Is This Really Christmas Eve?
post date: December 24, 2012
The traditional date of December 25 goes back as far as A.D. 273. Two pagan festivals honoring the sun were also celebrated on that day and it is possible that December 25 was chosen to counteract the influence of paganism. To this day some people feel uncomfortable with Christmas because they think it is somehow tainted by the pagan festivals held on that day. But Christians have long believed that the gospel not only transcends culture, it also transforms it. In A.D. 320 one theologian answered this criticism by noting, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.”
Having said that, you may ask, “Does it really matter?” In one sense, of course, the answer is no. No doctrine of the Christian faith rests upon knowing the exact day and year of Christ’s birth. And no stress is put upon the date of his birth in the New Testament. No one is ever told to celebrate Christmas. The emphasis always rests on the fact of his birth, not the date. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Christianity is a faith based on certain historical facts. Let us on this Christmas Eve rejoice in this great truth:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord» (Luke 2:11).
On that day so long ago, a very real day in a very real year, even if we can’t pinpoint it exactly, the eternal Son of God entered humanity, the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. God himself joined the human race!
It happened, it really happened. On December 25 we celebrate the very real birth of a very real Savior whose name is Jesus Christ. Let the party begin! Break out the cider, open the presents, sing the carols, hug a friend. We ought to be happiest people in the world. We were born for Christmas because on Christmas Christ was born for us.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Welcome to our world, Lord Jesus! May there always be room in my heart for you. Amen.
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