What Is Christmas?
Christmas is a cultural holiday that has both secular and religious celebrations. Religiously, this day is to commemorate Jesus’ birth—which is a supernatural work of God through the Holy Spirit, in which Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary and His birthed marked the time in history when God became flesh to save mankind from their sins. Secularly, this day is a cultural event where the celebrations have no specific religious meaning behind them and is seen as more of a day to spend with family. People choose to celebrate this holiday different, often mixing the celebrations of both religious and secular, but with different meanings behind them.
A Quick History Of Christmas
- In the second century, a Christian historian guessed that Jesus’ Birth was on December 25. This day was already a holiday that worshipped a false god. In the fourth century, that day was converted to a Christian holiday. Because these two holidays were celebrated on the same day, some of the cultural traditions mixed and are similar.
- In the fourth century, a certain Christian man was known for giving gifts and money to the poor. When he died on a day in December, his story became a legend and evolved into what we know as Santa Clause.
- Today, Christmas is celebrated by people all around the world wether you are Christian or not. It has become a commercialized holiday, with religious and secular symbolism, that is celebrated by time of work, gift giving, gathering together with family and passing on cultural traditions, such as Christmas trees.
- Today, Christians still celebrate Christmas to commemorate Jesus’ birth. This isn’t required in the Bible, it doesn’t tell us to do this, nor does it tell us the date of Jesus’ birth. Christian culture has adopted this day as a yearly reminder to focus on the miraculous birth. For Christians who celebrate this holiday—it has been redeemed, meaning there is a new motivation behind their celebrations, such as singing new songs or the reason for giving gifts.
The Christmas Story: Jesus’ Birth
- For Christians celebrating Christmas, commemorating Jesus’ birth is the most important part of the holiday. It is their main motivation for celebration. It has much more meaning and purpose for them than other stories told at Christmas, such as Santa Clause. Below are the events of Jesus’ birth as found in the Bible:
- The Prophecy of Jesus’ Birth: Jesus’ birth was predicted in the Old Testament. It was said that He would be a son born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the government would be upon His shoulder and His name would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Governor and Immanuel—which means God with us.
Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2
- The Conception of Jesus: Mary was espoused to Joseph. They arranged some kind of agreement for marriage, but hey had not come together—meaning they had no sexual relations. Mary was a virgin. An angel appeared to her and told her that the Holy Spirit would miraculously cause her to be pregnant with a son called Jesus, the Son of God.
Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-19
- The Birth of Jesus: The angel of the Lord confirmed this miraculously conception to Joseph. Then he obeyed what the angel told him to do: took Mary as his wife, had no sexual contact until after the birth and named the son Jesus upon birth. Because of a time of taxing, every one had to go to their own city, so Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem. There was no room for them in the inn so they had to stay in a nontraditional place (possibly a cave or stable), it was here that Jesus was born. They wrapped Him in swaddling clothes (strips of cloth), and laid him in a manger (feeding trough for animals).
Matthew 1:20-25; Luke 2:1-7
- The Shepherds: After the birth of Jesus there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field when an angel appeared to them and told them of the birth of Jesus, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. They went and found the baby and spread this great news of all they were told.
- The Wise Men: When Jesus was born a supernatural star appeared and certain wise men from the East came to Jerusalem searching for Him, the King of the Jews. They came to worship, understanding He was the Christ. This star led them to the house where Jesus was. They worshiped Him and presented Him with gifts. (Jesus was older at this time, around 2 years old or younger and we don’t know how many wise men there were.)
The Importance Of Jesus’ Birth
- Jesus was born of a virgin—meaning that He is 100% man, but was not born with that same sin nature that we are. He was born sinless.
John 19:4; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit—meaning He is 100% God, but still became man. He was not conceived in the same way we were. His conception was through a miracle that allowed God to become flesh.
John 1:1-2, 14
- Jesus will save his people from their sins—meaning that His mission in coming was to save us out of our sins. The only way to do this was for a perfectly righteous person to pay the price for us. Jesus was this person. Since He was 100% God, He was perfect and without sin. Since He was 100% man, He could choose to die as the payment for our sins.
- Jesus is Immanuel—meaning “God with us.” Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh. He was born of the virgin Mary and lived a sinless life. He then laid down His life on the cross and paid the price for our sins so that we could have everlasting life. Three days later He rose from the dead, defeating death and proving He truly was the Son of God. If we repent and believe in Him, we will live eternally with Him.
- What is the quick history of Christmas?
- Who would miraculously cause Mary to be pregnant?
- Jesus was born of a virgin means what?
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit means what?
- What word means “God with us”?