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Christmas

The stable at St James's

When is Christmas Day?
It is now believed that Jesus was born between 7BC and 4BC. The years BC stand for Before Christ and are the years before the one when Christ was orginally thought to have been born. The years AD are those after Christ's birth, from the Latin 'Anno Domini' meaning 'in the year of our Lord'. About 350 years after Jesus' birth, Pope Julius 1 decided that 25th December would be the date of the Nativity as it was believed that Christ was born on the 25th, but the exact month was not known.

The NativityWhat does 'Christmas' mean?
The word Christmas comes from the old English name 'Cristes Mæsse' meaning Christ's Mass, or Christ's Eucharist.

Why do we celebrate Christmas Day?
Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We want to give thanks to God for sending his son into the world. 

The Story
The story of the Nativity begins on Christmas Eve, when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, found that all the inns were full and had to stay in a poor stable. Mary's baby, Jesus, was born the next day - Christmas Day, Read the Nativity Story.

Mary, Joseph and the baby JesusChristmas Services at St James's 
At St James's services include a very popular Crib Service for children and families on Christmas Eve afternoon, 'Midnight Mass' late on Christmas eve, and Christmas morning Parish Communion. The Church is always beautifully decorated at Christmas with a Christmas tree and flowers. Our beautifully made crib is always the focus of attention for many of the services, especially for children.

Leading up to Christmas Day, we send Christmas cards to our friends and family and prepare Christmas presents for them. We go to carol services and nativity plays. We decorate our homes and churches with Christmas trees, evergreen leaves like holly, ivy and mistletoe, other pretty decorations and lights. On Christmas Day we give and receive presents. Many families gather together and eat a special meal, often a roast turkey, followed by a Christmas pudding. Father Christmas is also known as Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas. Find out more about Saint Nicholas.

The day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day. Find out more about Boxing Day.

The church colour for Christmas is white (or gold) which is used for the light, joy and purity of Christ. The frontal on the altar, the altar cloths, the pulpit fall and the Bible book mark are changed to match the colour of the priest's robes. 

The stableThings to do at Christmas
• Print out and fill in our Christmas Quiz
• Print out and colour in the line drawing of the mosaic in our church - Mother and Child.
• Print out, colour in and complete the Maze where the shepherds are looking for the baby Jesus.
• Print out and colour in the line drawing of the Christmas Story.
• Print out and complete the Christmas Spot the Difference.
• Try a selection of Christmas puzzles and colouring pictures on the pages Christmas Activities.
• Read this lovely story about Santa explaining the symbols of Christmas - The True Meaning of Christmas.
• Find out how Christmas is celebrated Around the World.