How did we get Christmas?

Nov 26, 2018 1:43 PM

How did we get Christmas?

Do you know?

The Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is one thing, and the celebration of that is another.  How and when did the Christian church actually begin to celebrate Christmas?  Even if you think you know, you may still find some surprises.  I did.

Probably the most detailed and accurate account of how we got Christmas is in an essay by Prof. Oscar Cullmann in his book The Early Church: Studies in Early Christian History and Theology (Wesminster, 1956).  Much of the information in this article comes from that chapter, and has been compared with and supplemented by more recent studies and discoveries. 

What you will learn in this essay is:

~ The celebration of Christmas grew out of Christianity itself, and was not merely attached to a pagan celebration.

~ The theological battles against Gnosticism and Arianism had more to do with Christmas than paganism.

~ Christians first celebrated the Nativity (Christ’s birth) together with Epiphany (Christ’s baptism).

~ The Nativity worship services of the churches in the early 300’s looked very much like those of today - many decades before Christmas began to be celebrated on December 25.

~ December 25, though favored by Constantine, was not decreed either by him or by the Council of Nicea.

~ It took a long time for December 25 to become accepted universally, but a sermon by the great preacher John Chrysostom of Antioch was instrumental in bringing that to pass.

Read the article and find out the full story of  How We Got Christmas