Tis the Season

His birth was prophesied 4000 years before He was born, yet God in His wisdom never revealed an actual date. Our society’s celebration of Christmas might be a testament to the reasoning behind this Holy silence. “Christmas Cheer” kills thousands on our highways each holiday season, suicides increase in December – more than all other times of the year combined– and the greatest “blessings” seem to be enjoyed by retail businesses. ‘Tis the season.

Sound cynical? Consider this. Christ was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-2), of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-25), in a stable where shepherds visited Him (Luke 2:1-20). When wise men, with three gifts, came to worship Him (Matthew 1:1-12; not necessarily three wise men), Joseph, Mary and Jesus were living in a house (Matthew 2:11); Francis of Assissi’s “nativity scene,” AD 1224; is grossly inaccurate. There is no evidence for a December date and, quite probably, is the wrong month. The earliest attempt at dating Christ’s birth comes from Clement of Alexandria, AD 188, but the first “Christmas” celebration was from Pope Liberius, AD 354; the term is not in the Bible but from the Latin Christes Masse, or Catholic’s “Mass of Christ.”

Until Emperor Constantine “Christianized” Rome, no one thought to celebrate Christ’s birth but, since that time, “Christmas” has been embellished, idolized, and distorted. However, Christians had been celebrating a scriptural “birthday” since around AD 33: His resurrection (Colossians 1:18)! And, we have details: the exact day of the week (Matthew 28:1), the authorization to celebrate it, the how-to (Matthew 26:26-29) and an example of the New Testament Church doing so (Acts 20:7).

Whereas God encourages joy, family fellowship, gift-giving and various other Christian activities often seen during Christmas, to the mature Christian, it is a national, non-religious holiday rife with opportunity to reach sincere seekers of truth. So, may all your Christmases be right.

JDS