There’s a lot of confusion about Christmas.
Is it a day? Is it a season? Is it based on a pagan holiday? What is its real meaning?
Here are 9 things you should know about Christmas . . .
1. What is “the real meaning of Christmas”?
Although many voices in pop culture suggest that the true meaning of Christmas is being kind to each other, or being with our families, or something like that, the real meaning of the day–and the season it begins–is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:
525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
and the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!
2. Christmas is not based on a pagan holiday.
No matter how many times you hear Sheldon Cooper (or anyone else) say Christmas is based on a pagan holiday (whether Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, or anything else), we simply have no evidence of this.
If you read the writings of the Church Fathers, you do not find those who assign Christmas to December 25th saying things like, “Let’s put Jesus’ birthday here so we can subvert a pagan holiday.” (Not that subverting pagan holidays is a bad thing.)
They simply don’t do that. The ones who say Jesus was born on December 25th do so because that is when they think he was born.
In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict comments: