Question: “Should Christians celebrate CHRISTMAS?”
Answer: The debate about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians?
First, let’s look at the REASONS why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism (my wife loves candles in a romantic way). While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind. But you dont have to do these. And you shouldn’t use these as objects of worship (as objects without which you cant pray or without which God cant be present or cant accept you or bless you).
Another argument some use against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that ‘the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them’. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it and to pray to it and to expect protection from it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees. As long as you dont worship the Christmas tree, or you dont trust in it for protection, it is not an idol. DS-TV cable (or a friend or anything else) can be an idol: when in need of comfort and peace you run to it, instead of God.
Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the DATE of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25 may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are interesting, some relating to the climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking, but the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as a clear proof that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth of Jesus, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as a quiet approval. However, Jews did not use the 365 day a year calendar we use today so 25 December in our calendar would not be 25 December in the Jewish calendar every year.
Some say 25 December was a celebration of the pagan god Tamuz, however every day of the year is some religions was or still is dedicated to some pagan god. Even the days of the week were dedicated to pagan worship (Monday=”moon-day”…Saturday=Saturn-day, Sunday=Sun-day).
Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas — although it is becoming more and more politically correct in the world to refer to it as “the holidays” to avoid the name of Christ— therefore Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions. And by the way, dont use the ”X-mas” formula, which pretends to be a smart shortcut, but in fact it is loved by atheists and Muslims because ‘X’ cuts out the most important name ever: Christ.
There is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical obligation to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.
However, we should celebrate in our hearts every day, 365 days per year, the birth of Christ in this world, born with the purpose to die for our sins, and also celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Christ in our heart when we have received Jesus as Savior Col.1:27, 1Cor.4:15. I dont know for sure the day when I received Jesus as Savior but I remember the period of time and the circumstances, it’s been the greatest decision of my life and 18 beautiful years with Jesus.
Instead of debating, why not tell somebody about Jesus? Many wrongly believe salvation is by baptism, by works (by keeping the Sabbath and/or laws), by belonging to a denomination, by some rituals, through some prophet…why not tell many this Christmas and also all year round why Jesus was born in this world to be our salvation? He is the only way of salvation Acts 4:12, Jn3:16.