THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS 

By E.R. Hall, Jr

Would you be shocked to learn the word “Christmas” is not in the Bible? Would it also shock you to learn that the word “Christmas” has no reference to the birth of Christ?


If the word “Christmas” is not found in the Bible and has no reference to the birth of Christ, where did it originate and what does it mean? When we have to resort to a good reliable encyclopedia to find the true origin of Christmas, this ought to tell us something. As far as to the name “Christmas”, The Britannica Encyclopedia says, “Liberius gave this reason for having Christmas: ‘We have a Mass for every Saint, but there is no Mass for Christ’.” From this we can see how the word “Christmas” originated: CHRIST + MASS = CHRISTMAS.

In fact, the birthday of Christ was never celebrated by the Apostles or the Christians in the first century. The Encyclopedia of Religion by Fern has this to say: “According to authentic records, no church festival was held in celebration of Christ’s birth, until the first half of the fourth century.” For over three hundred years after the birth of Christ, His birth was not celebrated.

Can you go to the Scriptures and find the day on which Jesus was born? People say it was December 25 but where is the Scripture that says such? Why, then, do people celebrate Dec. 25 as the day of His birth? Again, we have to go to encyclopedias instead of the Scriptures. The World Book Encyclopedia says, “Bishop Liberious of Rome in 354 A.D. ordered that December 25th be adopted as the birth date of Christ.” Why would a Roman Catholic bishop use Dec. 25th of all days? The Lincoln Library of Essential Information can give us the answer: “December 25th was already a festive day for the sun god Mithra and appealed to Christians as an appropriate date to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the ‘Light of the World’.”

Someone may ask, “What’s wrong with celebrating Christ’s birthday?” The answer is: The Scriptures nowhere teaches us to commemorate Jesus’ birth; much less how to go about it! What the Scriptures do command is for us to commemorate Jesus’ death. “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Jesus, Himself, commanded us to remember His death but makes no mention of remembering His birth. I ask, dear Reader, which do you faithfully remember: His birth or His death?

Our denominational friends say, with the best of intentions, “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas”. However, they need to realize that Christ was never in Christmas. The word itself has nothing to do with His birth. St. Nicholas, reindeer, the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and decorations that are associated with Christ’s birthday did not originate from the Holy Scriptures but solely from Roman Catholic decrees and Pagan superstition.

Indeed, why put Christ into something that He did not originate nor command us to celebrate? However, let us imitate the Christians at Troas who gathered upon the first day of the week to remember the Lord’s death by partaking of unleavened bread which commemorates Christ’s body and drank the fruit of the vine which commemorates Christ blood. (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-28).

Let us be thankful for His willingness to come to this earth and the fact that He was born of woman. But let us never forget that He came to this earth to die and shed His blood that we might have the remission of sins. Let that be what we remember every first day of the week as the Scriptures teach.

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