The CHRIST MASS was introduced in the fourth century by the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to affirm the doctrine of the incarnation, God becoming man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It replaced the Roman Saturnalia, a celebration lasting a week, marking the return of the sun. For the week following December 17th there was an exchange of gifts, banqueting, and a cessation of commerce. With the introduction of CHRISTMAS the celebration of the Saturnalia ceased.
Or has it? Most people do not in this season honor Saturn as the harvest god. Nor do they celebrate the return of the sun, following the shortest day. But a fourth century person would find little difference from the way most people prepare for and celebrate Christmas: feasting, partying, and exchange of gifts.
Christmas was a good idea! That “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16), and that He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and that He came “to redeem those under the law” (Gal. 4:12), and that He is named Jesus “because He will save His people from their sin” (Matt. 1:21)–that is something to celebrate with singing, worship, feasting, and the giving of gifts. Will it be for you CHRISTMAS, or Saturnalia?
Come to Peace Lutheran Church for the true Christmas celebration. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m. Advent service, Wed. 7:00 p.m.