Every year on December 25, many Christians celebrate Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. On the other hand, as a former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) member, I was raised to believe that December 25 is not the birth date of Jesus. I grew up knowing that Christmas is not a religious holiday. I was indoctrinated that celebrating Christmas is paganism and a form of blasphemy against our Almighty God.
Many years have passed. I became involved and began to think about Christmas. I consider myself a learner and a seeker of good news, and Christmas is an indispensable topic among believers. I have a lot of questions. Is it true paganism? What exactly is the essence of Christmas? What is Christmas to me? Will it help my spiritual life? What does Christmas mean to me regarding my relationships with others and, most importantly, with our Almighty God?
Christmas and the Bible
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What does the Bible say about Christmas?
Is there a specific reference to “Christmas” in the Bible? Nope. Is it true that Jesus was born on December 25? Most certainly not. The Bible does not specify Jesus’ actual birthday. The nativity story contains contradictory clues, such as the presence of shepherds and their sheep, implying a spring birth. This is why other Christian sects, such as the INC and Jehovah’s Witnesses, refuse to celebrate Christmas. It’s not in the Bible.
Christmas and History
According to history, at the end of the third century, church officials chose December 25 to coincide with pagan festivals honoring Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, and Mithra, the Persian god of light. As a result, it became easier to persuade Rome’s pagan citizens that Christianity was the empire’s official religion. It is for this reason that Christmas is regarded as paganism. At this point, it appears that everything is being done for political reasons rather than to commemorate the birth of Jesus, our Messiah.
What is Christmas to Me
Looking back at my first stages of childhood, when my family and I quietly celebrated Christmas. It was strange and quite awkward because our family was a strong member of INC. At the same time, 99 percent of our relatives are Roman Catholics who applaud and openly celebrate Christmas. I had the impression that we didn’t fit in. It’s not because I want to receive gifts but because I cherish the togetherness Christmas brings.
I crave to celebrate Christmas openly because it commemorates Jesus’ birth. Christmas conveys our Almighty God’s message of love, peace, hope, and joy through Jesus.
Christmas is not a religious holiday or a symbol of any kind for me. If anything, Christmas should be a time for drawing closer to God our Creator. He sent his anointed one, Jesus, to provide us the salvation our hearts long for.
Going to college was the turning point in my life where I began openly celebrating Christmas, which has continued to the present day.
Does this imply that I accept Christmas Day, December 25, as the day of Jesus’ birth? Absolutely not. But is it OK to honor Jesus’birth on that date? Well, here’s what I think: It makes no difference to me what day or date you choose to commemorate the birth of Jesus. After all, I celebrate my birthday or any of my loved ones’ birthday even though it did not fall to the actual birth date.
Only the fact that we intend to rejoice is important. To the extent that we act with integrity, we shall have faith that our Almighty God may bless our hearts. After all, He knows everything and loves everyone.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—Ephesians 2:4-5
Jesus’ birth in the Bible:
- ‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.’ –Isaiah 7:14
- ‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.’ – Matthew 1:21
The two passages cited above are just two of many in the Bible that talk about God sending Jesus into the world and the reason for his arrival. Because of this, it won’t hurt to celebrate Christmas by being kind to one another. The birth of Jesus has given us a new perspective on how we should regard one another.
There has been tremendous debate and discussion about Christmas among theologians and prominent religious leaders. But as a believer, Christmas is a beautiful holiday that should be celebrated and appreciated. There is zero ritual significance. Instead, it’s about how we feel about our spiritual connection to the God of the universe.
The holiday of Christmas is a beautiful time to grow spiritually closer to God. A moment to reflect on and thank Jesus, the conduit of God’s grace and mercy. We can show our gratitude to God for His unfailing love for us by loving others, sharing our blessings, and treating one another with respect, not only during the holiday season but always.
“And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.“Jesus Christ
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