Christmas is considered to be one of the global celebrations. But do we know its history, origin, and where the term ‘Christmas’ came from? Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Christ. But is that true? Was Jesus the actual reason?

There is something undoubtedly childlike about the season of Christmas. Kids sing in pageants, families gather around the Christmas tree opening presents, friends carol, and merry-making. There is a sense of generosity and peace-making during this season that is impossible to deny.

Many people light candles, setting up the Christmas tree because they are inspiring and comforting. That’s the way we look at these traditions. But we need to look at the story behind all of this.

1. History of Christmas – Origins, Traditions & Facts

1.1. Birth of Jesus Christ

Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod, the Roman King of Judea, and the reign of the Roman Empire Augustus. His parents were named Mary and Joseph; both were Jews. He grew up in Nazareth. Joseph was a carpenter, and Jesus took up that work, a standard tradition for the boys during that century.

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Jesus’ career began shortly after that of the charismatic prophet John the Baptist. He gathered his disciples in the Galilee. He chose 12 male disciples for a particular role with him. He preached among people and got his success. Where he preached old testaments and frequently used parables to teach. He showed the people kindness, spoke the truth regardless of the consequences, and helped those below the society.

He respected the Jews and always followed them. Jesus decided to journey to Jerusalem, where he received a tumultuous welcome. Some Jerusalem authorities were witnessed when Jesus arrived. The Jews were very happy about his arrival. The Romans were terrified about his influence and saw him as a threat, so they plotted his death. The people went to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to crucify Jesus, and further he was crucified.

Jesus was said to be reincarnated and appeared to some of his disciples. He is truly human and divine and the ‘God with us.’

1.2. Celebrating Christmas

By the year 125, when the last book of the Old Testament had been written, the Christians had accepted Luke’s beliefs that the world would not end soon and the second, the coming of Christ, was off in an indefinite future.

In the second century, the Christians wanted assemblies and churches for their living. The period’s literature shows fewer and fewer references to prophets and charismatic figures and more and more references to those who engaged in day-to-day ministries. Perhaps people are not as compelling as prophets but are more necessary to keep the church functioning.

1.2.1. Is Christmas the Day Jesus Was Born?

The Bible has no date for the birth of Jesus we chose that date so how did we land on it? Here comes the exciting part: the first celebration of the birth of baby Jesus was on December 25th in Rome in the year 336. As we can see, it is almost 300 years after the death of Jesus that they began to celebrate this date.

The Real Reason for Christmas- All You Need to Know 1
Source: Pixabay

There is no proof of that date, but more suggestions exist. One was in the year 336; there were all kinds of pagan festivals, and one was to worship the sun god on the winter solstice. Likely again, the birth of Jesus happened in a different month on a different day, but possibly the reason they chose it was sort of the rival this pagan birth date was celebrated in popular culture.

Another suggestion states that March 25th, the spring equinox, was the day that the world’s creation happened, so upon moving forward from the spring equinox and moving nine months forward, you get December 25th. The rest of the suggestions state that the people wanted something to celebrate that symbolized light during the dark days so that they might have chosen the winter solstice time of the year.

In the 19th century, Christmas became a family celebration. Now, returning to the question, what does the word ‘Christmas’ mean to you? Christmas is separated into Christ and mass. Here, Christ refers to Jesus, and mass means worship. In the Catholic tradition, the word for the worshiping experience was ‘Christmas,’ which later became Christmas.

The Real Reason for Christmas- All You Need to Know 2
Source: Pixabay

The beginning of the Christ’s year was four weeks before Christmas during Advent. Advent means the coming or the arrival of four Sundays before Christmas.

1.4. Cultural Traditions

Christmas traditions have evolved as the years pass by. Christmas can be beautiful even during the darkest time of your life. It brings light, happiness, and prosperity. Christmas is not only a religious festival, but people worldwide also celebrate it whether you are a Christian or not. This is the only holiday season where families come together and spend more time than at any other time.

Many countries have their way of celebrating Christmas. As December comes, people start decorating their houses with a Christmas tree and ornaments or sometimes paint their houses and stores red. It might seem that red is owned for Christmas.

