Christmas is a popular December holiday celebrated by large numbers of people all around the world. Christmas (or “the Mass of Christ”) has long been known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the celebration first began to be observed in the early fourth century. Whatever the ins and outs of Christmas, we are still unwrapping the gift of God’s Son–and what an incentive to generosity and joy that gift is!
The date of December 25th probably originated with the ancient “birthday” of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence became widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries A.D. Around the thirteenth century, Christians added one of the most pleasant touches of all to Christmas celebration when they began to sing Christmas carols.
The true origin of Christmas is filled with controversy and compromise. A quick study will reveal a number of disturbing roots that we haven’t been able to cover in this brief article. In short, the Christmas holiday we celebrate today is indicative of Christianity’s willingness to absorb the world’s customs and traditions, and forget its simple roots in the historical reality of Jesus Christ.
In the American colonies, Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, and Presbyterians opposed the festivities, while Catholics, Anglicans (Episcopalians), Dutch Reformed, and Lutherans approved. Christmas celebrations became more common in America during the mid-1800s. Christian Christmas celebrations did indeed begin using the evergreen as a symbol about 400 years ago in Germany. This Christmas practice spread to most of northern Europe by the 19th century.