Jesus: The Reason for the Christmas Season

Jesus: The Reason for the Christmas Season

It’s Christmas, one of the biggest holidays of the year; it is also one that is full of controversies. People often say that this season is not just a time of love and giving, but most of all it is the time to remember the birth of our Savior. Hence, their slogan is: “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But is this really true? Is Jesus the reason for the Christmas season?

I said that Christmas is very controversial not only because some folks are offended when Christmas displays are religious in nature and when they hear Christmas greetings but also because some Christians argue that it is not biblical to celebrate Christmas since Jesus was not actually born on Christmas Day.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

I have a friend on Facebook who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And although I greatly admire her boldness and enthusiasm in sharing biblical truths on her timeline, I sometimes wonder if she’s really sincere in her agenda. This is because she often goes to the extreme of attacking other Christians who differ from her in minor theologies. Isn’t this a classic example of majoring on the minor?

Anyway, this “friend” recently criticized and attacked other Christians who celebrate Christmas because if we were to look at the origin of the holiday, we would find that Christmas comes from a conglomeration of pagan practices.

When was Jesus Christ born?

Most historians and scholars agree that there is no solid, documented evidence that Christ was born on December 25th. Although the Bible does not provide a specific date for the birth of Christ, it does give us some important indicators describing the events that lead to His birth in the town of Bethlehem.

So when was Christ born? Some propose that Jesus was born in late summer or early fall (i.e. in September) and they use Luke 2:8 to make their case. Accordingly, shepherds were not normally on the fields during the month of December which is mid-winter, due to the cold weather. This is rather an important point because winters could be severe in Israel so flocks were never kept in open fields during this time.

Another important point to consider in determining the birth date or birth month of Christ is the timing of John the Baptist’s birth. We read in Luke 1:8-13 how a priest named Zechariah (John’s father) was serving as priest before God in the order of his division when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announce that his wife Elizabeth would conceive a son.

Upon returning home, his wife conceived as the angel had said (Luke 1:23-24). An important detail: Zechariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah (Luke 1:5) and the priests under this division served from June 13-19.

Assuming that Elizabeth conceived shortly after Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah, her sixth month – the month the angel Gabriel visited Mary would be December or January (Luke 1:26-27 NIV). Since John who was born probably in late March, is six months older than Christ, some scholars place the birth of Christ in the early autumn, probably September, not on December 25.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Aside from the strong evidence that Jesus was not born on December 25, another argument against the celebration of Christmas is the claim that many of the traditions incorporated with Christmas celebration such as the tree, mistletoe, special feasts and the Yule log were brought over into Christianity from pagan practices.

Some Old Testament passages they use to condemn the use of Christmas tress include Isaiah 40:19-20; Isaiah 44:14-17 and Jeremiah 10:2-5. In context, Jeremiah 10 is not telling us to avoid the customs of the nations but is a denunciation of the making and worship of idols. It’s the same thing with Isaiah which had to do with idolatry.

I am not very particular with putting up a Christmas tree at home but I do not mind others who want to decorate their homes with evergreen trees. Christians do not put up and decorate Christmas trees in their homes to worship, do they? Or do you?

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

What about Christmas having its origins in the Feast of Saturnalia celebrated in early Rome from the 17th to the 24th of December? Doesn’t this prove that Christmas is pagan? No, it does not! Instead, it is proof that Christmas was established as a rival celebration to the pagan festival.

Rather than celebrating the birth of Mithra, a false god who was never born and cannot save you, why not celebrate in joyful righteousness the birth of the Messiah who was born to give His life as a ransom for many?

Is it biblical to celebrate Christmas? The Bible is silent from the standpoint of our Christmas traditions. But because of our freedom in Christ under grace, we are at liberty to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas. The important thing to note is that the Bible does not condemn the celebration of Christmas. It does, however, set down principles to warn and protect us from worldly distortions in the celebration of the Christmas season.

Jesus is the reason for every season

We all celebrate Christmas in different ways but making Jesus the reason to celebrate Christmas makes this season more joyous and enjoyable to me. Jesus may not have been actually born on Christmas day but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that a Savior has been born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

We rejoice and celebrate that unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, who is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus, who is God, came in the flesh to dwell among us. He died to pay for the penalty for our sins and rose again to conquer death and hell.

But Jesus is not only the reason for the Christmas season. Jesus is the reason and hope in every season. Keeping in mind that Jesus is as much a reason for hope in the summer as He is in the winter helps us to walk with Him daily in every season.esus is the reason for every season

The word of God tells us to share the good news of salvation to everyone (Matthew 28:18-19) so they too will come to believe in Jesus, have a real relationship with God and will not perish but will have everlasting life (John 3:16).