The Real Reason for Christmas- All You Need to Know 3
Source: Pixabay
  • Houses will have mistletoe. Hearing this, one thing comes to our mind: whoever stands below the mistletoe has to kiss. How beautiful and romantic!
  • People follow Advent calendars. It represents the anticipation towards Christmas. An advent calendar consists of 25 days from 1st to 25th December. Each day, one is opened where you might find a small gift; kids especially love this.
  • For children, it is a magical month as they wait for Santa Claus. They write letters to Santa about their wishes. Santa Claus is represented as dressed in red with a white beard and carries a bag full of gifts.
  • He comes on his sleigh with flying reindeer, goes through the chimneys of the houses and keeps the gift under the Christmas tree. So, when the kids wake up and see, their morning begins with happiness and joy towards opening the gifts.
  • Families attend church services to pray to the lord, thank him for all the good things he has given us, and sing carols. On the way back, people visit wonderfully decorated markets with lights and various goods like decorations, foods, gifts, and other local products.
  • Children sit with their families, make gingerbread cookies, and share with their friends and families.
  • Later that night, families sit together at the dinner, having all the festive foods, candles, and some hot mulled wine and hold each other hands and say what each of them was thankful for; later, they enjoy a portion of excellent, good food.
  • It has been a significant tradition of giving plum cakes to your loved ones as a symbol of generosity. People bring baby Jesus home on Christmas Eve with happiness and joy.
The Real Reason for Christmas- All You Need to Know 4
Source: Pixabay

During the Christmas season, as families plan their holiday getaways, some destinations offer the magical experience of snowfall. In these countries, children eagerly anticipate the opportunity to build towering snowmen and create intricate snow angels in freshly fallen snow. Also, family members visit winter sports resorts like skiing and snowboarding to make Christmas memorable.

1.5. Saturnalia and Christmas

You might be wondering what the connection is between Saturnalia and Christmas. The answer is right here:

Saturnalia refers to the ancient Roman festival representing Saturn, the god of agriculture and time. On the 19th of December, gifts were given during the celebration from the 17th to the 23rd. Romans used to go from house to house or on the streets inappropriately, which was not a custom that was adopted.

But there is more; Saturnalia is also involved in human sacrifice and a reversal of roles where they would have freedom for the slaves and the owner to serve them.

Although it seems to be a bit mocking to the slaves, that is, the slaves have to cook food, but the owners would serve them and mock and ridicule the slaves.

You might think they have the freedom to do anything, but you have to realize that as soon as the feast is over, they will be paying for whatever they did during the feast. It wasn’t like Christmas. When the Roman Empire was Christianized, the customs of saturnalia were changed and constructed into the celebration of Christmas.

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1.5.1. Sol Invictus

Another Roman festival, Sol Invictus, which means the invisible sun, which is also gradually absorbed from Christmas. It was celebrated on December 25th, renewing the sun god, which was linked to the winter solstice, although it didn’t fall on the 25th. Constantine was focused entirely on changing the Roman culture towards Christ and moving away from paganism.

This shows the reliable Christmas observed during his reign on the 25th of December. So, Christians readily acknowledge the date and history of Christmas.

It is said that Christmas and Saturnalia can be neighbors with indirect connections.

1.6. Early Christians Didn’t Celebrate Christmas

You might have heard people saying, ‘You shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, or it should not be celebrated at all.’ Christmas was celebrated only after the state was made into Christianity.

In the early centuries, Christians were more likely to celebrate the day of someone’s death than the person’s birthday. Very early in history, the church celebrated Jesus’ death rather than the birth. Even Jesus told us to remember his death, but we don’t see any mention of remembering his birth. In the 4th century, there was a controversy about Christ’s nature, whether he was a god or a creation of humans. It leads to the emphasis on the rebirth of Jesus.

The affirmation that the word became flesh and it’s likely the urgency to proclaim Jesus and adding humanity and being born by a virgin as testified by the Old Testament, witnessed by the shepherds, endorsed by angels, and that is the most likely one of the factors in spreading the celebration of Christmas.

2. Reasons Why We Need to Celebrate Christmas

Christmas is celebrated each year on December 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ, and people believe he is the god’s son.

It is a holiday enjoyed by many people worldwide, even those who aren’t religious. It always seems like a special day when families and friends come together and spend a great quality time.

Christmas has many symbols, like the nativity scene, which shows Jesus’ birth in the manger. You might have seen many symbols like animals, flowers, and people, which have been introduced for many years.

The Real Reason for Christmas- All You Need to Know 5
Source: Pixabay

Christmas is all about giving gifts. Gift giving began with three wise men who heard Jesus’s birth in the manger and traveled a long way to bring him gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Many people give their family and friends gifts these days, and it continues. In some countries, people put gifts into the stockings or socks hung on the fireplace.

Many Christians attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve, which brings Christians together in worship to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

Conclusion

Celebrating Christmas in different ways with different countries has been fantastic for us. Whether religious or non-religious, Christmas has changed many people’s lives. Jesus sacrificed his life for us and forgave us for our sins. He showed us how good deeds are done. Christmas has always brought light over darkness and will increase in the coming years.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

Last Updated on by riyaspeaks

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