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Friday, November 20, 2009

Did Jesus Want His Birthday Celebrated? Did His Followers Celebrate It?

One would think that if any birthday was to be of significant mention in the Bible, it would be of the greatest man who ever lived (Jesus). Yet, Jesus inaugurated a binding Memorial, not of his birth, but of his death, saying: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Lu 22:19)

If early Christians did not celebrate or memorialize the birthday of their Savior, much less would they celebrate their own day of birth. Historian Augustus Neander writes: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period.” (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, translated by H. J. Rose, 1848, p. 190) “Origen [a writer of the third century C.E.] . . . insists that ‘of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.’”—The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. X, p. 709


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