There is much controversy around the history of Christmas. Many believe that its roots go back to pagan origins. Even Christians have conceded to this information, provided by mainstream media.
See for yourself. Type “Christmas has pagan origins” in any search engine. You’ll discover the false propaganda. They print it hot off the press every year.
These claims came about because Christmas dates the same day as a pagan festival, Saturnalia. A celebration of the winter solstice.
These articles don’t provide any evidence of these claims. They don’t show or reference original documents. They only stand upon their supposed “expertise”.
Allow me to explain.
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Where did Christmas come from?
The earliest evidence of Christians celebrating the birth of Christ depends on your location.
There are differences between the West and the East. In the West, there seems to be decent evidence as early as the 250’s or so. The East emphasized apostolic evidence to celebrate on January 6th. This date stems back from around the early 200’s.
Christianity was on the rise in the 2nd to 4th centuries. Meanwhile, pagan religions were beginning to collapse. Why would Christians borrow from pagan religions that were beginning to fade away?
It is unlikely the early Christians would decide to borrow from pagans. It was a time of persecution. The idea that there was a desire to look like the pagans is misleading.
Is Christmas really Jesus’ birthday?
There is no date given in the Bible when Jesus was born. But, there are clues that can help us out.
One of these clues centers around John the Baptist. In the first chapter of Luke, the narrative tells us that Mary visits Elizabeth. When she does, we find out that Elizabeth is already 6 months into her pregnancy.
Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months. (Most likely until John is born, although the narrative doesn’t say). That means, that after John was born, Jesus would have been born around 6 months after. The key to figuring this out is actually John’s father, Zechariah.
“Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:8–13).
The main clue is that while Zechariah was serving as priest, this news was given to him. Shortly after, Elizabeth conceived.
We know what tribe Zechariah was a part of. We also have the courses of the priests and what order they were to be serving in. There are records documented in the Talmud as well as other sources. (You can also refer to 1 Chronicles 24).
If we put all this information together, we can figure out when Zechariah was serving. In turn, you figure out approximately when Elizabeth was pregnant. This gives us a 2–3 week window of when Jesus may have been born.
This 2–3 week window falls between December 25-January 6.
Are Christmas traditions pagan?
Many argue Christmas traditions are pagan because they’re used in pagan practices. These traditions include stuff like the tree, mistletoe, and wreath.
I’d argue differently. Traditions may resemble a pagan practice, but that doesn’t mean paganism is taking place.
Many pagans practiced ancestor worship. They hung pictures of their ancestors in their homes. With the logic of the anti-Christmas crowd, we should take down any pictures we have of our parents or grandparents.
Of course, you might say, “We’re not worshiping our ancestors though”.
And that’s exactly my point.
Celebrating Christmas with the typical decorations shouldn’t be associated as being pagan.
It’s not the practice that matters, but the motive behind the practice.
John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
The true meaning of Christmas
The true meaning of Christmas isn’t to bring out our inner-pagan selves. It’s to commemorate the birth of our Savior and Messiah.
The book of Isaiah records prophecies dating seven hundred years before Jesus living on earth. These prophecies are fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 7:14 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means God with us)
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his named shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 53:3–5 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.
What did Jesus do for us?
Around two thousand years ago, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect, sinless life that we couldn’t live. He wasn’t received well. Not even by his own kin. He was betrayed, tortured, and died an excruciating death on the cross.
But His story doesn’t end there. His death paid the penalty for sin. And he rose three days later, conquering death.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death”
You may ask, what exactly is sin?
The Greek word used for sin is hamartia. This means to miss the mark.
It is easier to understand this concept by imagining a shooting target and the bullseye. Anything outside of the bullseye is outside of the will of God. It is an offense against God. Anything short of perfection is not enough.
No matter how much we try, we can’t save ourselves.
Jesus died so we don’t have to. And He extends eternal life to us. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is Lord and repent from your sins.
Don’t trust in yourself. Don’t trust in your works. Trust in Jesus.