It is with “goodwill toward men” also that Christians live each day of their lives and not only being particularly generous on a seasonal basis. We ought by faith to be more generous every day. As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).

We should not to be reminded of these things only once a year because the joy and peace that comes from God alone is not only seasonal but we experience them everyday all throughout the year.

Conclusion

Today, Christmas has become more of a commercial enterprise than a religious observance. Even Christians get overwhelmed in all the shopping, baking, gift wrapping and all that.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

But it’s very important for us to take some time to stop and reflect just why we really celebrate Christmas. No matter how busy and occupied we become, let us always take a step back to remember that this season is meant for celebrating Christ.

Let us prioritize and get focused on the things we need to do during Christmas and try not to get wrapped up in the superficial things about Christmas.

The birth of Jesus the Messiah is the only reason I celebrate the Christmas season, no one and nothing else. Remembering the true reason for the season helps me keep the joy of Christmas last a lifetime and it encourages me all the more to live a life that is pleasing to God and edifying to fellow believers.

What about you, do you celebrate Christmas? If you do, is Jesus your reason for celebrating the season?


Recommended Resource: 

Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ – eBook
By Timothy Keller

Product Description:

For centuries, December has marked a time of expectation, excitement, hope, joy, activity and family. It marks the season of Christmas, or, as some say, the season of Advent, of the Nativity story. In our secular society, everyone gets swept up in the Christmas spirit and even people who are not professing Christians claim familiarity with the story of the Nativity. Christmas displays of Jesus resting in a manger populate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air. Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story? Is there a deeper meaning to that first Christmas besides just being an incredible story?

In his new book, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ, pastor and New York Times bestselling author, Tim Keller guides readers through an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the Nativity story, a story that is a celebration of the advent of Jesus Christ, who came to save mankind and restore our humanity to how it was meant to be. This profoundly moving and intellectually provocative book unpacks the message of hope, redemption, and salvation hidden in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth so that readers may experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a meaningful and deeper way.

18 Replies to “Jesus: The Reason for the Christmas Season”

  1. I found it worthwhile reading your article and I appreciate your sharing it.

    Though I may not necessarily believe in Jesus, Christmas has remained my all time favourite festival.  It is a time of the year when the average person I come across, either at home or in the office or on the street, makes a particular effort to be kind and smile at me – even the non-Christians.  Because we are all aware, despite our different religious affinities, that it is primarily a season of giving.

    And for this reason alone, I will celebrate any religious holiday that brings about a positive effect to my world.  So it saddens me a little to hear of controversy, especially amongst Christians, of whether or not to celebrate something that, despite all its commercialism and varying religious aspects, does share a joyous message with the world.

    1. Hi Cath,

      Christmas remains the biggest and most favorite seasons throughout the year not only for Christians but even to those who do not necessarily believe in Jesus, that’s a fact. That’s because the mood or ambiance is entirely different. I just wish that everybody could be nicer and friendlier not only during the Christmas season but also throughout the entire year, that would be great.

      Yes, Christmas is about giving because on that first Christmas eve, God gave the best, His Son, to be born of a Virgin, live a life of complete obedience to the Father and eventually gave His life in order to save mankind. This is the message of Christmas.

      Thanks for visiting Cathy, Merry Christmas!

  2. Some really interesting point here about Jesus Christ and when he was born. How are we to truly know the truth behind the meaning behind Christmas at all. Either way its a celebration of life, love and family. I think society loses sight and we can all see it how we wish. Its no good attacking those who’s beliefs differ from your own.

    A merry Christmas to you! Thank for a lovely and interesting read.

    1. Hi Dianne, thanks for dropping by.

      The Bible does not give us a specific date for the birth of Christ but to me it does not really matter. The important thing is that Jesus came to this earth to save us from eternal punishment; not only that, our broken fellowship with God was restored. And that is worth celebrating.

      Indeed, Christmas is about life, love and family. Have a wonderful Merry Christmas to you and a prosperous new year 2019!

  3. Dear Alice,

    Wow! Wonderful and Amazing post!

    To be honest,  I personally had this question and you answered it well. And the references you have given to withstand that Christ is not born on December is very helpful.

    However the thing you want us to focus on “Jesus Christ is indeed the reason for the Christmas season” is great. And I got great insights from your post and I believe my sister in Christ (That’s you Alice) won’t mind me sharing these great thoughts when I share the word of our LORD in the church.

    Also you made me to think deep and I am deciding at least to share some foods with love for the needy on the Christmas day.

    Thanks again for the helpful article!

