Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
Knowing the purpose and intent
Although it is only September, retail stores have already begun putting up Christmas trees and decorations. From now until December 25th a lot of merchants will experience the most sales they get all year long. Christmas is a worldwide holiday and has changed vastly over the decades. However you celebrate or not, it is always good to know the origin of a thing and Christmas or mas(more) Christ had a very specific beginning. Over the decades the story that I have read the most and which makes good sense to me has to do with the Winter Solstice, which takes place on December 21.
December 21st is the shortest day of the year and from that point on, the days become longer and lead to spring and warm weather. Early believers in Christ were shocked that what they considered the ungodly behavior of pagans who celebrated the solstice with drinking, partying, and sex orgies. In an attempt to place the focus of that season on Christ, they decided to use December 25 as a day to remember that He was born. No one at that time every claimed that Yeshua/Jesus was actually born on the 25th day of December. This evolved over the decades with the retelling of the Christmas story.
The purpose and intent of observing the birth of Christ on December 25th was to take the focus away from the revelry and bad behavior and use the season to celebrate that Christ came into the world as the Savior of mankind. When you listen carefully to the lyrics of the old standard Christmas carols they are scripture-based in explaining to a sinful world the purpose for which the Savior came. Consider please;
"God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day. To save our souls from Satan's power when we had gone astray, Oh Oh tidings of comfort and joy". Unfortunately, the modern secular world has detracted from this original intent and purpose and many Christians now will not even acknowledge the date because of wrong understanding.
Misinformation and misunderstanding
Today a lot of believers in Christ have jumped on the bandwagon of saying that December 25th is not His birth date and the Bible does not indicate we should observe Christmas. Both statements are true, but again the intent was to use the day to glorify the Savior and as the old hymn says, "Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born. This is going into all the world and proclaiming His gospel as He commanded in Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," and Matthew 28:19-20,
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The good news of the gospel should be shared every day but there is nothing wrong with putting a little extra emphasis on it during the holiday season. If the time frame from Thanksgiving till New Year can be utilized to save souls, then this is a win win.
The believers purpose today
I was taught as a child that presents were given on December 25th because God gave His greatest gift to the world in the form of His son. When we exchanged gifts it was in observance of the gift of Christ. Today many who do not believe in Yeshua/Jesus celebrate in their own way the day that was designated to observe His arrival into the world. Many, like myself, grew up watching holiday television shows with Christian carols and TV programs where there were miracles on Christmas Eve. Today, it is disheartening to see that almost every Christmas movie or program us about drinking, partying, and having sex. Believers today cannot allow what the secular world does to distract us from our purpose which is to let our lights shine and share His good news,
I have listened over the past few decades to people say that Christmas is from Satan, Santa Claus, AKA Saint Nikolas was a pedophile, and that the holiday has lost its meaning. Everyone has the right to believe what they choose and celebrate or not. I choose to celebrate him all year but since the Christmas season has been designated as a time to specifically reflect and remember, I will continue to enjoy it in my own way. I will sing the songs that celebrate His miraculous entrance into this cruel world and gladly tell the story to others. If you are a believer in Christ, your purpose is to spread the good news of His coming and that He is coming again. The Christmas season highlights this message for millions around the world, and there is nothing evil or pagan about it.
No matter how anyone else interprets December 25th, believers understand that to say "Merry Christmas" is expressing joy and happiness at having more attention on Christ. A green Christmas tree represents eternal life, the lights remind us He is the light of the world and the star recalls the wondrous light that led shepherds and wise men to the Lord. If you hear the term "Xmas" don't be offended because it is not xing Christ out of His birthday. The term is from the Greek letter Chi which stands for Christos or Christ. Know the facts before you condemn the holiday falsely.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on September 24, 2019:
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 23, 2019:
Thanks for sharing these facts. It is wise for Christians to join the bandwagon celebrating Christ's birth with programs that focus on the reason and result of His coming to earth.