Jesus Christ is considered by Christians to be their savior who was sent by God to spread the word of God and who died for their sins. Christmas, celebrated on December 25, is celebration of the church of Jesus Christ. While traditions such as Christmas trees and Santa Claus have dominated the media in recent years, there are still many customs that highlight the religious basis of this holiday.
One of the oldest Christmas traditions is the Christmas spectacular performance. Christmas spectacular performances are often put on by churches or religious schools, but are attended by many Christians, both practicing and non-practicing. In a Christmas spectacular, the story of Jesus' birth is played out on stage, often by the children of the hosting church or school. While each Christmas spectacular has its own special elements, the basic message is the same - that Jesus Christ was the savior sent to die for Christians' sins.
Christmas spectacular performances usually start out by explaining the story of the virgin Mary and how she was visited by an angel who told her she would be blessed with a child and have a virgin birth. The story then follows Mary and her new husband Joseph to Bethlehem, where they cannot find any place to stay for the night. They are forced to stay in a manger and Mary goes into labor. She gives birth to Jesus Christ amongst the animals who live in the manger. Then three wise men come to the manger, having known of the impending birth by divine methods, to present the virgin Mary and the son of God with gifts to celebrate this important event.
These Christmas spectacular performances also explain some of the Christmas traditions we have today, such as exchanging gifts. It was the three wise men presenting gifts to the newborn Jesus that set up the tradition of exchanging gifts amongst friends and family members today.
Another Christmas tradition is the exchange of Christmas cards. Christian Christmas cards are often populated with images of the virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, or of the three wise men in the manger with Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Cards are given to friends and family to wish them all of the joys of the season. So, while there are Christmas cards out there with images of Santa Claus, snowmen and other winter scenes, it is the Christian Christmas cards that remain amongst the most popular.
Of course, the most traditional Christian Christmas tradition is Christmas mass. Catholics often celebrate the Christmas holiday at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, December 24. Midnight mass is very beautiful, with members of the church community gathered together in candlelight, singing traditional Christmas hymns, celebrating the birth of their savior. Other Christian religions also have Christmas mass, usually on Christmas morning, December 25.
Regardless of what customs or traditions one practices, it is important to remember what Christmas is about. It's not about getting and giving the best gifts and spending the most money, it's about being with friends and family and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of all Christians.