When you think of the Christmas season, what images fill your mind? Probably snow, hot chocolate, stockings hung by the fire place, the smell of a pine tree. But Christmas hasn’t always been celebrated in December.
For the first three hundred years of Christianity, there was debate over whether the birth of Jesus should be celebrated at all. Those who were in favor of honoring Christ’s birth couldn’t agree on when to celebrate.
The date of December 25th was chosen possibly as early as 273. On December 25 of 336, Western Christians officially celebrated Christmas after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity Rome’s favored religion.
The date of Christmas may have been chosen to replace pagan holidays, but as St. Augustine said in 320, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.”
When we celebrate Christmas isn’t as important as the thankfulness of our hearts when we remember that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). And that’s worth celebrating every day of the year!