What is Christmas?

Christmas is a special Christian day that marks the birth of Jesus, who Christians believe to be the Son of God, celebrated each year on 25 December.

We remember the story of the first Christmas:

Jesus was born to a woman called Mary who was engaged to Joseph, a carpenter in the town of Nazareth in Galilee.

Mary was visited by an angel who told her that she would give birth to a baby called Jesus. Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph and Mary had travelled there to take part in a census which the Roman rulers had ordered.

When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem the local inn was full with people returning for the census. The innkeeper let them stay in the stable for animals. It was here that Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Jesus was visited by three wise men from the East who had followed a star to Bethlehem. The wise men presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. An angel also guided some poor shepherds to see the birth. For Christians this shows that Jesus came for all people of all backgrounds.

The story of Jesus’s birth (also known as the nativity) is often retold by children taking part in nativity plays.

Advent is the period which leads up to Christmas.

Many Advent customs involve counting the days until Christmas begins.

Children will often be given advent calendars to mark the days that have passed.

Some churches have an advent wreath with four candles, one for each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day and another candle in the centre to mark Christmas Day itself.

Christian church services at Christmas include carol singing. These are happy songs which tell the Christmas story.

We hope you can join us this year – in person or online – as we celebrate Christmas together.

Please explore all the buttons on this site to see the many and varied ways we are marking Christmas in 2021.