Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
- By The Christian Messenger
- Published 12/22/2009
The Christian Messenger
The Christian Messenger - Evangelism Through Journalism. The Christian Messenger is an evangelical monthly newspaper published from Chennai, India. Started in 2002 as a privately circulated periodical, its initial print run was 2,500 copies. A year later, it became a registered newspaper. Currently, the print order is 15,000 copies. It is perhaps the only Christian newspaper that spans the length and breadth of the country. The founders of the newspaper have a vision to make it India’s leading Christian daily.What we do: Good news, first! That's our burden. Good news is not just the Gospel but also the positive side of Christian living. But that doesn't mean we don't report bad news. Persecution, end-times watch, falling idols and Biblical prophecies that come true are part of our reportage. We are dependent on God and independent of any denomination, groups or organizations. Neither do we let advertisers influence news coverage nor do we print puffed up handouts. We are fair, neutral and non-judgmental. Because we believe in a God who tells the truth and expects us to be like Him. Why a Christian newspaper? At the heart of our media mission is this motto: Evangelism through journalism. The purpose of this newspaper is to report newsworthy religious events and activities within the local community, nationwide and around the world, to increase the awareness and activism of believers regarding the moral issues of today, to provide thought-provoking commentary, and to provide an effective advertising vehicle for Christian ministries and organizations, events and businesses that want to reach the Christian community in India and abroad. If you think you can support us or partner with us in this mission, do send us a mail today: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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, holly, and yuletide 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. 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 the baby Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.
Another argument 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 (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.
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 legion, some relating to climate in Palestine, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking.None of these points is without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.
Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas—although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as ‘the holidays’—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 Him as ‘the reason for the season’ among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.
As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate 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.
The Christian Messenger