Last week we had a rare occurrence on The Master's College campus. Usually it rains here only one week out of year, and usually it's not until January. But lo and behold, it started drizzling throughout most of the day this past Wednesday. And for some reason, maybe the weather or maybe nothing at all, I found myself humming "The First Noel" to myself as I was walking to class. Normally I'm not the type that listens to any sort of Christmas music before November, but I just started humming away.
It's funny how there's basically a taboo on Christmas music, culturally-speaking, until around Thanksgiving. From a worldly standpoint this makes sense, because all the secular Christmas music only ever talks about the season and not the "reason." As Christians, we can get away with it a little more because we're singing about the birth of our Savior. Yet still it seems like you are looked down upon if you even mention a Christmas carol in October. Personally, I don't know if this is really warranted. Let me try to explain why I feel this way.
Firstly, it has been estimated that Christ was not born on December 25. There have been many postulations as to when the actual date would be (some have even gone so far to say that it was on a Wednesday), but we can be fairly certain that it was not in December. The weather would not have permitted the shepherds to be watching their flocks in the middle of the night during the cold winter. It is most plausible that Jesus was born in the fall. Despite this prospect, we celebrate on December 25 because it used to be a pagan holiday (and some would argue it still is). It is unsure whether it was to counteract that pagan holiday or as a compromise with pagan rituals. All this to say, we can be certain that Christ was not born on December 25. Knowing this, it is good that we have a time set aside to celebrate Christ's birth, but we should not be tricked into thinking that Christmas Day was actually Jesus' birthday.
Secondly, Christ's birth is part of why we can worship and serve Him year-round. So many parts of the story of His birth fulfill major prophecies that, if not fulfilled completely, would have disqualified Jesus as the Messiah. Just look at the first chapter of Matthew. Verse 23 cites a prophecy from Isaiah 7, that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Then in the next chapter Matthew refers back to Micah 5:2 - "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." If Jesus had not been born in Bethlehem, or if Mary had not been a virgin, then He would have been completely disqualified as Savior, and the Pharisees' accusation of blasphemy before He was crucified would have been correct. If even the smallest of things had varied from those prophecies, we would be looking to another Messiah as the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Christ's birth was the beginning of a drastic change in all of redemptive history. It makes sense that we ought to rejoice in His birth as well as in His death all year round. Maybe that doesn't mean that we listen to Christmas music all the time, but we should continually remember the importance of Christ's birth.
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him: Christ the Lord!
For He alone is worthy; for He alone is worthy; for He alone is worthy: Christ the Lord!