There are differing opinions as to the origins of celebrating on December 25th. Some believe that the date of Christmas corresponded with the winter solstice. Another thought is that December 25th corresponds with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the unconquered Sun). Others connect it with the Roman holy day Saturnalia, which was marked by gift giving, eating and drinking. Yule logs and trees are remnant from pagan traditions of Northern Europe.
Image via WikipediaSanta Claus is the beloved figure who visits homes on Christmas Eve and leaves presents for children. It is believed that this legend originated from St. Nicholas, a real person who lived in a Greek area, now located on the southern coast of Turkey. He was orphaned as a child and dedicated his life to serving God and is remembered for his care and concern for children and the poor.
Given the pagan origins of the Christmas holiday, what should a thoughtful Christian response be? Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that we should remember the birth of Jesus. Instead, we are told to remember His death with communion. We also know that his birthday probably wasn’t December 25th. It is thought by some that his birth may have coincided with The Feast of Tabernacles, when He came to “tabernacle” with men.
Nonetheless, Christmas is a favorite holiday among many Christians. Glorious hymns and carols have been written to commemorate the birth of the Savior. Many families try to eschew the commercialism of the holiday and have meaningful celebrations focused on Jesus, with acts of love and service to family and community. Others celebrate the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6. Still others forgo Christmas entirely and choose to focus on the Biblical Holidays.
However you choose to celebrate Christmas, let the warmth of the season be a time inspired by Jesus. Prayerfully seek out ways your family can serve God and help the needy.