Is There a Christian Connection to December 25th?

Posted on December 24, 2013

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As we enter the Christmas season, the controversies surrounding the holiday have become all too prevalent once again. We hear many things about Christmas this time of year, as people try to erase any mention of Christ from our society. Much of the controversy revolves around the date itself, December 25th.

We are told that this date was originally a pagan holiday, and that Christmas arose out of pagan rituals. We are told that we can’t put “Christ” back in Christmas, because He was never in it to start with. Consequently, we are told that it is wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas. What of these claims? What is this day all about?

Christians, in fact, did not celebrate Christmas until the 4th century A.D. and there were already pagan festivals being celebrated during this time of year. These festivals were centered around the winter solstice, which was marked by the celebration of “saturnalia.” Saturnalia began in 217 B.C., and was celebrated on December 17th. The festival was later extended for an entire week, and did not end until December 23rd. This was a festival that celebrated the longest nights of the year. In essence, it was a celebration of darkness, which involved a number of evil and immoral rituals. There is no doubt that these festivals predated any Christian observance of Christmas. Beyond that, no one really believes that December 25th was actually the day of Jesus’ birth. So, why December 25th?

Let me take this opportunity to say, that no one truly knows when Jesus was born, but is it possible that there is a real Christian connection to December 25th? Yes!

Luke 2:8–11 (NKJV)

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

With the shepherds living in the fields at night, any date in December is almost certainly excluded. Given this clue, one prominent thought (though there are many) is early fall. Although we know that Gabriel was the angel who spoke to Mary, the angel who announced the birth is unnamed. Though it is speculation, perhaps this angel was Michael. Michael can certainly be considered as chief among the archangels, and is the patron angel of Israel, so it is fitting that he would announce the birth of the Messiah.

The early Christians, long before Christmas, celebrated a day called Michaelmas. This simply means “Michael sent.” This day was observed on September 29th. It is quite possible that this celebration was an observance of the announcement of the birth of Jesus. Another interesting clue may be found in John 1:14.

John 1:14 (NKJV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Greek word that is translated “dwelt”,” is eskenosen. The formal translation in “to live in tents.” Elsewhere it is translated as “tabernacle.” This is interesting, because it may be a clue that Christ was born during the feast of tabernacles. This is a week long festival that begins on 15 Tishri (Jewish calendar). Though the date fluctuates from year to year (on our calendar), that would put us very close to (if not on) September 29, Michaelmas.

By now, you are probably wondering “What does this have to do with December 25th?”

Starting with September 29th, lets rewind 9 months. This puts us at the end of December. In fact, between December 25th and September 29th, is a span of 278 days. 278 days just happens to be the ideal gestation period for a human baby. Are the wheels beginning to turn? It is quite possible that the conception of Jesus occurred on December 25th!

Consider for a moment that the true miracle is the conception. After all, virgins don’t conceive, but births happen every day. If you believe (as you should) that life begins at conception, then the incarnation of Jesus was at the conception, not the birth.

If this is the case, then God sent a ray of light into the world, at the darkest time of the year. While people are celebrating sin and darkness, God provides a light. Of course, we know that Jesus is the light of the world.

John 9:5 (NKJV)

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 8:12 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Although we can’t be sure, perhaps there is a real Christian connection to December 25th. If this is true, it is a real game changer for the legalists that are opposed to celebrating Christmas. It would mean that God picked that day before the foundations of the earth were laid. It would mean that it was always God’s special day, long before it was hijacked by the pagans. It would mean that the pagans stole the day from God, not the other way around.

What of all of the anti-Christmas arguments that stem from scripture warning us against pagan rituals? All of the Scripture that people use to support their anti-Christmas positions, warn against specific acts, not days. All days belonged to God before anyone ever stole them and began to use them for evil. I would have to ask, do you worship God the way the pagans worship their gods, do you perform the evil practices that they partake in? If so, you have a problem. Have you made the day and the season into an idol, or do you remain focused on God? Would you not celebrate your birthday, just because it falls on December 25th (because December 25th is a “pagan” day)? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself.

Perhaps the celebration of Christmas on this day is not an attempt the marry the pagan world with Christianity. Just maybe, the day was chosen by divine providence. The evidence strongly supports the case that Christmas day belonged to God long before the pagans got ahold of it. Besides, we don’t need to get hung upon who celebrates what day. It is not any particular day that is the problem, its what you do with that day that matters. The important thing is that we don’t act like the pagans act. It is certainly possible to celebrate Christmas without acting like a pagan.

Colossians 2:16–17 (NKJV)

16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

In the context of this verse, Paul was speaking to gentile believers who were being harassed by the Jewish believers. The Jewish believers were trying to shame the gentiles into keeping the Jewish laws and traditions. Paul set the record straight. He made it clear that the gentiles were not obligated to become Jews. He made it clear that it didn’t matter whether or not they kept the Sabbath, celebrated the Jewish feasts, or any other holiday.

This point is again made by Paul in Romans:

Romans 14:5–6 (NKJV)

5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

So, is it wrong to celebrate Christmas? Of course not. God Himself made a big deal out the birth of Christ!

Luke 2:13–14 (NKJV)

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

A multitude of the heavenly host, this sounds like a party to me. It was indeed a special day, when people could actually lay eyes on the Savior. So go ahead, celebrate Christmas. Have a great time. Just don’t forget that it REALLY IS all about Jesus. December 25th very likely marks the conception of Christ, and regardless of what anyone else has used that day for there is no Biblical reason not to celebrate Christ on that day.

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