An estimated nine in 10 American adults are celebrating Christmas in some form or another this week. Surveys from the Pew Research Center tell us that, for most people, it means gathering with family and friends, exchanging gifts and sharing meals, but not necessarily attending church.
Despite being one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar, only 51 percent of people’s plans include Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services, and that drops to about 42 percent for Millennials.
Yet, the fact that 90 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Christmas is remarkable when you consider that 30 percent aren’t even. And 2.1 percent of Christians, like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists, might not observe Christmas on Dec. 25th.
In Wisconsin, 25 percent of residents say they are not religious, and 2.2 percent practice Judaism, Hinduism, Islam or Buddhism.
Yet, whether a religious or cultural event, Christmas celebrations are prevalent across Wisconsin. Thus, today we would like to continue the Daily Union’s 73-year tradition of sharing the Christmas story as told in Luke 2:1-20.
We do so because, when the ornaments are packed away, Grandma’s stollen is but a crumb and the lessons learned by Scrooge are but a faint memory, the true reason for this season — love, forgiveness and peace as embodied in Jesus Christ — will remain with us year-round.
Please read and enjoy. And from all of us at the Daily Union, have a merry Christmas.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, to Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house of David) to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, helping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was withe the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.