Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Should Be a 24/7 Event...

Christmas is just around the corner. In fact, it’s half way down the block headed toward your house. It’s that time again. December 25 has been a popular celebration for many, many years.

In December, 2007, I wrote a column about Christmas. Among other things I wrote, “…no one knows the exact date Jesus was born.” I received several responses from that column. Most agreed that the birthday of Jesus is unknown. However, other responses were what I would term, “flak.” Some asserted December 25 was indeed the birthday of Christ.

First, allow me to state that nowhere in the Bible is a date given for the birthday of Jesus. All of the various conjectures of Christ’s birth are made by various historians and/or early church leaders.

It is interesting to note that when you research this topic, you will find theories and postulations that taken as a whole give nearly every month of the year as a possible month of Jesus’ birth.

To most of us, Christmas and December go together like a solved puzzle. However, for the first three centuries of Christianity, Christmas was not in December nor even listed on the calendar.

Some church leaders objected to a celebration of Christ’s birthday. Origen Adamantius, who was an early Christian scholar and theologian, spoke out that it would be in error to honor Christ in the same way that the pagans honored their gods. Many of Origen’s contemporaries did not agree with this assertion and began attempts to determine exactly which month and day Jesus was born. Apparently the actual records of his birthday were lost.

One of the early Greek theologians. Clement of Alexandria, favored May 20 for the birthday of Jesus. But he noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. A contemporary of Clement, Hippolytus figured out that the birth date had to be January 2. Others spoke out for November 17, November 20, and March 25. One document stated that the special day fell on March 21. Polycarp, who was bishop of Smyrna concluded that Christ’s birth most likely occurred on a Wednesday because the sun was created on the fourth day.

Christians first observed Christmas on December 25, 336, after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity to be the empire’s favored religion. But another problem developed in the 16th century when Pope Gregory devised a new calendar. The previous Julian calendar observed Christmas 13 days later than the Gregorian.

Pagan origins of the Christmas date and many pagan customs including gift-giving, merrymaking, greenery, lights, Yule logs and various foods have always heated up debates against the holiday.

An article by writer Elesha Coffman gives a more complete compilation of this topic at

One of the main points of Christ’s birth is found in the New Testament, Matthew 1:20-21. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (NIV).” You can read more of this story in the New Testament book of Matthew, Chapters 1 and 2 and also, in Luke, Chapter 2. By the way, the name Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation.”

While the opposition argues that Christmas is just, “paganism wrapped with a Christian bow,” others have determined as one theologian stated in 320, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.”

In my opinion, Christians should celebrate the birth of Jesus daily.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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