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Why December 25th?- Christus Invictus

By Randy Bushey

We don’t know the exact date that Jesus was born, but why December 25th? Randy discusses the importance of celebrating Christ regardless of the date.

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The Birth Of Christ

why December 25thToday in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

Ever wonder why we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th??

Yup, the cynics are correct: because it was the date of a pagan festival.

I can hear some of you thinking out loud, “and that’s why Christians shouldn’t observe Christmas.” 

But that may be a half-baked conclusion.

Here’s why: good historical evidence suggests that the early Christians were more thoughtful and intentional in their commitment to the .truth than we sometimes give them credit for.

We don’t know the date of Jesus’ birth, but we can be pretty sure it was not in late December. In the ancient world, shepherds could be found in the fields 24/7 from the end of April and into November. After that, it was just too cold.

Why December 25th?

So why December 25th?

In the Roman Empire sol invictus was the Latin term for “the invincible sun”, thought in pagan circles to be the highest deity. During the winter solstice, sun worshipers came together, celebrating with huge bonfires to replicate the light of the sun.

The zenith of that gala was December 25th.

why December 25thIn that era, Christ-followers commonly celebrated the birth of the Saviour late in the first week of January. Then they intentionally moved Christmas to December 25th in the 4th century.

But far from caving to social pressure and compromising their principles, these robust followers of Christ did exactly the opposite.

The Roman Empire believers observed the Incarnation of God on the same day their pagan neighbours stoked their bonfires – not to syncretize the observance of the birth of the Saviour with the pagan worship of the sun – but to emphasize Christ’s transcendent authority and sovereignty over it.

The Invincible Christ! Christus Invictus.

Takeaway: as followers of Jesus more than the birth of the Baby, let’s celebrate the Incarnation of God, Emmanuel, God with us! May we have the courage to proclaim to a sin-weary world, Christus Invictus.

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Randy Bushey

You can listen to podcasts from Randy’s show, “The Faith Factor,” by clicking here.

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