SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Looking for free sermon messages?
Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video

Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Christmas - Why December 25?

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 Next Page )
PosterThread
sermonindex
Moderator



Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 35804
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Christmas - Why December 25?

It's very tough for us North Americans to imagine Mary and Joseph trudging to Bethlehem in anything but, as Christina Rosetti memorably described it, "the bleak mid-winter," surrounded by "snow on snow on snow." To us, Christmas and December are inseparable. But for the first three centuries of Christianity, Christmas wasn't in December—or on the calendar anywhere.

If observed at all, the celebration of Christ's birth was usually lumped in with Epiphany (January 6), one of the church's earliest established feasts. Some church leaders even opposed the idea of a birth celebration. Origen (c.185-c.254) preached that it would be wrong to honor Christ in the same way Pharaoh and Herod were honored. Birthdays were for pagan gods.

Not all of Origen's contemporaries agreed that Christ's birthday shouldn't be celebrated, and some began to speculate on the date (actual records were apparently long lost). Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) favored May 20 but noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. Hippolytus (c.170-c.236) championed January 2. November 17, November 20, and March 25 all had backers as well. A Latin treatise written around 243 pegged March 21, because that was believed to be the date on which God created the sun. Polycarp (c.69-c.155) had followed the same line of reasoning to conclude that Christ's birth and baptism most likely occurred on Wednesday, because the sun was created on the fourth day.

The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273, reflects a convergence of Origen's concern about pagan gods and the church's identification of God's son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25 in 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity the empire's favored religion. Eastern churches, however, held on to January 6 as the date for Christ's birth and his baptism. Most easterners eventually adopted December 25, celebrating Christ's birth on the earlier date and his baptism on the latter, but the Armenian church celebrates his birth on January 6. Incidentally, the Western church does celebrate Epiphany on January 6, but as the arrival date of the Magi rather than as the date of Christ's baptism.

Another wrinkle was added in the sixteenth century when Pope Gregory devised a new calendar, which was unevenly adopted. The Eastern Orthodox and some Protestants retained the Julian calendar, which meant they celebrated Christmas 13 days later than their Gregorian counterparts. Most—but not all—of the Christian world now agrees on the Gregorian calendar and the December 25 date.

The pagan origins of the Christmas date, as well as pagan origins for many Christmas customs (gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts), have always fueled arguments against the holiday. "It's just paganism wrapped with a Christian bow," naysayers argue. But while kowtowing to worldliness must always be a concern for Christians, the church has generally viewed efforts to reshape culture—including holidays—positively. As a theologian asserted in 320, "We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it."

from: http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2008/august/why-december-25.html


_________________
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2016/12/7 8:49Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4043
NC, USA

 Re: Christmas - Why December 25?

I for one like Christmas right where it is.

I will be the first to admit that I am a Christmas fanatic. There is very little I don’t like about the Christmas season- except blow-up lawn décor (no offense intended). I will watch about every type of Christmas program unless Muppets are in it (except for Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas- a classic which really isn’t Muppets). I have every Christmas song ever recorded, unless it’s by some modern pop person like Katie Perry or Bruno Mars. I like everything to do with holiday baking and cooking, and every year I say I will make the old-fashioned steamed Christmas pudding (like in The Christmas Carol) that will actually taste good. Miracles do happen.

But I have to be careful, because Christmas is not a thing about itself; it is about a Person. So I need to ask myself—why am I making this peanut brittle? Why am I buying this gift? Why am I watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for the 50th time (at least?). Why am I hanging these lights on my house?

I think we can do these things and keep it about a Person—but we have to be intentional about it. We have to be thinking about The Person—a lot. I mean all the time, way more that we usually do. If we think about this Person, and let Him permeate our being, everything we do—including making that 10th batch of cookies- can be done for His glory.

