I wanted to address a very interesting comment I received from two readers. Now, we really do need to look at what they’re saying. It’s very interesting, and I commend her for bringing it up, and also adding that she did not want to start an argument. That is not what this post is about. It is to bring about some good discussion about Christmas.
At first I was going to address this personally and in my own words, but I found the words of Elliot Miller . I believe that his article addresses these concerns, expressed in these comments:
I think it is so good to hear that there are people in this ungodly world who care so deeply for God and his son. I’m glad that people are upset that some churches won’t be having services on Christmas. It says a lot about you when you care.
Have you ever done a search on Christmas? The origins? It’s very informative. And I am not trying to make anyone mad or to argue but, although it’s true that Jesus birth is important because without it he woudn’t have come here and died for us, and also that, like you said, his death is much more important, we need to think about what the bible says. Is there any evidence that Jesus celebrated his birthday? Is there any evidence that he celebrated his death? Did he ever tell his followers to celebrate his birthday? Did he tell them to memorialize his death?
What was the weather like in Bethlehem during December? Was it cold? Would the shepherds be outside with their sheep in the cold if it was cold in December in Bethlehem?
Howdy! I just happened upon your blog, the window was left open on the computer screen. Someone in my family must have found you.
I’m not sure if y’all are coming from a Christian perspective but as a Christian I find Christmas unappealing. The roots of celebrating on the 25th of December is a pagan tradition and has to do with the winter solstice. The Bible does not state the time of Christ’s birth but we can almost be sure it wasn’t that exact day. Even if it was, the Bible has no mandate for celebrating the birth of Christ, it only commands us to remember His death until he comes. I really don’t have a problem people de-Christing (is that a word?) Christmas. It’s roots are pagan, why pretend differently?
I hope I haven’t ruffled too many feathers! Please feel free not to respond, this is just my two cents, but it might be worth looking into.
I can assure you, Carol, that you haven’t ruffled my feathers, but you may ruffle some others. And yes, I am a Christian, saved by grace not by works but through faith. But I digress.
Mainly, I have never said that Christmas was the exact date of Christ’s birth. I don’t think anyone has. Annalise also stated something similar when she said “What was the weather like in Bethlehem during December? Was it cold? Would the shepherds be outside with their sheep in the cold if it was cold in December in Bethlehem?”
The fact is, Christmas is celebrated around the world, and really, if you think about it, Florida usually isn’t that cold during the Christmas season. Or Brazil. Or the Sahara Desert. But that is beside the point.
We need to take a look at some of the harder questions they asked.
Here’s what Elliot Miller says:
As a young Roman Catholic, Christmas was my favorite time of year — filled with magic and meaning. The birth of Christ played a role in this festal feeling, but so did Santa Claus and all the more temporal pleasures of the season. As I grew older, I not only lost faith in Santa Claus but in Christ as well. The residual sentiment I retained for Christmas was hard to justify.
After I became a born-again Christian, I welcomed the opportunity not only to recapture the spirit of the season, but also truly to appreciate, for the first time, its spiritual significance. I did enjoy a couple of meaningful Christmases. Then I started witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses [Please note, I am not calling Annalise a Jehovah’s Witness].
Time and again the Witnesses would cite the Trinity and Christmas as clear proof that “Christendom” had lapsed into paganism. The Trinity I could answer for biblically, but Christmas was harder to defend. It was certainly not a holy day instituted in the Bible. And pre-Christian, pagan Rome had indeed observed the Day of the Invincible Sun on December 25. In fact, in many ancient cultures, customs and festivities later associated with Christmas (e.g., Yule logs, mistletoe, and even the giving of gifts) were observed in honor of the sun god’s resurgence at the winter solstice.
I never totally abandoned Christmas — it’s not easy for a Christian to reject a holiday that celebrates the birth of his Lord. But the pagan connections troubled me, and my observance of the day became halfhearted.
Eventually, however, I came to the conclusion that just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them (those that are not inherently immoral or idolatrous). The critical issue is: What significance do we currently attach to previously pagan practices? (See 1 Cor. 8:4–7; 10:25–31.)
Since Christmas is not legislated in the Bible, it should not be considered essential to Christian practice. Christians do not need to defend it to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cultists with the same zeal with which they would defend the doctrines of the Trinity or eternal punishment. In fact, it would even be acceptable if a sincere Christian told a Jehovah’s Witness, “If you don’t want to observe Christmas, that’s fine. I myself do not observe it.” But that same Christian would have no business judging those Christians who do partake in the holiday.
Christmas is a good example of what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “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….You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Rom. 14:5-6, 10; NIV).
I am not saying Annalise or Carol is judging anyone in any way, but want to point out an interesting fact: it is not neccesary to observe Christmas. But, as Elliot Miller stated, “I came to the conclusion that just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them.” It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas either.
I look at the present, and not at the past. I don’t usually live in the past. What bothers me is when today we see people attempting to make Christmas what it was in ancient times: pagan.
Now, of course, this is to be expected of our society, which is plagued with obvious inherent sin.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I really don’t care one way or the other.