Christmas is without a doubt the most memorable season of the year. It is the time that differences are laid aside and the mood seems to go up a notch in the positive direction. It has come to represent a time of love and sharing but traditionally it celebrates the birth of, unarguably, the most controversial man to ever live. Jesus is the undeniable reason for the season.
It is impossible to cover the influence of this Jewish carpenter in one article. No figure in history holds a candle to him in terms of stature and weight of persona. The question then is what is so special about him? What makes everyone in the world have an opinion about him? Some love him, some hate him, some think he was a fraud and others call him the Son of God. With all of the mystique that surrounds him, one thing, however, stands out…history respects him.
Jesus was born in what is now the nation of Israel some 2000 years ago. His birth, history reports, came at a time when the nation of Israel was under Roman occupation. The country was in a state of oppression and the Jews sought a Savior to come rescue or redeem humanity. However, the country wanted a military leader much like King David had been many centuries prior and were not expecting the answer in the form of a baby.
Jesus Christ remains the greatest enigma in history to believers and skeptics alike. Some have said the word enigma is a bit of an understatement. In just three years, he managed to change the face of the world. The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, a Judaist by religion, wrote this when referencing him:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. (Antiquities 18.3.3)
Jesus, the undeniable reason for the Christmas season, is not “uniformly” accepted as God or some form of deity, but definitely as someone special and more than an ordinary man. Even today, our sense of time acknowledges his existence. In other words, the calendar refers to events as before Christ (B.C.) or after death (A.D.). A superstar if ever there was one. Christmas has over time, come to symbolize a season of goodwill and friendship, a virtue that embodies Jesus so well.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 was in 336; during the time of the first Christian Roman Emperor named Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would always be celebrated on the date. Hence, the reason for the season.
Lights, trees, gifts, candy canes, stockings and even fun-loving Santa are all wonderful attributes of this special season. Although they have been deemed paganistic by many, they add a seasoning to this time of year that makes it more beautiful.
Jesus died over 2000 years ago, yet the story of his life remains a best seller. What is undeniable to the honest historian is that this one man’s life, teaching, and symbolic acts eventually created a social and cultural revolution that reverberated far beyond Palestine and altered almost every institution on earth — and is still felt today. His birth is being celebrated worldwide as Christmas; the undeniable reason for the season and biggest holiday of the year.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, or Seasons Greetings! No matter how you say it, I hope it is a season of joy and festivity.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Why Christmas: Why is Christmas Day on the 25th December?
Top Image Courtesy of Richard Annable’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Bennilover’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License