Is Christmas the Birth of Jesus
Is Christmas the Birth of Jesus, christmas was not always celebrated on December 25.
The Bible does not specifically indicate the day or season when Mary is claimed to have given birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, so December 25 is not the day of his birth. Early Christians didn’t observe his birthday.
As a result, there are various stories about how and when December 25 came to be recognized as Jesus’ birthday.
According to most sources, the birth was once believed to have occurred on January 6 — in or about 200 A.D. Why? Although no one is certain, religionfacts.com speculates that it might have been the product of “a computation based on an assumed date of crucifixion of April 6 mixed with the ancient idea that prophets died on the same day of their conception.”
The birthday celebration had been relocated to December 25 by the middle of the fourth century. Who decided what to do? Some accounts claim that the pope was there, but others disagree.
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The anthropologist Sir James George Frazer’s “The Golden Bough,” a hugely famous comparative study of religion and mythology from the 19th century that was first published in 1890, outlined one of the most popular explanations on why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.
The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion was the name of the first edition; The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion was the name of the second edition.
By the third printing, in the early 20th century, it had been published in 12 volumes, albeit there are condensed versions that comprise only one book.)
Frazer addressed the subject of religion from a cultural, rather than a theological, angle, and he made a connection between the origins of Christmas and ancient paganism. According to Bartleby.com, the 1922 edition of “The Golden Bough” claims the following concerning the origins of Christmas:
Our holiday of Christmas, which the Church appears to have directly appropriated from its pagan adversary, is a telling reminder of the protracted conflict.
Because the day starts to get longer and the sun’s power starts to rise from that point in the year, the twenty-fifth of December on the Julian calendar was considered the winter solstice and was known as the Nativity of the Sun. The nativity ceremony, as it seems to have been observed in Syria and Egypt, was astounding.
The celebrants retreated into some inner sanctuaries, from which they burst forth at midnight with a resounding cry: “The Virgin has given birth! The light is becoming dimmer!
On the occasion of the winter solstice, the Egyptians even created an image of a baby to serve as a representation of the newborn sun for his worshipers.
The great Oriental goddess known to the Semites as the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess—in Semitic regions, she was a form of Astarte—was without a doubt the Virgin who conceived in this manner and gave birth to a son on December 25.
Due to the fact that Mithra’s worshipers frequently associated him with the Sun—or the Unconquered Sun, as they called him—his birth also occurred on December 25.
Because the Gospels make no reference to the day of Christ’s birth, the early Church did not observe it.
However, over time, Egyptian Christians came to recognize January 6 as the date of the Nativity, and by the fourth century, the practice of remembering the Savior’s birth on that day had become widely accepted across the East.
However, the Western Church, which had never acknowledged the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, adopted the twenty-fifth of December as the correct date at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century. Over time, the Eastern Church also came to accept this decision. The alteration wasn’t made at Antioch until around the year 375 A.D.
What Factors Prompted the Establishment of the Christmas feast by the Ecclesiastical Authorities?
A Syrian author who is a Christian himself lays out the reasons behind the innovation with admirable candor. He explains that this is why the fathers changed the date of the sixth of January celebration to the twenty-fifth of December.
The heathen had a tradition of lighting candles as a sign of celebration on December 25th, the day on which they commemorated the Sun’s birthday.
The Christians participated in these observances and celebrations as well. As a result, when the Church’s doctors noticed that Christians were inclined toward this holiday, they sought advice and decided that the genuine Nativity should be celebrated on that day and the Epiphany feast should be celebrated on the sixth of January.
As a result, along with this tradition, the practice of lighting bonfires has persisted until the sixth. Augustine explicitly alludes to, if not outright admits, the fact that Christmas originated among the heathens when he urges his Christian brethren not to celebrate that solemn day like the heathens on account of the sun, but rather on account of him who created the sun.
The pestilent notion that Christmas was solemnized because of the birth of the “new sun,” as it was known, rather than the advent of Christ, was also refuted by Leo the Great.
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In order to shift the adoration of the pagan from the Sun to him, who was dubbed the Sun of Righteousness, it appears that the Christian Church made the decision to celebrate the birthday of its Founder on the twenty-fifth of December.
