Every year, on December 25, the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated. Christmas is one of the greatest Christian holidays, marking the birth of Jesus Christ for over 2,000 years and celebrated worldwide.
The Nativity (incarnation of the Son of God), celebrated in the Orthodox Church on December 25 (according to the Gregorian calendar) or January 7 (according to the Julian calendar), is part of the 12 feasts of the Orthodox Church, the third great holiday after Easter and Pentecost.
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Christ’s Messiah came to earth with a human nature of His own, that is, with human nature, in the city of Bethlehem (Beit Lehem – the House of Bread), which is 7 km away from Jerusalem.
In the hometown of King David, the great mystery of the righteous faith was performed: I Tim. III, 16).
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The cave, which is traditionally the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is located on a hill on the east side of the city. The holy emperors Constantine and his mother Helen erected a church here in 330, which was later restored by Emperor Justinian (527-565). It is the oldest church in the Holy Land. Under the altar of this settlement is the cave of the Nativity, the entrance to this space is through the north and south of the altar.
The birth of the Lord, a unique event in human history
The birth of the Lord, a unique event in human history, took place during the reign of King Herod the Great, who ruled over Galilee (Nazareth) and Judea (where Bethlehem was). Both regions were part of the Roman Empire and were ruled by a procurator. The empire was ruled by Octavian Augustus (27 BC-14 AD), reorganizer of the Roman administration and army.
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At that time, the authorities ordered the organization of a census, each of whom had to go to his hometown to declare himself. By such a procedure a database for the taxation of the population and the lands was established.
According to the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Tradition, going with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill the command of the authorities, the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable on the outskirts of the city.
There, on the edge of the field, on the holy night, the angel announced to the shepherds the Nativity of the Savior of the world. At the same time, and there, on the threshold of the hut where the holy baby was, the three wise men of their long journey stopped, to leave, next to the poor child, royal gifts: gold, myrrh and incense.
The Nativity, also called Christmas, seems to be the first Christian-specific holiday of the Savior, but it is not as old as Easter (the Lord’s Resurrection) or the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).
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About the antiquity of the feast of the Nativity, St. John Chrysostom says that in his time (in the second half of the fourth century), the feast was known only for a few years, but it shone with the honor given to it.
However, the great father of the Church says that the Nativity could be called a new and old holiday. Nine, because she had only recently become known; old, because it was lived with the same intensity as the older holidays (Easter or Pentecost).
To reinforce his words, St. John Chrysostom quotes from the Acts of the Holy Apostles the word of the teacher of Jewish law, Gamaliel, addressed to the Sanhedrin. Gamaliel was a leader of a famous rabbinical school and a member of the Sanhedrin (a Jewish institution of religious and political leadership). He asked with authority and argued that the apostles of Christ should no longer be persecuted and persecuted.
“And now I say unto you, Take heed to yourselves, and forsake them, lest by any means this man, or this man, should perish. And if it is from God, you will not be able to destroy them, lest you be fighters against God, “said the Jewish scholar. (Acts 5: 38-39)
The same will happen with the feast of the Nativity, says prophetically St. John Chrysostom, when he will be better known, he will enjoy a much greater honor.