Christmas history you should know

Published 11:16 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

By Will Collins

It’s often said that we no longer celebrate Christmas with its original purpose.

“Remember the reason for the season” is a phrase stated from time to time and deservedly so. But, are we truly following this sage old wisdom with the passing of each year?

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We don’t know the exact date in which Jesus was born, nor the season for that matter. Some speculation can be made that it may have been in the spring or fall due to the Jewish festivals held, which would have been a great opportunity to perform the census as accurately as possible. We do know that Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem during the census and this is when Christ was born.

As time went on, celebrations were held in honor of the god of sun and the god of light along with a Mass celebration for Christ. This Mass was sometimes called the Mass of Christ or Christ’s Mass and was later shortened to Christmas. Seeing as how Jesus was the “light of the world,” the winter solstice traditions were moved to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

In the year 336, Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, established Dec. 25 as a celebration of the birth of Jesus and it was later declared the official date by Pope Julius I.

Now, nearly 1,700 years later, we still celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25. Many things have changed, especially the marketing empire the holiday has fostered, but this is still OK as long as we don’t forget what the holiday is all about.

Just this week, I heard a news story that blew my mind so I researched it to make sure I had heard it correctly. A group has attacked the Hallmark Channel due to the nature of its Christmas movie schedule and the happy way they portray the holiday.

Slate complained that there was a lack of gays, feminists and Muslims in the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies. “The Christmas-down-your-throat bombast, holly-jolly sexism, the character’s zaniness and unyielding impulsiveness — it’s all very Trumpian behavior,” the article stated.

Everyone has the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas holiday. I will be the first to say anyone can celebrate the holiday in the way they see fit, or not at all. But in an official capacity, Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. To put it in today’s language, it is what it is.

We have seen too many instances over the past 10 years where certain groups try to change the meaning of things in order to fit the narrative they wish to deliver to the world. This occurs quite often in interpreting the words written in the Bible.

I do not intend to put down any groups that do not celebrate Christmas. In fact, Muslims for example, fully believe in the birth of Jesus and Mary as the mother of Christ. Their book holds Mary in very high regard.

Their religious celebrations are held at different times for different reasons. That is awesome. We may have different beliefs but I can have respect for everyone’s choice of worship.

At the end of the day, Christmas is about celebrating with joy and love. As the beloved Carrie Fisher said, “I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.”

Regardless of how you envision the holiday, I will spend mine wishing for peace, love and joy for all. Have a very Merry Christmas Winchester and Clark County.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester his home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at