WHY WE DO WE FOCUS ON JESUS' BIRTHDAY AT THE CENTER AND DON'T CELEBRATE SANTA AT THE CENTER DURING CHRISTMAS
As we celebrate the Christmas season at CCS we are excited about all the fun things that we have planned surrounding the celebration of Jesus' birthday! Make sure that you note all of the various classroom and all school activities that we have designed to help ourselves and your children focus on the "real meaning of the season". As with other holiday celebrations at Champion Christian, we are committed to having children experience Christian and biblical principles around the holidays and that we would encourage ourselves and you to experience the Lord in special ways around this holiday. Because of this we have developed a few guidelines for us as a school that we believe help to do that. These include such things as not talking about or focusing on secular traditions of Christmas such as Santa Claus, Frosty, etc. We try to talk about gift giving rather than focusing on receiving, and we spend a lot of time talking about both the Old and New Testament scriptures surrounding the birth of Christ. As usual, we are not trying to set guidelines for your family to practice at home, rather practices that we believe are important for us as a Christian school. For example, if your child talks about Santa, etc. we will not tell them in any way that is wrong, but rather encourage discussion back to Christ and His birth. We are excited to be able to share the holidays with your family. We trust it will be a blessed time!
Here are a couple fun ways to do a family Advent Calendar:Another resource is to look at having a Family Advent Calendar. Check out the following link for one idea: https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-are-advent-readings.html?utm_source=Daily%20Bible%20Living&utm_campaign=Daily%20Bible%20Living%20-%20BibleStudyTools.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2640367&bcid=3136f847eff7f1df09e49a43b2c11cc9&recip=494684913
Find out FIVE Cool Things to Know about the Facts around the Christmas Story
5 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Should Learn How to Answer: Christmas...
In a previous post, I offered quick answers to 5 apologetics questions that I think every Christian should be familiar with. With many misconceptions and misunderstandings about Christmas, here are 5 Christmas-themed questions with “barebones” quick answers that can easily be committed to memory.
1. Was Jesus born on December 25th, AD 1?
Although we celebrate His birth on December 25th, there is no biblical evidence that this is the actual date He was born. “AD” is an abbreviation for anno domini, which means “in the year of our Lord” in Latin. When scholars came up with the BC/AD system, they intended to divide world history based on the birth of Christ. However, they miscalculated the year of His birth, and it wasn’t recognized until later that Jesus was actually born somewhere between 6-4 BC. (1) Matthew 2:1 records that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great. History tells us that Herod died in 4 BC, so Jesus would have been at least 4 years old by AD 1.
2. Is Christmas a pagan holiday?
Every year, I see the inevitable “Christmas was a pagan holiday so Christians shouldn’t celebrate it!” claim circulated on social media at Christmastime. Let’s put it to rest, shall we? Christmas was never a pagan holiday. However, in the Roman Empire, there were certain pagan winter ceremonies such as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, celebrated on December 25th, and Saturnalia, a week long festival that culminated around the same date.
In the early third century, Christians began to associate Jesus’ birth with December 25th. In the fourth century, they made it an official holiday. Why? Some argue it was because it coincided with the date of the Resurrection, others report that it was to challenge and contrast the existing pagan traditions.(2) Either way, it’s interesting to note that Dies Natalis Solis Invicti honored the Roman sun god, and in Malachi 4:2, a prophecy about Jesus calls Him the “Sun of righteousness.” I can’t think of a better way to contrast the festival than to laud the birth of the true Sun—the Light of the world!
3. We three kings of Orient are?
There are three inaccuracies just in the first line of this beloved Christmas carol.
· Three? The wise men brought three gifts, but the Bible doesn’t specify how many actually made the journey.
· Kings? Matthew 2:1 tells of “wise men from the East” who followed the star to see the boy Jesus. Because of their high standing in court, early church father Tertullian wrote, “The East generally regarded the magi as kings,”(3) but they were not actual monarchs.
· From the Orient? The wise men did not come from as far east as the Orient but were more likely from somewhere a little closer like Babylon. That was where a certain captive named Daniel was taken centuries earlier and was eventually made “chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48). The wise men would have likely been familiar with the prophecies about Jesus through the writings of Daniel.(4)
4. Is the story of Jesus’ virgin birth just a re-telling of ancient mythology?
This frequent claim on social media disintegrates when we actually examine the evidence. Consider the three most common examples—Buddha, Horus, and Mithras. None of the earliest and most reliable sources indicate that these figures were born of a virgin.(5)
· The earliest sources on Buddha specifically mention that he was born of a royal human bloodline. Later stories record more unusual elements surrounding his conception, but they are nothing like the virgin conception of Jesus.
· Horus was an Egyptian deity whose parents were Osiris and Isis, and early stories actually mention Osiris’ seed being in Isis to conceive him.
· Mithraism is an ancient mystery cult with no surviving scripture. All we have are sculptures and paintings, which can be tough to interpret. The earliest version of the birth of Mithras portrays him emerging out of the side of a mountain, leaving a hole in the rock. Unless the mountain was a virgin, that is hardly a “virgin birth story.”
