When Steve and I first received Christ as savior, we were naïve, to say the least. We thought that all Christians celebrate Christmas. After all, “Christ” is in the name. But we were wrong. Through the ministry outreach of Marriage Missions we have heard from a number of Christians who are appalled that we even mention celebrating Christmas. Here is what one person recently wrote us:
“Christmas is NOT a day that God sanctions. Christ was not born in December and nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to celebrate His birthday anyway. Leviticus, chapter 23 lists all of God’s feast days that most of Christianity ignores. The traditions of Christmas are steeped in Babylonian pagan traditions that our Lord considers an abomination.”
We’ve received other emails similar to this one through the years. We’ve looked into this matter because we don’t want to do anything wrong in celebrating Christmas. Above all, we don’t want to offend Jesus in any way. We only want to honor Him. After asking God for wisdom, then doing A LOT of research—looking at all the info, we prayerfully came to a place of peace in our decision. (We wrote about this in Marriage Message #334 – Questioning Christmas Celebration.) Here’s one of the articles that helped us, which we encourage you to read. Pastor J. Hampton Keathley did a lot of great research:
Recently, we’ve done even more research. And that is what we want to pass onto you.
Christians Celebrate Christmas?
So, should we as Christians celebrate Christmas? We openly confess that personally, we do. We love to celebrate Jesus Christ in any way that honors Him. And we believe we do. We will give you some of the reasons we do in this Marriage Insight. We hope all of this will help you in your convictions. One way or another, do it because you believe that is what God would have you do.
First, here is something that Pastor Jon Piper spoke and wrote that lines up exactly with our own beliefs:
“I sympathize with those who want to be rigorously and distinctly Christian, who want to be disentangled from the world and any pagan roots that might lie beneath our celebration of Christmas. But I don’t go that route on this matter because I think there comes a point where the roots are so far gone that the present meaning doesn’t carry the pagan connotation anymore. I’m more concerned about a new paganism that gets layered on top of Christian holidays.
“Here’s the example I use: All language has roots somewhere. Most of our days of the week—if not all—grew out of pagan names too. So should we stop using the word ‘Sunday’ because it may have related to the worship of the sun once upon a time? In modern English ‘Sunday’ doesn’t carry that connotation, and that’s the very nature of language. In a sense, holidays are like chronological language.” (From the DesiringGod.com article, Christmas?)
More Concerning Whether Christians Celebrate Christmas
Christian Post writer Shane Idleman makes this same point concerning celebrating Christmas despite some of its pagan roots. He writes:
“It is my guess that there are a number of Christians who do not acknowledge holidays because of how they originated. I respect that. But let’s follow that line of thinking in other areas. Should we not acknowledge days of the week whose names originate from false gods…Sunday from the sun god, Monday the moon god, and so on?”
So, do we throw out the days of the week, along with Christmas? There are a lot of wedding traditions that also have roots in paganism. What about those? Actually, if we look deep enough, we can trace a great number of words we use, traditions and habits back to pagan beginnings. If we throw out celebrating Christmas, what about throwing them out, as well?
The question is… at what point do we join God to redeem that, which the enemy wants to keep distorting? As Pastor Jon Piper says:
“Christmas now means that we mark, in Christian ways, the birth of Jesus Christ. I think the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ are the most important events in human history. Not to mark them in some way, by way of special celebration, would be folly it seems to me.”
We agree. Even if we are off on the actual date (there is a lot of speculation as to the real date), celebrating Christ’s birth on a designated day can be a momentous occasion.
Convictions Concerning Christmas
Here is an important point that Matt Slick makes concerning the actual date of Jesus’ birth:
“Is a Christian free to celebrate Christmas, a holiday that not only has pagan origins but also is used by the unbelieving world as a promotion of commercialism? In my opinion, it depends on the person and his convictions before God. First of all, we are to hold our standards of righteousness and devotion to God above everything else. We must seek to please God according to what we believe is consistent with Scripture. But, when we look at Scripture we don’t find any place that says to celebrate Christ’s birth. But, on the other hand, the Bible says all things are lawful though not all things are profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12).
“In addition, we should be fully convinced in our own minds about days of worship and eating (Romans 14:1-12). This last reference supports the position that Christians have liberty and freedom to interpret Scripture and to celebrate Christmas.” (Matt Slick, from the Carm.org article, “Can Christians Celebrate Christmas?”)
