This† morning we are going to be talking about how Jesus relates to Christmas and the greatest gift that we can give to mankind. Christmas means many different things to different people and it one of the largest celebrated holidays in the world. From the latest information that† I have †98% of Americans celebrate this holiday. Christmas has always been a highlight in my life and it has different meanings to me. As a child I looked forward to opening up gifts and finding out what those mysterious objects were in that box but as I got older I began to appreciate being around my loved ones, eating good food and watching others open up their presents. I think most of us would agree† that the Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year to spend with our loved ones. That is what Christmas means to me.† †
However, there are many in the world who celebrate Christmas as Jesus birthday and this is what I want focus in on for just few min. I would like to answer a couple of questions. Is Dec. 25 Jesus birthday and does the Bible teach us to celebrate Jesus birth? †
First of all I would like to say that the Bible in no way gives us a specific day that we can say that is Christ birthday but I do believe the Bible gives us enough information to show without a doubt that Christ birthday did not occur in the month of December. Before we look at some passages that bear this out I want to first point out that for the first 200 years of Christianity that there is no mentioning of Christians celebrating Jesus birth.
As the Encyclopedia Americana explains,
"Christmas... was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the
first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was
to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth..."
(1944 edition, "Christmas").
You see it
wasnít until the 3rd and 4th century till Christians and
the people of
Now the most
likely reason why December 25 was chose to celebrate Christ birth was because
The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti
candidly admits that, "to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan
masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of
December as the feast of the birth of Christ to divert them from the pagan
feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the 'Invincible Sun' Mithras, the
conqueror of darkness" (Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p.
This is how
Jesus birth became associated with Christmas. Now lets take look at some
passages that I believe make it clear that Jesus could not have possibly been
born in the month of December.
it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar
Augustus that all the world should be registered.† 2 This census first took place
while Quirinius was governing
Here we have this great decree for a census. This would mean that all the
people would have to travel to their own city. It is highly unlikely that they
would have called for this census during the winter months when travel would be
very difficult and† most people stay in
their homes. Common sense would tell us they would choose a time of year when
traveling would be easier. Some writers have suggested that the census would
have most likely taken place sometime in Autumn. Whenever it occurred it should
be easy for us to see that it would not have taken place during the winter
months which means Jesus would not have been born in the month of December. †Our next verse also shows that Jesus was not
born in December.
† 8 Now there were in the same
country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by
Now we need to
realize that it was common practice† for
shepherds to keep their flocks in the field from late March to around the
beginning of October, but in the cold and rainy winter months they took their
flocks back home and sheltered them. As one commentator states:
Shepherds and their flocks would not be found
"abiding" in the open fields at night in December, for the paramount
reason that there would be no pasturage at that time. It was the custom then
(as now) to withdraw the flocks during the months of (Oct.-Nov.) from the open
districts and house them for the winter.
This being the
case there is no way that Jesus was born during the winter months because these
Shepardís were still out in the field with their flocks at the time of Jesus
birth. Just to make a side note here. Notice Luke tells us that the Shepardís
saw Jesus in the manager, however in many of the Christmas plays that we have
today they make it out to be 3 wise men who bring gifts that saw him in the
manager when in fact Mat. 2. tells us that Jesus was already born then these
wise men were starting their journey to find Jesus. By the way there is no way
tell if there were 3 wise men or more. Then in verse 11 we see that these wise
men went into their house where Jesus was and not the stable. So putting that
all together the Shepards saw Jesus at his birth in manager and the wise men
see him much latter after his birth when he is living in own home.
interesting fact about Jesus birth is the year that he was born. Now again many
think today that Jesus was born on 0 AD. However there is no 0 A.D. instead we
go from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. In 525 AD Pope John 1 asked a scholar named Dionysis
to create a new calendar and he started the calendar when he thought Christ was
born but he was wrong because he missed Christ Birth by at least 4 years
because we know from history that Herod the Great died in the spring of 4† B.C. and according to Godís Word Jesus was
alive during his reign which puts Christ birth somewhere around 5 or 6 B.C.
Now while I
cannot give you a specific day of when Christ was born I can tell you based on
my study that Jesus was most likely born around late March or the month of
April and he could have possibly been born in the month of September Now if you
would like to know how have came to this conclusion I will be more than happy
to show you an article that narrows this down but I will tell you these dates
are based upon a lot of assumptions and I certainly would not be dogmatic about
it. But one thing I do know if Jesus had wanted us to celebrate his birth on a
yearly donít you think that he would have made the date of his birth clear or
told us when celebrate it? You see the Bible in no way tells us to observe
Jesus birth. If it did the Bible would tells when to do so. However Jesus does
make it clear on what he wants us to do to remember him.
