Social Question

Blondesjon's avatar

Why is celebrating the birth of Christ such a big deal?

Asked by Blondesjon (33976points) December 24th, 2011

I have a personal dislike for folks wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday on various social sites. It just rubs me the wrong way and while they have every right to do it, I also have the right to be a bit of a dick about it. What does this have to do with my question? Hang on, I’ll tell you.

I was doing a little research, via Google, in to the actual birth date of Jesus so that I could post a snarky response to a particular Happy Birthday Jesus! post. All I was able to find was the fact that it is almost impossible to nail down a verifiable date.

What I did find was a few Christian sites that actually brought up a great point. The birth of Jesus isn’t really a big deal at all. It’s his death and (alleged) resurrection that stirred up all the trouble and are the core of Christianity.

Women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time. We don’t get all exited and buy gifts for each other on March 14th (Albert Einstein’s birthday), August 6th (Alexander Fleming’s invented penicillin birthday), or March 2nd (Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s birthday). They all had their own, personal Jesus type effect on the world.

So, again, why all the major holiday fuss over a baby being born?

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23 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Happy birthday Jesus!

Gabby101's avatar

I think most people would think Jesus is the bigger celebrity of those you mentioned. We do celebrate other biggies’s birthdays (kind of), like President’s day or our own birthdays :)

judochop's avatar

Do you celebrate your own birthday? Do you celebrate the birthday of others? Have you ever stopped to silently say happy birthday to someone you don’t know but maybe look up to? Humans celebrate birthdays.

Blackberry's avatar

We apparently wouldn’t be here without Him (can’t forget the Capital H), so who wouldn’t want to celebrate the guy that essentially gave us life.~

Berserker's avatar

Going by Christian beliefs, Jesus is the savior that saves mankind from its sins. Now his death is probably a lot more iconic, but given the reason why, it would be logical to praise his birth, as well. What I wonder is how come Easter isn’t a bigger deal than it is. I was gonna say something about money, but I believe Xmas was always a big deal, back when it wasn’t a consumerism thing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It is a major festival of the Christian year, coming right on the heals of advent, a time like Lent when introspection and self sacrifice are called for.

Having said that, the frenzy created in the US by the holiday is all a Hallmark gimmick.

digitalimpression's avatar

As a Christian, I celebrate Christmas as Christmas. I don’t say “Happy Birthday Jesus” or wrap a present and make a birthday cake. That’s just me.

I also don’t have a problem with those that do.

Blueroses's avatar

You’ve convinced me. I’ll cancel today’s feast and save the gifts for February 12; the birthdate (more or less) of Charles Darwin.

Earthflag's avatar

It’s a good way to make more money and consume people.

I think it shouldn’t exist, but today money is more important than anything for the government, isn’t it. sad.

Blueroses's avatar

Black Friday Walmart massacres do seem to illustrate my rather tongue-in-cheek response.
“Hark! I hear tidings of our Savings Savior.” 4 HDTVs for $100 apiece. Let us demonstrate survival of the fittest.

SuperMouse's avatar

Well certainly John Lennon‘s birthday should be celebrated on October 9th. I rather agree with your sentiment and near as I can figure Christmas is celebrated for the sake of those who need an excuse to attend church at least once a year and feel holy. Either that or it is an excuse to get plastered and open gifts.

@Earthflag I am not sure what part of the world you are from, but in my neck of the woods consuming people is not part of the traditional holiday celebration.

ucme's avatar

Oh it’s got fuck all to do with the nazarine, i’ll leave that to the bible bashers.
It’s just, well…....a happy coincidence that xmas happens to fall on the bearded fella’s birthday, that’s all.
That’s my excuse & ye gad’s i’m bloody well sticking to it.

Blondesjon's avatar

@SuperMouse . . . oh when will folks quit looking for excuses and just go ahead and get plastered?

go on people. you have my blessing.

john65pennington's avatar

I don’t believe that anyone knows exactly when Jesus was born.

Somehow, December 25th became the date that humans celebrate his birthday.

I say this, look around you. None of the people mentioned, none of the physical and physcological things we have in life, would be possible without God and his son.

We all have our personal beliefs and this is what freedom of religion is about.

Keep Christ in Christmas !

I rarely converse about religion, because it always leads to hurt feelings on Fluther.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Well, even non-Christians such as myself recognize Easter as the the BIG EVENT, but just about every culture that is geographically in a seasonal zone is going to have a celebration at the solstice, just cuz it’s so nice to do something to acknowledge that the shortest of days is gone and the darkest time is moving away. It may have turned into a commercial event for some in the fairly recent talking grand scheme of things, here, folks past, but consumerism is not likely the real reason for the season.

