I’ve written a lot about this topic in the past, so I’ll keep this short, and then I’ll link to my previous posts.
The early church celebrated mass every Sunday – that was their church service. Sometimes, they took mass for a particular reason, and one of those reason’s was the birth of Jesus. This “Christ-mass” took place at different times; some churches celebrated in the summer, and some churches did this more than once a year.
Eventually, a tradition caught on that said Jesus was born on December 25. Since early records of the church were destroyed by Rome, we have no way of knowing if this tradition was based on fact, but it’s a tradition, and one day is as good as another for a holiday. It’s widely believed that this day was chosen because of pre-existing Roman/Pagan/whatever holidays, but there’s no evidence of that. Besides, every day on the calendar was once a holiday celebrated by an older culture. The early medieval scholars who chose December 25th as Christmas were trying to work it out historically and gave no evidence that they were harkening to a pagan festival that no longer existed in their time. (Whether or not their historical efforts were successful is a good question, however.)
Christmas was more of a season than a holiday, in older times. The weeks leading up to Christmas were (and still are) known as “Advent” and sometimes these celebrations began early in November. (Which is why I will listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving as long as I live.) It was a season, not just a one-day celebration, and we still celebrate “the holidays” in the same way.
So, with that introduction, here’s what I’ve had to say on Christmas in the past, for those of you who are new to this site:
What’s the deal with Christmas Trees?
More on the supposed Pagan roots of Christmas.
Why is Christmas on December 25?
Have a good holiday season, and love your neighbor.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)