    Best wishes to you, your family and your success, 

    Warm Regards

    Your Brother in Christ

    Paul

    1. Hi Paul, nice to meet you and thank you for dropping by!

      I grew up believing that Jesus was actually born on December 25 because that’s what tradition teaches. However, after doing a bit of research, I came to learn that it isn’t possible that Jesus was born on this day because of some discrepancies in the time of His conception and that shepherds could not have been out in the field during this time due to the cold weather. But it does not matter now because what I am celebrating is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. After all, there won’t be Christmas without Christ.

      Oh by the way please feel free to share this to your church, Merry Christmas and God bless!

  4. Very true, When I am celebrating Christmas, I am not celebrating the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, I am celebrating the birth of the Son of man. Out of the 365 of the year, 25 December was set aside to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Even in real life, in my family, we used to put aside a random date to celebrate birthday of my father because his real date of birth was never known. But not knowing his real date birth was not enough to stop us from celebrating his birth.

    The real fact I liked from this article is, people must realize what is being celebrated. I have seen Christians buying loads of gifts, groceries, etc., but they don’t take a minute to give thanks to Jesus Christ. Christmas is now considered to be a normal holiday like Public Workers Day by many. I think Christians have to shift from that perspective

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read through the article.

      I believe it’s important that we address the issue about the real reason Christians celebrate Christmas. As you said, we do not have to know the exact date of Jesus’ birth for us to rejoice over the reality of the gift that we have received. Others see Christmas as a tradition that has no biblical basis but like you, I see it as a means to share the good news, which is that Jesus came to live a perfect human life and voluntarily died on the cross for salvation to become available to all who will put their faith in Him.

      Like I said, the only problem I see is that people, even Christians, tend to be more focused on preparation and buying gifts. We need to remember that the greatest gift of all is the Lord Jesus Christ whom the Father gave to us.

      Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

  5. What I great feeling I have after reading your article!  Jesus is all about peace.  Peace in our own hearts is where it starts and by reading your article that is what I got “Peace”.

    My wife and daughter say that I don’t like Christmas and they are probably right in a sense.  What I dislike about Christmas is that everything has turned into a commercial circus!  We see Santa clause in stores before the end of October! 

    The fact that we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December is not really important to me either.  You have said it very well in your article and I quote:

    “Jesus may not have been actually born on Christmas day but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that a Savior has been born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21)”

    I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back to more inspirational and spiritual articles like this one.

    Thank you for sharing with the world!

    1. Hello Denis, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, it’s much appreciated.

      Indeed, Jesus is the Prince of peace and while there is still no perfect peace until He comes to restore all things, we the believers are at peace knowing that Jesus has secured our salvation with His death and resurrection. Yeah, it’s sad that Christmas these days means more like money-making season for store owners but we can celebrate it in a more meaningful way, different from how the world celebrates it.

      Merry, merry Christmas!

  6. Hello Alice,

    I don’t think I have ever met anyone else who shares the thought that Jesus was not born on Christmas day.

    Mix that with all the pagan celebrations you mention, I find the whole Christmas episode a mockery of Christian beliefs.

    While the bible does talk about the birth of Jesus, there is no directive that instructs us to celebrate this moment. I find it surprising that if God wanted us to celebrate it, why would he not tell us to do so.

    Instead, Jesus Himself instructs us to remember—not His birth—but His death in I Corinthians 11:23-26:

    “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread

    And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

    After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

    I have often thought it very strange to celebrate the birth of a child. Whilst it is a nice moment, the child has not manifested anything other than birth (I am not trying to belittle the amazing moment of birth) and surely it is in death we can reflect to see if their life was worth celebrating.

    How many people (as an extreme) would want to celebrate the birth of Hitler?

    Christ has little to do with Christmas. Those who say to put Christ back into Christmas really don’t know their meaning!

    I like little the commercial intent of Christmas these days.

    However all being said, I did enjoy your post and it will surely create some food for thought.

    Happy holidays!

    Tim

    1. You’re absolutely right Tim, there is no direct command from the Bible for Christians to celebrate Christmas. But isn’t the birth of a Savior worth celebrating? Had Jesus not come down from heaven and been born of a virgin, there would have been no Savior to take the punishment for our sin on the cross. Sure, Jesus’ birth happened only once, but so as His death and resurrection.

      The wise men from the East (who were Gentiles) rejoiced with exceeding great joy when they got to the place where Jesus was born and presented Him with precious gifts (Matthew 2:10-11). Simeon, who the Bible describes as just and devout said that he can now depart in peace for he has seen God’s salvation when Mary and Joseph presented the young Jesus to the Temple (Luke 2:25-32).

      I understand why some Christians choose not to celebrate Christmas because of its supposed association with pagan festival. But I believe that it is the way we celebrate this season that makes all the difference. You said that Christ has little to do with Christmas, I disagree. No matter how commercialized Christmas has become, it does not change the fact that it is all about giving. God has given us the best present ever, His Son who voluntarily gave up His majesty in heaven to come down, became 100% human and live a life of complete obedience to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross.

      Happy holidays!

  7. Hi there,

    Interesting point that you brought out about the origins of the 25th of December being widely accepted as the date of Christs birth even though it is not supported by the bible. 

    The Roman Emperor Constantine was actually the reason for the date being selected when he converted the empire from Paganism to Christianity. The date was selected when he  sought to blend Christian and pagan festivals honoring Saturn (the Roman god of agriculture) and Mithra (the Persian god of light). This made it easier for the population to convert to the new faith.

    Rich

    1. A lot can be said about the influence Constantine had on Christianity; we can know all about them if we look into the history of Christianity. And when it comes to the celebration of Christmas, perhaps he had a hand too. But for believers in the Lord Jesus, celebrating His birth should be about the fact that God sacrificed His own Son for the salvation of man. The world may celebrate Christmas for some reasons other than the coming of a Savior but we celebrate it to celebrate Jesus.

      Thanks for dropping by Richard, Merry Christmas!

  8. Hi Alice,

    Thanks for a great post. How often have we said that Christmas is the reason for the season, but when it comes down to really celebrating Christmas, we often get so caught by the stress that Christmas has come to be and only say that Jesus is the reason.

    But really, Jesus should be the reason to celebrate. I teach in a private school and we talked about Christmas and all the things that we relate to it. This year I asked my students to come up with a series of ideas on what we could do to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and that we would celebrate Christmas in our hearts. And there are definitely many things that we can do! I think Christians should celebrate Christmas and observe it. All the gifts, baking, decorating, and so on, for me is part of it, but is not the primary thing to do. I think some of these things help us to focus on Christmas. For instance, for me it is very special to sit by the Christmas tree and read the story of Jesus’ birth. I am not in any way adoring the tree by that, it just helps me and my family to really ponder why Jesus came to earth.

    When we finished our discussion in school with my students, I told them that anything we would do during this Christmas season, I wanted them to know that wouldn’t exist if Jesus had not come to earth and prepare the road for us to heaven. That is more than reason to celebrate.

    I loved the picture in your article where Jesus should be the reason for every season. That is more than true. Jesus’ birth, dying on the cross and raising back into heaven should be in our hearts and minds daily.

    Thanks for an uplifting post,
    Oscar.

    1. Hi Oscar,

      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your insights with regards to the celebration of Christmas. You’re so right, the Christmas season is supposed to be a time to celebrate Jesus, it’s supposed to be fun and meaningful, not stressful.

      I agree that Christians should celebrate Christmas but should make Jesus the sole reason they do it. It’s best to do this by reflecting on the greatest gift that the Father has given us, His only Son who came in the flesh through the virgin birth. There would be no reason to celebrate this season had Jesus not come. I believe it’s important that the reason we celebrate the Christmas season should be taught to our children at home and in school. I am grateful for the brothers and sisters in the Lord like you who are keen on teaching their students the essence and meaning of the things we do to honor and celebrate Jesus our Lord.

      Thanks again for stopping by and may you have a blessed new year!

  9. Hi Alice, 

    This is Jack back here again, hopefully with some wonderful questions and ideas for you. Perhaps I had let you know, how enriched looking your site is and how wonderfully laid out it is. 

    As regards to the celebration of Christmas, it is evident that many people around the world, Christians or not, love Christmas. And although there may be different reasons why people celebrate it, the only sound reason we do celebrate it is because of Jesus Christ. There wouldn’t be any Christmas to celebrate if not for Jesus Christ. 

    By the way, would you have some biblical sound doctrine thoughts on helping a person who is struggling with mixed faiths, and perhaps some sound personal advice, with that as well.

    Thank you,

    Your brother Jack

    1. Hello Jack, so nice to hear from you again.

      Jesus Christ is indeed the reason for the Christmas season. Many people may celebrate it for some other reasons and some Christians do not want anything to do with it because they think it’s pagan in origin, but the fact remains that the real reason we celebrate it is because of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift that the Father has given to us,

      How do we deal with somebody who’s struggling with mixed faiths? You may want to encourage them to look at the evidence for each worldview in question, while getting down on your knees asking God to deal with them. Also, just be there for them and always be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) and then let them decide. 

      I believe that anyone who is sincerely seeking the truth about God will find it, the Bible gives us that assurance (Jeremiah 29:13).

      God bless!

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