@SuperMouse; I dunno, I’m thinking there are a few Jellies I could eat right up!

Sunny2's avatar

It’s such a great story about taxes and poverty and overcrowded cities and angels and shepherds and kings with expensive gifts. Oh, and a virgin birth. If you were to be given the assignment of writing a story that included all those things, would you have been so creative? It’s a wonderful tale and makes for two celebrations of an important man. It’s much easier to tell the tale of Christmas to your kids, than Easter.

Aethelflaed's avatar

For most of the history of Christianity, Easter was The Big Event in terms of Christian holidays. Christmas was big, but not the biggest, holiday of the year. It even started to be played down quite a bit after the Protestant Reformation (starting in 1517 AD), because so many Protestants felt it was “popery”. But it got a reboot in the 19th century; Clement Clarke Moore wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas in 1822, helping to popularize the idea of gifts being an integral part of Christmas celebrations.Charles Dickens write his A Christmas Carol in 1843, which became instantly popular and helped promote the idea of Christmas as a time for family, compassion, and goodwill, with more secular celebrations (like feasting, gathering with family, dancing, games, etc). And combined with the newly created “free market” system, capitalists jumped on the opportunity to help people express their goodwill through material goods. In England and America, Christmas become popular and fashionable, more so than ever before. The backlash was rather immediate; in 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote of a fictional character who complains that the true spirit of Christmas had been lost in commercialism, and I love this little newspaper clipping from 1890, complaining that Christmas is now insufferably commercialized, leading many to secretly hate it. And we’ve been fighting about that same issue ever since… So, because we managed to commercialize the shit out of Christmas, and make it about presents, but didn’t do the same for Easter. And in a capitalist system, the holiday with gifts will reign over the holiday with some prayer and perhaps a nice roast.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Simple explanation? It’s a big deal because Dr J gets dressed up and the cute-itude of that makes everybody happy.

cookieman's avatar

My daughter, whom we send to Catholic school (and I’m agnostic) asked me this same question recently (albeit in a less caustic and jaded way, natch.)

I’ll tell you the same thing I told her:

“Jesus was likely born in the Spring, but no one knows for certain. December 25th is the day Christian leaders decided to celebrate his birthday on because it coincided with the more popular secular winter celebrations. Frankly, Christianity was looking to get a bump in popularity through this connection. Meanwhile, some overly literal modern day Christians choose to believe it’s his actual birthday and treat it as such.”

She was okay with that and so should you be.

Now move along.

JLeslie's avatar

The birth of Jesus is a miracle. I guess technically the conception is, but I think his birth basically represents the conception (unless there is a lesser known Christian holiday that celebrates the conception I am unaware of, which is very possible). It doesn’t seem odd to me for Christians to celebrate this miracle. It does seem odd to me it is a huge commercial gift giving day, but they seem to like it like that so c’est la vie.

filmfann's avatar

Biblical scholars often cite September 29th as the probable day of Christ’s birth, but the actual day doesn’t matter. It is that He was born that makes all the difference.
It is seeing God’s promise delivered.
Happy Birthday Jesus!

Buttonstc's avatar

well, if you want to get technically Biblical about it, Jesus himself never commanded (or even suggested) a remembrance of his birth in any way shape or form.

He did speak specifically about “do this in remembrance of me” regarding his death at the last supper, And it could be argued that’s without the subsequent resurrection, there would likely have been no remembrance of his birth. So the celebration of Easter has more logical consistency than Christmas does.

Somewhere in the 300s (Council of Nicea and similar convocations to establish official Roman dogma) it was declared officially as Dec. 25 as basically a compromise with pagan winter solstice festivals, as mentioned previously.

Regardless of their non-orthodox positions on other issues, the JWs have got the straight scoop on the true non-Christian origins of Christmas as well as large parts of Halloween ans Easter as well.

And this was followed much later by good old marketing greed and capitalist savvy to turn Christmas into the massive festival of consumer excess which it has become.

Hate to be such a wet blanket but those are the basic facts from historical and Biblical record.

That doesn’t prevent some Christians from emphasizing the Christ in Christmas over the consumerism but they’re kind of in the minority from the looks of things.

Garebo's avatar

He is a metaphor created by the, at the time politicians, not much like today. Why there is considerable evidence of other notable people’s extraordinary detailed existence way before Jesus I’ll never know-somehow he is omnipresent with a complete manifest.
I will continue to think of him as a inspirational force, and a Capricorn.

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