Saturday, December 10, 2005

Origin of Christmas

Christmas, the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, is sadly a point of argument among many Christians. When I was younger, I thought that all Christians celebrated Christmas. Then the truth was revealed to me. A large portion of Christians believe that the act of celebrating Christmas is a sin! My church's leadership was sure that Christmas was evil, and that my family and I were sinning because we were celebrating it. ( Our church eventually split over this issue) So what is the argument of the "anti-Christmas crowd"?

The anti-Christmas crowd believe that Christmas originated in old pagan December festivals and that the church incorporated this holiday into Christianity. Supposedly, the church did this for a self-promotion. The idea was formed in the 1700s by Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, and Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk. These scholars based their theory on the "Birth of the Unconquered Sun" festival created by Roman emperor Aurelian. This festival, celebrated on december 25th, was an anti-Christian gathering of European cults who worshipped the sun.

But the above theory is a myth.

Christian scholars, from Rome and Greece, began the attempt to figure out the date of Christ's birth in the second and third centuries, hundreds of years before Emperor Aurelian's festival. These Christians, evidence proves, had a great desire to celebrate Christ's birth. December 25th was settled upon as the date of Christ's birth and throughout the centuries has been celebrated a such. The "Birth of the Unconquered Sun" was actually a festival formed as an alternate celebration to the Christians' celebration of Christmas.

But how was the date, December 25th chosen?

First scholars had to figure out the day of Christ's death. After studying the Gospel of John, Christian scholars concluded that Christ died on 14 Nissan ( around the Passover), according to the Jewish calendar, and March 25th according to Gregorian calendar ( the one used today). Now that the date of Christ death was fixed upon, a Jewish belief was used to determine Jesus' birth. The Jewish belief is that all prophets die on the day they were conceived. Jesus, of course, is the greatest prophet ever, so the conclusion was made that He was conceived by Mary on March 25th. Now we add the nine months of pregnancy and we get December 25th! So it was through this way that December 25th was chosen as the date of Christ's birth.

My conclusion:

Is December 25th really the date of Jesus' birth? Maybe, maybe not. But the point of my article is that Christmas and the celebration of it, is not a sin! I along with most Christians have the want and desire to celebrate the birth of our Lord. How could the celebration of God's works and wonders be a sin? It isn't. Christmas is a time to reflect on an awesome and merciful gift, God's sending of His only Son to die for us.

2 Comments:

  • Great post Zach! As you know, my family used to not celebrate Christmas, but I am very thankful that we now do.

    By Blogger Sara, at 10:30 PM  

  • Yes... thanks so much for the vote! It would be pretty cool to win in the best teen homeschool blog category... thanks again!

    By Blogger thepatriot15, at 3:00 PM  

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