Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Luke 2:7-8 KJV) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. {8} And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
One of the biggest questions on the mind of Christians is whether to celebrate Christmas or not. First we must realize that Christmas is not a biblical holiday but it is a religious holiday, although it does represent a true biblical event. There are only two requirements that the Christian must partake of and that is Baptism and the taking of the Lord’s Supper. These were commanded by Christ to be done by His children until He returns on the last day. In the occupation of writing there is something known as a palimpsest. A palimpsest is a type of writing material which could be paper, vellum, papyrus, or even a tablet. The writing material in question is not new but is being reused. Let us say we have a piece of paper and it is the only piece we have but there is something written on it. So we go to erasing everything that is on that paper and then we begin to write over it. This is exactly what the December 25th date of Christmas is. In ancient Roman times there was a pagan celebration of the Temple of Saturn which began on December 17 and lasted for week. During this time there was also the winter solstice which was also celebrated as the sun crossed over to begin to lengthen the days here in the northern hemisphere.
December 25th was established as the winter solstice in Europe around 45 B.C. which used the Julian calendar that was instituted by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C. So the early church came along and with their fight against all kinds of paganism, saw that there were two pagan festivals which they would have liked to drown out. Now the beginning of the Christmas holiday is shrouded in antiquity. The Roman Catholic Institution likes to claim that they were the ones who started it but history may take the beginning of it back to the 3rd or 4th century. Now back to the palimpsest. The early church had wanted to celebrate the birth of Christ but there is nothing written in Scripture which gives a specific date on which He was born. So they had decided to make it December 25th in hopes that they could cover the pagan festivals and eventually people would celebrate the birth of Christ and would leave paganism. So they tried to erase the pagan festivals and replace it with a para-biblical holiday. The reality is that Christ was probably born sometimes in late September or early October. One of the indicators is that the Shepherds were still in the fields and it does get cold in Israel in December which means the Shepherds would not have been out in the fields. October is also the time of the early rains which would be drenching in nature, so it would probably be before the early rains came.
Now enter the modern era. When we look around today, we see that Christmas has become nothing more than a reason for throwing a party. The real reason for the day has become lost because the kingdom of Satan has obscured the true meaning with secular revellings. Since the church has taken its leading from the world, they do the same things the world does. They have events like bazaars or they bring Santa Claus in for the children, etc. This is why the true Christian finds themselves in a quandary as to whether they should celebrate Christmas or not. Some decorations like the candy cane are still around but their meaning is never told. The candy cane was invented as a symbol of the staff of the Good Shepherd and the red stripes represent the blood of Christ. When was the last time you heard that?
To celebrate or not to celebrate
You have Christians on both sides of the aisle. One side says no we do not celebrate because it is pagan and the other side says that we should celebrate because it commemorates the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, the side that states that it is a commemoration of the birth of Christ is the correct side because as True Christians, we do not celebrate the underlying pagan festivals and it always befuddles me as to why true Christians keep bringing that up. 99% of unbelievers have no concept of the ancient Feast of Saturn and when Christians bring it up, then the unbelievers now have two meaning to Christmas. As a Christian, I would never bring up a pagan festival if the person I am witnessing to knows nothing about it. That is like shooting yourself in the foot. I have never known one Christian who has ever handed me a Christmas tract telling me I must accept Saturn for salvation. By handing out a tract which has the true meaning of Christmas is plundering the kingdom of Satan and bringing truth to at least one person. (Mark 3:27 KJV) No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
If a Christian does not feel right by celebrating it, there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand if one celebrates it, there is nothing wrong with that, provided they celebrate it in a biblical manner by keeping the eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and they rebuff the pagan additives like Santa Claus or reindeer. Even though December 25th is not the true birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, it does offer the greatest yearly opportunity to bring the true Gospel. There is no other time during the year, Easter included, which offers as much opportunity to bring the True Gospel. People seem to be at their friendliest at this time of year and probably will not rebuff you for giving them a decorative Christmas tract. You send out Christmas cards and you give gifts which means these are 2 more opportunities to bring the true Gospel. In those tracts that you include in your cards which you send half way across the state or country, on the back write a good Christian Internet station they could listen to, here are three suggestions:
Since they are on the internet, they can be accessed from anywhere around the world. So even if you do not celebrate Christmas, then definitely make use of the opportunity for evangelism that the holiday brings.
(Rom 14:5 KJV) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Since there is no command to celebrate Christmas in Scripture, each person must be persuaded in their own mind as to whether they are going to celebrate or not and those on the other side of the aisle must not vilify them for their decision. On the other hand, there is a command found in Scripture that all Christians are required to obey:
(Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
We do not suspend the sending forth of the Gospel on any day and that includes Christmas Day. Religious holidays are one of the greatest open doors for bringing the Gospel, so we must recognize that and go forth in the strength and confidence of the Lord.
What if?
What if you give someone a tract and they ask you, “well isn’t Christmas a pagan holiday?” Immediately, you divert them from that thought and bring them back to the truth of Christmas and then quickly go into the Gospel testimony and this way, it does not give them time to park their brain on the birth of Christ but you dwell on the reason Christ came and that is salvation. You bring the truth and if God chooses to open up their hearts to salvation or if He doesn’t, you have done your part. Sometimes we may speak to a person about salvation in December and maybe they might become saved in June. You plant the seed and let the Lord do the growing. Don’t focus on the Feast of Saturn or the Winter Solstice, we focus on the Lord and leave the results to God.