Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
The day on which the nativity of our blessed Saviour is celebrated. The first footsteps we find of the observation of this day are in the second century, about the time of the Emperor Commodus. The decretal epistles, indeed, carry it up a little higher, and say that Telesphorus, who lived in the reign of Antoninus Pius, ordered divine service to be celebrated, and an angelic hymn to be sung the night before the nativity of our Saviour. That it was kept before the time of Constantine we have a melancholy proof; for whilst the persecution raged under Dioclesian, who then kept his court at Nicomedia, that tyrant among other acts of cruelty, finding the multitudes of Christians assembled together to celebrate Christ's nativity, commanded the church doors where they were met to be shut, and fire to be put to it, which soon reduced them and the church to ashes.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Christmas'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/c/christmas.html. 1802.