Appropriateness of Christmas

by Aaron

I was asked recently by a person about the appropriateness of Christmas. I thought some of you might have the same question and want my take on it (keep in mind this was an answer to a question and some things may make you go, huh?)

Christians today get very fundamental on certain things and not on others, it is like we pick and choose. There is a huge debate about should we or shouldn't we celebrate Christmas and Easter as part of this. Honestly, I think the debate comes up because too many people have nothing better to do. Christmas (Christ's Mass) was originally (in the most simple terms) a way to give many of the people embracing Christianity something that felt familiar. They had to leave their pagan festivals so the church decided to celebrate the birth of Christ in a way that helped many worship God in a way that connected better with them.

Trees, ornaments, presents, snow men...all these become later things tacked on but originally it was simply a way to help people connect with Christ BETTER. It was not an attempt to paganize Christianity (as many opponents today would say), it was a way to get the message to better connect and resonate with those they were trying to reach.


The questions for Christmas today (for me anyway) comes down to "what is the focus." Do we focus on Christ, is He better lifted up and proclaimed because of Christmas...the roots at this point kind of seem meaningless because it is what we do with it NOW that matters. Even if it was 'evil' to begin with (which I DO NOT think it was) Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ALL THINGS. God can take anything we do and turn it to good...and Christmas (for me anyway) is good. I get to tell people more at Jesus at Christmas then another time during the year. They actually seem more receptive to it than even at Easter.

I, obviously, have no control over your feelings...but...I would say you should celebrate Christmas with Joy focusing on the God who came in human flesh for the redemption of the world. (Forget the Santa Claus stuff - unless you want to talk about Nicolas...haha)

--I'll give you a bit of history too...the birth and the death of Christ were always linked in the early church. The Greeks and the Romans had different approaches to sacrament and mystery though. Greeks, who tended to be more ‘theological’ in the early church learned toward what was called the ANASTASIS (the day of resurrection) to be the supreme Christian feast.

The Romans agreed in principle but in practice they came to prefer Christmas (the feast of His BIRTH) as the supreme celebration. Roman’s actually invented Christmas.

For the Greeks, the first celebration wasn’t the birth it was Christ’s INFANCY. They celebrated this on (what we would cal) January called the Epiphania (the showing forth) and the feast celebrated Jesus’ RECOGNITION by the Persian magi (wise men). This actually took place at the age of about 2 years old for Jesus.

The Christmas holiday of Rome eventually rolled all of this into one event...The full Christmas celebration was entail the ‘showing forth, the birth, the salvation for all people...the mystery of Christ – God in the flesh.’

If Christmas is done rightly it could be a powerful holiday.

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