First off, I love Christmas. It is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Family, holiday cheer, presents, no work or school. I love it.
However, it seems the vast majority of people are enjoying Christmas under some false pretenses.
I detest mindless traditions that are carried out without any idea of the meaning behind them. For example, saying “Bless You” when someone sneezes. Last time I checked, I wasn’t possessed by any evil spirits, which is the origin of that custom. People once believed that sneezing was a sign of demonic possession.
Unfortunately, the same sort of ritualistic behavior and mindless tradition has become attached to Christmas. People seem to be under the misconception that Christ was born on December 25th, and that that is why we celebrate “Christ”mas. Unfortunately, that is a very incorrect assumption.
Jesus Christ probably wasn’t born anywhere close to Christmas (likely closer to Passover in the spring), and the holiday Christmas has nothing to do with Christ.
In 270 AD, a man known as Nicholas was born. He later became a Catholic bishop, and is best known for his part in the First Council of Nicaea (which, by the way, declared the Jews to be the “Children of the Devil”…obviously wrong, since Christ was a Jew). In the 1800’s, Bishop Nicholas was declared by the Catholic Church to be a Saint, and thus was born “Saint Nick”, or Santa Claus as we have come to know him.Every other facet of the Santa myth has been added over the years.
As to December 25th, the Catholic church had a lot of trouble in their early days trying to win over the Pagans. In an effort to bring the Pagans over to Christianity, the Catholic church told them that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia, a week of riotous behavior culminating on December 23rd (or 25th, depending on which historian you ask.) At the same time, according to the Julian Calendar, the Winter Solstice (another Pagan holiday) fell on December 25th. In order to tie in these Pagan traditions to Catholicism and Christianity, the 25th of December was declared to be the date of Christ’s birth.
Our celebration of Christmas is replete with Pagan traditions. Take the Christmas tree for example. The Asheira cult, an early Pagan group, worshiped trees. At the time of the Winter Solstice, they would decorate the very trees they worshiped. In another attempt to win the Pagans over to Christianity, the practice of bringing a tree into your home and decorating it was incorporated into the newly formed celebration of Christ’s birth. Thus was born the Christmas tree.
The same goes for the presents we place under those trees. It started with the nobility at that point in time requiring their followers to give them gifts at the time of the celebration, and slowly moved on to the general populace. Cool tradition, but again, nothing to do with Christ, the gifts of the Magi, or anything else remotely related to Christianity.
A careful study of both scriptural and historical records will show that Christ was most likely born around the time of Passover, putting his birth in late March or early April. Christ was no longer an infant when he was found by the Magi, but a toddler, probably just under 2 years old (as evidenced by the fact that Herod had all children 2 and under killed). I hate seeing nativity scenes where the Magi are present and Christ is an infant, as that is purely fiction.
So I rest my case. Christmas is an awesome holiday, and it is fun to celebrate, but it is not about Christ. It is a Pagan holiday modified by the Catholic church to win converts. Nothing more. Enjoy the holiday, but remember what Christmas is really about…nothing. It’s just a holiday.
If you really want to celebrate the birth of Christ, try Easter 🙂