Christmas is the time to reflect on the cardinal message underpinning its merriments and mellowness. The Birth of Christ made angels shout in praise, shepherds rejoice in awe and wise men seek Him in earnest. It catapulted the small town of Bethlehem to historical limelight and acclaim: This was the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy.
“But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel. Whose origins are from of old, from ancient times (from the days of eternity). — Micah 5:2
The festivities accompanying this season should make the heavens rejoice and bring joy to fellow humanity. That is supposed to be the true soul and spirit of Christmas. The most salient questions to ask ourselves during Christmas are:
- What can I do that will make the heavens rejoice?
- What can I do that will bring joy to fellow humanity?
So, how can we elicit jubilation in Heaven?
It is by doing what Christ commanded us to do – “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” – Luke 15:7.
It is by spreading the Good News. I is by inviting others to have a stake in the gift of eternal life as presented by God through Jesus Christ.
We bring joy to fellow humanity by sharing the Love of Christ (1st Cor. 13). Let it be the pertinent reason for the season. The love shown practically is anchored in Christ’s own words – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.
There is always negative information spreading about someone nice. There is always fabrication about something good. Sometimes it is due to cavalier reasons and other times mostly due to distorted truth.
Why do we cast aspersions on the day?
There are several reasons why some of us do not want to associate with anything Christmas.
Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible
There is no place in the Bible where we encounter the word Christmas. The Bible neither exhort nor command us to celebrate the Birth of Jesus. It does not stop us either. I would quickly add that the Bible assigns pronounced importance to the Birth of Christ (Matthew 1:21-23; Luke 1:30-35). In addition, the Bible explicitly paints the mood that follows the broadcast of the Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10-14, 20 cf. Luke 1:46-55).
There are many things that are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. For example the Bible does not plainly tell us pornography and gambling are sins. Thus if Christmas should not be celebrated because it is not mentioned in the Bible, then it follows that pornography and gambling should be encouraged for they are not precisely cited in the Bible as sins. This does not mean they aren’t sins. The crux of the Christmas goings-on is of the highest significance. Every doing is clean and acceptable to God as long as it does not clash with his commands. This is the logic behind it.
In extrapolation celebrating Christ’s birth is not a sin and is not an anomaly even though it is not mentioned in the Bible.
December 25th is not the Birth-date of Jesus
Misgivings and recrimination have often characterized December 25.
The Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and Russia celebrate Christmas Day on or near January 7. The date run along the Julian calendar that came before the Gregorian calendar. Other Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th.
Now what’s with the date? All days are good. It would not be a concern even if a particular Christian denomination decides to celebrate Christmas on May 13th (a chance choice).
Making merry of the birthday of a fairy-tale big shot is definitely unorthodoxy and a sin. On the contrary Christ is not a myth. He was born on a particular day, which we do not know. Thus observing Jesus’ birthday on any day is certainly rational.
Observing the day rest on the integrity, motivation and nature of our heart, and not in our predecessors’ practice. It is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ of the Bible – the King of Kings. As a consequence date is neither here nor there. The intent or purpose is what matters, not the actual date.
Christmas was a pagan holiday
Christmas was not established by Church Fathers to merge into the pagan holiday but rather to rival it. In quintessence the Church wasn’t Christianizing a pagan festival but was undercutting it. We nolonger hear of Greek, Roman and Persian gods. Mithras, Brumalia and their buddies are a past tense. Instead we have millions of people subscribing to Christian Worldview.
Christmas is appropriate as long as it is celebrated in thankfulness to God for affording us the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus.
If I mark the day with occultism and divination then am as good as Mithras’ pagans. But if my focus is God and God alone then I do not have any good and sufficient reason to back off from it.
Christmas festivity is not for the glorification of other gods. It is not to be judged by the actions of those who abuse it. We do not judge a worldview, religion or philosophy based on its abuse as this amounts to flawed logic. Rather we judge it by its truths. People can, and will always abuse true and good things. But that says a lot more about the heart of man rather than Christmas itself.
If the heart of the man celebrating Christmas worships God and Him alone, then Christmas celebration is legitimate.
In conclusion, do not celebrate Christmas if your conscience is troubled. Do not celebrate it if it will make somebody close to you (a weaker brother or sister) get offended.
Do it out of pure conscience.