“Christes Maesse” is the Old English word for Christmas which means “Christ’s mass.” Christmas, no doubt, is the most joyous holiday in all of Christendom. Yet it remains to be the most controversial of all the religious feasts. Consider.
December is known to be a winter month. The shepherds could not possibly be “in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). So according to some critics in the same country abiding, to be able for those shepherds to “watch their flock by night” it must be summer.
So they speculate that March or April could possibly be the months of the nativity. In fact, due the silence of the scriptures as to the exact date of Christ’s was born. And because the date cannot be ascertained others have completely avoided the celebration of Christmas.
Another objection some people have against the celebration of Christmas is the dominance of Roman Catholic rituals that are paganistic in their origin. The date December 25 is traditionally known to be a feast in the Roman Empire called the “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti” or the “Birthday the Unconquered Sun.”
According to the Roman tradition, this day marks the week-long orgy of feasting and wild revelry called “Saturnalia” This day is often held in mid-December when the Sun was approaching its lowest. From Christmas trees to Santa Claus and other trimmings of Christmas, not to mention the tide of commercialism that accompany this season of goodwill, these are but few reasons why some avoid celebrating Christmas. Where do the true Disciples of Christ stand regarding this controversial of celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth? What is left of Christmas for the true Christians? Do we still have something to celebrate about, to be joyful of Christmas? The answer is, certainly there is!
Firstly, Christmas is not about a particular day or a certain date. Rather it is about an event – the birth of Christ! Just because the exact date is unknown does not mean that He was not born. If He was born then His day of birth must be remembered and celebrated by all means.
And since the exact day is unknown, then, any other day is as good as any day. December 25 could therefore be as good as any day in March or April. Hence, the uncertainty of the exact day of Christ’s birth is not an excuse not to celebrate His birthday.
Secondly, even if it is the Romish and paganistic festivies that seem to dominate the celebration of His birthday, it does not mean that we should append Christmas according to their own way, or worst, not to celebrate it at all. It is our duty and responsibility to celebrate His birthday- celebrate it the right way and scriptural way. Not to celebrate Christmas is tantamount to saying that Christ was not born after all and that. He did not come in flesh to be our Savior.
And so, in spite of all confusion, muddled truth, distorted values that surround Christmas, it remains that it is all about Him “who loved us so much He gave His life for our salvation.”It is, therefore, our duty to proclaim to all the world that,
“…unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ Lord,” (Luke 2:11)
So what is Christmas? The Bible views that birth of Christ in different aspects. First, let us look at what Christmas meant to the Father. This is what the Father says concerning His Son, Jesus Christ,
“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with oil of joy “ -Hebrews 1:9 )
During the moment of His baptism by John the Baptist, the Father reiterated His delight for the Son:
“This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” - Mathew 3:17
Again the Bible declares about Christ,
“Then I was by Him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” <-Proverbs 8:3)
Therefore when the Father sent the Son into the world ( Gal 4:4), He actually gave up His dearest treasure, “His only begotten Son” ( John 3:16 ) Christmas as far as the Father , therefore was concerned meant the ultimate giving of sacrifice.
On the other hand, what is Christmas to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself? The coming of Christ into this world, as mentioned in Hebrews 10:5, was splendidly portrayed by Paul in his epistle to the Philippians brethren.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing talking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even on a cross!” -Philippians 2:8-9).
Paul used the Greek word “kenosis” from the verb “ken” which means “empty or void” To fully appreciate the significance of the word, let me quote directly from the Greek Lexical Aids of the New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates: “The use of keno in Philippians 2:7 is of extreme theological importance.
It refers to Jesus Christ as emptying Himself at the time of His incarnation, denoting the beginning of His self-humiliation in Phil 2:8…We have His pre-incarnate, eternal state spoken of in verse 6 as “being in the form of God” and “equal with God.” The truth expressed here concerning His pre-incarnate state is that He had to be equal with God to have the form of God. He could not be God the Son without being God. He who revealed the form of God, the essence of God, had to be equal with God… But in spite of His essence of deity, He took upon Himself the true essence of a servant..
Based upon these scriptural reference, what does Christmas meant to Christ? It meant entering in the world of men in the form of servant, emptying Himself of the glory of being equal with God.
It meant being imprisoned within the limitations and frailties of a human body.
“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way…” -Hebrew 2:17
To the world, Christmas means that no one need to live lie bound and slaved by sin.
Man need not to face an eternity without hope of being with God. For the birth of Christ opened to everyone the possibility of heaven. Salvation is now offered as a “free gift” (Romans 6:23) to all who believe. God through Jesus Christ visited the world to “take a people for His name” (Acts 15:14). Life’s greatest tragedy would be our failure to know the time of God’s visitation (Luke 19:44).
The church is the greatest beneficiary of Christ’s birth. The sacrifice of the Father, the kenosis of the son were all intended to “call a people for His name” (Acts 15:14). He was born to die, that through Him all who believe shall never die.
Because He took upon Himself the form of a servant. He not only become the captain of our salvation ( Hebrews 2:10 ) He become a High Priest who stand before the presence of the Father.