Here are 10 interesting facts about Christmas from a Christian perspective:

1. The actual birth date of Jesus is unknown. December 25th was chosen due to its alignment with the Roman pagan festival Saturnalia and the wintersolstice, but may be very close to the date.

2. The earliest Christians did not celebrate Christ’s birth, focusing more on his Resurrection and Baptism. The observance of Christ’s birth as a special feast emerged in the 4th century.

3. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first live nativity scene in 1223 to cultivate the worship of Christ, after being inspired by his visit to the Holy Land where he saw Jesus’ traditional birthplace.

4. The Christmas tree, now a popular tradition, was used by early Christians and missionaries to represent the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.

5. The term “Xmas,” often thought to take Christ out of Christmas, is actually rooted in religion. The “X” is the Greek letter “chi,” the first letter of Χριστός, which means Christ in Greek.

6. The period from Christmas Day until Epiphany (January 6th), known as the Twelve Days of Christmas, is a time of celebration, marking the visit of the Magi or Wise Men.

7. The candy cane is said to represent the shepherd’s crook, symbolizing Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”. The red stripes represent Christ’s sacrifice, and the white background, his purity.

8. Santa Claus originated from St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop known for his generosity in Myra (modern-day Turkey) in the 4th century. His legend of secret gift-giving became part of the Christmas tradition.

9. The carol “Silent Night” was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria. It has a humble origin, composed hastily and performed with a guitar due to a broken church organ.

10. The tradition of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve has its roots in the Christian belief that Jesus was born at night. This is derived from Luke 2:8, which mentions shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night when the angel appeared to announce Jesus’ birth. The Midnight Mass is thus seen as a symbolic welcome to the Christ Child.

Once again, Merry Christmas

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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