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      Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ during Christmas

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Christmas, some can argue its one of the most highly celebrated holidays of the year and the economy is sure benefiting from that.

      According to researchers with the National Retail Federation their predicting holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent this year to $586 billion dollars.

      For some, Christmas is just another time to receive gifts. For others especially Christians, itâ??s a time to celebrate and remember the birth of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      â??Christmas is so real because it is a true story and itâ??s based on an historical account. But for me itâ??s not just the greatest story ever told, itâ??s the greatest story being told because itâ??s still alive and real today,â?? says Ken Jumper, Pastor, The Harvest.

      Pastor Ken Jumper with The Harvest out in Lexington has been pastoring for over 20 years.

      He says despite the commercialization of Christmas it's all about the greatest gift that was given to the world and thatâ??s Jesus Christ.

      â??The truth is that if we believe in God ,we have to tie it to Jesus or Jesus to God because God loved the world, sent his son because he loved us and cared for us and wanted to redeem us and bring us to himself and through the forgiveness of our sin,â?? says Pastor Jumper.

      According to the Gospel of Luke the angel Gabriel appeared to a virgin named Mary telling her that she would conceive a savior and he is to be named Jesus.

      After Jesus is born he gets a visit from some wise men.

      The scriptures tell us they followed an eastern star to get to him.

      The wise men offer up gifts to Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

      Pastor Jumper says this is one example of where the idea of giving gifts on Christmas comes from.

      The scriptures however never indicate the actual date that Jesus was born.

      So why do we celebrate it on December 25th?

      â??About 245 CE Roman Emperor Aurelian created a feast day called Sol Invictus which stands for the unconquered son. It was actually a pagan festival to celebrate his birth and what happens is over time that ritual became associated with the Christian family,â?? says Dr. Chris Leevy Johnson, Chaplain, USC Menâ??s and Womenâ??s Basketball.

      Reverend Chris Leevy Johnson has a PHD, in American History with a concentration in African American religion from the University of South Carolina.

      He is also the chaplain for USCâ??s menâ??s and womenâ??s basketball.

      â??So when Constantine becomes emperor of Rome in the 4th century into the 5th century and when he becomes Roman Catholic, he uses that December 25th date to celebrate the birth of Christ,â?? says Dr. Johnson.

      Pastor Jumper says although Christmas is celebrated once a year the true meaning of it which is the birth of Jesus Christ can never be held to just one day.

      â??Thereâ??s a promise in the Bible that says if you seek me you'll find me and if you seek me with all your heart you'll know me,â??â?? says Pastor Jumper.