History of Christmas

What is the history of Christmas?

The celebration of the holiday of Christmas is not a biblical concept. Nowhere in the Bible are we given a date for Christ's birth and nowhere in Scripture is there an account that there was ever a commemoration of the occasion of Christ's birth. Christmas was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed either by the apostles or in the apostolic church for at least the first 300 years of church history. Christmas first came on the church scene about A.D. 440 when the Roman Catholic Church sought to incorporate the festival Saturalia, which honored Saturn and the Roman celebration of Natialis Solis Invicti (birthday of the Unconquerable Sun), both of which were celebrated on December 25th. The early church, in an attempt to get rid of the pagan holiday, declared December 25th to be the day to celebrate the birthday of the Son of God.

Many historians think that Jesus was born sometime in the spring because the shepherds were in the fields at lambing time. It seems quite appropriate that the "Lamb that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:19) would have been born during the time that all of the lambs destined for sacrifice in the temple were also born. Since it is also a fact that the very hour Christ gave His life for the sins of men, all over Jerusalem the Passover lambs were being slain (John 19:14). It would not be "coincidence" but the timing of the plan and purpose of God.

Does this mean that modern-day Christians should not celebrate Christmas? For today's Christian, the origin of Christmas is, and should be, the birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. So, consider your Christmas traditions. Which traditions focus on Jesus Christ?

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