Christmas Around the World: An Intergenerational Event
The foundation for Christmas is found in the scriptures and in the reality that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior. The story is found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, each delivering different aspects directed to different audiences. From the start, the scriptures realized that various cultures would interpret this mysterious arrival of God on earth within the contexts of their own worldviews. As God chose to become incarnate and walk among humanity as a human, the mystery of this opens the door to many local interpretations.
As the gospel of Jesus Christ spread throughout the world, the scripture was indeed interpreted to reflect the local cultures. Often, the Christmas Story was associated with a festival that was already in existence at the time and was pagan (non-Christian) in origin. Some cultures focused on the birth narrative; others focused on Epiphany, the arrival of the three magi to the nativity. And almost universally, a figure has emerged who hands out presents. Whether named Santa Claus, Belfana, Baboushka, Christkindl, Papai Noel, the legends connect the gift-giving of the magi and the generosity of spirit among people of faith.
Mark your calendars for this colorful event that explores the traditions and celebrations that marks the birth of Jesus Christ as done throughout the world.