1 Corinthians 11:23
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord
Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;† 24 and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken
for you; do this in remembrance of Me."†
25 In the same manner He also took the cup
after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do,
as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."† 26 For as often as you eat this
bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
You see† we are to remember him on a weekly basis as
partake of the Lords Supper which reminds us of his death on the cross and life
he lived for us so that we could be made free. So this is why I do not believe
that Christians should celebrate December 25 as Jesus actual birthday. Now let
me tell you what I am not saying. I am not saying that we should treat Jesus
birth as piece of paper that we wad up and throw into the waste basket. No
instead† we should rejoice and be
thankful on a daily basis for Jesus birth and the perfect life he lived on this
earth so that he could be that perfect sacrifice at his death for you and I. We
need recognize that Jesus being associated with Christmas on Dec. 25 is man
made and not God made.†
Now I will tell
you that I am very thankful for Christ birth and death today just like I am
thankful for it everyday. However to me as I keep the custom of Christmas I
simple celebrate this day as day I spend with my loved ones and yes opening up
those mysterious boxes
Now I will say
this I am happy when anything gets people thinking more about Jesus and
certainly Christmas at least is a small way makes some start thinking about
what Christ has done for us. So for that small part of it I am thankful.
Well now that
we have examined how Jesus and Christmas came about now I want talk about
gifts. As I think back I have many found memories of Christmas presents I
received as a child. One year I received a helicopter and another year a VCR
and thought these things† were wonderful
gifts but eventually these presents got old and they broke. But one of the
greatest gifts that we could ever give is found right here in this package. In
fact you could say that this gift will never grow old and it will never be
broken and it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. What is it?
It is the Word
of God. †
Friends this is truly the greatest gift that we have we and received and that we give to other. The words in these pages comes by the inspiration of God. Paul makes this clear in:
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we
have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God,
that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.† 13 These things we also speak, not
in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
So the words that were
spoke by these men and profit of old were not there own words they were Godís
words. Peter also bears this out.
2 Peter 1:20 knowing
this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private
interpretation,† 21 for
prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they
were moved by the Holy Spirit.
So there is no doubt Paul
summarizes the scriptures this way.
2 Timothy 3:16 All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be
complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
You see the Bible is our
pattern our guide book given to us by God so that we understand how we got here
and what our life is all about and how we can be saved in eternity. God has
given us his word because he loves us and he wants to understand his word.
1 Timothy 2:3 For this
is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,† 4 who desires all men to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
But it up to you and I to
accept Godís Word because he will not force us follow it because he loved us
enough to give us a free will. We need to realize just how† powerful Godís word is.
is so powerful that it will remain forever.
Matthew 24:35 †"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My
words will by no means pass away.
Here we see that even
heaven and† earth disappear Godís word
will still† be there. The reason why
we† should stand up take note of the God
inspired word is because it teaches how to be saved so that we can eternity in
heaven instead of hell.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with
meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Do you see why word of is
the greatest gift we have received and the greatest gift we can give? As we
study Godís word we can see the great love that God has for us how sent his
only begotten son to live and to die upon this earth for sole purpose of giving
the opportunity of being saved. It is a gift that we do not deserve but God
offers it to us anyway.
When Jesus had raised
from the dead and declared that all authority had been given to him over heaven
and earth he commands his disciples to do this in,
therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age." Amen.
You see this is how one
becomes a disciple of Christ is by being taught the Word of God and by being
baptized into of the possession of the father the son and the holy Ghost and
this† is message that you see taught throughout
the NT. For example Peter and the rest of the Apostles taught the same message
at the birth of the church in Acts 2. As they began to proclaim Jesus death
burial and resurrection notice the response of some of these listeners.
Acts 2:37 Now
when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and
the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we
do?"† 38 Then Peter said
to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the
Now as you take a
complete look at the word of God in the NT you will see that that as people
went about giving the greatest the greatest gift ever they would tell people
that they must believe the Jesus was the son of God and they would tell them
they must repent and turn to God and follow the pattern that he has made in his
word. They would also tell them that they must confess Jesus as their Lord and
then finally they would tell them if the want to be a disciple of Christ and
they wants their sins removed then they must submit themselves to water baptism
in the name or by the authority for the removal of the sins. You see it as the
point of baptism that God adds you to his church and it not until you are
baptized that you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which is described by
Paul this way:
Now you know how you must
be saved but it doesnít stop there because we continue to grow in our faith and
knowledge of Godís Word and remain faithful to him† until the day we die. I believe David
summarizes the attitude that Christians should have in:
Psalm 119:9 How can
a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.† 10 With my whole heart I have
sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!† 11 Your word I have hidden in my
heart, That I might not sin against You! †12 Blessed are You, O LORD!
Teach me Your statutes!† 13
With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.† 14 I have rejoiced in the way of
Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.† 15 I will meditate on Your
precepts, And contemplate Your ways.† 16
I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.† 17 Deal bountifully with Your
servant, That I may live and keep Your word.† 18 Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
I hope this lesson this
morning has taught you more about Jesus and how he relates to Christmas and
most of all I hope that you will walk this morning with greater appreciation of
the gift that we have all received from God himself. I hope that we will always
strive to allow God gift to be our guide.