Here we are and it’s that time of year again.
Common among Christians is the slogan “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas”.
Most Christians believe that Christmas is the most important celebration of the year, followed by Easter. The truth is that neither of these celebrations are commanded in Scripture, and both have pagan origins.
Jesus was actually crucified on the eve of the Jewish feast of Passover. Easter was a pagan celebration that occurred around the same time, and was also known as “Ishtar”.
Easter is mentioned only once in the King James bible, in Acts 12:4. The Jewish feast of Passover was finished and Herod was planning to execute Peter after Easter. Herod was a pagan, and didn’t want to interrupt his celebration with a beheading.
But, I digress. Our subject is Christmas. The ancient pagan name for this feast was Saturnalia, and it was a feast of conspicuous consumption, celebrating the beginning of lengthening days and the coming of spring. When Constantine formed the state Catholic Church in the early 300s AD he incorporated the pagan feasts into Christianity, including Christmas and Easter.
To the surprise of many there is no command to celebrate either of these feasts in Holy Scripture. In fact the date of Jesus’ birth is not known at all. The only clue we have is that there were shepherds out in the fields that night. Since shepherds in Israel do not stay out in the fields in winter we can know for certain that Jesus was not born on December 25th of any year!
Many scholars believe that it is more likely that Jesus was born in September or October. I do remember hearing at one time, that there was a group of ancient Christians who celebrated His birth in September. Undoubtedly this is a more accurate date than December 25, it couldn’t be less!
So. Should Christians celebrate Christmas? Really it doesn’t matter. If you want to, go ahead. We are given freedom in Christ.
Some Christians don’t celebrate Christmas, because of its connection with Rome. That’s OK too. Baptists did not celebrate Christmas until some time in the 1800s.
Should we celebrate Christ’s birth? Absolutely! Without Jesus’ birth into a human family it would have been impossible for any human to go to Heaven! He could not have died for us if He had not been born first. If you don’t celebrate His birth at Christmas, do you set aside time to remember it? The Lord set aside several pages of scripture for it, so it must be important. I can tell you this; If you don’t set aside time to celebrate it, if you say; “I’ll celebrate His birth every day” it will become mundane and will soon be drowned out in the cares of life.
For most people, Christmas is about conspicuous consumption. If you sit around the table of most families, even Christian families, at Christmas you will find that Jesus is generally not the subject of conversation.
I’m ashamed to say that Jesus has not always been the subject of the conversations I have been involved in at Christmas time. New Years is often the time when people make resolutions to do better in the coming year. Maybe this year we should resolve, before Christmas, to make Jesus the center of our celebration. Let’s not make it about conspicuous consumption, Let’s make it about Jesus Christ.
He was really born in a stable, and really laid in an animals feeding trough. His mother really was a virgin when He was conceived. He really is God, come in the flesh, and He really came to rescue us from a fate so horrible we can’t imagine it, and He did so by taking our sin upon himself. He really died for our sin, and was really raised from the dead, and promises the same for all of His followers!
He is no longer the baby in a manger, He’s the soon-coming King of Kings! He is the key to eternal life! Now that’s something to celebrate!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
From Dan Knezacek and family