However, a piece titled “How December 25 Became Christmas” on the website of the Biblical Archaeology Society challenges this theory:
This origins explanation for Christmas has issues, despite its current popularity. For starters, it is not mentioned in any early Christian writings.
The solstice and the birth of Jesus are linked, according to Christian writers of the time. For instance, the church father Ambrose (c. 339–397) referred to Christ as the true sun, outshining the old order’s fallen gods.
However, early Christian authors never make any allusion to contemporary calendarical engineering, indicating that they do not believe the church set the date. Instead, they interpret the synchronicity as a sign from God, or as conclusive evidence that He chose Jesus over the false idols of the ancient world.
The first connection between the date of Jesus’s birth and pagan feasts was made in the 12th century, it says, after the earliest reports of a date for Christmas, which were made about 200 A.D., “Christians were not adopting significantly from pagan rituals of such an obvious kind.”
There was obviously a lot of uncertainty, but there was also a lot of interest, in placing the birth of Jesus in the late second century. However, by the fourth century, there were two dates that were widely acknowledged as Jesus’ birthday and were likewise observed as such: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor).
Although most Christians observe Christmas on December 25, January 6 eventually became known as the Feast of the Epiphany, honoring the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The modern Armenian church still celebrates Christmas on this day. Between became the holiday season, which was afterwards referred to as the “12 days of Christmas.”
A Roman almanac published in the middle of the fourth century that includes a list of the demise dates of numerous Christian leaders and martyrs contains the oldest reference to December 25 as Jesus’ birthday. In other words, nearly 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people celebrating his birth in the middle of winter. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea…”
Here is some more Background Information on the Secular Character of Santa Claus.
Here is some more background information on the secular character of Santa Claus. The St. Nicolas Center (whose website’s subtitle reads:
The origin of the Santa Claus we know today can be traced to a man named Nicolas, who is thought to have been born in the third century A.D. (see “Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus”). Patara village was once Greek and is currently Turkish.
The pious Nicolas, who was reared by his uncle, is claimed to have received a sizable inheritance after the passing of his parents when he was a little child. He was ordained as a priest and utilized his wealth to aid others and safeguard children by doing miracles for them.
According to the center, he was killed in 343 AD after being persecuted by Roman Emperor Diocletian. buried a church, where manna—a substance with miraculous healing properties—formed in his grave. Dec. 6, the day of his passing, was remembered with joy.
How did this man, who was revered as a saint, become Santa Claus—the man in the white beard and red suit?
According to the St. Nicolas Center, Columbus brought St. Nicolas to the New World and named a Haitian port after him in 1492. Over the years, Europeans have revered him as a saint. In line with the center:
After the American Revolution, New Yorkers proudly recalled the practically forgotten Dutch heritage of their colony. St. Nicholas was pushed as the patron saint of both society and the city by John Pintard, a powerful patriot and historian who formed the New York Historical Society in 1804.
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Washington Irving joined the group in January 1809, and on December 6 of that same year, he published Knickerbocker’s History of New York, a work of satire that made several allusions to a cheery St. Nicholas figure. It was an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe, not the pious bishop.
The origins of the St. Nicholas legends in New Amsterdam can be found in these delightful flights of fancy: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St. Nicholas; that the colony celebrated St. Nicholas Day; that the first church was named after him; and that St. Nicholas descends chimneys to bring gifts.
The “first remarkable work of imagination in the New World” was thought to be Irving’s writing.
On December 6, 1810, the New York Historical Society hosted its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner. For the occasion, John Pintard hired Alexander Anderson, a painter, to produce the first depiction of Nicholas in America.
Nicholas was shown as a gift giver, with stockings full of candy for kids hanging by the fireplace. The poem that goes along with it concludes, “Saint Nicholas, my beloved good friend! To serve you forever was my goal; if you’ll grant it to me now, I’ll continue to do so as long as I’m alive.
The Children’s Friend, the first lithographed book to be published in America, included various novel components in 1821. This “Sante Claus” rode in on a flying reindeer on a sleigh from the North. The images and poetry by an unnamed author were instrumental in changing the connotations of a saintly bishop.
