If you have an advent calendar , you are probably counting down the days until December 25th. Most kids are counting down to this day as they are anticipating opening gifts on Christmas morning. But where does this day really come from and what does the word Christmas really mean?
The word Christmas can be broken down into two words, Christ and Mass. The Greek word Khristos meaning “anointed” in the sense of the Messiah and the word maesse a Latin word referring to the Eucharist tradition known as the Lord’s Supper where the sacrament symbolizes the body and blood of Jesus . Together these words mean Christ’s presence. Ultimately, Christmas signifies the birth of Jesus. But Jesus was not born on December 25th. The Bible does not indicate the day that Jesus was born and most theologians and historians believe that based on the setting described in the Bible, it was probably more likely in the springtime.
Did you ever hear the saying, “All roads lead to Rome”? Well the answer to where does the date December 25th come from leads us to Rome. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great was born in Rome in A.D. 275 and became the leader in A.D. 306 People in Rome worshipped many pagan gods. As he was heading into battle one day, he had a vision of a cross on the sun with the words,” in this sign you shall conquer”. His army won the battle and he became a follower of Christianity. He designated the December 25th as a day to honor the birth of Jesus. He chose this day to replace the Roman pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice which originally celebrated the rebirth of the sun god.
Although, the Roman Calendar recognized December 25th as the date of Jesus’ birth in A.D. 336, many Christians did not celebrate this holiday. Puritans coming to the New World in 1620 banned the holiday as not being biblical. Some later Christians began to observe Christmas Day until the Revolutionary War, where many believed it was an English tradition that they no longer wanted to be associated with. Christmas was eventually recognized as a federal holiday in 1870.
We may never know the day that Jesus was really born, but his birth tells a story. A story of a world in need of a Savior. His story ended early as he was crucified at 33 years old destined to die on a cross for my sins and yours. As you follow your Christmas traditions this year, may your story include a belief in the promises that only the Lord Jesus Christ can bring.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year- God Bless