Taking Christ Out of Christmas
By Sonnie Parker
December 25, 2009
The traditions and practices relevant to Christmas have been celebrated
religiously and secularly for thousands of years. Since about the
fourth century many Christians have celebrated Christmas as the day
Jesus Christ was born, marking the birth of Christ as a religious
ceremony. The pagan festivals for which many of the traditions of
Christmas originate reach back several thousand years. Some of the most
popular customs today include decorating Christmas trees, sharing meals
with family and friends, exchanging gifts, waiting for Santa Claus to
deliver a bag full of toys to the children and occasionally attending
church services. Coincidentally, the state in which I live, Alabama,
was the first of the U.S. states to make Christmas a legal holiday in
1836. President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a federal holiday in 1870.
Christmas is not however, without its controversies. Over the recent
years we have begun to see the greeting “Merry Christmas” being replaced
with “Happy Holidays”. A number of advertisers and retailers are
censoring, avoiding or discouraging the specific mention of the term
“Christmas” or its religious affiliations. The American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) and other similar groups have initiated court cases to ban
images and materials referring to Christmas from being displayed on
public property, including schools. They argue that government-funded
displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the First Amendment
to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the establishment by
Congress of a national religion. Just this past November 2009, the
Federal appeals court in Philadelphia endorsed a school district's ban
on the singing of Christmas carols. Several years ago I remember
running an ad in the local newspaper using the term “x-mas” instead of
“Christmas”. A lady called our office and stated she was appalled by us
substituting Christ with an “x” and demanded we cease the
advertisement. Many people are quick to defend Christmas and take
offense at anyone who attempts to take Christ out of Christmas.
Most everyone knows well enough what Christmas is… or at least what it
is to them, but I wonder how many people, especially those who call
themselves Christians, have really researched the roots of Christmas and
how it relates to Christianity. I wonder just how many people
understand exactly what they are defending. I suspect most people are
like I use to be; they simply follow the traditions of their parents,
grandparents and so-on. After all, the traditions of Christmas as most
of us know it, seems to be religiously good and appropriate.
Shortly after I became a Christian, it was brought to my attention by a
few brothers in Christ, that members of the church (the "church" being
all of those who are saved and make up the body of Christ – or
Christians) should not celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday, nor
should we celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ. You can
probably imagine my response was one of surprise and curiosity. My
family had always celebrated Christmas just like millions of other
people do every year. What could possibly be wrong with celebrating
Christmas? Is not Christmas mentioned in the Bible… and is it not the
day that God set aside to celebrate the birth of His Son? If you think
about it, this is a biggie! People all around the world believe this to
be one of the most, if not the most, religious day of the year.
The BIG question: If Christmas is not a Christian holiday, then
exactly what is it, how did it originate and what is wrong with it being
a Christian holiday?
Not surprisingly, what I learned about Christmas is really no
different than so many other things I have learned since I started
actually studying the Bible. There are quite a few Christian traditions
that are practiced today that do not originate from the Bible, although
many have attempted to connect these traditions with Christianity and
the Bible in some way or another. Christmas is but one of these
traditions that actually does not originate from the Bible.
Many will point to the story of the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus in Matthew 2:11
as the origin of Christmas gift giving, however, these gifts were
presented to Jesus because He was born King of the Jews… it was a
Biblical custom to present kings with a gift. Christmas gifts today are
not presented to Jesus, they are usually exchanged between family and
friends, so there is hardly any tradition being followed based on this
A careful study will show that Biblically there is absolutely no
evidence that the early apostolic church celebrated… or even mentioned
Christmas. The word “Christmas” is actually nowhere found in the
Scriptures. Neither did the early church set aside a day to celebrate
the birth of Christ. Therefore, we cannot turn to the Bible in order to
learn about Christmas and its origin, instead we must turn to secular
One event celebrating this day from which Christmas originates is the
pagan festival called Saturnalia. It commemorated the sun god Saturn
and was typically celebrated from December 17 through the December 24.
This festival began hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus and
was known to be celebrated with extremely wild parties of a sexual
nature. It was this celebration that actually inspired the practice of
gift giving and the decorating of houses with cedar trees, holly,
mistletoe and lights. Most people do not realize that the popular Christmas customs such as
Christmas trees, mistletoe, presents and Santa Claus are modern
incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.
