How December 25 Became Christmas – Sunday Share from Andrew McGowan


Why is Christmas celebrated when it is?  Today’s Sunday Share is an article tracing the history of that decision, and also some background behind Christmas traditions.  Author Andrew McGowan notes that in contrast to some who believe Christmas just hijacked existing pagan holidays, “It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts.”  McGowan cites writings from the 2nd and 3rd centuries debating whether December 25th was actually the date of Christ’s birth.  However, McGowan also notes that Christmas was a later development than Easter, and that “most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.”  I’ve yet to find precise guidance from the Bible describing when, how, or even whether, to celebrate Christmas, but this article is a solid start in getting some facts straight and worth a read!

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