The Conversion of the World

Christians have celebrated the incarnation and nativity of the LordJesus on December 25 since at least the early part of the third century—just afew generations removed the days of the Apostles.  By 336, when the Philocalian Calendar—one of the earliestdocuments of the Patriarchal church—was first utilized, Christmas Day wasalready a venerable and tenured tradition.  Though there is no historical evidence that Christ wasactually born on that day—indeed, whatever evidence there is points to altogetherdifferent occasions—the conversion of the old Pagan tribes of Europe left agaping void where the ancient winter cult festivals were once held.  It was both culturally convenient andevangelically expedient to exchange the one for the other.  And so joy replaced desperation.  Celebration replaced propitiation.  Christmas Feasts replaced new Moonsacrifices.  Christ replaced Baal,Molech, Apollo, and Thor.  The Gospel conversion brought transformation to cultures and kingdoms as well as hearts and souls.  His blessings flow as far as the curse is found.  Gladtidings of great joy, indeed.

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