Some of these are so disgusting they are not worthy to put in print…
and I certainly will not include them herein.
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge states in its article on Christmas, "How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia [The December 25 celebration], following the Saturnalia [an eight-day December 17-24 festival preceding it], and celebrating the shortest day of the year and
the 'new sun' . . . cannot be accurately determined. The pagan
Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to
be set aside by Christian influence . . . The pagan festival with its
riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an
excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in
manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested
against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was
celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western
brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this
The Encyclopedia Britannica states, "Certain Latins, as
early as 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to
December 25, which was then a Mithraic feast… or birthday of the
unconquered sun… The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6th,
accused the Romans of sun worship and idolatry, contending...that the
feast of December 25, had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus..."
The apostate Roman Church adopted this pagan festival, changing the
name of it from Saturnalia (the birthday of the sun god) to Christ Mass
(Cristes maesse), the birthday of the Son of God, in an attempt to win
over converts to the Christian faith. The Roman Church absorbed the
customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and
nation, in their efforts to increase the number of people under their
This is really no different from what is happening today in most
denominations. They are doing whatever they have to do to draw in
members and increase their numbers… it matters not to them whether God
has authorized what they are doing. It truly puzzles me as to why so
many people who call themselves Christians will completely ignore the
authority of the Scriptures in religious matters… and much less personal
matters, be they religious or not. In reality, groups of people have
created denominations with what fits their lifestyle, then they find a
preacher who will preach what they want to hear.
Remember what Paul wrote to Timothy… “For the time will come when they
will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own
desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn
aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
This is similar to what happened in the Roman Church. They told all
of these pagan cultures to bring their gods, goddesses, rituals and
rites, and they would assign Christian sounding titles and names to
them. The pagan festival of Saturnalia ended up being the “Mass of
Christ” and ultimately “Christmas”. Over the centuries, the religious
world has carried forward the traditions of men in celebrating this day
as Christmas while commemorating the birth of Christ.
When Martin Luther started the Protestant reformation in the 1500’s
and other reformers followed his lead, all of them took with them the
paganism that was so firmly imbedded in Rome, including Christmas. In
England, as the authorized Bible became available to the common people
by the decree of King James the II in 1611, people began to discover the
pagan roots of Christmas. The Puritans in England, and later in
Massachusetts Colony, actually outlawed the holiday as witchcraft. The
English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas entirely,
considering it a popish festival with no Biblical justification, and a
time of wasteful and immoral behavior. Near the end of the nineteenth
century, when other Bible versions began to appear, there was a revival
of the celebration of Christmas. Again, traditions of men took over and
have carried it forward to this day. Traditions of men have
significant, yet sinful, influences on Christianity and most people who
claim to be Christians have no idea… they just go with the flow.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 edition, says,
"Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ)... was not among the earliest
festivals of the church… it was not instituted by Christ or the
apostles, or by Bible authority. It was picked up afterward from
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds,
“Christmas… was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian
church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death
of remarkable persons rather than their birth… a feast was established
in memory of this event [Christ's birth] in the fourth century. In the
fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated
forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at
the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of
Christ's birth existed.”
The World Book Encyclopedia states, "Early Christians
considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom" (Vol.
3, page 416). It was not the early Jewish law and tradition to
Notice how recognized secular historical authorities show Christmas
was not observed by Christians for the first three hundred years after
the death of Christ... a period longer than the entire history of the United States as a nation!
Christmas entered into the Roman Church by the fourth century A.D. A
Roman almanac shows Christmas first being observed on December 25
of 336 AD. However, it was not until the fifth century that the Roman
Church ordered it to be celebrated as an official Christian festival.
Christmas is nothing more than a man-made holiday that comes
from traditions of men, not Christian traditions of the early apostolic
Consider a few passages Paul wrote concerning traditions…
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of
the world, and not according to Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6
“But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not
according to the tradition which he received from us.”
