Exploring The First Christmas
The birth of Jesus Christ has long been celebrated on December 25 of every year. The first recorded celebration of Christmas dates back to December 25, 336. However, it is not known for sure if Christ was even born during the month of December, much less on the day we come together to celebrate.
It is speculated that Christ may have been born as early as November or as late as March. However, through time the date of December 25 was adopted as His offical birthday. In the early days of Christianity, there wasn't much emphasis given to celebrating or recording birthdays. Rather, the day a saint died received more emphasis and was considered more significant than a birth.
In terms of Christ, some historians and religious scholars surmise that Christmas was chosen to be in December to coincide with other religious and cultural festivals taking place at the same time. The Jews had their "Festival of Lights," while Pagans celebrated Saturnalia, a celebration giving gifts to the poor, but also feasting and drinking. Some say that to prevent his people from pagan debauchery, a Christian bishop at one time established Christmas on December 25 to compete with these other festivals.
Others believe a different story. When the church reached a consensus that Christ's conception occurred on March 25, it seemed reasonable to simply celebrate His birth nine months later.
Regardless of how it started, Christmas remains a time to share in the wonder of Christ's birth and the magic of charity and love this time of the year.