As we are getting closer to Christmas day, I have wondered how did we come to celebrate Christmas? And should we celebrate Christmas?
Every year I have celebrated Christmas with my family. It has always been a fun time of hanging out, eating, traditions, presents and a time to remember the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is good to think back and ask why do we practice this?Christmas is a time to worship Christ! Click To Tweet
How did we get Christmas?
To answer this question we should also ask: Was Christ born on December 25?
First I should say that no one knows the exact date of Christ’s birth. However, scholars and early church fathers have narrowed the date to around December 25.
One way this is done in looking at the shepherds. At the time of the angels appearing to them, they were very clearly near the town of Bethlehem. Scholars say that during the winter rainy months that the shepherds would bring their flocks into the folds. So at this time the flocks would be near the home. In many cases it might be in doors but depending on the weather, the sheep could be outside and even kept out overnight. The months would have included the month of December.
Christmas was mentioned before the AD 300’s.
“The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.” BiblicalArchaeology.org, 8-12-2014 by Andrew McGowan
“The birth of Christ as December 25th dates back to as early as Hippolytus (A..D. 165-235).” J. Hampton Keathley
Early Christian fathers suggest that Christ was conceived and died on the same day. The Western Church picked March 25 with the Eastern Church picking April 6. These were based on possible dates for the Passover. If you were to count 9 months from those dates your would get December 25 or January 6.
Incidentally January 6 is also the date the scholars believe the wise men came. Thus the 12 days of Christmas.
After some research, during December 20-24, Romans celebrated their Sun god. It would seem logical that in conjunction with the previous findings that early Christians decided to take that time to celebrate the Son who is creator and ruler of all instead of a false God on December 25. With this happening it does not appear that they used any of the pagan traditions of worship with their worship of Jesus during this time.
During the AD 300’s there was a rising belief that Christ never existed. So to help combat that some of the Christian fathers embraced Christmas as a way to contradict this false belief. Christ was born as predicted (Isaiah 7:14).
Ever since Christ ascended to heaven, Christians have been celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter time. And as we see that early church fathers soon adopted celebration for celebrating the coming of the King. They did their best and picked a date that could be celebrated every year.
Others celebrated Christ’s Birth:
– The Angels Heralded the Birth of Christ (Luke 2:9)
– The Wise men came to celebrate the birth of Christ (Matthew 2:11)
– Angels rejoiced (Luke 2:13-14)
– Shepherds reacted in Celebration
And you would celebrate too if you were put into the shoes of the people at the time of His birth. Christ had been prophesied since the beginning of creation in Genesis 3:15. Many prophets predicted His birth and here He was. The Christ child had finally come to save the world.
And save the world he did, when he grew up, died on a cross and rose again on the 3rd day.
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
With the pagan background and traditions should believers celebrate Christmas?
Ultimately it is up to the individually. But I say YES! We should be celebrating Christ whenever we can. And if this helps my family and I to worship Christ then YES I am celebrating Christ!
Many of the pagan traditions that were adopted to the early celebration of Christmas has since lost all pagan meanings and resemblance and now have meanings that help us to focus on Christ being born.Christmas is a time to celebrate and worship the birth of our risen savior Jesus. Click To Tweet
My prayer is that you would be intentional this Christmas in celebrating the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Do you celebrate Christmas? If so what do you do to celebrate Christ? I would love to hear!
Here are the articles I read: These are great to study and to dive deeper into the subject. If you want more information that what I shared above then check these links out.