Day of Christmas
36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.” 37 “So you are a king?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”
“Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. 2 My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? 3 When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. 4 You know the way to the place I’m going.” 5 Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.1
As Christmas has become more secular, there seems to be an emphasis on identifying its origins with the Roman feast of the birth unconquered sun (natalis solis invicti); a feast connected with saturnalia celebrating the sun’s increasing presence after the winter solstice. The argument goes that Constantine united the holidays since he thought Christians worshiped the sun. It would appear Christians celebrated Christ’s birth far before Constantine and based their celebrations on the belief Christ died on the date on which he was conceived. Some Christians placed his date of death on March 25 while others thought it to be April 6. When we add nine months to those dates we get our dates for Christmas and Epiphany. In placing a date for Christ’s birth, the Church did not pick an arbitrary date based on the secular culture; rather, it changed the culture’s celebrations by its worship of God.
People seem to latch on to the secular opinion of the date of Christmas because they want a reason to celebrate that is not dependent on the Church. In that theory the day is special, and we simply attach the meaning we like because, after all, it was originally a pagan holiday that was artificially usurped. However, if Christmas was figured through the date of Easter, then the day is only meaningful because of Christ and we have removed any possibility of a secular holiday. If Christmas was of purely Christian origins, then it only has meaning to Christians and those outside the Church cannot celebrate. People desperately want to celebrate and find joy and meaning in their lives. We have an obligation to expound the true origins and meaning of Christmas; so that, we may give people a true reason to celebrate. The secular Christmas leads to “Blue Monday”, a time of depression; let us give the people the true Christmas that leads to eternal joy. A truly Christian celebration of Christmas leads through Easter and into the life with Jesus that God intended.
Eternal Father, thank you for sending your Son to live among us, help me to truly celebrate this sign of love, and, grant that I might take this knowledge to the world to give others a reason to celebrate, through Christ Jesus. Amen