Have you ever been so very excited about something- perhaps good news, perhaps an awesome answer to prayer, when you are so overjoyed that you feel like getting up and running around the house? Sometimes it is hard to contain our joy within ourselves. Christmas should be like that. We should be so overjoyed about this Person who was born in Bethlehem so long ago that the joy just has to pour out of us in many different ways—whether it’s buying someone a crockpot for a gift or building a snowman. But we have to MAKE these things be about a Person—not just “something to do.” Like the Grinch realized—“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” It does indeed. But if we are going to the store BECAUSE of the “little bit more,” (Dr. Seuss was a master at understatement) then we can truly experience the peace and the joy that this season so often promises but often, sadly, fails to deliver.

So, this Christmas season, let’s be intentional about keeping this Person, who is, after all, what this season is all about, in the forefront of our minds. Don’t feel guilty about spending a tad too much on gifts, or for eating way too much fruitcake, or watching a sappy, sentimental Hallmark Christmas movie. Just remember why you are doing it—or perhaps why you SHOULD be doing it!


_________________
Todd

 2016/12/7 13:54Profile
SugarRun
Member



Joined: 2011/2/6
Posts: 37
IA

 Re:

Why has Christmas become what it is today?


David Pawson begins to answer this question at the 14 minute mark, telling of the origins of the tree, Santa, Saint Nickolas, gift giving etc.


He will return to the spiritual side and prove by scripture and mathematics with certainty the month of Jesus birth.


As usual Pastor Pawson is very informative and extremely interesting. He gives details that we may just brush aside without a thought. Worth your time to listen. eileen


https://youtu.be/HNbJoihr5gM


_________________
Eileen

 2016/12/7 18:28Profile
savannah
Member



Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1493


 Re: Christmas




David Pawson on Christmas -

Part 1 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqwxP4hJSzE

Part 2 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pJZnDamlnk

Part 3 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkPhDaH7IJM

 2016/12/7 20:54Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4043
NC, USA

 Re:

"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart." ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


_________________
Todd

 2016/12/9 19:40Profile
savannah
Member



Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1493


 Re: father Christmas




To say "Merry Christmas" is equal to saying "Happy Hanukkah."

 2016/12/9 20:17Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4043
NC, USA

 Re:

If the quote fits...


_________________
Todd

 2016/12/9 21:50Profile
jstrang
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 143
Oklahoma

 Re:

I too, both personally and as our family, have convictions that we do and do not do as "traditional holidays" come and go. For us, we try to always remember (and trust me it has been a sanctifying process to think and act in such ways) that we must be obedient to God personally (James 4:17). We must always remember, I do not know who truly is born again, who is not; I do not know where some is in their sanctification with God; I do not know what someones knowledge level and experiences have been.

With this said, it is always best regarding specifics of worship, celebration, etc., to keep these things afresh in the mind, and then ask myself, "Do I really, I mean really, love others?" For if I do, I will pray, seek God's will in how, when and where I may be able to share with those of the church, those I am in daily community and those who I do not know in the public. Then specifics not pertaining directly with salvation can be rightly discussed with those who have yet to hear and understand just how far from the centrality of Christ we have become. May we all be the witness God has called us to be, in humility, love and a contrite heart.

I must not leave the "simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3) Amen.

Jeremy


_________________
Jeremy B Strang

 2016/12/9 21:59Profile
savannah
Member



Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 1493


 Re: annually




If December 25th came around twice or thrice each year, debt and suicide would double or triple every year.

But...at least many others would get what they really didn't need, and others would get what they wanted, and there would also be lots of money made entertaining the masses!

It's the most wonderfully indulgent time... Of the year!

Tis the season to be indulgent!

And it's that good, acceptable and pleasing will of God... according to many, who'd like us to be convinced of the same.

 2016/12/10 23:11Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4043
NC, USA

 Re:

"There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew, "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Speech by Scrooge's nephew, Fred.


_________________
Todd

 2016/12/10 23:43Profile





©2002-2017 SermonIndex.net
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Google+ | Privacy Policy