Advent and Christmas
Advent, which means coming, is the period including the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, and is the beginning of the Christian year. During this time of Advent and Christmas Carol Services take place. The theme is God’s incarnation as Jesus, the messenger of hope and salvation. Nativity plays based on the theme of Jesus’ birth are performed in some primary schools and churches.
Christmas is a corruption of the term Christ’s Mass and celebrates Jesus’ birth. Most churches celebrate this festival on 25th December although Eastern Orthodox Christians prefer 7th January. Many Christians attend a midnight Mass or Christmas day service, and manger scenes are placed in the church to remind worshippers of Jesus’ lowly birth. Christmas is a time for family gatherings and presents are exchanged in remembrance that God gave his son as a gift to the world. Cultural practices are woven together with religious beliefs. For example many children are told that their presents are brought by Santa Claus, or St Nicholas, the patron saint of children.