What is Christmas?
What is Christmas? Some say Christmas is Christ's birthday - some say it's not. Some say Christmas is a "holy day" - some look at Christmas as a civil holiday like July 4 and Thanksgiving. And to others, Christmas is just another day. Is December 25th Christ's birthday, a "holy day"?
The apostle Peter says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3). That means that we have ALL we need to know about Jesus Christ written in the Bible for the salvation of our souls. The apostle Paul said it this way, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16-17). Again, all we need to know for our salvation is contained in the Scriptures.
When we turn to the account of the birth of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew and Luke) we find that no year, month nor day is ever mentioned. As to the year, most folks believe Jesus Christ was born in "O" (zero) B.C. Actually, when you do some research, you'll find that Jesus was more than likely born somewhere between 7-4 B.C. The mistake came from a Roman monk named Dionysius Exiguus, who in 526 A.D. made a new "Christian calendar". Many years passed before it was discovered that he had made a 4 or 5 year mistake in his calculations. The end result is, the exact year of Jesus Christ’s birth is unknown!
As to the month and day of Christ's birth, you'll notice that there were sheep in the field at the time of Christ's birth (Luke 2:8). A noted Presbyterian commentator, Albert Barnes, makes some remarks about the sheep in the field at the birth of Jesus: "The climate was mild, and, to keep their flocks from straying, they spent the night with them. It is also a fact that the Jews sent out their flocks into the mountainous and desert regions during the summer months, and took them up in the latter part of October or the first of November, when the cold weather commenced. While away in these deserts and mountainous region, it was proper that there should be some one to attend them to keep them from straying, and from the ravages of wolves and other wild beast. It is probable from this that our Saviour was born before 25th December, or before what we call Christmas. At that time it is cold, and especially in the high mountainous regions about Bethlehem. But the exact time of His birth is unknown; there is no way to ascertain it (emp LS). By different learned men it has been fixed at each month in the year. Nor is it of consequence to know the time; if it were, God would have preserved the record of it. Matters of moment are clearly revealed; those which he regards as of no importance are concealed." Look for more next week.