This week I came across an article on the origin of Christmas. According to this article, Jesus was not born on December 25th and the Christmas celebration has nothing to do with His birth, but has its origin in pagan worship of the god Saturn. The article also mentions the Christmas tree, wreath, mistletoe and Santa Claus as icons of pagan origin. According to the article, the festival was a time of revelry and debauchery, to say the least. After reading the article, I felt very discouraged. Why did Christian leaders choose December 25th, the date which, according to the article, marked the end of the Saturnalia festival, to celebrate the birth of Christ? The reason given is that they were able to convert many pagans to Christianity by promising that they could continue to celebrate the festival as Christians. Puritans later banned all Christmas festivities in Massachusets and the early colonies.
So, where does this leave us as Christians who look forward to celebrating Christmas every year?
Should we stop celebrating Christmas because we don't know the exact date of Jesus' birth, or because it has its origins in pagan culture, if the article is true? Should we stop our church services, family gatherings and gift-giving at this time? As I reflected on the article, I shared my thoughts with a good Christian friend. This is what she said to me: "We know that Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Even the way we celebrate it today does not honor Christ, but what the devil means for evil, God can turn it around for good." Halleluiah! My heart leaped for joy at her words. What the devil means for evil, God can turn it around for good.
If the content of that article, and others like it, is true then the devil saw the festival of Saturnalia as a great way to slap God in the face, to dishonor His only begotten Son whom He sent to die on the cross to redeem His children back to Him. Satan's plan was to make a mockery of Jesus' birth and to make us all look like hypocrites, but Satan has always been a liar and the father of lies (John 8 : 44). He wants us to believe that celebrating Christ's birth is a bad thing. However, if we use the day as a time to gorge ourselves with food and drink and indulge in things we have no business indulging in, then we are playing right into Satan's hands.
We only have to look around us now to see what is happening. Under the guise of separation of church and state, images of the Holy Family can no longer be displayed in public places, employees are being fired if they mention the name of Jesus or wear any symbol associated with Jesus, or even say 'Merry Christmas'! These present day policies in America would make a Roman pagan blush! Halloween has become a very popular religious celebration in America and churches are once more getting in on the action. This year I saw more Halloween displays in public places than ever before. Are we raising up Satan and lowering Our Lord Jesus Christ?
December 25th, CHRISTmas Day, is almost here and I plan on celebrating it. I'm not interested in the tree or the mistletoe and I've long stopped writing letters to Santa. But I'm gonna celebrate. Want to know why? Because I think everyday should be Christmas Day. I'm ecstatic that Jesus Christ came to save me from my sins. I don't know when He came and it's not important. All I know is He did come, He died on the cross, returned to heaven and is coming again to take me to live with Him in a world where there'll be no more sin, no more suffering and no more death. Now that's something to celebrate!