Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

I didn’t know that there was a debate about this.  I should have known better.  Never underestimate the ability of some rigidly legalistic thinking people to find reasons everyone else is wrong.

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?  An article distributed to participants in one of our men’s groups suggested that there are plenty of reasons the answer should be “No!”. (Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the author of the article.)

  1. The word Christmas doesn’t appear in the Bible.
  2. The celebration was not instituted by an inspired apostle.
  3. The date of Christ’s birth is disputed, and most certainly is not December 25th.
  4. December 25th was chosen in 440 AD to replace pagan worship of the sun gods.
  5. Pagan symbolism has been embraced in many Christian Christmas celebrations.
  6. Many Christian traditions pre-date Christianity.

The author of the article concludes with the following paragraph:

Well, you must answer this question for yourself: Should Christians observe Christmas? For me, I am not going to add holidays or observances of any type originating from men and pagan sun worshipping to the worship of the church. This includes the observance of Christmas as well as other holidays such as Halloween. Apart from the church, I personally observe Christmas as any other national holiday – no different from Halloween, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, or St. Patrick’s Day. In this rests my liberty: I may personally observe anything good and moral unto the Lord (Rom. 14). But the minute I make my liberty part of the work and worship of the Lord’s church thereby transgressing the doctrine of Christ (I Cor. 4:6; II Jn. 9), I worship the Lord in vain – “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9).

<Insert slow head shaking here>

There were two powerful and compelling arguments for the celebration of Christmas by Christians discussed at our men’s group that I think trump this unknown author’s reasoning.

First, why should we worry about Christianity “baptizing” and adopting for itself pagan practices, when each of us are “baptized” and adopted into the body of Christ “while we were yet sinners”?  Baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit makes the profane holy (called santification).  I am taken as a sinful and unclean person and made holy.  We can do likewise with symbols and signs that are relevant.  Jesus Christ is the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.  What more powerful time in the Northern Hemisphere is there than late December for the realization of this truth?

Second, the institution of the celebration of Christmas in the 5th century corresponds (if the unknown author’s dating is accurate) to a real tension in the church related to the doctrine of Christ’s “substance”.  There is no better way I know to affirm the incarnation of God in human flesh than to celebrate a birth.  Mary is the god-bearer.  The celebration of the birth of Jesus reminds us of his human nature, and at the same time, the miracle of it all reminds us of the divine nature.  Christmas (literally meaning the mass celebrating the birth of Christ) then is a holiday helping us keep the paradox of Christ being fully human and fully divine intact.

Oh, by the way unknown author … “Easter” doesn’t appear in the Bible either.

Pondering Pastor

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6 responses to “Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

  1. Amen Pondering Pastor! God bless and Merry Christmas. Here are my thoughts on defending Christmas from those who would destroy or ignore it.

    http://thompsonstshirts.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/what-is-christmas/

  2. pondering pastor,

    When i think of christmas i think of Jesus,s birth day even though it may not be acurate, but i do not do much of the celebrating because Jesus has been replaced by santa claus, also jesus taught us that we shoud help people in need.

    There is more money spent at this time of year than any other time and mostly for junk to show kids that they are equal to Christ,

    And much of this is done by mothers, grandmothers and granddads on both sides because they are trying to make up for thier wrong in bringing a bastard child into the world.

    maybe the best christmas a kid could have would be to have a mother who is married.

    one other thing that has me worried about christmas,
    ==============================
    rev ch 11 verse 10

    And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another.

    ===========================
    That sure sounds a lot like christmas to me.

    let me know your thoughts on that if you are maybe more knowledgeble on it than i am.

    p.s
    not angry, just giving my thoughts

    • ponderingpastor

      Clearly you and I see things very differently. I hardly know where to begin.
      The reference to Revelation 11:10 is so completely stripped out of context that it is like trying to use a screwdriver for a pancake turner. It has nothing to do with a Christmas celebration or gift giving in that way.
      How is giving a present to a child showing “kids that they are equal to Christ?” I really don’t get it.
      If Jesus taught us to help people in need … how about those mothers, grandmothers, and granddads you trash?

      Pondering Pastor

  3. In a word…Yes.

  4. I once heard that the reason we celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 is because the Christians were being persecuted and they picked a pagan holiday so that they could honor Jesus’s birth without being noticed by the persecutors. Is there any truth in that?

  5. Dear pondering pastor,

    Reference your quote:
    First, why should we worry about Christianity “baptizing” and adopting for itself pagan practices, when each of us are “baptized” and adopted into the body of Christ “while we were yet sinners”? Baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit makes the profane holy (called santification). I am taken as a sinful and unclean person and made holy. We can do likewise with symbols and signs that are relevant. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome. What more powerful time in the Northern Hemisphere is there than late December for the realization of this truth?

    Here’s why:

    Deu 18:9 “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. ”

    Jer 10:2 Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,

    Why should we worry? Is it right for us to learn from the ways of the pagans, just as the early Christians have done, and knowing of such an error, to persist in doing so? I find all reason to worry!!! Even though we do not wish to unlovingly condemn Christians who do so, us knowing these past events should reflect on them and seek the L-rd about what are we going to do then.

    Quote:
    Second, the institution of the celebration of Christmas in the 5th century corresponds (if the unknown author’s dating is accurate) to a real tension in the church related to the doctrine of Christ’s “substance”. There is no better way I know to affirm the incarnation of God in human flesh than to celebrate a birth. Mary is the god-bearer. The celebration of the birth of Jesus reminds us of his human nature, and at the same time, the miracle of it all reminds us of the divine nature. Christmas (literally meaning the mass celebrating the birth of Christ) then is a holiday helping us keep the paradox of Christ being fully human and fully divine intact.

    This point does not hold any valid argument. Firstly the argument of such heresy today is anachronistic to our current struggles. Secondly, even if it holds, it still does not give a strong reason enough for us to meddle with the Fourth Commandment, a clear explicit Commandment.

    Quote:
    Oh, by the way unknown author … “Easter” doesn’t appear in the Bible either.

    Praise the L-rd!!! Why should we then celebrate Easter? or Sunday? Are we holding on to G-d’s traditions, or struggling with theology to cling on to man’s traditions that we have been brought up with. 🙂
    I do know Passover, Shavout, Sukkot, even Purim and perhaps Hannukah are all mentioned in the Bible. 🙂

    May the L-rd bless you with wisdom 🙂

    Baruch HaShem Adonai

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