No one really knows the exact date of the birth of Jesus. Of course, Bible scholars think they have it figured out. Based on their knowledge of Jewish holidays and several Scripture references, they have determined that he was most likely born late in the month of September.
Yep, that's not a typo. I said September.
So what does that mean? Well, honestly for most people it doesn't change anything. Many are addicted to the hustle and bustle of the holidays - buying gifts, traveling and putting up a Christmas tree. I'm all for spending time with family and even welcome the moments, but Christmas has become largely based on our own sentiments and convenience. We've made it all about ourselves.
UnWrapping Christmas - The Truth About When Jesus Was Born
Many of the historical facts about the origins of Christmas are somewhat unnerving... look it up - you'll see! So should we even celebrate it anymore? There is a strong movement that thinks we shouldn't. They say we haven't even heard the half of it.
Don't get them started on Easter and the myths surrounding that! You can't tell me that you've never wondered where bunnies and eggs came in - I've always wondered that! Anyway, that's another box of peeps.
Was Jesus Born On December 25th?
Originally, December 25th was a celebration of the winter solstice. Kind of an, "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die..." type celebration.
During ancient times people became very afraid and superstitious during winter. With the cold, sickness and lack of food people were quite fearful. Every year, particularly in December people became uptight and worried. They didn't think they'd make it through the winter.
Since most common folk were uneducated they didn't understand the times and seasons. "What if winter never broke - what if spring never comes?" It was a natural thought process. Having a celebration during this time of year was a way to appease the angry god of winter and attempt to raise morale.
Christmas Day Wasn't Always Considered Jesus' Birthday
Many people don't know, but back when the Christian church was first getting started they never celebrated the birth of Christ. "Christmas" didn't come about till sometime after 312 A.D. when the Roman Emperor at the time (Constantine for those of you who really care) was converted, having claimed to see a vision of a cross in the sky.
After his conversion, Constantine united Rome with Christianity and made them one and the same. He essentially just renamed certain pagan holidays and made them "christian". Honestly, it was a brilliant political move at the time, but it really changed the face of Christianity.
Originally, December 25th was already a pagan Roman holiday to celebrate the winter solstice. Constantine (or his contemporaries)
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If Jesus Wasn't Born On Christmas Day Then Why Do We Still Observe It?
I've explained these historical facts to many people - any real student of history, especially history of religion, knows about it. Your pastor or priest probably knows about it too.
So the question is, "why hasn't anyone ever told me?" I think that is a valid question. Why hasn't anyone told you? Some people think it's like believing in Santa - it's okay for now, but when you get older and wiser you'll know.
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I think the other main reason is that even though we are stuck with some silly traditions from past history it doesn't change the truth. The facts show that certain aspects of Christmas aren't based on anything in Scripture. The Bible never espouses celebrating birthdays let alone putting up Christmas trees, lights, wreaths and giving presents. Or mistletoe for you lovebirds... but that's another matter.
There are a couple of reasons you haven't been told. Mainly the tradition is still strong. No one (over 5) believes in Santa either, but the tradition is still there. People love traditions! Many people think Christianity and those traditions are synonymous and that if you undermine one - you lose the other. It is plain to me that many people will be angry or defensive to find out these facts. Especially Christians. Oh well...
I've found that in spite of all these difficulties, Christ still came to earth. I believe God chose specifically to come and dwell among men. Immanuel - God with us. Set aside all the tradition, piety and "Jesus is the reason for the season" slogans and you'll still find truth. That's why your pastor hasn't told you. Seriously. He hasn't been lying to you or withholding the truth. It's just that truth about Jesus Christ has been shrouded in religious tradition.
People love their sentimental ornaments, nostalgic songs, Christmas cookies and (who roasts chestnuts on an open fire??) gifts. And although all this has nothing to do with why Jesus was born, the truth remains that He was born, lived as a man, healed people, was crucified, rose from the grave and reigns as King. Immanuel - God with us!
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I feel it is very beneficial to openly discuss our beliefs. To get past all the tradition and gift buying and arguments about where to spend the holidays. Christmas is a great time to leap over all the extras and superficiality that we see and decide what we really believe.
I encourage you to rethink how you've always viewed things and evaluate your own family and personal traditions. I'm not claiming you're wrong - just reevaluate once again.
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