WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE DATES FOR CELEBRATING CHRIST’S NATIVITY AND EPIPHANY OF TODAY’S CHRISTMASTIDE?
By Venerable Dr I. U. Ibeme
Due to persecution by Rome, and calendar confusion and complexities of the ancient world, several ancient Churches could only mention and commemorate Christ’s conception, birth and death as often as they would independently and irregularly. They could not arrive at a fixed annual date to hold open unified annual celebration. According to a known writing of Bishop Clement of Alexandria, the Egyptian Church had started their open unified celebration of Epiphany before 215 AD. The Roman Church remained underground or persecuted till toleration Edict of Milan in 318 AD.
1. We know Christ died around the shifting lunar date of the Passover but fixed solar date of Vernal Equinox.
2. We believe Christ’s perfection implies that He took up flesh on the same fixed date He put off flesh.
3. If we accurately calculate the date of His death, we easily extrapolate the date of His conception and birth.
4. Egyptian Church calculated the Spring Equinox of His death to be on April 6 by their Macedonian calendar, so he must have been conceived April 6 to be born on January 6 Winter Solstice.
5. Roman Church calculated the Spring Equinox of His death to be on March 25 by their Julian calendar, so He must have been conceived on March 25 to be born on December 25 Winter Solstice.
6. Inter-calendar margin of error between December 25 and January 6 gives rise to the Twelve Days of Christmas.
7. The Christmas Twelve Days has had other feasts celebrated by Roman pagans especially January 1 New Year from the time of Julius Caesar in 45 BC and later Unconquered Sun introduce by Caesar Aurelius in 271 AD. (The coincidence of the new pagan feast of Unconquered Sun with older feast of Christ’s Nativity was actually surprising to some Church Fathers.)
8. As the Church’s Christmas season has grown in scope and significance over the years, so more and more pagan ways of celebration and culture have sought to contaminate, commercialize or even compete with Christmas.
9. Christmas has no pagan origin as many erroneously conjecture today, but originated from the Herald Heavenly Angels and the Star-guided Eastern Wisemen as the Gospel records show. Pagan contamination is not same as pagan origination.
10. In the past the Church passed several decrees banning several pagan encroachments into Christmas over the centuries, but till today more and more heathenish elements are still being innovated and introduced into the Church – these must be continuously resisted for the devil must be fought without fainting till the last day.
Have a MERRY biblical CHRISTMAS commemorations!
Christ’s birth demands that you speak and live for Christ alone.