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It's Christmas!

The History of Christmas:

It is believed that the first celebrations of Christ's birth were originally grouped together with Epiphany, one of the earliest feasts of the Christian church observed on January 6. This holiday recognized the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles by remembering the visit of the Magi (wise men) to Bethlehem and, in some traditions, the baptism of Jesus and his miracle of turning water into wine. Today the feast of Epiphany is observed predominately in liturgical denominations such as Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Catholic.

Even as far back as the second and third centuries, we know church leaders disagreed about the appropriateness of birthday celebrations within the Christian church. Some men like Origen felt birthdays were pagan rituals for pagan gods. And since the date of Christ's actual birth had not been recorded, these early leaders speculated and argued about the date.

Some sources report that Theophilus of Antioch (circa 171-183) was the first to identify December 25 as the birth date of Christ. Others say that Hippolytus (circa 170-236) was the first to claim that Jesus was born on December 25. A strong theory suggests that this date was eventually chosen by the church because it aligned closely with a major pagan festival, dies natalis solis invicti (birth of the invincible sun god), thus allowing the church to claim a new celebration for Christianity.

Ultimately, December 25 was chosen, perhaps as early as A.D. 273. By 336 A.D., the Roman church calender definitively records a nativity celebration by Western Christians on this date. Eastern churches maintained the January 6 commemoration together with Epiphany until sometime in the fifth or sixth centuries when the 25th day of December became the widely accepted holiday. Only the Armenian church held to the original celebration of Christ's birth with Epiphany on January 6.
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My family doesn't put itself in bondage every year with debt. We save pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and $1 bills in a very large jar all during the year. They add up to a nice amount by the end of the year, although we do sometimes add a little more if someone wants something special that costs more than what we saved. It's never enough to put us into heavy debt. We always remind our children that Jesus is the real reason for the season, and that they get gifts like Jesus was given gifts from the Magi. We don't worship a Christmas tree; we worship the living Christ. I see nothing wrong with decorating a tree with lights to remind us of his wonderful birth.....but rave on, if you must.

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