Wednesday, December 13

The Origin of Christmas Day

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Christmas is the time of the year where the air is jolly and warm. Every person you meet is smiling  gleefully.  We can feel that positive vibe in the air. Every one is looking forward for celebration and cheers. People are rushing to buy presents. Households are busy decorating their Christmas tree. Above all, children are exalted anticipating Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

For Christians, Christmas means the birth of the messiah. The nativity is the center of the season and the only reason why Christmas is celebrated, or is it?

Following the given information that Jesus was born on December in the town of Bethlehem yields inconsistencies on the events of how the birth of Jesus was narrated in the bible.  As per Luke 2:8 “There were shepherds camping in the countryside, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”   Mid December up until mid of March is winter season in Bethlehem. The weather is either extremely cold to rainy. Shepherds can not camp their flocks during winter season because it is very cold.  Jews camp their sheep on early spring and they bring their sheep at home during rainy season. Therefore, it is unlikely that shepherds would camp their sheep in the countryside, much so at night, on the month of December.

There are many theories surrounding the true birth date of Jesus Christ. Some believed that Jesus was born in the fall around the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles or in the spring around the time of the Passover.  Also, an anonymous writings called “DePascha Computus” placed the birth of Jesus on March 28. Such documentations were found in North Africa around 243 CE.

Considering there are questions regarding the birth date of Jesus Christ, why then do we celebrate his natal day on December 25? Christmas day has been celebrated even before the time of Jesus Christ.  In fact, it succeeds the pagan feast of the Romans called “The feast of Saturnalia”.  The festive of Saturnalia is the most celebrated feast by the Romans. It was a seven day celebration of festivity, gift giving, drunkenness, abundance of foods and reversal of roles between master and slave. The masters became the slaves and the slaves play the role of the master.

Romans originally celebrate the birth of Sun-God Mithra on December 25. However, in the 4th Century, Emperor Constantine declared December 25 as the official birth date of Jesus Christ in his attempt to win the pagans into the Christian faith. Thus, the celebration of the birth of Sun-God became the birth of the son of god. The practice of the feast of Saturnalia was then observed and further gave birth under a different name, which is the Christmas day. Emperor Constantine succeeded and thus, results the unity amongst Christians and pagans under the Holy Roman Empire.

This may come as a shock for those who firmly believed that Christmas day is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I would not advise you to simply believe. I advice you to make your own research and find out the facts for yourself.

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