So, as you all know, Christmas time has caught up with us whether you’re ready or not. Today, being Christmas Eve, has me thinking a lot about Christmas: the origins, certain traditions, the true meaning, the birth of Jesus, etc. As a response, I’ve been doing some reading…
Christmas started out as a pagan celebration, saturnalia, of the pagan god saturn (yes, I recognize that both of these nouns should technically be capitalized; however, I refuse to do so). On December 21st, the first day of winter, the sun is furthest, so they celebrated December 25th as the return of the sun.
So, as Christians, why do we celebrate the “birth” of Jesus on the day that was originally a pagan holiday (I say, “‘birth'”, because the actual date of Jesus’ birth is not specifically stated in the Bible)?
The Roman Catholics, who use to dominate religious beliefs, decided to celebrate Christ’s birth at this time to take away from the pagan holiday and it continued into the Christian faith. My thought: How great it is that we can replace something pagan with the celebration of the life of our savior, Jesus Christ?! That just shows His power and might!
It should be noted that I’m not blind to the fact that not everyone who celebrates Christmas is Christian and that they celebrate the holiday for worldly reasons. I’m saddened to see how people, Christian or not, place so much importance in gift-giving and other traditions. Honestly, I would be completely fine with receiving no presents on Christmas. Some Christians may argue that the reason we exchange gifts is because the Magi brought baby Jesus gifts. However, Jesus is King of Kings, deserving of this and so much more than we can physically give Him. We are humans who deserve nothing but death, yet He gave us the ultimate gift by dying in our place so that we may live.
So why do we get upset when we don’t receive the gifts we think we deserve? What if in lieu of gifts we sacrificed ourselves for others (modeling ourselves after Christ), offering help to those who need it, our time that we value so much, an ear to listen and not condemn? What if we became less “me” centered and more Christ centered, showing the love and compassion for others that Christ has for us? What a marvelous way to spread Christ’s love not only during Christmas time but also any other regular day! I encourage you, as you enjoy the feasts and treats with the company and family in the warmth of your home that God has been so gracious to bless you with, to keep Christ the center of this special holiday and in every aspect of your life.