The Origin of Christmas

Why is Christmas Day on the 25th of December?
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass Service is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The ‘Christ-Mass’ service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight! Hence, the “Christ-Mass” was shortened to Christmas.

Christmas had lost its holy meaning to some extent as many people celebrate the holiday, whether they are Christians or not. It became a time when family and friends come together and remember the good things and Christians count their blessings. People, especially children, have made it a time when gifts are exchanged. Over the years, retailers have capitalized on this holiday to the extent that it’s become more about buying gifts (in many cases, overspending), Christmas trees, Santa Claus, etc. The true meaning of Christmas has been lost on most!

Since no date is given in the Bible as to the true birth of Jesus, why is it celebrated on December 25th? The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336 during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor. Another theory focuses around the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd. To pagans, this meant that the winter was over, spring was coming, and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshiped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter.

Yet another theory — The Jewish festival of Lights, Hanukkah starts on the eve of the 25th of Kislev (the month in the Jewish calendar that occurs at about the same time as December). Hanukkah celebrated when the Jewish people were able to re-dedicate and worship in their Temple, in Jerusalem, again following many years of not being allowed to practice their religion.

Jesus was a Jew, so this could be another reason that helped the early Church choose December the 25th for the date of Christmas!

Christians believe that Jesus is the light of the world, so the early Christians thought that this was the right time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They also took over some of the customs from the Winter Solstice and gave them Christian meanings, like Holly, Mistletoe, and even Christmas Carols!

So whenever you celebrate Christmas, remember that you’re celebrating a real event that happened about 2000 years ago, that God sent his Son into the world as a Christmas present for everyone!