Matt also talks further about the dilemma that many Believers faced concerning the eating of meat that was sacrificed to idols. This is something that we thought about too. Matt writes:
“So, celebrating Christmas is up to the conviction of the Christian. He is free to celebrate it. He is also free not to celebrate it. But, do not judge other Christians who celebrate it or don’t celebrate it since they are free to act according to their conscience in this matter.”
Judging When Christians Celebrate Christmas
And that is another point we want to make here. Don’t be judgmental towards others as far as your personal conviction about celebrating Christmas. Your harsh judgment may very well fly back in your face. It could hurt you and/or your testimony as a Christian. We’re told to “Judge not, lest you be judged.” It could also hurt the testimony of other Christians who could be thrown together with you.
And then here’s another important point (made in a Grace to You article):
“We believe celebrating Christmas is not a question of right or wrong since Romans 14:5-6 provides us with the liberty to decide whether or not to observe special days: ‘One person esteems one day above another. Another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. And he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord. For he gives God thanks. And he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks‘ (Romans 14:5-6).
“According to these verses, a Christian can rightfully set aside any day—including Christmas—as a day for the Lord. We believe Christmas affords believers with a great opportunity to exalt Jesus Christ.” (From the Gty.org article, Should Christians Be Celebrating Christmas?)
This particular point is an important one to us. We believe each individual and couple should prayerfully approach this issue. If you as a couple decide to celebrate Christmas—that is what you should do! And make it a blessed and joyous one. If you don’t feel it’s right—then don’t celebrate it. Work to come together in this as husband and wife in peace and harmony. Don’t let a Christian issue separate you. That would dishonor God all the more.
But here’s the important point:
“Whatever your position, the question to ask is, ‘Is my stance leading to love, joy, peace, contentment, gentleness, and kindness. Or is it leading to rigidity, arrogance, legalism, divisiveness, criticism, and anger over non-essentials?’ The former is the filling of the Spirit. The later is the slippery slope of judgmentalism. If not celebrating truly draws you closer to Christ, wonderful! But don’t judge others who feel differently.
“There are those who derail Christmas and its commercialism. Yet they purchase a $3000 Plasma on credit, book expensive vacations each summer, and never serve the community or help those in need. Time is spent posting videos exposing the roots of holidays. But little time is spent in prayer truly seeking God. Other’s ridicule the secularization of Christmas and Easter. Yet they allow their family to watch ungodly entertainment.
“Again, celebrating holidays is often not the issue. The issues is what, or who, we choose to worship…the attitude of the heart. Holidays, in many cases, are redeemed when the focus is on Christ.” (Shane Idleman, from the Christianpost.com article, Christmas: Should Christians Celebrate Holidays?)
Here’s another point that we came to a number of years ago:
“People tend to be more open to the gospel during the Christmas holidays. We should take advantage of that openness to witness to them of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. Christmas is chiefly about the promised Messiah who came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The holiday provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share this truth.” (From the Gty.org article, “Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?”)
This is the point we often land on, as well. We see that people are much more receptive to talking about spiritual things at Christmas.
This year we won’t have the blessing of being with our family. It will just be the two of us. But we thank God we have each other and a good God who loves us even more than any family member ever could. So, we’ve been praying about what we will do together on Christmas. We decided that on Christmas morning we would go around to the 10 fire stations in this fire district. (Steve is the chaplain.) We’ll take a bag of coffee to give to each station crew. (Fire fighters love coffee.) We’ll then fellowship with the crews that are there and pray over them asking God for a special blessing. Again, Christmas gives us a wonderful opportunity to do this. People are open to it.
We’re told in the Bible that as we bless others, we are blessed. And we know we will be. We will then come home (very happily tired, no doubt). And then we will cook a yummy Christmas brunch together to enjoy. That’s the plan, at least. We’ll see if God changes that in some way. You never know.
As Christians Celebrate Christmas
In closing, we want to leave you with something Pastor John McArthur wrote. It expresses our sentiments exactly:
“Although our society has muddied the message of Christmas through consumerism, myths and empty traditions, we should not let these distract us from appreciating the real meaning of Christmas. Let us take advantage of this opportunity to remember Him, worship Him and faithfully witness of Him.”
We hope you will.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
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