Silent Night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright...
Such a wonderful song. This is the song we should all be singing. It’s lyrics are classic and best of it is that: they are all true.
However, Christmas which is supposed to depict something of Christ (correct me if I’m wrong. Christ-mas) has now been transformed lately by so many into the celebration of a holiday of snow, Christmas trees🎄, Father Christmas or Santa Claus 🎅🏽, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer etc.
I mean, for Christians to follow suit on all these I wonder what kind of Bible we all share. I have never seen any of these things or people in the Bible. Have you? So why do we follow the world to celebrate these things? Beats me. Especially when Christ Jesus is replaced by a dude called Santa Claus with a pot belly, sleigh pulled by reindeer and the deep sound of greeting: Ho Ho Ho!!! I wonder where that dude came from. Well no matter. I want to share something interesting. I call it the real Christmas story.
First, it’s plain from the Bible that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December. Maybe that pot-bellied dude was. I don’t know. The Bible never indicated that for Jesus. Judging from the month of birth of John the Baptist who was six months older than Christ, the census in the Gospel historical records, the shepherds who were out in the fields watching their flocks at night (which can never happen in the extremely cold season of December) and others: the birth day of Jesus will fall on the later days of the Month of September. 29th to be exact. We can do a complete studies on that later. I don’t want to be such a drag to you with the super long and probably boring details.
The baby was born earlier in a stable, due to overcrowded conditions at the local inn. Because of the lateness of their arrival, the inn had canceled their reservations and had given the room to another weary traveler.
The angels met the shepherds while they were watching their flocks at night. They sang a wonderful song before the shepherds. Then they led the shepherds to the location of the newly born messiah, Jesus lying in a manger in the stable.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe(nepios) lying in a manger.
The magi came way later. When they arrived, they didn’t meet the newly born baby (nepios). Jesus was a little grown (paidion). Paidion ranges from a child just born (John 16:21) to a young child. Also, they didn’t meet him lying on a manger. He was with his mother in a house.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child(paidion) with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
Magi hail from the ancient kingdom of Babylon. They were the educated class of wise men who had the authority to crown the new king. They also acted as advisors to the kings, and were experts in the signs of the heavens.
On the birth day of Jesus, they witnessed a very unusual event. Jupiter, the king’s planet, “crowned” Regulus, the king’s star-the star that was positioned between the feet of the lion (Leo constellation ). It fulfilled the prophecy of Genesis 49:10:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver (Regulus, the “regulator”) from between his feet until Shiloh comes.
They knew from the teachings of Daniel that this was a sign of the birth of the Messiah in Judea. Daniel, after all, had been appointed head of the magi, as we read in the first chapter of Daniel. He “continued in office” (Daniel 1:20) until the reign of Cyrus close to 70 years later. Daniel had made a huge impact on the magi, for he had added to their knowledge the messianic prophecies of Scripture.
So when Jupiter began to move across the sky from east to west, they followed it to Judea. On the night of December 24, 2 B.C., as they watched from Jerusalem, Jupiter hovered directly over Bethlehem, and it led them to the child they were seeking.
The magi arrived three months later on December 24/25, giving the “new-born king” gifts. The magi then went home by another route, instead of reporting to King Herod. At the same time, Joseph took his wife and child to Egypt for their protection.
Jesus was three months old at the time, the same age that Moses was taken into the house of Pharaoh for his protection (Exodus 2:2). Coincidence? Prophetic is more like it. Moses mentioned that:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
Deuteronomy 18:15 NIV
Anyway, let me explain why the issue of the gifts came along. Maybe I’ll add just a bit of the Christian concept of Father Christmas. Spoilers: He wasn’t Santa Claus.
About 335 A.D., a kind old man from Ephesus named Nicolaus, later known as the St. Nicolaus, decided to follow the example of the wise men. He began to put small gifts at the door of the poor on the night of December 24 each year. The idea caught on and spread quickly. To that simple tradition were added many other features, some good, some not so good. They eventually lumped the shepherd’s visit in with that of the wise men(magi), and they began to celebrate it as if it were Christ’s actual birthday.
So then, should we Christians celebrate Christmas?
Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas Day. I get that. But interesting things happened on that day concerning Christ.
Jesus was conceived on December 25, 3 B.C., then born 9 months later September 29, 2 B.C., witnessed by the shepherds, and then, magi arrived 3 months later on the night of December 24/25, 2 B.C. which was the anniversary of His conception.
Conception simply means the moment of fertilization or implantation of the seed in the womb of the mother.
Remember the time when angel Gabriel met Mary; telling her, “Hooray girl. You’re gonna be pregnant and the father will be the Spirit of God.”? Yep. That was the moment of his conception.
This happened on the sixth month after the Angel met John’s Father. That month, if you study well from scripture, falls on Kislev, December around 24/25th.
Well what do you know, December 25th is an important day after all.
The commercialization of Christmas in recent centuries, however became a problem. Poor old Saint Nicolaus was turned into Santa Claus with reindeer led by Rudolph. Trees and yule logs were added to the celebration. The Roman holiday of Saturnalia (Dec. 17-23)was banned, but the pagans found that they could continue their celebrations if they just moved their holiday back a few days to December 25. Christmas provided the perfect “cover” for Saturnalia.
However, none of the pagan additions to “Christmas” can change the historical and biblical facts. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all who celebrate Christmas are pagans. That day still holds Biblical and historical facts that should be appreciated. It was set first by the Christians as a tradition for the sake of love and in honor of acknowledging the King of kings and the Prince of Peace. Besides, isn’t the prophetic and the miraculous (among many others) viewed as such? Because false prophets, witches, magicians, clairvoyant etc. do like things doesn’t mean that we should give up on these two and render them pagan. Should we?
Yeah December 25 wasn’t the day of Jesus’ birth but it was the day of His conception in Mary’s womb; as well as the day of visitation of the Magi presenting gifts.
While men look outwardly at appearance of this festivity, God looks at the motives of the heart. Focusing on Santa Claus, snow, some lame Christmas tree, under the mistletoe, Rudolph etc. That is a bad idea; it’s paganism in fact.
But focusing on Christ, stripped of all the paganism and non-essentials is another issue. Nicolaus’ motive of giving gifts to the poor on the 25th was all about Love. What was wrong with that? On the contrary, the Bible encourages such. Just as Christians celebrate national holidays and see nothing wrong with it; the same goes for this festivity.
Living for Christ is something that should be done everyday. 25th December is also another day just like the others. This would mean there’s no harm done in celebrating Christ on that day when the motive is thanking God for releasing such a wonderful gift to mankind. We were advised to thank God always anyway.
The Bible never specifically says we should not celebrate Jesus’ birthday, but the same never specifically said that we should either. This also goes for a lot of things, like national holidays, Mother’s Day, flying on airplanes or how church service should look like. We are not held in bondage anymore instead we live by the Law of the Spirit of Life.
Celebrating Christmas or not depends on your motive and target. Pagans will use it for theirs. They moved their pagan celebration dates to clash with the Christian holiday. Not vice versa. Please do not be deceived by them. There’s nothing wrong in not celebrating Christmas. Also, there’s nothing wrong in doing so with the right motive and target.
Unlike the pagan features, you can simply use this day to thank God for this child that was born into the world to be The Savior, King of Kings and the Prince of Peace.