|The Meaning of Christmas
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Jesus "Christ" is known as the founder or central figure of "Christianity." Christmas is a Christian holiday on December 25 that commemorates the birth of Jesus. Ancient Romans also commemorated Jesus' birth by marking a division of the calendar still in use today. The years before Jesus' birth are marked as B.C. (Before Christ), and the years after Jesus' birth are marked A.D. (Anno Domini, which means, in the year of our Lord).
Christmas literally means the Mass (celebration) of Christ. "Christ" is a Greek word and title, meaning "anointed" or one set apart by God for a special purpose. "Christ" is equivalent to the Hebrew word "Messiah." Based on the words of ancient prophets, the first century Jewish people expected the arrival of the Messiah promised by God as a great deliver of the people.
Read the Christmas story from an ancient biographer, Luke (Chapter 2).
Luke's biography records how Mary and her husband Joseph left their home in Nazareth to travel to Joseph's ancestral home, Bethlehem, to enroll in the census ordered by the Roman emperor, Augustus. Finding no room in inns in the town, they set up primitive lodgings in a stable. There Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger or stall. Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, the home of the house of King David from which Joseph was descended, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. This is confirmed to Mary by a visit from angels and shepherds.
Read the Christmas story from an ancient biographer, Matthew (Chapter 1).
Matthew's biography begins by recounting the genealogy and virgin birth of Jesus, and then moves to the coming of the Wise Men from the Orient (likely China) to where Jesus was staying after his birth in Bethlehem. The wise men, or Magi, first arrived in Jerusalem and reported to the king of Judea, Herod the Great, that they had seen a star heralding the birth of a king. Further inquiry led them to Bethlehem of Judea and the location of Mary and Joseph. They presented Jesus with treasures of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
In Jesus' adult years, Jesus claimed to be this King, the Jewish Messiah (see: I am the King and Jewish Messiah). Ultimately, Jesus' claim to be Christ caused controversy and the religious trial leading to his execution. Christians commemorate Jesus' execution and believed return from the dead (resurrection) during "Easter."
Jesus also described His birth on earth as the most important "Good News," signifying that God Himself chose to come from heaven to earth to help make earth more like heaven (see: Good News: the Kingdom of God has Come to Earth).
Many people throughout the world have been prompted to ask questions about the life, death, and message of Jesus. Here's some of what you can investigate further at Jesus Institute, an educational resource about the person of Jesus:
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| These are my thoughts on the criticisms of celebrating Christmas |
Here is an interesting exercise, list all the rules Jesus gave his followers. You'll find very few. I am sure you can agree Jesus gave no instruction for exploring space, none for heart surgery and never told anyone how to build a church building (architecture), neither did he say "don't do those things".
Jesus never said "don't celebrate my birth" and he never said "do". No where in the collective works found in the modern bible does it say "don't" or "do". If another religion celebrates an event on one day must I celebrate on another? What would happen if the pagans celebrate on all days, where would be a time for celebrating something else?
The argument "because it was pagan" is weak. Much of our culture, language and behaviors can be traced back to "pagans" and "barbarians" yet we don't throw them out. We use pagan months in our calendar, the stars are named after pagan gods. So If I don't worship the stars or the months or the gods of old or celebrate who the pagans did - how is it I am celebrating a pagan holiday?
Trappings is also a weak argument, it shows me that those who thought of it are put off by comparisons. Yup, there are lots of celebrations in historic and modern religions of renewal and rebirth, the birth of a special god and the creation recycled but that does not mean Jesus was not born, and it does not mean we should not celebrate his birth; it only means there are lots of other uses for December 25th. What would happen if I told your boss at work, you practice pagan rituals in your office during work hours? Oh yes "tapping", "chanting", "reciting the names of the gods"; yet you don't do this as a pagan celebration, you call it typing, memorizing things, and reading a calendar.
Okay I admit, Jesus was likely NOT born on December 25th, the biographers of the day record "shepherds being in the field" and December is too cold for that, so since we celebrate "as often as we do theses things" atonement / Eucharist / communion, which proves you can celebrate something; why cant we celebrate anything we want, whenever we want - make up celebrations we feel good about and worship God with freedom and freedom of criticism and condemnation? Did not the Father celebrate the return of his lost son? The widow the lost coin? Luke 15.
Jesus used these words: "Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the Son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:34-36)
It is not harder then that unless one makes it so.
I will celebrate Jesus birth, I love the idea, and the season. Thank God for it. By: Victor Emmanuel
Category: The Meaning of Christmas