Why we celebrate Christmas

Christmas Day Celebration

So the season is here again to celebrate Christmas. Indeed, it is another time to make merry, jump around and observe all sort of the usual things we do to mark the festive period of Christmas. Has it occurred to you why we actually celebrate Christmas or Noel? What is the significance of Christmas? Was Jesus born on 25th December? Any letter documentation of Christmas in the bible? Is Christmas a mere jamboree or not?

I write to bring to your notice what you know already or may not be aware of to reproof, reappraise and justify the significance of the Christmas Day. The questions I posed in the introductory paragraph was triggered by the various misconceptions surrounding the genuineness of Christmas and why it is observed. Some say it’s a mere jamboree, some say it’s a ritual, and some say it’s paganism. But I say, there is no validity in such claims.

As a kid I asked my mum of what necessity is Christmas Day, that people go to Church, slaughter chicken, cook rice, pound yam, wear a new cloth, sharing of gifts, etc? Her response: we celebrate Christmas Day because of Jesus. Not satisfied with her response, I fired her another one: was Jesus born on Christmas day? She said yes but there was no record in the bible that it is so. However, she said Christians around the world came together to choose 25th of December as his birthday. That is the mindset I have about Christmas till today.

On a broader perspective, Christmas is the fusion of Christ and Mass i.e. Christ’s mass. By my interpretation it means the assembly of Christ or Christian faithfuls to celebrate Christ or the birth of Christ. The historical documentation of Christmas and when Jesus was born is however, very vague. Actually, Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, but according to some Christian scholars, the celebration of Christmas started in the 4th century when the Western Christian Church adopted 25th of December to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

In contrast to the above submission, another account says Christmas Day is not even on the 25th of December but on the 7th of January. This claim is advocated by the Eastern Christian Church who believe in the Julian calendar year as against the Gregorian calendar supported by the Western Christian Church. The Gregorian calendar is what we currently use today. There is also another documentation that real Christmas was first observed in the year 336 AD, 24 years after a Roman Emperor, Constantine, established Christianity as the state religion. Fortunately, the Roman Saturnalia traditional festival celebrated on the 25th of December was co-opted by Christians (the state) to win more converts. That was how 25th of December was adopted as Christmas day.

jesus-the-reason-for-the-season

Nonetheless, Christmas is lovely, worth celebrating because it represents the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for the adoption of the 25th of December. It is when there is no reason that is when we can say this celebration is baseless. Christmas is not a ritual, it is a remembrance day that somebody was given birth to. We are celebrating Christmas because of the birth of Jesus which brought hope to mankind and recovery and restoration from eternal damnation. It is of utmost importance to observe this great day in reflection of what the birth of Jesus signify to the Church and to the world at large. Without the birthday of Jesus, of course there would be nothing like His death on the cross of Calvary to redeem man from sin. Jesus is the price or an atonement offered by God to get us back to Himself.

There is this popular saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. There are 2 significant steps or stages by which the salvation of man was guaranteed: the birth and the death of Jesus. The birth of Jesus was a fundamental decision God needed to make before you and I could be saved. Hence, you should be happy, make merry but never forget the reason why Jesus came. In other words, beyond the merry-making, the reason for the season is nothing but salvation. Yes, the dawn of a new era so that man can once again lay claim to immortality flopped by the first man on earth.

Of what necessity is this celebration to Christians? The celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day represents one of the focal pillars of the Christian faith. Christians could not have been celebrating this day if Jesus Christ was not given birth to by Mary. Thus, you should not be confused that Christmas is just a mere jamboree. Christians should or must celebrate this day no matter what the world says or even some so-called Christians because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Would you not rather celebrate a day set aside to remember him even if he was not born specifically on that day?

Any foundation in the bible that someone was given birth to? Let’s go to the book of Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.This particular passage says, unto us a child is born and this child is a wonderful one, not just any other child! Validity for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is therefore confirmed. Furthermore, there shall be no end to the kingdom of this child called the Prince of Peace. What reason(s) do we have not to honour the birthday of someone who brought peace and salvation to the world?

Again, there is no specific date in the bible that says Jesus was born on the 25th of December. The closest clue to Jesus’ birthday was given by St. Luke (read Luke chapter 1) which is assumed to be late September or early October according to the calculations of Christian scholars. But there was a gathering by advocates of the Christian faith to pick 25th of December as the day to remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Kindly note.

Let me coast home. Although there is no specific letter documentation of Christmas in the bible, but there’s a mention that a King is born and the government shall be upon his shoulder. For the fact that a king is born, there’s a birthday! And this birthday was unanimously tagged Christmas or Noel to celebrate the emergence of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and saviour of the world. So let’s humbly come and humbly bow before him. Let the earth be glad, let the heaven rejoice, let there be a joyful noise, let the people make merry and show charity to each other because Jesus is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!

©2016~Sharp Journal

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PAITOR ODUN

PAITOR ODUN

Paitor Odun is an advocate of good news and a praise and worship leader. As a kid, he was an active member of a children group involved in the spread of the gospel. He attempts to bring back that zeal through this platform. Feedback—paitor-odun@sharpjournal.com

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