Nena Arias | December 17, 2018
There are few events of utmost importance for the human race and certainly the coming to earth of our Savior in human flesh, God’s holy Son, Jesus, who conquered sin and death and rose again to redeem us from eternal death and destruction, are the most important.
Christmas Day, which is celebrated on December 25, is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. It celebrates Jesus’ birth. He is the fulfillment of God’s first promise of redemption to the human race (Genesis 3:15). It was a long time coming, and all that went on from the time of the fall of man into sin to the coming of the Christ child, was all necessary to fulfill the wisdom of God and how he chooses to do things. Time is on his side and he is never in a hurry, but he is always faithful to fulfill what he has promised.
Jesus’ specific birth date is unknown. There is disagreement among scholars on when Jesus was born, but truly, the calendar date is not the most important. What is important is that he did come and fulfilled his all-important and impactful mission. His benefits are still with us and will be throughout eternity.
The word “Christmas” comes from the old English “Cristes maesse”, or the mass of Christ. It is likely that the Christmas date of December 25 was chosen to offset the pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti. It’s also possible that the celebration of the birth of the “true light of the world” was set at the time of the December solstice because this is when the days in the northern hemisphere begin to grow longer. Not all countries celebrate on December 25. Some still use the Julian calendar and celebrate Christmas on 7th January. But again, the most important factor is not the calendar date but the event itself and its meaning to the human race and all of creation.
Christmas holiday customs derive from various cultures, it is a world event and not associated with any particular country. It is important to point out that most of the traditional symbols like holly, ivy, mistletoe, snowmen, and decorated evergreen trees are of pagan or commercial marketing origin. It is festive and fun to enjoy them, but we are not to emphasize the superficial over the essence. Jesus is still the reason for the season and always will be.
Images of the manger scene with Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men and the Christmas star, are symbols associated with the true biblical account of Jesus’ birth (Gospel of Luke). He is what makes a Merry Christmas!