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While many Christians choose to commemorate Christ's birthday on Dec 25th, or especially treat Christmas day as a time to remember and celebrate Christ's coming to Earth, Christmas is not synonymous with nor does it signify Christ's birthday. [See the related eBible topic: https://ebible.com/questions/5290-where-is-the-christmas-story-in-the-bible#answer-14566] Historically, it is very doubtful that December 25th is the actual day Christ was born. It is doubtful that Christ was born in the winter-time at all, actually, given that Jerusalem winters are very cold, and shepherds of the era brought their sheep into the folds at night between October and March. For a brief summary of some of the historical and scriptural contradictions (or scriptural silence) on some iconic myths often repeated around Christmas time or in Christmas pageants, see: http://www.christiananswers.net/christmas/mythsaboutchristmas.html While no one can claim to know definitively the day Christ was born in Bethlehem, there are some very strong theories that have been proposed based off scripture, astronomy, and historical writings. Jan 6th, April 2nd, September, and June are commonly proposed candidates. http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/568/When-Was-Jesus-Born.htm http://www.bethlehemstar.com/starry-dance/westward-leading/ Scripturally, there is no mention of Christmas, as it was a holiday that was not celebrated until the 4th century AD. Also, while God appointed many holy days to point towards the coming of Christ (Col 2:16-17, Ex 34:18, etc], scripture does not record God appointing the day Christ came to Earth as a holy day to be annually recognized. [Christ did say in I Cor 11:24-25 that His death should be commemorated via communion, however, which may be done often and not just yearly]. As such, scripture does nothing to promote or require celebrating Christmas. We do know that we are free to keep Jewish holy days or not (Rom 14:4-6), so we can assume by extension that we are definitely free to not keep secular days or days appointed by man if we choose not to. Here are some related eBible topics on what advice scripture gives in regards to Christmas and its customs: https://ebible.com/questions/2652-should-christians-celebrate-christmas#answer-8706 https://ebible.com/questions/6655-are-the-easter-bunny-and-santa-claus-considered-idols#answer-18167 https://ebible.com/questions/3552-should-we-have-a-christmas-tree-does-the-christmas-tree-have-its-origin-in-ancient-pagan-rituals#answer-17366 https://ebible.com/questions/2087-is-it-wrong-to-say-xmas-instead-of-christmas#answer-14563 https://ebible.com/questions/320-should-we-give-gifts-at-christmas#answer-14171 Culturally, 'Christmas' varies in meaning from person to person, both within groups of believers and groups of non-believers. To many non-believers, it is a secular holiday revolving around winter, family, and presents. Gifts are exchanged, children may take photos with Santa Clause, Christmas themed stories are told, people go caroling, trees are decorated, etc. They may vary in beliefs as to whether Jesus was an important historical figure, or believe Jesus is just as mythical as Santa Clause. Particular customs vary around the world. To many believers, it is a day revolving around celebrating Christ's birthday, commemorating Christ coming to Earth in fulfillment of prophecy, spending time with family, and exchanging gifts. The mythical Santa may or may not be a large part of the festivities. Donations to charities and to the work of the church increase significantly this time of year. To other believers, the day may not be kept at all, and is treated like any other day. It is not an official holiday of the church, and it is up to one's conscience whether they keep it or not and what customs they include. Of those three areas; history, scripture, and culture; it is only popular culture that often treats Christmas as signifying Christ's birth.
Are Christians supposed to celebrate Christmas? There has been a long-standing debate regarding whether Christians should celebrate Christmas. What does Scripture teach? This holiday is not just a remembrance or a birthday of a great man, or another holiday to have a party, but the celebration of the one and only time God took on a human body. What is the origin of the word Christmas? Christmas comes from the Old English words Cristes moesse, 'the mass or festival of Christ'. But what does "mass" really mean in the compound word Christmas? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term mass evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin missa, which is a form of the verb mittere, which means "to send." Consequently, the root meaning of Christ-mass is "to send Christ," or "Christ is sent." Is God against describing the coming of His son with a word meaning "Christ is sent"? Did not Paul refer to Immanuel's incarnation as the sending of Christ? "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman..." (Galatians 4:4). Moreover, the Savoir spoke often of "him who sent me." There is nothing inherently obnoxious in the name Christmas. The term accurately represents what the holiday is all about or should be—the sending of Christ. The first celebration took place in Rome about the middle of the fourth century. The origin of Christmas is the "Christ mass" or the yearly church gathering in which the birth of Jesus was celebrated. The Bible offers many reasons for why believers celebrate the birth of Jesus as the true meaning of Christmas. First, the Bible recognizes the birth of Jesus as a special event. It was a virgin birth (Matthew 1:18): "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." It was announced by angels (Luke 2:10-14): "Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:14 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" It was attended by shepherds (Luke 2:15-20): "So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.' 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them." It was acknowledged by wise men (Matthew 2:1-12)
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