5. Was Jesus born in a stable?
Although it is commonly assumed, the biblical account doesn’t actually mention a stable, or a cave, as early church tradition suggests.(6) However, Luke chapter 2 mentions a couple of important details—that He was “laid in a manger” (a type of feeding trough for animals,) and that there was “no room at the inn.” There’s no mention of an innkeeper, and the word translated as “inn” is the Greek word kataluma, which might be better translated “guest room.” In fact, Jesus uses the same word in Luke 22:11 in reference to the Upper Room, the site of the Last Supper.
As I’ve written previously, Mary and Joseph most likely did not attempt to stay at an inn, but it would have been customary for them to stay with Joseph’s relatives in Bethlehem. With the house overcrowded due to the government-mandated census and the guest room occupied, Jesus was probably born on the lower level of the dwelling. This is where animals were sometimes brought inside at night to keep warm and safe from theft, which explains why there was a manger.(7)
Have a well-informed and Merry Christmas!
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(1) Alden A. Mosshammer, The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era (Oxford University Press, 2008) p. 319-356.
(2) Lee Strobel, The Case For Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger (Zondervan, 1998,2005) p. 20.
(3) Tertullian, Against Marcion, 3:13.
(4) William Stob, “The Gospel of Matthew: Righteousness Through Obedience” The Four Gospels: A Guide to Their Historical Background, Characteristic Differences, and Timeless Significance (Ambassador Group, 2007).
(5) J. Warner Wallace, Was the Virgin Conception of Jesus Borrowed From Prior Mythologies? Cold Case Christianity Podcast #53, 2015.
(6) Justin Martyr, Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew, LXXVIII.
(7) John McRay, Archaeology & the New Testament (Baker Academic, 1991) p. 80-82; Kenneth Bailey,The Manger and the Inn, 2008.
Here is some additional information on Saint Nicholas to consider:
THE REAL SAINT NICHOLAS
When Christmas displays are erected on public grounds across the nation, they typically must include a secular element in order to achieve legal requirements. In effect, a manger scene must include a depiction of Santa Claus or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer before it passes constitutional muster. While I believe this is a nonsensical requirement, it is where the seemingly unending ACLU lawsuits against public religious displays have brought us in terms of social policy.
However, Christians can utilize this regulation to bring about a positive result. I encourage parents and grandparents to tell children the true story of Saint Nicholas - Santa's namesake - whenever they see a manger scene that includes a portrayal of Santa in the setting.
Saint Nicholas was born into a wealthy family about 350 miles northwest of Bethlehem in the fourth century. He was a man who loved children and his neighbors; he spent his life privately giving gifts to the unfortunate. These acts of Christian charity - usually made secretly - probably led to the policy of exchanging gifts during the Christmas season.
The history of Nicholas is blurry but there are many legends associated with the man. Apparently after his parents died, he inherited their fortune and chose to distribute it to the needy. Most famously, he lobbed bags of gold through the windows and down the chimneys of three sisters who had no dowry to allow them to marry.
Soon, Nicholas became Bishop of Myra, the city where he preached.
Ted Olsen, assistant editor of Christian History at Christianity Today, wrote that "it wasn't long before Diocletian and Maximian began their persecutions of Christians, and the new bishop was imprisoned." However, when Constantine assumed emperorship, Nicholas was released with many other persecuted believers and he returned to preaching.
After his release, Nicholas became a defender of the faith against Arianism, a heretical doctrine which asserted that Christ was not the Son of God, but a being nurtured by God the Father to the position of Son of God. Saint Nicholas reportedly traveled to the Council of Nicea and actually slapped Arius in the face in defense of the Gospel of Christ.
There are also dubious and debated elements to the ambiguous legend of Nicholas, but it appears to be quite clear that this was a man who attempted to convey the love of Christ in his life.
Mr. Olsen added, "When the Reformation came along, his following disappeared in all the Protestant countries except Holland, where his legend continued as Sinterklass. Martin Luther, for example, replaced this bearer of gifts with the Christ Child, or, in German, Christkindl. Over the years, that became repronounced Kriss Kringle, and ironically is now considered another name for Santa Claus."
This Christmas, if you see a public creche that includes a depiction of Santa, I encourage parents and grandparents to share the story of Saint Nicholas with young children. This is a way in which to use a disagreeable situation for good.
And you can rest assured that if enough people start recounting the story of Saint Nicholas, the ACLU will probably panic and start bringing cases to ban Santa from the public square.
Date: December 17, 2003 From: Jerry Falwell is life.
The Origins of
I have heard that Jesus wasn't really born in December and that he wasn't born on Christmas because Christmas is actually a pagan holiday. Is it true that Christians today worship a Pagan holiday thinking they are worshiping the actual birthday of Jesus Christ?
To see how Bodie Hodge (Answers in Genesis) responded to this question click here.
For more things like this visit www.answersingenesis.org