Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
Originally, Jesus' birth was celebrated in the East during the 'Feast Of Epiphany' (January 6); but by 354 A.D, the Christmas feast had taken hold in the West and was observed on December 25.
Some Eastern Churches still, today, celebrate Christmas on January 6.
December 25th was a date selected by the Western Church (Rome). By the way, just to keep this into perspective, the Western Church, later to be known as the Catholic Church, used the political model of the Roman empire to set up and run the Church.
December 25th was originally a Mithraic pagan holiday celebrating the birthday of the 'Invincible Sun', which coincided with Saturnalia and the winter solstice during the time Mithraism was practiced in Rome. Christians simply adjusted the symbolism of the day, declaring it the birthday of their 'Invincible Son'.
According to events recorded in the gospel of Matthew the date of Jesus' birth may actually have taken place much earlier in the year. The word 'Christmas' means 'The Mass of Christ', and originated in the 11th century as a proper name for this feast. In New England, Christmas was outlawed until the mid-nineteenth century, and classes were held on 'Christmas Day' until 1870.
Also, check out the website on Christmas @ the Wikipedia site below.
The use of Evergreens and Wreaths as symbols of life was an ancient custom of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews, among other people. Tree worship was a common religious practice among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of Northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity. They decorated houses and barns with Evergreens at the New Year to scare away demons.
It is my personal opinion that when Christians celebrate Christmas it should be done to honor Christ, and not for the secular trappings that were brought into the celebration from pagan traditions.
This is what the prophet Jeremiah had to say about holding to pagan celebrations: "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the Palm tree, but speak not: they must need to be borne because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good". Jeremiah 10:2-5
According to 'Denver Catholic Staff', December 18, 2019, It was illegal to practice Christianity in the Roman empire in the fourth century. It was approximately two centuries later, in the sixth century, when Emperor Justinian made Christmas a public holiday. So, while the history of celebrating Christmas among Christians is murky and vague at best, it would appear that Christians have been celebrating it for many centuries.
Saint Hippolytus of Rome, expounding on his commentary on Daniel 4:23 said: "the first advent of Our Lord in the flesh when he was born in Bethlehem, was eight days before the Kalends of January, the fourth day. The Kalends was the first day of the month, and eight days before January first is December 25th. While it's hard to know the exact date of Jesus' birth, Church tradition leans in on December 25th.
Celebrating Christmas or not is a matter of one's own conscience. We always celebrated Christmas in our home when I was growing up. I celebrated it with my children, though I have always taught them why we were celebrating it. My only suggestion is to never do anything against your conscience and, always remember to give God the glory. If you do that, you will be doing well.
The whole purpose of celebrating Christmas, Easter or, any other holiday that has been embraced by the Church is to give honor, glory and, praise to the Lord God of all creation.
"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose." Romans 8:28 AMP
© 2007 Nathaniel Stalling Jr