There is more to discuss pertaining to authority of the Scriptures and
traditions, but for a moment let us consider the birth of Christ… was
it December 25, as many would like to believe? Truthfully…
there is no proof of this anywhere. As best we can determine from the
Scriptures, Jesus Christ was more than likely born in the autumn of the
The actual birth day of Jesus is unknown to us and we can be fairly certain that it is not December 25.
There are a few passages that give us an idea of the time of year during the infancy of Jesus…
“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. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the
field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
Adam Clarke commented, “The reason why they watched them
in the field appears to have been, either to preserve the sheep from
beasts of prey, such as wolves, foxes, etc., or from freebooting
banditti, with which all the land of Judea was at that time much
infested. It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the
deserts, about the Passover, and bring them home at the commencement of
the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched
them night and day. As the Passover occurred in the spring, and the
first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part
of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in
the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds
had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument
that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was
not born on the 25 of December, when no flocks were out in
the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the
flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the
nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by
night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable
light upon this disputed point. See the quotations from the Talmudists
in Lightfoot. The time in which Christ was born has been considered a
subject of great importance among Christians. However, the matter has
been considered of no moment by Him who inspired the evangelists; as not
one hint is dropped on the subject, by which it might be possible even
to guess nearly to the time, except the chronological fact mentioned
above. A late writer makes the following remark: "The first Christians
placed the baptism of Christ about the beginning of the fifteenth year
of Tiberius; and thence reckoning back thirty years, they placed his
birth in the forty-third year of the Julian period, the forty-second of
Augustus, and the twenty- eighth after the victory at Actium. This
opinion obtained till A. D. 527, when Dionysius Exiguus invented the
vulgar account. Learned and pious men have trifled egregiously on this
subject, making that of importance which the Holy Spirit, by his
silence, has plainly informed them is of none. Fabricius gives a
catalogue of no less than 136 different opinions concerning the YEAR of
Christ's birth: and as to his birth DAY, that has been placed by
Christian sects and learned men in every month in the year” (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Abingdon Press, Nashville, note on Luke 2:8).
We can further confirm from Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9 and 10:13,
that winter was a rainy season and it would be unlikely that the
shepherds could tend their flock at night, as was the Jewish custom in
that day. The shepherds would bring their flock into the stables in mid
October to protect them from the cold and rainy season. This would
indicate that Jesus was born prior to mid October, since Luke writes
that the shepherds were “keeping watch over their flock by night.” We
could go even further into the study of the Hebrew calendar and Luke’s
writings in chapter 2 on the pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary to
ultimately determine a closer date of September as the birth month of
The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "In the Scriptures, no
one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his
birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in
which they were born into this world” (1908 edition, Vol. 3, p. 724,
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church offers the following, "Though speculation as to the time of year of Christ's birth dates from the early third century (Clement of Alexandria suggested May 20) the celebration of the anniversary does not appear to have been general till the later fourth century. The earliest mention of the observance on December 25 is in the Philocalian Calendar, representing Roman practice of the year
336. This date was probably chosen to oppose the feast of the Natalis
Solis Invicti [nativity of the unconquerable sun] by the celebration of
the birth of the 'Sun of Righteousness' and its observance in the West,
seems to have spread from Rome" (1983 edition, Oxford University Press,
New York, 1983, p. 280, "Christmas").
It does not matter when Christ was born.
The truth is that you will be hard pressed to find a Biblical scholar
who will support Christ being born in December… and you certainly will
not find anyone who can prove it. Had God wanted us to celebrate the
birth of Jesus, He would have clearly indicated the day on which He
wanted that celebration to take place. While the fact that Jesus was
born is of great significance, the day of the year He was actually born
matters not, according to God and the Bible.
The most important issue we should consider is that there is no
scriptural authority for celebrating Christmas as the birthday of Christ
or as a Christian holiday. Earlier I made the statement that it
puzzles me why people who call themselves Christians will ignore the
authority of the Scriptures. Consider the implications of this
ignorance… it is truly alarming and Christians should take serious note.
This is where I must digress a bit from the specific topic of
Christmas, because understanding the “authority of the Scriptures” is
integral to our understanding of what relevance Christmas should have on
us as Christians.
Do we fully understand the very important significance of the authority of the Scriptures?
