Darkness to Light
Before Christianity and Christmas, the Roman world celebrated the holiday of Saturnalia in December. The Saturnalia celebrated counting down to the longest night of the year to anticipate the “rebirth” of the Sun, having experienced deep darkness.
Jesus was possibly born in the spring, given the shepherds out in their fields. No one knows for sure. But Christians chose to replace the worship of the sun with worship of the Son. Christmas intentionally replaced Saturnalia several hundred years after Jesus’ birth, trading darkness for the Light.
Jesus’ birth wasn’t celebrated earlier, in part because Christianity was illegal through much of the first three centuries A.D. When it began to be celebrated it was because believers wanted to celebrate hope, forgiveness, and peace through Jesus. These things were notably absent during the Saturnalia; they were palpably present amongst the early Christians.
Saturnalia had some wickedness associated, possibly like some of our harsher Halloween traditions. Christmas celebrates the light that comes through any darkness.
This world still has wickedness with it, and some of that is still celebrated in certain corners of our culture. But the light that we find in our hearts through Jesus Christ can overcome whatever darkness we may have to face. Christmas is the celebration of hope through the light that shines every day of the year
Celebrate the birth of the Son.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27