Jesus Christ changed the world forever. When He was born, He transformed the very way we measure time. He turned aside the river of the ages and lifted the centuries off their hinges. His birthday, His Incarnation, touched and transformed time. Now the whole world counts time as Before Christ (BC) and AD (Anno Domoni - in the year of our Lord). Jesus Christ is the central figure of history. More books have been written about Jesus Christ than any other person in history.
The world before Christ was a world without hospitals, a world without charity, a world without respect for the sanctity of life. Hospitals were an innovation of Christianity. Hence the healing symbol of a cross represents hospitals. The nursing profession was founded by Christians such as Florence Nightingale out of devotion for Christ. One of history’s greatest humanitarian movements, the International Red Cross, was founded by Christians in response to the Scriptural injunctions to care for the sick and the suffering. Christians such as Dr. Louis Pasteur have fuelled some of the greatest practical advances in medicine. Pasteur has probably saved more lives than any other individual in history through his inventions.
Caring for the Poor
The whole concept of charity was a Christian innovation. Benevolence to strangers was unknown before Christ. The teachings and example of Jesus Christ have inspired the greatest acts of generosity, hospitality, self-sacrifice and service for the poor, sick and needy over two thousand years.
One of the more recent Christmas traditions has been the repeated assertions, on the internet, in the press and from some pulpits, that the 25th December could not have been our Lord's actual birthday.
Examining the Historical Record
According to this position, He could have been born on almost any other day of the year, except 25 December. It is asserted that 25 December. had originally been the pagan winter solstice festival, which had been taken over by the Christians to promote the new Faith. In doing so, many of the old pagan customs crept into this new Christian celebration. Numerous articles, booklets, radio programmes and T.V. documentaries have been produced asserting this position.
The Myths of Time
However, this opinion is itself based upon historical myths, incomplete research and ignorance of history.
Christmas Predates Constantine
Christians have celebrated the Incarnation and Nativity of the Lord Jesus on December 25 since the earliest centuries. Long before the conversion of Constantine in AD312, and the end of the persecution by the Roman Empire, 25 December was already established as a venerable and tenured tradition for celebrating Christmas Day.
Christmas is the greatest holiday in the year, celebrating the birth of the greatest Person who ever lived. Yet, every year, there are numerous high profile attacks on Christmas as the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. There are also many insidious attempts to hijack Christmas. One such attempt is seen in the many e-mails circulating concerning the real meaning and origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
What is the Source?
According to this widely circulated email: "from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church. Each element in the carol is a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember."
The problem with this theory is that it's premise is false. Roman Catholics were not persecuted for their faith. They were not forbidden to practice their faith openly. The dates chosen are most interesting. 1558, is the year when Bloody Mary died and the Catholic persecution of Protestants in England came to an end. Mary Tudor was well called "Bloody Mary" because she repudiated the religious freedoms which her brother, King Edward VI, had instituted. Mary passed laws providing for Protestant "heretics" to be tried in church courts and handed over to civilian authorities for execution.
Wise men seek Christ. The question is: What are you seeking for?
Is it fun, friends, fame and fortune? Popularity, prestige and power?
Have you noticed the impressive large Christmas trees set up in many shopping malls? Surely you have noticed the beautifully wrapped presents piled up under most of these trees? You will see many children’s eyes wide as they look at these bright, shiny, shimmering presents, often with attractive ribbons around them?
Over the years, when my children were very young, they each asked: What's in those boxes? The answer is: Absolutely nothing! They are beautifully wrapped and attractively presented, but the presents under these Christmas trees in the shopping malls are all empty!