Thursday, November 29, 2018

Does Scripture Say to Celebrate Christmas?

Allow me to begin by saying that I love the Christmas season and that I strive to celebrate it for the right reason~~the birth of our Savior.  However, there are those who have argued that we are told nowhere in Scripture to celebrate Christmas.  They are correct in that there’s no direct biblical commandment to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Historically, on the twenty-fifth of December in the Roman Empire there was a pagan holiday that was linked to various mysterious religions; the pagans celebrated this festival on December 25. The Christians at that time refused to take part in this holiday.  In fact, they decided that while everybody else is celebrating this pagan holiday that they were going to have their own celebration.  They chose to celebrate the thing that was most important in their lives, the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ.  They decided that this was going to be a time of celebration and worship of God their King.

Those who would argue that there is no evidence of Christ's birth happening on December 25th would be correct.  In fact, there is much in the New Testament narratives that would indicate that it didn’t occur during this time of year; it was probably more in our spring season.  There is no doubt that some traditions of candle burning, ringing of bells, and even stringing of trees can be tied to some type of pagan custom over the centuries.  However, it is not the origin of the Christmas holiday for Christians.  The ringing of bells today is to speak of the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ and not a driving away of evil spirits.  The lighting of candles is not to shun away the cold and darkness of the world around us; rather, it is to celebrate Jesus Christ as the light of the world (John 1:4-9).

Many traditions are obscure and there is disagreement over their origins. Some of our most popular and beloved Christmas symbols are entirely Christian, and were never part of any pagan religion anywhere.  What is important is not the origins of traditions, but their significance to us today as believers in the Son of God. I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year.  I understand that the world celebrates a Christ-less Christmas but yet Christians have a wonderful opportunity to express the reason for the season very clearly.  

I would recommend to those who struggle celebrating Christmas to give grace towards others and allow their actions to be held accountable to God (Romans 14:12).  For those who lack the confidence on whether or not it is right to celebrate Christmas then I would say to abstain from celebrating.  Paul encourages all Christians to live with the confidence that their actions fully glorify God and if they lack that confidence then they should refrain from those actions (Romans 14:5).  For Christians, Christmas traditions can be an important part of the celebration of the birth of our Savior, and they remind us of that momentous event that changed the world forever. 

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