(Image: Clip art of a smiling polar bear snowman in a red hat and scarf in a snowy outdoor environment with the word December in white and capital letters)
This discussion is everywhere. Is December 25th really the day of the birth of Christ? Should Christians stop celebrating Christmas because it is a “Borrowed Pagan Holiday?”
It’s all about when Jesus Christ was actually born. Historians have been working to find the time of Christ’s birth for a while now. The two biggest arguments that shut down December 25th are actually direct pieces of evidence from the Bible itself; the book of Luke Chapter 2. Verses 7-8 say that shepherds were watching their flock at the time of birth. Such a job could never be done in the dead of the winter. Earlier, verses 1-4 say that Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census, something that never happened in winter.
According to historical records, Zacharias was serving around the dates of June 13th-19th. It is during this time when Elizabeth, Mary’s older relative, conceived John the Baptist. Luke Chapter 1 Verse 24-36 confirmed that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived. After some math, it is determined that John was born towards the end of March, meaning Jesus’s birth six months later would have to be in the end of September.
Why is Jesus’s birth celebrated December 25th? Well, UCG.org, the source used above, states; “history convincingly shows that December 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the Sun.” There are 14 different religious holidays on or near this date, and the oldest existing is not Christian. It’s kind of as if Christianity wanted to be like the Cool Kids and have a holiday in December like everyone else. No one actually knows the exact date anyone was born in the Bible. Perhaps we aren’t meant to know.
Why is it a big deal today? Paganism claims that Christianity stole their holiday ideas. That is unfortunately true in nearly all cases. The Christmas trees, the gold and silver decorations, the obsession with ringing bells, it’s far too similar to the Pagan December. Many of the Pagan population holds a grudge against Christianity for a great many reasons, the holiday just one of many. Easter is also a holiday derived from Paganism, but I’l talk about that one closer to that holiday.
Hundreds of years and Christmas still exists. Centuries more and Yule still exists. Every December holiday is burned into human culture, it is physically impossible for anyone to change the date of any holiday now, and this applies to both religious holidays and national holidays in every country.
Imagine if the president of the United States suddenly said that Christmas was now September 25th instead of December 25th, starting in 2021. Some people might go with it, but the majority of Americans would lose their mind. Other nations would lose their minds too, feeling like they must either adjust with the Americans, or fight the urge to break their peace because of such a decision. This would also involve shifting every detail of Christmas to a different month. Who actually want to do Christmas shopping any time other than the period between Black Friday and Christmas Eve? All the Christmas songs about snow and cold and snowmen and Winter Wonderlands would be out of place. Everyone that intends to use their voice would use it, expressing solid agreement or determined disagreement, thus causing internet wars and maybe even physical violence. Families could be separated by such an idea, friends with different beliefs lost, peace broken when the holiday advertises peace. Maybe in a few decades could we get the holiday in September, because it could be done with a long period of transition. But not enough people, Christian or not, would even want to begin the transition. It’s too late to change the date now, too late to change the old traditions, too late to get rid of the Pagan aspects and make it more of a Christian holiday, too late to be able to tell media that December 25th is NOT Jesus’ birthday without getting a terrible societal reaction. Some people will never know about all of this information. Many more may but will never care. It’s infinitely easier to just go along with whats been made normal. The damage has been done and will still be done in years to come.
At least, that’s what happens in my imagination when I think about changing the holiday now. It still doesn’t matter what you celebrate, if you even do celebrate anything in December. The choice remains up to each individual. Have a good holiday or normal month.