The inspired apostles had quite a bit to say about the authority of
the Scriptures… whether we have the right to do what we do or not.
Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11)… and Paul wrote, “…that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Paul further wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”
(Colossians 3:17). What we do “in word” is teaching… what we do “in deed” is practice, hence, practice what we preach.
Peter is explaining that whatever a person promotes within Christianity,
it should be authorized by the Word of God, while Paul is explaining
that whatever a person does in Christianity, it should also be
authorized by the Scriptures. “In the name of” means “by the authority
of”. Jesus gave the great command to go and make disciples by baptizing
them “in the name of the Son and of the Father and of the Holy Spirit,”
and by “teaching them” all that He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
In verse 18, He stated, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven
and on earth.” Jesus made commands by His authority… in His name.
It is clear that “whatever” we do… not some things, but ALL
things, we are to do by the authority of Christ… this means EVERY thing
we do! We are not to go beyond what is written in God’s Word. We must
understand that the Word of God, the divine power of God, ”…has given to
us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3).
We must take seriously that God’s Word is ALL we need and that “All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good
work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Authority of the Scriptures is vital to our salvation.
The authority of the Scriptures is so important in understanding our
duties as Christians that I want to elaborate even further on this
topic. I urge you to take heed to God’s Word, because it is what will
judge us all in the end (John 12:47-48). We will certainly not be judged by the traditions of men.
Consider what God told Moses to tell the children of Israel…
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to
fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to
serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and
to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command
you today for your good?”
“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you
go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take
heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they
are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their
gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do
likewise.' You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for
every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their
gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their
gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not
add to it nor take away from it.”
From the beginning God has expected us to obey Him by doing what He
commands. We are to walk by faith, doing nothing more and nothing less
than what God has commanded in His Word… “you shall not add nor take
away from it.” We are bound by Scripture to obey what God tells us to
do. We are bound by the promise of salvation to obey that which God has
commanded us in His Word. Too often we hear or read the words of God
and understand full well what those words mean and what is expected of
us. Thinking we know best, we choose to ignore those words and follow
our own path… or the traditions of men… or the traditions of our family,
ignoring the proverbial warning that we should trust in God with all of
our heart, acknowledging Him in all of our ways… and lean not on our
own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
We choose not to obey God because it does not fit in with our plans…or
we find an excuse as to why not to obey… or maybe we listen to some man
tell us that obedience is not necessary to go to heaven. I know that
sounds crazy, but believe me, I have a copy of a sermon from a so-called
preacher who claims this and know of many others who preach and teach
this false doctrine. We will do well to remember the One who is the
author of eternal salvation “to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). We will do well to remember that it is better to trust and obey God rather than men (Psalms 118:8; Acts 5:29).
The Old Testament has some very good examples of how God expects us to
do what we do by His authority. No, we are not bound by the Old
Testament today... but consider what the apostle Paul wrote...
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our
instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the
Scriptures we might have hope.
Paul was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures because the New
Testament had not been finished at the time of his writing this to the
Romans. Paul wrote that these Old Testament writings were "written for
our instruction". Remember also, as mentioned earlier, that Paul wrote
to Timothy that “All Scripture” is profitable for learning.
Let us consider a few examples of how God shows how all we need is His
Word… nothing less and nothing more; and just what He commands is all
we need to do. Consider if you will, the story of Nadab and Abihu, the
sons of Aaron, who was brother to Moses as well as his spokesperson.
From Leviticus 10:1-3
we learn that Nadab and Abihu "offered profaned fire (strange fire)
before the LORD, which He had not commanded them." Because they offered
something other than what God commanded them to offer, God sent fire
down to consume them. Nadab and Abihu were not walking by faith (by
God's instructions... His very words), therefore they were condemned by
God. They had their own ideas of what God would want, but God did not
ask for what they brought (the strange fire). God did not need their
ideas… God gave instructions and He expected them to be followed exactly
as He had spoken.
I was only trying to do a little more than what God ask of me to do.
