Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

December 1, 2015

"Should Christians celebrate Christmas?" or, "How should a Christian celebrate Christmas?" These are questions of concern for many sincere members of Christ’s church. In fact, many people have an aversion to the season and have refused to celebrate Christmas at all. A number of basis are given, and while I might agree with some of their concerns and some of the reasons offered against the observance of Christmas, I would not necessarily agree with their conclusions.

The Bible does not command the celebration of Christ's birth in specific words. In most probability, however, Matthew and Luke included their accounts of Christ's birth, at least in part to be read in worship. When people respond to these readings of God's Word in worship with their praise, were they not celebrating Christ's birth? Moreover, it is well known that the portions of New Testament were from a very early period incorporated into the worship of the Church (e.g., the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise in Luke 1:46-55; and the Benedictus in Luke 1:68-79); it is also well known that portions of the New Testament contain hymns or confessions used already in the Apostolic age (e.g., Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).

I have heard people denounce the celebration of Christmas and say it is pagan holiday, and that Christ could not have been born in December, and even that it is sinful to put up a Christmas tree or lights. They often use some Old Testament passages to show how the Christmas tree was idolatrous and an abomination. They quote Jeremiah 10:2-4 which reads:

2 Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; 3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4 "They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter.

Or they quote Isaiah 44:14-15 which reads:

14 Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes a cypress or an oak, and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image, and falls down before it. (NASB)

Or they quote Jeremiah 3:13:

Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,‘ declares the Lord.

First of all NONE of these passages are talking about Christmas. Second of all… NONE of these passages are talking about Christmas. And third of all (drum roll) NONE of these passages are talking about Christmas. Christmas is JUST a holiday. It is a time when people celebrate the birth of Jesus. In the church of Christ it is NOT our religious High and Holy day. People should approach Christmas with the same diligence of mind that they approach any other of our national celebrations. If they want to celebrate and have time with family they should. If they don’t they shouldn’t.

Here is the other side. It would be SINFUL to make Christmas a requirement of the Christian faith. There are NO High Holy days in Scripture that are required of Christians. The only days I would advise against supporting are those which violate a person’s conscience. If a person can’t support the festivities of ANY holiday with a clear conscience, they shouldn’t. But also they shouldn’t harshly judge those who do. Romans 14:1-6 says, “ Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

So "Should Christians celebrate Christmas?" I answer with the words of Scripture, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.” (Rom. 14:13-14)  “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:22-23)