Christmas: It’s Not Jesus’ Birthday?
Growing up, christmas was a big tradition in my family, just as it was or still is in the families of many. Every year, we would attend a large family gathering on the night of December 24th, which seemed like one big party going into December 25th. I was always told that during christmas, we celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ, and that the celebrations we held were to honor him and also symbolize something important. For instance, the reason we received gifts and gifts were given on this day was supposedly to represent the gift that God gave to us in Jesus Christ. Though having no scriptural references to support this (I didn’t read the Bible, so none was needed), this logic and all the other christmas celebrations and traditions were rationalized to me. And like everyone, I just went along with it.
As I got older, however, I began to hear people more and more say that christmas is not Jesus’ birthday. I heard several explanations about what christmas was really about - commercialism, pagan tradition, a scam - which was totally different from what I heard growing up. Nevertheless, I didn’t pay much attention to these things, and honestly didn’t concern about the meaning of christmas, and still kept it. But there was always an uneasy feeling in me because of this. I was always bothered when people said they did things “in the name of God”, when in reality those things had nothing to do with God. And in regards to christmas, I came to understand why I felt this way towards this particular holiday after coming to the World Mission Society Church of God, when the truth of christmas was revealed to me, and I learned it really had nothing to do with God.
Is Christmas Jesus' Birthday?
To me, this question has become almost a rhetorical one. “Is christmas Jesus’ birthday?” Most people in the world, whether they’d admit to it or not, know that December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is even certain that Jesus wasn’t even born in December. Biblical evidence supports this:
Luke 2:8 - “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over there flocks at night.”
It is recorded in the Bible that around the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds were out in the field keeping watch over the sheep at night. One thing to note is that shepherds DO NOT abide in the field at night in late December. It’s too cold! They take the sheep to the field by day and bring them inside at night. So there is no way that the birth of Jesus Christ took place on December 25th, or even in the winter months.
History actually suggests that He was born sometime around March or April, around the time of the Passover. Then, why do people celebrate christmas as Jesus’ birthday, even though it has nothing to do with Christ Himself? And where does christmas actually come from?
Son of God or Sun god?
Many people will be surprised to find out that christmas has its origin from pagan rituals, which came about hundreds, even over a thousand years before Jesus Christ was born. December 25th, the date in which people celebrate Jesus’ birthday, has no true significance in Christianity. It does, however, in paganism; specifically sun worship.
December 25th’s meaning:
In pagan world, this time is known as the winter solstice. When the days are shortest and nights are longest, this was the greatest time of year to practice the works of darkness. December 25th itself has it’s origin in Persia, which worshiped Mithra, the pagan god of the unconquerable son. Mithra is said to have been born specifically on December 25th. Later worshiped by Romans, his birthday was the holiest day of the year. This day followed a month-long winter solstice celebration, in which all of Rome’s order was turned upside down. By 270AD, Roman Emperor Aurelian made it an official celebration of the Roman Empire; from December 17th to the 24th, culminating in an exchange of gifts on the 25th. It was later to be known as Saturnalia.
Many Roman-pagan customs, including Christmas and other sun worship, infiltrated Christianity several hundred years after Jesus and the Apostolic age. As the Romans invaded Britain and brought their pagan customs with them, Saturnalia and other festivals were adopted by the Church in England around the 4th century. The birthday of Jesus Christ had not been celebrated up until this time. But now, the birthday of Jesus coincided with the birth of Mithra, the sun god. To those who accepted the tradition, the birthday of the sun god became the birthday of the Son of God.
What About Santa Claus?
Please refer to the video posted above for this explanation. You won’t believe me if I told you.
For a more detailed explanation on the truth about christmas and the festivals celebrated during this pagan feast, please check out the video above. You can also go to this post on thetruewmscog.com for a clearer explanation of the history and also why, as Christians who follow Christ, we do not celebrate christmas in the World Mission Society Church of God.