Each year hundreds of thousands of people get ready for December 25th, which is accepted widely as Jesus’ birthday. Is it?
Barnes, a noted Presbyterian scholar, in his comments on the birth of Christ, states, “The climate was mild, and, to keep their flocks from straying, they spent the night with them. It is also a fact that the Jews sent out their flocks into the mountainous and desert regions during the summer months, and took them up in the latter part of October or the first of November, when the cold weather commenced. It is probable from this that our Saviour was born before the 25th of December, or before what we call Christmas. At that time, it is cold, and especially in the high and mountainous regions about Bethlehem. But the exact time of his birth is unknown; there is no way to ascertain it. By different learned men. it has been fixed at each month in the year. Nor is it of consequence to know the time; if it were, God would have preserved the record of it. Matters of moment are clearly revealed; those which He regards as of no importance are concealed.” Albert Barnes, NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1958), pp. 18, 19.
This Presbyterian scholar shows us that December 25th cannot be the birthday of our Lord. Where did this tradition originate that Dec.25th was the birthdate of Christ? According to Collier's Bible Dictionary, as well as the Catholic Dictionary, the Catholic Church admits they started it! Pagans were celebrating the birthday of Mithra, the son god, on December 25th. They replaced it as Jesus' birthday.
Many traditions around the birth of Jesus have sprung up which are not scriptural Those who so devoutly recognize December 25th as the birth of Christ seldom if ever check the New Testament to see what is fact or what may be fiction.
A CHRONOLOGY OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
1. Appearance of the angel to Zacharias, Luke 1: 5-25
2. Angel appears to Mary, Luke 1:26-38
3. Mary visits Elisabeth, Luke 1: 39-56
4. Birth of John the immerser, Luke 1:57-80
5. Angel appears to Joseph, Matthew l:18-25
6. The birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem, Luke 2:1-21
7. Presentation at the temple on the 8th day, Luke 2:22-38. Jerusalem is north of Bethlehem about 6-8 miles.
8. Visit of the wise men (never says 3), Matthew 2:1-12. Joseph, Mary and Jesus now in a house.
9. Flight into Egypt, Matthew 2:13-18
What did the first century church, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit, say and do about the birthday of Jesus Christ? There is not one shred of evidence that the church of Christ in the first century ever celebrated the birth of Christ. Since the Holy Spirit never authorized Christmas or December 25th as the birth of Christ, why go beyond the scriptures and establish something by tradition which God did not give?
Churches of Christ celebrate the birth of Christ, his death and resurrection each time we come together in worship. In the Lord's supper each Sunday we remember his death, 1 Corinthians 2:26. In recognizing his death, we give our testimony to his birth. We meet on the first day of the week to worship Jehovah through Jesus, thereby proclaiming that He has been resurrected. The Lord's day or Sunday is the day He was resurrected on! We set no special day aside to give honor to the birth of Christ. That would be tradition. We recognize His birth and life each day of our lives, as new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
The sad thing about this time called Christmas, is that many Christians, caught up in the commercialization of the hour will rob their contribution to Jesus to buy gifts for their family. Will a man rob God? I would like to buy gifts for a lot of people, not because I believe December 25th is Jesus' birthday, but because I want to show my love and appreciation to folks at the end of another year. However, many will never receive any material gift from me, since I refuse to rob my contribution to buy gifts. I will simply have to say "thank you everyone for making this a wonderful year for me and my family!"
I might mention one or two other things about this tradition called Christmas. The word CHRIST-MAS is a contraction of two words - Christ and Mass. It came from the Catholic celebration of a Mass for Christ.
Some complain about Christ being taken out of Christmas when they see the word Xmas. Actually, in Greek, Christ is spelled “Christós” (Χριστός). The Greek letter, “X.” is our "Ch.” So, Xmas is supposed to be an abbreviation of Christmas. However, we have already seen that Xmas or Christmas is nothing but a Catholic tradition rather than a Biblical teaching. Yes, Jesus was born. But not on December 25th. How can I celebrate Jesus' birth? Not by having a special day set aside, in which I give gifts to others and call it Jesus' birthday, but rather by living for Him who came to die for me! That is the greatest testimony that Jesus lives -- in me! –author unknown.