The Bible tells the story of Christ’s birth
- The traditional story of Christmas can be found in the first and second chapters of Matthew and Luke.
Western tradition celebrates Christ’s birth (Christ’s Mass) on December 25th.
- The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world.
- The purpose was not to conform to the pagan practices of the Roman world, but rather, to make those pagan practices irrelevant, in exchange for a celebration of Christ’s birth.
- Still, this particular theory is not found in any early Christian writings.
- Augustine (On the Trinity, c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”
- According to tradition in Augustine’s day – less than 500 years after the crucifixion, it was believed that He was born in December. Still, there are other theories (more than can be named here) which place His birth in the Spring.
- After Constantine the Roman Church under Pope Gregory around the year 601 began converting pagan temples into Churches, and began converting pagan feasts into Christian celebrations.
- Still, this is speculation as it pertains to Christmas, as the December 25th celebration was occurring before Constantine or Pope Gregory
- Christmas on December 25th predates the great schism (separation of Roman bishops/Roman Catholic Church around the year 1054).
- Christmas is a Christian CHURCH tradition, not a Roman Catholic tradition.
- According to Church tradition, Jesus conception and death were on the same day – March 25th(the 14th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar). If s, nine months after March 25th is December 25th.
- I am not trying to prove either way, but just explaining WHY Christians celebrate on December 25th.
- The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas).
- In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters entitled “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” more popularly known as “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” SOURCE
- Saint Nicholas was known for giving gifts to the poor. In one notable story, he met a pious but impoverished man who had three daughters. He presented them with dowries to save them from a life of prostitution. In most European countries, St. Nicholas is still portrayed as a bearded bishop, wearing clerical robes. He became a patron saint of many groups, particularly children, the poor, and prostitutes.
- Santa Claus was never a pagan symbol.
- The first story is about St. Boniface (whose birth name was Winfried). In the 8th century, he was a missionary to some of the remotest tribes of Germany. He is probably best known for what is called the “Felling of Thor’s Oak.” It is said that upon entering a town in northern Hesse (Hessia), Boniface learned that the people worshiped the god Thor. They believed that Thor resided in a great oak tree among them. Boniface determined that if he wanted to earn an audience with the people, he would have to confront Thor. He announced before the people that he was going to cut down the oak, and he openly challenged Thor to strike him down. Miraculously, as Boniface began to chop the oak, a mighty wind blew and hurled the tree to the ground. Tradition holds that a fir tree was growing in the roots of the oak, and Boniface claimed the tree as a symbol of Christ. Needless to say, the people readily accepted Boniface’s message, and the tree eventually came to be associated with the birth of Christ and a celebration of the day when the mighty God (who could hurl a gigantic oak to the ground) chose to humbly enter the world as a babe.
- Ijn this case, the Christmas tree is essentially a remembrance of a miraculous act that made paganism irrelevant.
- Another possible source of the Christmas tree (and probably the most likely) comes from medieval religious plays in Germany. Among the most popular of these plays was the “Paradise” play. It started with the creation of man, acted out the first sin, and showed Adam and Eve being expelled from Paradise (the Garden of Eden). It closed with the promise of a coming Savior, which made the play a particular favorite during the Christmas season. In the play, the Garden of Eden was most often represented by a fir tree hung with apples and surrounded by candles.
- All things considered, Christmas has nothing to do with Playstations, iPhones, Lexus vehicles, Shopping days, Black Friday, or any version of commercialization. If we are to celebrate Christmas, decorate, feast, have special events, songs – they should all point to Christ.
- Other theories exist which connect trees to pagan practice. The problem with connecting Christmas trees to this is that almost ALL pagan and religious practices stress the importance of trees – even in both Old and New Testaments (Tree of life, tree of knowledge of good and evil)
- Serpent in the wilderness was good and represented the crucifixion (Number 21:8-9; John 3:14), until it was worshipped (2 Kings 18:4).
Christmas Gifts and other traditions
- The tradition of gifts seems to have come from the Magi, as they presented to Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Reindeer are based on a story by an Episcopal minister (T’was the Night Before Christmas) – not a pagan.
- Rudolph was added later – based on a secular children’s song.
- Frosty the Snowman – a secular children’s song.
- Prior to this, the work of St. Nicholas whose life’s work pertained to giving to the poor, especially children, is where the tradition of gift giving comes from.
- We missed it here. Perhaps our tradition should change to giving to the poor at this time of year. Save the PlayStation for another time.
- Christmas was never intended to be a pagan festival. Actually, the contrary has always been true. It was always meant to make the paganism irrelevant by replacing it with something that pointed people to Christ. Traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and presents. To this day, it is the time of year that everyone becomes more Christ-focused, and the gospel is revealed in Churches across the world. The church unifies around one message: A savior is born, who is Christ the Lord. Even our carols such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, Silent Night all reveal the story of the incarnation. Christmas is the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. The traditional date of December 25 goes back as far as A.D. 273. Two pagan festivals honoring the sun were also celebrated on that day and it is possible that December 25 was chosen to counteract the influence of paganism. In Eastern tradition, January 9th is used as the day of celebration of Christs birth.
- Secondly, just as it was an opportunity for the early church to introduce the pagan world to Jesus, it is my belief that this holiday season offers us the same unique opportunity – without bowing to pagan religion. This is why we celebrate Christmas, put up decorations, give gifts, and after the tradition of St. Nickolas, contribute to those in need.
Victory in Spiritual Warfare
“Humbling himself, he was obedient to death”
The Sufferings of Christ
- Betrayal and Arrest (Matthew 26:49-50)
- Abandonment by friends (Matthew 26:56)
- Lies told against Him (Matthew 26:59)
- Framed (Matthew 26:63-66)
- Spit upon, beaten and ridiculed (Matthew 26:67-68)
- Denied by closest allies (Matthew 26:69-74)
- Rejected for a criminal (Matthew 27:15-21)
- Stripped naked and mocked (Matthew 27:27-31)
- Cricified (Matthew 27:32-36)
- Derided and ridiculed on the cross (Matthew 27:39-44)
- Through it all, He still had to be Jesus. The Word of God tells us to have the same mind as…this.
- You cannot win in spiritual warfare on behalf of yourself, your family, or anything under your charge if you cannot win in the area of humility.
- There are times when we will have to serve those who have maligned us. We will have to minister to hearts that have offended us We will have to provide aid to people who don’t like us. Our humble obedience is a more vital issue than our vindication.
- What does humility look like to you? Give examples.
- How does it connect to effective prayer and deliverance?
- How important is humility to you?