[quote="Holly3278, post:1, topic:267503"]
First of all, I would like to wish everyone a merry, joyful, and Christ-centered Christmas this year! Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season and it is His birth we celebrate. The holiday (which means holy day) of Christmas exists because we are supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas.
Did you know that the earliest Christians celebrated Christmas first as a Christian holiday? Yep, they were Roman Catholics but back then they celebrate it on the Feast of Epiphany which was also the celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ. They celebrated the baptism of Jesus Christ and His birth on the same day during the earliest days of Christianity.
It wasn't until Saint John Chrysostom preached a sermon in Antioch in 386 that the date of Christmas was established as being on December 25. This was using the Julian calendar though which we no longer use. December 25 in the Julian calendar would be January 7th in the Gregorian calendar which is what we use today. That said, I don't know how Christmas begun to be celebrated on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar system. You can read more about the history of Christmas here:
Hi everyone. This is a post that I posted on Facebook. I made very few minor edits to it so it would be good for Catholic Answers Forums. That said, I hope that you enjoy it. If there are any inaccuracies in this post, please let me know so I can try and correct them or at least correct my own knowledge of Christmas. :)
Just a few additions, if I could:
The earliest known reference to the date of the Nativity as December 25 is found in the Chronography of 354, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome. It coincided with another 'nativity': that of the god Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun; the calendar records both feasts. In the calendar section, one could find N·INVICTI·CM·XXX ("Birthday of the Unconquered - games ordered: 30 (chariot races)"); in another section known as Commemorations of Martyrs, one could find VIII kal. Ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae (8th of the Kalends of January: Birth of Christ in Bethlehem, Judea).
In the East, the Nativity was apparently originally commemorated with other events in the life of Jesus during January 6, which most of Christendom now commemorates as the Epiphany/Theophany. The pilgrim Egeria (AD 385) attended an Epiphany liturgy held in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem; her contemporary St. Epiphanius of Salamis in modern Cyprus could still speak of the day as being Christ's "birthday; that is, His Epiphany." (Panarion, 51, 22.3-7, 12-14; 27.4-6)
For the Savior was born during the forty-second year of the Roman emperor Augustus - in the thirteenth consulship of the same Octavian Augustus and the consulship of Silanus, as the Roman consul lists indicate. For these say as follows: "During their consulships," I mean Octavian's thirteenth and the consulship of Silanus, "Christ was born on the eighth before the Ides of January =January 6], thirteen days after the winter solstice and the increase of the light and the day." Greeks, I mean the idolaters, celebrate this day on the eighth before the Kalends of January =December 25], which Romans call Saturnalia, Egyptians Cronia, and Alexandrians, Cicellia. For this division between signs of the zodiac, which is a solstice, comes on the eighth before the Kalends of January, and the day begins to lengthen because the light is receiving its increase. And it completes a period of thirteen days until the eighth before the Ides of January, the day of Christ's birth, with a thirtieth of an hour added to each day. The Syrian sage, Ephrem, testified to this calculation in his commentaries when he said, "Thus the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, his birth in the flesh or perfect incarnation which is called the Epiphany, was revealed after a space of thirteen days from the beginning of the increase of the light. For this too must needs be a type of the number of our Lord Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, since, [added to the disciples], he made up < the > number of the thirteen days of the light's increase." ...]
I have been obliged to prove this with many examples because of those who do not believe that "The Epiphany" is a good name for the fleshly birth of our Savior, who was born at the eighth hour and manifested, by the angels' testimony, to the shepherds and the world - but he was manifested to Mary and Joseph as well. And the star was manifested to the magi in the east at that hour, two years before their arrival at Jerusalem and Bethlehem, when Herod asked the magi themselves the precise time of the star's manifestation, and they told him it was no more than two years before. And this very word gave the Epiphany its name, from Herod's saying, "the manifestation of the star." Thus when the magi said, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him," (Matthew 2:2) Herod say that he had not been inquiring about the name of a merely human king.