Christmas is more than just a holiday as some would want to make it. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Those who would like to de-Christianize Christmas are simply reverting to the traditions of the past. Let me explain.
The history of the celebration of December 25th dates back over 4000 years. Many of our Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals (parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians. As such December 25th was celebrated by many different pagan cultures.
As Christianity spread, the early Christians were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs among their converts. At first the Church forbade this kind of celebration. But it was to no avail. Eventually it was decided that the celebration would be tamed and made into a celebration fit for God’s gift of the Son.
The Christian “Christmas” celebration was invented to compete against the pagan celebrations of December. The 25th was not only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity’s main rivals at that time. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and gifts from festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas.
Now, many want to turn Christmas back into little more than a secular holiday. What concerns me is that many Christians actually go along with saying “Happy Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas.” And worse, when our children think of Christmas they think of presents more than Jesus.
If our nation wants to secularize Christmas and take Jesus out of it, so be it, but Christians shouldn’t. It’s about Jesus; not presents or merriment. It’s about God’s gracious gift to an uncaring world. It’s about God recreating everything and everyone in the universe.
So, all of us at EBA wish you a merry Jesus Christmas. He’s the reason for the season. Our prayer for all of you is that Jesus will be a reality in your life this Christmas.