What really is Christmas? How do people in today’s world view and celebrate it? For some it’s the time to go out and shop till they drop with maxed out credit cards. For others, it is a time to reflect on the reason for the season. While for some, the holiday excitement is not permitted on their doorsteps. Their indifference stems from their conviction that the meaning of Christmas cannot be explained. As Christmas Day nears, below are some facts to remember as you take inventory of why and how you celebrate Christmas.
- Nobody really knows the exact day or month Jesus Christ was born
There is no verse in the Bible that indicates the exact date or month Jesus Christ was born. During the early centuries and today, many Christians are still trying to find the exact date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Some have come up with arguments that support dates in November, May, April and March. However, the date or month when Jesus was born is up in the air although He is the reason for the season. In light of this, Christmas should be an everyday thing. We must celebrate others at any given opportunity and not just on December 25th of every year.
- There was no annual celebration for the birth of Jesus for the earliest Christians
In our generation, Easter and Christmas are considered as the major and biggest celebrations in the Christian year. However, Christians in the first centuries celebrated only Easter. The resurrection and death of Jesus were emphasized more than His birth. Seize this traditional Christmas period as an opportunity to reflect on why Jesus was born and how you can make a difference in the lives of others like He did. Do not wait for Easter to do this.
- Why the 25th December celebration was started by Christians is unclear
According to the earliest documents from 300AD, Christians simply observed the 25th of December as an annual remembrance of Jesus’ birth. It would be better if there was an official document from a person of authority that reads, “This is the year we will start celebrating Jesus’ birthday party because of this reason.” In reality, there is no such document. All that is known is the date chosen was in the middle of the three pre-existing winter parties in Rome. These were the Saturnalia, which was a late-harvest festival celebrated in mid-December, the Kalends, a five-day party celebrated in early January and 25th of December and the Mithras birthday. Mithras is a form of confusion of the warrior god and sun god. Whether this date was chosen by Christians as a way of changing the sun god’s birth to “God the Son’s birth” to curtail, compete or get rid of the Roman ritualistic celebration is unknown. Christmas ever since has been a combination of the Christian faith honoring Jesus Christ amid winter celebrations. This is why Christmas should be a lifestyle and not an annual festival.
- The end of 12 days Christmas is not on the Christmas day
Before Jesus’ birth started being celebrated by Western Christians, Eastern Christians were already observing Epiphany. This was a celebration at the beginning of January in remembrance of the ways by which Jesus showed himself to humanity in the world from the time of His birth. Thus, 25th December acted as a day of remembering nativity while January 6th to 12th was the period of remembering the three wise men’s arrival. Thus, the 12 days were technically the Christmas season.
- The meaning of Christmas is “Christ’s Mass”
The English language uses Christmas in reference to the annual Jesus nativity’s celebration. This term comes from middle ages and it refers to Christ’s Mass. This is a special service that honors and celebrates His birth.
- Christmas was opposed by the Puritans
The New England and Puritans within England were opposed to Christmas. This is because their aim was to eliminate what to them were unscriptural innovations of the Catholic faith. Their aim was to establish a purer church. According to them, Christmas was not celebrated by the earliest Christians. Therefore, they felt the need to oppose what was a rowdy behavior with fines as punishment. However, the holiday was liked by the general public.
According to some people, these historical facts and roots give Christmas connections to activities that are non-Christian. Nevertheless, the celebrations can be seen as a way of celebrating and surviving winter while searching for meaning and joy.
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