Dear Pastor Andy, why do Christians see Christmas as Jesus’ Birthday?
When I was a child, I loved to bake. I used to bake bread with my mom, cupcakes, cakes, etc. I remember for a couple Christmas’, baking a birthday cake for Jesus, and singing “Happy Birthday” to Him (candles and everything).
On day, a Facebook friend mentioned that she worked her shift on the 26th with a hangover, and then commented, “damn me for drinking for Jesus’ B-day.”
The image of Christmas being Jesus’ birthday is fun and popular, even among the churches. But I have to wonder if in the Baby in Jerusalem story, the True mark of what Christmas is all about, is actually being missed? Especially when you look at all the consumerism, depression, worries, suicides, capitalism, bitterness, even the various stories about the birth of Jesus, the understanding of what Christmas is all about has so much potential of becoming confused or clouded.
Believe it or not, before and in the beginning of Seminary, I had attended a church that originally didn’t celebrate Christmas because neither the date nor even suggestion to celebrate Christ’s birth was actually mentioned in the Bible. They figured that since it was one of the events for which the date was not mentioned, that we shouldn’t celebrate it at all (or always celebrate it, which makes sense, but also runs the risk of pushing it aside as something minimal). They actually thought it was a sin (or evil) to celebrate Christmas!
But I have come to understand that Christmas is actually about something much more than them all…that regardless of what day Jesus was really born, Christmas is about celebrating the Messiah’s promised (first) coming. So on the surface, Christians are celebrating Jesus’ birth (which has developed many arguments on the date, appropriateness of celebration, etc.). But as you dig deeper, you realize that what we’re really celebrating is the long-awaited arrival of the promised Messiah.
And so we’re not celebrating a particular date, but a particular arrival, and December 25th was just the date decided upon for when to celebrate this awesome event!
Merry Christmas, everyone!