One of the biggest traditions surrounding Christmas is the belief that it’s also the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I’ve so far counted as many as two-hundred “happy birthday, Jesus!” posts on my news feed alone.
I hate to be the grinch that stole the Christmas spirit, but Christmas isn’t really Jesus’ actual birthday. Scholars say that Jesus was probably born around Spring and not winter considering how impossibly terrible of a condition it would be to have a baby in a manger in the middle of winter and the timing of the Roman census which was the time Christ was born as well.
So where did Christmas start and why do we celebrate it really? This may sound kind of weird to begin with, but Christmas is actually more about warfare than it is about some worldwide birthday celebration. Yes, warfare.
Christmas celebrations are surrounded around so many pagan beliefs, characters and practices. December 25 was first a day of celebration called Saturnilia, a time of debauchery and sin for the people of Rome, who would worship the Roman god Saturn in a week-long festival. Gift giving was done for “good luck,” and in the 18th century, even “Christian” Christmas celebrations were topped with recklessnesss, drunkenness and rowdy behavior (sounds pretty much like today).
The Christmas nay-sayer camp will look at all at this and say, “Christmas is from the devil!” But is it really?
My view of Christmas is it’s a day of warfare- where God has come to reclaim things that the enemy has stolen, killed and destroyed and for Christ to give life to the full (John 10:10). In attempts to “reclaim” December from Saturnilia, the church established the celebration of Christ’s coming in December. Jesus came into a broken and sinful world to win it back from sin and death. Everything about Christmas is about winning back the world to Christ.
Christmas might not be Jesus’ birthday, but it is the beginning of a revolution against the kingdom of darkness.
If by anything, Christmas isn’t a birthday party, but a day to remind us the importance of the gospel and why it must be preached. Such a large chunk of the world’s population still do not know the Christ we proclaim come Christmas day, and God calls us to be His mouthpiece to proclaim the truth of God’s gospel.
Christmas might not be Jesus’ birthday, but it is the beginning of a revolution against the kingdom of darkness. It’s a day to commemorate the day a humble birth in a run-down manger became the mark of our eternal hope pinned on a baby. Pagan priests came to worship Him, despised shepherds came to adore Him, and all in a dying town where nothing good came out of.
Christmas isn’t as glamorous as we think it is in the natural, but in the spirit, Christmas is the birth of a glorious future for all mankind. Jesus may not have been born on December, but we are given this privilege to bear hope for many come this day. Let’s not forget that Christmas is that opportunity to win back this world for Christ and to win back the fallen parts of us and surrender it back to Him.