(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
Why We Celebrate Christmas
By Bella Martinez
If you listen to Pastor’s Perspective on KWAVE- a radio show where people call in to ask pastors questions- you know that the question “Was Jesus really born on December 25th?” comes up quite frequently around this time of year.
The actual date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, but it hasn’t deterred people from wondering. Even in the third century, the date of Christ’s birth interested many. So much so that Clement of Alexandria is recorded to have his own speculations on the matter.
A major reason why December 25th was chosen is because this is the day of the winter solstice in the Roman calendar, and the shortest day of the year. According to St. Augustine, “Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase.”
December 25th was widely accepted to be the day of Christ’s birth from this sermon onward, and ever since people have been making a spectacle of this day. Christians have celebrated this holiday in a variety of ways, and more recently in history, pagans and other religions have integrated the holiday as a part of their cultures as well.
But as Christians, we know that the day of Christ’s birth is significant for a different reason. Christmas began the day Jesus entered the world as a man, to take on the sins of the world and die so that we may inherit salvation. Philippians 4:4 points out, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” We know we’re to celebrate Jesus every moment of everyday, so why is Christmas any different?
We celebrate Jesus as God’s gift to us. In the US, and other countries, gift giving is an integral part of the Christmas holiday. At Christmas time, we get to experience what it feels like to get exactly what we want, but know that Jesus is more than anything we could ever ask for. We also may get things we don’t want, but rest in the comfort of knowing we have everything in Jesus. The gift of salvation and the gift of having a Father who loves us unconditionally is the most anyone could ever ask for, and God so freely gave it in His Son.
This Christmas season, may we continue to rejoice in the Lord by celebrating the only gift given to us that will ever matter. Let us also continue to pray for those that have yet to accept the gift of Jesus Christ. As it says in Luke 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”