As mentioned in our Thanksgiving article, holidays often change in meaning and purpose. This is also true of Christmas.
The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. The fact that shepherds were with their flocks in the field suggests summer. For whatever reason, by the fourth century after Jesus was born, the date for Christmas was fixed to December 25. (Some churches in the east celebrate Christmas on January 7. This is because of the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendars.)
Christmas has become so popular that even countries without a large Christian community celebrate it. Traditions have developed and changed over the centuries. They differ greatly from country to country.
Like the American Thanksgiving, most of these modern traditions ignore the true meaning of Christmas. Decorations, songs about snow, exchanging gifts, and gathering as families take precedence. The birth of Jesus is largely forgotten.
Should we participate in these holiday traditions? I think we can. I like having my family together. I like to be generous in giving presents, especially to children. Decorating the house is certainly fun.
What you and I need to do is take action to remember God and what He has done for us. We must transform the season into one that brings honor to Him. As God’s children, we should live as if we belong to Him.
Check back here each week for new articles. We want to help you grow in your faith and love for God during this festive season..
Bob Caldwell is Theologian-in-Residence at Network 211.