Dec 10 2008

The History of The Season of Christmas



   Behind Christmas history lies the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The actual date as well as the year of the birth of the Lord Jesus is not known, as there is no mention of it in the Bible.  This is evident from the fact that Mark, an ancient gospel starts with the story of the baptism of Christ.  The traditions and the customs inter linked with the Christmas festival predates the birth of Christ.   

   December 25th is regarded to be the day when Christ was born.  This particular date comes from Rome.  The Romans observed the festival of Saturnalia, to worship Saturn, the god of sowing and also to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God.  This festival was celebrated for a weeklong period, that is, from 17th December to the 25th December.  The Saturnalia festival was devoid of any Christian customs, so in order to introduce some Christian traits into the festival, some Christian leaders declared the last day of the Roman festival to be the when Jesus was born.  From then onwards Christmas began to be celebrated on December 25th. 

   The story dealing with the birth of Jesus Christ is found only in the New Testament.  Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary in a manger in Jerusalem.  Jesus is the Son of God.  The word Christmas in old English means Christ’s Mass.

   Our Lord Jesus was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem on the 25th day of December of what is regarded as the beginning of the modern day calendar.  But from the brief history of Christmas, it can be seen that the earliest stalwarts of the church in the 4th century regarded Jesus Christ’s birthday to be around the Saturnalia festival of the Romans (see above).

   Our Lord Jesus was the messiah of mankind and his eternal message of love, peace, and harmony is relevant for all times to come.  The birth of the baby Jesus brought three wise men from Asia who spread the news of the birth of a messiah.  The Bible does not tell us that there were exactly three wise men (magi).  It only tells us that three gifts were presented to the baby Jesus and we assume that there was one gift from each magi.  The angel Gabriel gave Mary news that she was chosen by GOD to give birth to HIS son Jesus.  The tradition of giving gifts, though not exactly of Christian Origin has great significance in the celebration of Christmas.  It is said that Jesus himself gave presents – mainly the gift of salvation.

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