Do you know where Christmas came from? Where it actually began? Bry and I heard a message on this recently, and it was fascinating to learn some of the history.
The early Church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus, bc the early Church was not overly concerned with the birth of Jesus. His death and resurrection were far more important to them for several reasons. You can actually see this in Scripture. Count the number of chapters in the Bible that are given to the nativity story verses how many have been written about the crucifixion and resurrection. There is a bit of a difference.
It was not until a couple hundred years after Jesus that the Church even began to wonder when was Jesus born.
The actual celebration of the nativity began in the 4th cent and the date that was picked was Dec 25th. Again there are several reasons for this date and even for the celebration of the Nativity but there is one I’d like to stress today.
It was a way to combat heresies that were popping up in the Church. Many were teaching that Jesus was not fully God but a semi-deity who was created by God the Father at a specific point in time. Others were teaching that Jesus was fully God but not fully a man, instead He only looked human.
The Church fathers realized that the incarnation of Jesus was of vital importance for fighting both heresies. They also realized that one simple way to teach this truth was to celebrate the Nativity yearly. Bc in celebrating the Nativity you are reminding yourself and others of the truth that the 2nd Person of the Trinity, God Himself, somehow came down and took on flesh. He became a man.
Fully God, fully man. That’s what the Nativity is declaring. God in the flesh.
Jesus truly is Emmanuel bc Jesus really was “God with us.” He was “God in the flesh.” This season as we celebrate the Nativity declare with boldness – Emmanuel has come! Jesus was fully God and yet born of a virgin He became fully a man. How great is our God!
Thanks for that info Erika. I asked Guy recently if the early church even celebrated Christmas and if we should. I used to love Advent and the Christmas season, but expectations have changed as an adult/daughter-in-law/mom/mother-of-grandkids, and I really dread it now. I will have to remember this history when the season rolls around next year.