- How Christmas Came About? - (part 2 of 3)
"Merry Christmas and May God bless you this time of the year".
What is it that caused Christmas to come into being? No matter in what country you have lived on earth, Christmas has always been a time to remember the birth of Jesus.
What is it that caused Christmas to become a national holiday in The United States Of America?
The national holiday part is easy. After the Civil War, through an act of congress a bill was sent to President Ulysses S. Grant stating, " the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas Day," would be designated as a national holiday. That's right, the bill congress sent to the president for his approval called the day, "Christmas Day". On June 28, 1870 President Grant signed the act and from that day forward December 25th, according to our government, is the national holiday called "Christmas".
What is it that has caused December 25th to be designated as the date we celebrate the birth of Jesus? This is a question that doesn't have a clear answer. However, there are two main ideas about why this specific date was chosen and both of them go back a long way in the history of mankind.
Many teachers and historians wrote about the birth of Jesus from the time He was alive yet the earliest mention of the date of December 25th as Jesus' birthday comes from the middle of the fourth century (300 years after Jesus' birth) when the Roman almanac recorded December 25 as "natus Christus in Betleem Judeae" which translates to "Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea." In the search for the origins of the Christmas date, the most popular theory has been that the Christians wanted to borrow dates from pagan Roman celebrations so more pagans would be open to accepting a holiday celebrating the birth of a non-pagan deity. The written documents I have read from scholars who have spent a considerable amount of time on this issue universally state December 25th as a theoretical date and not a factual date.
A second theory comes from those who believe that Jesus was conceived and died on the same day of the year. These scholars establish March 25th as the day of Jesus death and if you assume that He was also conceived on March 25th then He was born nine months later on December 25th. Using the same logic, some religious organizations established April 6th as the day of Jesus death and January 6th as the day of his birth. Today the Armenian Church continues to use January 6th as their time of celebrating Jesus' birth.
For the purpose of celebrating Christmas, I don't think it really matter if Jesus was born in December, January, June or August. Christmas is a date that the Christian Community has chosen to celebrate what Jesus' birth means to mankind, not to honor the specific day on a calendar the He was born. Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season of Christmas.
Next week we will look at the question, Why?
NEXT: " Why Christmas Came About" - (Part 3)
* I have been receiving some great comments and want to thank all of you who have been contacting me.
"Even if someone does not believe that the baby Jesus was the Son of God born for the redemption of a fallen mankind, there are some things about Christmas that must be admitted."
[Nick Streza. PROGRESS IN AMERICA, Redefining The American Dream, (Tate Publishing 2011), page 217]blog comments powered by Disqus