The word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, an early English phrase that means Mass of Christ. Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. No one knows the exact date of Christ’s birth, but most Christians observe Christmas on December 25th. On this day, many go to church, where they take part in special religious services. During the Christmas season, they also exchange gifts and decorate their homes with holly, mistletoe, lights and a Christmas tree. The story of Christmas comes from the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew in the New Testament (KJV).
According to Luke, an angel appeared to shepherds outside the town of Bethlehem and told them of Jesus’ birth. Matthew tells how the wise men, called Magi, followed a bright star that led them to Jesus. The first mention of December 25th as the birth date of Jesus occurred in A.D. 336 in an early Roman calendar. The celebration of this day as Jesus’ birth date was probably influenced by pagan (unchristian) festivals held at that time. Various peoples in northern
Europe held festivals in mid-December to celebrate the end of the harvest season. As part of all these celebrations, the people prepared special foods, decorated their homes with greenery, which the Catholic Church adopted these traditions to satisfy the pagans of Britian and joined in singing and gift giving. These customs gradually became part of the Christmas celebration.