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The Christmas Story

摘要:毕业论文 Christmas is celebrated across the world on December 25, to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition of exchanging gifts over Christmas can be traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that the Magi, the three
关键词:The,amp,nbsp,Christmas,Story,毕

毕业论文

Christmas is celebrated across the world on December 25, to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.

The tradition of exchanging gifts over Christmas can be traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that the Magi, the three wise men, brought the infant Jesus.

Now read the story that lies behind the festival.

It was the time when Caesar Augustus ruled in Rome. After many years of civil war, battles and bloodshed, he had declared the Pax Romana, and peace reigned in all the provinces of the land. In Judea, one of the provinces annexed to the Empire by Pompey, King Herod governed from his seat at Jerusalem. The Jews, resenting the Roman yoke, always believed that some day a Messiah would be born, who would restore Judea to nationhood, and give them back their independence and pride. After all, it had been written in the holy books of their forefathers. But King Herod, not a Jew himself, and loyal to Rome who had placed him in his position of power, sent his spies around Judea, to see if there was any Jewish Messiah that he had to fear.

In the little town of Nazareth, Mary the young fiancee of Joseph the carpenter, was sitting at her window, and dreaming about her wedding, when she was suddenly startled by a bright light that appeared in front of her. As she jumped to her feet, she saw a shining being standing before her. Before she could call out or scream, the angel said to her, "Greetings, Mary. You are blessed above all women, for you have been chosen by God to be the mother of His son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and God will give to him the kingdom that was David's."

Mary was awestruck, and did not know what to say. She asked the angel, "But how can this be? I am not yet married; I have never been with any man." The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come to you, and you will conceive this child."

Mary was troubled about what she had heard. She did not know how she would tell Joseph, and how he would react, but believing it to be the will of God, she said, "I will do as God wishes." And then the angel told her that her cousin Elisabeth was to have a baby. Now that really amazed Mary because Elisabeth was already sixty years old, but it also gave her some reassurance that this was indeed the will of God. If he could make sixty-year-old Elisabeth have a child, maybe it was true that she herself could have this child of God while yet a virgin. So, she told her family that she wanted to visit her cousin and set off for Elisabeth's house.

When Elisabeth saw Mary, the child in her womb leapt, and Elisabeth realized that Mary was even more blessed than she was. Mary stayed with Elisabeth for three months to help her with the birth of her baby, John. However, she knew she could not stay away from home indefinitely, and that she would have to break the news to Joseph, so she bade Elisabeth farewell and set off for Nazareth.

When he heard Mary's story, the young carpenter was upset and confused. He didn't know what to make of it, and didn't know whom he could talk to about it. But, that night the angel also appeared to Joseph in a dream, and told him that he should take Mary as his wife, and that the child she was carrying was the Son of God. Joseph still didn't know what he would say to his family, but he resolved that he would marry Mary as soon as he could.

Before they could make plans for the wedding, however, there came a decree from the emperor Caesar Augustus that a census was to be carried out and that all people should go to their hometown to be counted. Since Joseph was of the lineage and family of David, he had to go to Bethlehem, about 70 miles away from Nazareth. Since Mary was already visibly pregnant and close to her term, he decided to take her with him, rather than leave her in Nazareth where she might be mocked or harassed by the townspeople.

By the time they reached Bethlehem, Mary was almost dropping off the donkey that Joseph had hired to make her journey easier. The overland journey had taken them several days, and they had not always been able to find comfortable shelter for the night. In Bethlehem, the situation seemed to be even more difficult. Because of the census, people were pouring into the town and there was not one inn that had a room that they could rent. Joseph was desperate. Not only did he need a room where Mary could rest and be private, he also needed a midwife because it looked as if Mary was going to have her baby any minute. His desperation gave the otherwise quiet and shy man the courage he needed. He walked up to the innkeeper of the nearest inn and said, "Look, I know there are no rooms to be had; everyone has told us the same story. But my wife is heavy with child, and she must have some room where she can have the baby." The innkeeper's wife said, "Look, why don't they go to the stables behind the inn. It's not a room, but they can use the hay to make up some kind of bed, and I can run to Rachel the midwife's house and see that she's there soon."

And so, instead of a proper bed and clean linen, Mary's baby, the Son of God, was born in a stable, and, wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger filled with sweet-smelling hay.

That night, some shepherds watching their sheep on a cold Bethlehem hillside were dazzled by a light of blazing intensity. When they could actually look up, shading their eyes from the brightness, they saw a tall angel, with his shining wings furled, who said to them, "Don't be afraid, I bring you good news. The Messiah has been born in the city of David. You will recognize Him as being wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And then the sky was filled with rank upon rank of angels - as far as the eye could see. And the shepherds' ears were filled with the sound of a thousand voices singing, "Glory to God in the Highest, Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all Men."

The shepherds said, "Let us go at once and see this miracle that we have been privileged to be part of!" And so they scoped up the little lambs and ran all the way into the town. After looking into a dozen or more stables, they found one behind Judah's inn, where a tired but radiant young mother gazed at her tiny baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger, with cattle lowing gently around.

Mary, watching the rough shepherds as they knelt in reverence before her son, thought, "Truly this is the work of God." The shepherds rushed out and told everyone that they encountered about the miracle that had come to pass.

Eight days later the baby was named Jesus.

The same night that the shepherds were visited by the angels, astronomers and magi in far off Persia saw a shining new comet that streaked across the sky to the west. They believed that it foretold the birth of a new king, and three of them, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar decided to make the long journey west to see this new king. They reached Jerusalem, naturally went to the court of Herod the king, and asked, "Where is the new-born king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him." Herod was amazed and alarmed. His wife had not given birth to a baby, and any story of kings and Messiahs was worrying, because it threatened his position as king.

However, he was too smart a man to show his anxiety. He told the wise men, "He is not here, but if you find this child, be sure to let me know, so that I can worship him too."

The wise men went through the city, asking every one they came across about the birth of the Messiah, but no one seemed to know. And then one day, as their caravan camped on a hillside about six miles outside Jerusalem, they heard some shepherds talk about the wonders that they had seen: the shining light, the choir of angels and the baby in a manger. They asked the shepherds to show them the way to this stable,

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