Santa Claus behaved didactically, praising good deeds and punishing bad ones, leaving a “long, black birchen rod… guides a Parent’s hand to employ when virtue’s road his kids refuse.” There were no crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets to blow their eyes out or their pockets; instead, gifts were safe toys like “beautiful doll… peg-top, or a ball.”
Instead of using drums to dazzle their mother’s ears or swords to terrorize their sisters, they should use attractive books to fill their minds with knowledge of all kinds. Even the sleigh itself had a shelf for “beautiful books.” S. Claus made his debut in the book on Christmas Eve rather than December 6, which was notable.
Then, in 1823, the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” which later came to be known as “The Night Before Christmas,” gained popularity. This was when the modern image of the chubby Santa began to take hold, with his sleigh drawn by reindeer and the chimney serving as his method of delivery.
By the 1920s, illustrations by Norman Rockwell and other illustrators showed a cheery Santa wearing a red coat, and by the 1950s, he was portrayed as a kind figure who gave gifts.
Although St. Nicholas — not Santa — is still recognized in many other nations, that Santa eventually became the one that children in the United States and other countries know today.
Nicolas: Is he real? The website’s summary regarding Santa is as follows:
Some claim that there is no solid historical evidence for St. Nicholas and that he only existed in folklore. Even though they may be embellished to create more captivating tales, legends typically do arise from true, historical occurrences.
Numerous St. Nicholas tales appear to be a combination of fact and fiction. However, some of the details about St. Nicholas’ life may be historically accurate.
They give a distinct impression of his personality, which is further developed in subsequent storylines.
(You may read more about those “facts” in the article “Was St. Nicolas a Real Person?” here). There you have it, then, Some Christmas history that you might not be familiar with. You already have it if you’ve read this far.
What the Bible Says About Christmas
Based on the Bible, one can assume when Jesus was actually born. The presence of shepherds keeping an eye on their flocks is a key plot piece in the account of Jesus’ birth. According to the United Church of God, this is explicitly stated in the Bible at Luke 2:7-8 and is such a significant element of the narrative that it has been included in Christmas songs.
The weather would not have allowed shepherds to be caring to their flocks at the end of December, according to numerous sources, including the books “Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays” and “The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary.” This suggests that Jesus was born in a month that was warmer.
The idea that Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem for the Roman census was another crucial story piece pertaining to the birth of Jesus and the parents’ journey to their homeland of Bethlehem. According to claims, the census would not have taken place in the winter, or specifically in December, because a low attendance was predicted.
Many Christians base their estimation of Jesus’ actual birthdate on the birth of his cousin John the Baptist. Jesus was six months in the making when John was. Jesus’s birth would fall in June if his birth were taken into account. According to the United Church of God, Jesus was most likely born between June 13 and June 17.
In his 1970 book The Story of Santa Claus, author William Walsh claimed that Christians chose December 25 as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus in an effort to win over non-Christians to their religion. It was seen to be a compromise between divergent viewpoints.
Both December 25 and December 24, or Christmas Eve, are days when churches around the world celebrate Christmas.
What is Christmas?
Christmas is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus’ birth. Christmas in English, which means “mass on Christ’s day,” is a very modern invention. The Anglo-Saxon gel or the Germanic jl, which both referred to the winter solstice feast, may have been the source of the earlier term Yule.
The names for nativity in their respective languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, and Nol in French—are all probably used in that order. The term “Christmas” in German means “holy night.” Christmas has also been a secular family celebration without any Christian components since the early 20th century, celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians, and distinguished by an ever-expanding exchange of gifts. Christmas was originally celebrated as a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus, but in the early 20th century, it evolved into a secular family celebration that both Christians and non-Christians celebrated.
The secular celebration, which centers on the mythological character Santa Claus, frequently lacks Christian components.
We are ultimately left wondering how December 25 came to be known as Christmas. We can’t say for sure. Pagan customs may have had some influence on the festival’s development from the fourth century till the present.
However, the exact date may actually have more in common with Judaism than with paganism because of Jesus’ death at Passover and the rabbinic idea that great things may be expected repeatedly at the same time of the year.
However, we may also be touching on something that the pagan Romans who celebrated Sol Invictus and many other peoples subsequently would have recognized and claimed as their own in this idea of cycles and the return of God’s salvation.