is presented as the model of the Catholic family.
Christmas Story - The feast of 25th December gradually came to the East and Gaul. Church cots appeared in Italy in the 15th century. Protestants opposed the cot and preferred the tree.
Orthodox Christmas - Preparation for Orthodox Christmas is a period of fasting. The cot is not traditional in Orthodox churches. Christmas Day for Jews is meaningless.