Christmas Day

Christmas Day
   Christmas is preeminently a Church Festival, and observed on December 25th. On this day the Church celebrates with joy, gladness and exultation the Nativity of her Lord, who became Incarnate (i.e., took our nature upon Him) and was born of a pure Virgin. As the angels at His Birth, so mankind ever since has hailed the Day of His Nativity with exceeding great joy. The Puritans strove with all their ardor to destroy it, but happily did not succeed. The argument used against it, that the Birthday of the Child Jesus is not known, and, therefore, cannot be preserved, does not prevail against the universal longing to celebrate in some way this great event. We are not surprised, therefore, to find that from the very earliest period Christmas was observed. St. Chrysostom, in the fourth century, speaks of it as being even then of great antiquity. In one of his Epistles he mentions that Julius I, about A.D. 350, had caused strict inquiry to be made and had confirmed the observance of Christmas on December 25th.
   Christmas has always been observed with several celebrations of the Holy Eucharist, three at least taking place; one at midnight, another at early dawn and the third at midday. The growing devotion of the American Church has demanded this celebration of Christmas and, therefore, at the last revision of the Prayer Book a second Collect, Epistle and Gospel for this day was inserted. It is customary to decorate our churches on Christmas with evergreen as symbolical of the eternal nature of our Lord; to deck the Altar with white symbol of joy and purity, and in some places with lighted candles to typify our Lord as the Light of the world.

American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. . 1901.

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