But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
A Christmas Message
We rejoice at the Virgin Birth of our Blessed Lord and only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
But, we don't see anywhere in the Bible that he was born during the ancient, pagan feast of Saturnalia, on (or even near) December 25.
SATURNALIA AND THE WINTER SOLSTICE
According to Wikipedia, “Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms . . . .”
The early Roman Catholic Church had a habit of incorporating popular pagan feasts into the Catholic calendar and renaming them with Christian names. Saturnalia became Christ’s Mass (Christmas).
The earliest known reference to the birth of Christ on December 25 is in the Roman Philocalian calendar of AD 354. That’s 354 years after the birth of Christ that December 25 is first mentioned.
As the Catholic Church spread northward, it later incorporated pagan, Nordic traditions, also celebrated during the Winter Solstice. From these we get the Christmas Tree, Yuletide Log, Holly Wreath, and Santa Claus.
HEBREW FEAST OF TABERNACLES
More likely, our Lord Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles (late September to early October) when it was still warm enough for the Shepherds to be in the field with their flocks at night, near Bethlehem, in Judea.
Consider also the following verse of Scripture:
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The New Testament Greek word translated "dwelt" in the verse above can also be translated "tabernacled."
God set up a human tent (tabernacle) of flesh and God the Son "dwelt" (tabernacled) with man for 33 and 1/2 years here on earth.
The announcement of the birth of our Lord Jesus to His mother, Mary, was probably made at earth's darkest hour, during the Winter Solstice (a few days before December 25).
This would be about 9 months before His Virgin Birth in Bethlehem during the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles.
OUR LORD’S COMMAND TO REMEMBER
It is good to remember His miraculous Virgin Birth, as it is to remember anything the Bible records about Him.
But, the one thing our Lord Jesus commanded us to remember, was not his birth, but His substitutionary death on the Cross for our sins.
We remember this best as a group of baptized believers, gathered together for the Lord’s Table (Communion).
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19
We are to preach the Good News of His death for our sins and His Resurrection from the dead, the third day, according to the Scriptures.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
And he took it, and did eat before them.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And ye are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:39-48
For anyone interested in learning more about Christmas, there is an excellent DVD available from Jeremiah Films. It is called “The Unwrapping of Christmas.” You can buy or rent it. It is well worth watching.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss