For many years now I’ve been galled largely by the misconception that has been exhibited towards the Christmas celebration. Christmas has been perceived as both a sacred religious holiday and worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon.
For ages, Christmas has been celebrated in a manner that is both religious and secular in nature.
Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The word Christmas, (Christ’s Mass), mass (multitude, crowd, gathering), Christ the Lord is recognised and worshipped. Hence the word Christ – Mass.’ It is nothing but the worship of Christ, the Messiah.
Attributing the celebration of Christmas Day, 25 December as pagan holiday by some people does not hold. It is true that Jesus Christ was not born on 25 December, and the Bible did not mention the particular date of his birth.
Some account however claimed that his birth may have occurred in spring.
The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world particularly in Europe.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January as they look forward to an expanded hours of sunlight. That’s why the end of December was such an ideal time for celebration around Europe.
And in Rome, around the winter period was a time for holiday called Saturnalia – a holiday in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. It is in this same period that the Romans of the upper class will celebrate and honour Mithra, the god of unconquerable sun, on 25 December. This was based on the belief that an infant god was born of rock. This day and period was considered the most sacred of the year in Rome.
Mind you, all of these celebrations were before the introduction of Christianity into Europe or before Europe was Christianised.
In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. But in the fourth century, it pleased the church leaders to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on 25 December was in 336 and was instituted in the Roman empire during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor) But with Europe adopting Christianity, recognising the God’s sovereignty and wanting to celebrate their new found Faith had to choose 25 December to celebrate Jesus’ birth. And this was during the time of Pope Julius 1. So Christianity has now replaced pagan religion in Europe.
So, instead of Europe celebrating a pagan god they have now directed that worship to the Lord God, Jesus our Lord and Saviour who gave his life for the redemption of mankind. So 25 December has been taken from a pagan god and dedicated to the True and Living God.
And what is wrong with that? The importance is not so much on the day or time, but rather to whom the occasion is directed and dedicated to. It is not the day 25 December that is being worshipped nor the pagan gods of Europe but the LORD Jesus, the Messiah.
And no doubt, because of the influence and contributions of Europeans to Christianity the good majority of us have no qualms as long as it is Jesus Christ who is at the centre of it. Some people have chosen to celebrate Christmas as a mere commercial, social, or secular occasion. But true Christians recognise it as the Lord’s day. Hence the word ‘Christmas.’ The worship of Jesus Christ the son of God. To Him be all praise and glory. Amen!!!
So, whether some churches, church leaders, sects or denominations see it otherwise is not important. What is important is that Christmas is a day that has been set aside worldwide to celebrate Jesus our new found king and Lord. Amen and amen.
Roudoulph C. M. V. Wilson