December 25th

The Romans called it Saturnalia, which means "the birthday of the unconquerable sun," and they celebrated it in a big way!  They spent an entire week feasting and worshiping their false gods, and they capped it off with the biggest and wildest party of all.  That party was held on December 25th.

But something happened in A.D. 313 that would change everything.  Those seven evil days of idol worship and over-the-top parties would disappear form the Roman calendar, and December 25th would move out of the dark shadows of pagan worship in to the light of God's truth and love.

How did this happen?

In the year A.D. 313, the Roman emperor Constantine became a follower of Jesus Christ.  As a believer, Constantine was disturbed by his people's worship of false gods.  Acting on his concern, Constantine declared December 25th the Feast of the Nativity.  And when a Roman emperor declares something, it gets done!

In the years that followed, the Feast of Nativity would become "Christ-mass," which eventually became our Christmas.  It shouldn't surprise us that something dark and evil has been transformed into a day characterized by radiant light, selfless giving, and sacrificial love.  Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (NIV)."

More than likely Jesus was not actually born on December 25th.  But given the fact that it is around this date that darkness prevails with the year's longest night and the sun begins a new cycle, it's a grand time to celebrate the birthday of the Son.  Proclaiming and reclaiming December 25th gives an opportunity for God's light of truth to chase away the blackest of shadows, revealing the true "Sun of Righteousness."

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

What you will need:

1 box of white cake mix
Red, green, and yellow food coloring
1 container of white frosting
Two 8-or 9-inch round cake pans
1 large white taper candle
1 box of small birthday candles

Directions:

1. Prepare the white cake mix according to directions on the box.
2. Divide the batter evenly between two bowls.
3. Butter and flour the cake pans, tapping out any excess flour.
4. Add several drops of red food coloring (representing the blood of Jesus) to the first bowl of batter.  Mix well and pour into the first cake pan.
5. Add several drops of green food coloring (representing eternal life) to the second bowl of batter.  Mix well and pour into the second cake pan.
6. Bake the cake layers according to directions on the box.
7. Let cool and then remove from the pans.
8. Add several drops of yellow food coloring (representing the birthday of the Son of Righteousness) to the white frosting.
9. Fill and frost the red and green layers with the yellow frosting.
10. Place the large white taper candle (representing Jesus as the center of our lives) in the middle of the cake.
11. Give each member of the family a small birthday candle (representing our lives revolving around Jesus) and have them place the candles around the perimeter of the cake.
12. Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.
13. Using the "Jesus" candle, light the smaller birthday candles.
14. Say a prayer and blow out the candles!

  • Teachable Moments
    "Do you think this is Jesus' real birthday?"
    (Share why Constantine chose to celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25.)

  • "Why do you think it is wrong to worship the sun?
    Explain how silly – and sinful – it is to worship creation when we can worship the Creator.)

  • "How can we remember that Jesus is the reason for every season?"
    (Brainstorm about ways to make Jesus the focus of all our holiday celebrations.)

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