Debunking the Myths of Christmas

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Was Jesus Born On December 25?


The definition of a myth is a traditional story or a widely held but false belief or idea.


No one knows the date on which Jesus was born and there is no record of any date being set apart to mark His birth during the first 300 years of the history of the church. It was not until the 4th century that Christians started to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25 in an attempt to Christianise the pagan celebration of the birthday of the sun.


The World Book Encyclopedia defines "Christmas" as follows: "The word Christmas comes from "Cristes Maesse", an early English phrase that means "Mass of Christ."


Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts. 


The observance probably does not date earlier than AD 200 and did not become widespread until the 4th century.


The Bible offers few clues for a date. Celebrations of Jesus’ nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year.


Does this all mean we are wasting our time celebrating Christmas in December? Not at all. The main point of Christmas is not chronology but theology.


Does this mean that the birth of Jesus never happened? No, the birth of Jesus is a historical truth.


When Luke records the event of the birth of Jesus, he links it to a census that took place. The Roman census – requiring all Jews to return to their ancestral home to be counted – is one of the most famous incidents in Luke’s version of the nativity story. Some historians have cast doubt on the tale, opining that it simply wasn’t Roman practice to uproot families in such a way. However, we know from other historical sources that the Roman governor of Syria, Quirinius, called a census of Judea and that he did so in AD 6.


Why is God’s entry into human life good news? It shows that the God of the universe really understands what it means to be human, like you and me. The Incarnation made possible the saving power of the crucifixion and resurrection. Because of Christmas, there is Good Friday and because of Good Friday, there is Easter.


My prayer is that as you focus on the true meaning of Christmas and thank God that He sent Jesus to die for your sins, you will get a fresh revelation of Jesus and worship Him and not Christmas.


Quote: “Christmas is a season which almost all Christians observe in one way or another. Some keep it as a religious season. Some keep it as a holiday. But all over the world, wherever there are Christians, in one way or another Christmas is kept.”— J. C. Ryle


Prayer: Lord, I thank you that You sent your Son into this world, in history, as an expression of Your love for me. Help me never to forget that. Amen