The Nativity of Our Lord—Christmas Eve
December 24, 2009
The Lord be with you
The exact date of the birth of Jesus is not known, and during the earliest centuries of the Church it seemed to have little significance. This followed the Early Church’s tradition of honoring and celebrating a Christian’s death as his or her birth date into eternity and the ongoing presence of Jesus. Likewise the life, work, death, and resurrection of Christ was of much greater importance to early Christians than the earthly details of His life. The earliest nativity feast, Epiphany (January 6), celebrated both the birth and Baptism of Christ. However, in the fourth century great Christological controversies that questioned Christ’s divinity and humanity raced throughout Christianity. By 336 AD, December 25 had been established in Rome as the celebration of Christ’s birth, a festival welcomed particularly by orthodox Christians in the West. This date was settled on because it was believed that people died on the day they were conceived. Nine months after March 25 (the day they believed Jesus died) is December 25. From Rome, Christ’s natal festival spread throughout the Western Church. In Eastern traditions of the Church, Epiphany remains the principal celebration of the birth of Jesus.
May you each have a very blessed Christmas.
Pastor John Rickert