HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Although the birth of Jesus Christ is presently celebrated throughout the world on December 25th, the true date of His birth is not known and in fact is not even likely to have occured during the winter months. Well then, why was this date chosen to be THE date? The early Christians did not observe any type of annual celebration to commemorate the the birth of Jesus. In fact, during its first 300 years, the Church in Rome strongly discouraged any type of such pagan rituals. However, as the Church went about the business of converting the Romans to Christianity, a problem arose. Many of the new converts were still observing some of the traditional Roman celebrations which were so familiar to them. One of the most popular Roman winter holidays was Saturnalia, which was a week long festival celebrating the Birth of the Unconquerable Sun. The celebration consisted of parades, merry-making and gift giving. It culminated on December 25th with a winter solstice feast. With so many members of the Church celebrating this pagan Roman holiday, the Church leaders sought to legitimize the celebration by designating December 25th as the birthday of Christ. This would allow the Christians to celebrate this time of year along with the rest of the popolutation, only now with the blessing of the Church.