December 8, 2007 RENU

Mary and Joseph were in Bethelem, in the town of David when it was time for their baby to be born. They went to find a place for Mary to have the baby. They asked the man at the inn if they could stay there because Mary was about to have her baby. But, the man told them there were no rooms left at the inn. They were all being used already. So they went over to the stable. (A stable is sort of a house for animalst.) So that is where Mary had her first baby. The baby was a boy. His name was Jesus! She wrapped him in pieces of cloth, which was how people dressed babies in Bible times. Then she placed him in a manger (A manger is a big box where the animals come to eat. Their food is put inside the box).

That same night, some shepherds were watching over their sheep in a field nearby. All of a sudden, they saw an angel of the Lord! The bright glory of the Lord was shining all around them. The shepherds were afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be scared. I have good news of great joy! In the town of David a Savior has been born to you! He is Christ the Lord. You will know all this is true when you find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a manger.” Then all of a sudden, a whole group of angels joined them. What a glorious sight! They were praising God, saying, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And on earth, may peace be to those God is pleased with!” Then the angels went back up to heaven.

The shepherds were very excited about what they had just seen and heard. They said to each other, “Let’s go see what has happened, which the Lord has told us about! Let’s go to Bethelem, to the town of David.” So away they went. They found Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Just as the angel had said, the baby was lying in a manger! After the shepherds saw the baby, they told everyone all about the angels who had come to them; And, they told them what the angel had told them about baby Jesus. These special things were precious to Mary. They meant so much to her! She kept thinking about them over and over.

Then the shepherds went back to their fields, praising God. Everything they had seen and heard from the angels happened just like they said. That is how we know that this is a true story, not something that was made up. It really happened. A long time before it ever happend, it was also told by the prophets.

After Jesus had been born, some kings in the East saw the star in the sky. This was the star that showed where baby Jesus was born. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! So they went to visit baby Jesus. The star went ahead of them and stopped right over the place where baby Jesus was. When they got there, they asked, “Where is the baby who has been born to be King of the Jews? When we were in the East, we saw the star. We have come to worship him.” When the Kings saw baby Jesus with Mary, they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened the special gifts they had for him. they gave him gold, incense and myrrh.

This time of year, we hear a lot about Santa Claus. Who is Santa anyway? At the shopping malls, once in a while we catch a glimpse of Santa. He always looks jolly. He wears a bright red suit and has a fluffy white beard. At one time or another, you’ve probably sat on Santa’s lap and told him what you want for Christmas. You’ve probably written letters to Santa and sent them to the North Pole. You’ve probably watched videos and movies about Santa and his famous reindeer named Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer. We’ve all heard about how he rides a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer with Rudolf in front leading the way with his big, bright red nose. We hear stories about how Santa slides down chimneys to bring presents to all the good little girls and boys, and fill their stockings full of goodies.

Well, it does make a nice story. But, let’s think about this for a minute. Do reindeer really fly? Is Santa really able to come down your chimney? What if you don’t have a chimney. Then what does Santa do? Is all this stuff we hear about Santa really true?

Well, let’s go back to how the story began. According to history, a long time ago, there really was a man named Nicholas, who we now know as Santa Claus. Nicholas was a religious man. Nicholas loved children and cared about them a lot. In the country where Nicholas came from, it was common that in order for a girl to be married, she had to have a dowry (a lot of money and possessions). And, if a poor family could not afford a dowry, their child would be taken away and made a slave. This really upset Nicholas because he didn’t want the children to become slaves. So, one day Nicholas started going door to door giving gifts to poor children on Christmas eve so that they would have a dowry and not have to become a slave.

So, that is how the whole idea of how the story of Santa Claus got started. Of course, over the years, the story changed a lot. His name changed from Nicholas to St. Nick, then to Santa Claus. Today people all over the world celebrate Christmas by giving gifts, not just to poor families, but to friends and family too. If we think about how the story began, it really was a wonderful thing for this man named Nicholas to give gifts to the poor families. He gave of his own time and money because he had love in his heart for the children.


Entry Filed under: Religious stories

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