The real Christmas story is that God sent his Son to the world so that we might not perish but have everlasting life! This is what no one can contest, that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth"(John 1:14)Praise God!
This is the real Christmas story, that a virgin woman conceived a child after supernatural empowerment by the Spirit of God and gave birth to a child of whom it was written, "....and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace( Isaiah 9:6). On Chritsmas day, Emmanuel came to be with us and so it shall be "glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men"
The real Christmas story is the birth of one that led to the rebirth of many! When he was born the destiny of humanity was reborn! No greater birth has ever been witnessed by humanity and this is why this designated season is not too much to celebrate the birth of the greatest person to ever walked on the surface of the earth. And this is where the controversy starts as many have over the years disputed the origin of the Christmas celebration, it's sanctity and it's authority! Let's take a quick work down history lane!
I will quote Varace Farell from His book, THE FABULOUS FIRST CENTURIES OF CHRISTIANITY in which he talked about the origin of Christmas. He wrote thus about the origin of 25th December and it's celebrations.
"Curmont, Olcott, and others clearly show that December 25 was the yearly date of the annual birth of Mithra, the Sun God - the leading heathen deity of the Empire. On this date, his followers celebrated the fact that the visible orb of the sun was again rising higher in the sky, following the winter solstice. Emperor Aurelian made Mithra's December 25 birthday an official holiday throughout the Empire about AD 273...This midwinter pagan holiday was eventually declared to be the solemn anniversary of the birth of Christ - and called the mass of Christ!"
And here we have it clearly stated, 25th December was originally the day the sun god Mithra was worshipped before Christians supplanted the day of worshipping the god of Sun to worshipping the Son of God! Now who made this bold move? It was no other than the first Christian emperor in the Roman Empire, Constantine. Emperor Constatine in cooperation with the Church authorities introduced Christmas to divert peoples attention from the pagan festival performed in December.
Indeed Christ wasn't born on December 25th, but the early church choose 25th December for two reasons to celebrate Christ birthday: to discourage and dissuade young converts from taking part in the ancient pagan festival, and two, to divert people's attention from the pagan festival called mass performed in December, to Christmas as an alternative! Was this a good move? Why would something of a pagan origin be the day we celebrate Christmas? For those religious critics of the Christmas day celebration I will answer your questions with the writings of an Anglican Vicar I met about few weeks ago, he wrote the book, CHRIST'S FESTIVAL: IS IT CHRISTMAS OR XMAS, and here are some words he penned in regards to that. Allow me quote extensively from there.
'But what of the pagan roots of December 25th? Is it true that the church just co-opted a pagan holiday and tried to turn it into a Christian holiday(or holy day)? Well, he short answer is: "Yes indeed it did". But I must ask you a question of my own at this point: " So what?" Is it such a bad thing that the church took sun worship and substituted it for Son worship? Is it really not significant that most people now recognize December 25 as Christ's birthday, rather than Mithra's? The only people that even know about Mithra or Saturnalia are the Christians who want to denigrate Christmas as being a pagan holiday! The pagan gods have been forgotten and trampled underfoot by the Son of God. Regardless of how you view all of the Christmas traditions and celebrations the fact that Mithra is a footnote in history and that Christ is still remembered - even by those outside the church - is highly significant!'
- Vicar S.K Idowu, from the Book, Christ's Festival: is it Christmas or Xmas.
When I read these thoughts the scripture that comes to my mind is that found in Acts 19:20, "So mightily grew the word(Jesus)of God and prevailed". What started out as a sun worship has been swallowed up by the worship of the SON OF GOD! Praise God!
The impressionable Vicar didn't stop here he went on to write,
'If Christianity was never meant to supplant paganism in this world, why would God have commanded the Israelites to take the Promised Land from the Canaanites? After all, they were there first, were they not? If God was so concerned about His people getting tainted by the paganism of the Canaanites why did He not give the Israelites a different piece of land, seeing how the promised land was now covered with pagans?''
And this also remind me that the gold and silver that the children of Israel took to worship God was the ones they got from the pagan Egyptians.! Exodus 12:36 says they gave the Israelites as such as they required! Required for what? For the worship of their God! They got 'pagan golds and silver' and that was what God required for his own worship! Everything was in him and for him, all things exist by and for him! Hallelujah!
The origin of the day, 25th December, may be that of the worship of the god of Sun, but today it's focus, attention and worship is that of the Son of God!
The celebration of Christmas is not about the day, but of the most important person that ever walked the earth! The actual date of his birth may be disputable, what cannot be disputed is that the word of God was born in flesh and during his course on the earth changed the course of humanity. This is the real Christmas story that we celebrate.
And this reminds me of what Paul wrote in the book of Romans, I will close with this scriptures.
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean"
Romans 14:5, 13-14 KJV