Consider the story of Saul from 1 Samuel 15:1-23,
when the Lord sent Samuel, a prophet, to Saul to tell him he had been
made king over Israel. Samuel explains to Saul that he is to listen to
God’s words. God instructed Saul to go and completely and utterly
destroy Amalek and everything to do with Amalek. Did Saul do as the
Lord commanded? Saul spared lives and took of the plunder, sheep and
oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed,
in order to sacrifice the best of these to God. Saul thought in his own
mind it was the right thing to do, but God did not ask for any such
sacrifice. Saul did not do exactly what God instructed him to
do. God was furious about this… read the story! Read what Samuel told
Saul… “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as
iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
These are excellent lessons on how it is better to obey God than to
sacrifice… and there are numerous lessons throughout the Bible that
teach this same principle and warn us of the consequences of not doing
exactly that which God has commanded us to do, nothing more and nothing
less. Consider how God has spoken to us today… through His Word… the
Bible. Are we doing exactly what God has instructed us… or are we
leaving out something… or perhaps adding to it? Are we following the
ideas of pagans who created events in addition to what the Bible
I often wonder are we (the children of God) doing any better
today than the children of God (Israel) were doing thousands of years
ago. Have we really learned from their mistakes as the Bible so aptly
warns us to do?
There is indeed a striking resemblance with the children of God today
in comparison to the children of Israel. Take a few moments to read Isaiah 1:1-11.
Isaiah the prophet received a vision from God of the future of the
children of Israel. He wasted no time telling them just how rebellious
to God they were. God was lamenting over the condition of His children.
God brought them out of slavery, liberating them from their enslavers…
and brought them out of oppression, yet they still refused to obey Him
and do as He commanded. Donkeys, oxen and other animals recognized,
acknowledged and obeyed their masters, but the children of Israel
continued to ignore their Master. Isaiah challenged the children to
listen to God’s words closely so that they would not end up like the
people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God told them that their sacrifices were
no good without obedience. Again, it is better to obey than to
We expect obedience… God commands it!
The Biblical examples we have of disobedience to God and the
consequences are a matter of record, yet many continue in disobedience
and ignorance of God’s commands. Parents expect their children to obey
them, and rightly so (Colossians 3:20; Ephesians 6:1),
as well as we establish rules in our homes that we expect to be
followed and obeyed… and even though employers expect their employees or
workers that they supervise to respect and adhere to their duties and
responsibilities, and we expect others to follow the laws of the land…
why is it that we as children of God, just like the children of Israel,
just like Adam and Eve, just like the multitudes that Noah preached to,
just like Nadab and Abihu, and just like Saul… why is it that we have
such a problem obeying God? We expect obedience… God commands it!
God gives us very specific ways throughout the Scriptures of doing
things exactly as He wants them done. He also has laid out things He
does not want us to do, one of which is not to follow the traditions of
the heathens and pagans. He has stated that He only wants us to do as
He has said, not any less and not any more. He has taught us that He
wants us to have authority (by His Word) for all that we do. When it
comes to religious matters, He has spoken, thus saith the Lord!
Nobody said we were perfect!
Granted, we are by no means perfect… and thankfully when we fail God,
we can confess these weaknesses and God is faithful to forgive His
children (1 John 1:9).
We indeed have a major battle on our hands with the fleshly world,
material things and our personal wants and desires. It is quite the
never ending battle. I struggle with it every single day and have a
hard time understanding why I make it so difficult. We are certainly
going to mess up from time to time, but we must always strive to do what
is righteous, even if we are sometimes persecuted for doing the right
thing (Matthew 5:10)…even
if at times we are not in the majority… even if sometimes it is not the
popular thing to do. There is no doubt that those who stand opposed to
celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday are in the minority, right
along with the atheist… as sad as it sounds. Yet, Jesus assures us
that if we follow that narrow path of the minority, it will lead us to
eternal life (Matthew 7:14).
It is so much easier to go with the flow and do what is most popular
and fit in with the crowd, so to speak. The majority will follow the
broad path, but few will find eternal life. This is not merely an
opinion of mine, it is what Jesus said!
Think seriously for a moment about the Scriptures we have reviewed…
meditate on them if you will. Did you merely scan them… or did you read
them with a focus on what they actually say?
Do not forget that the events that happened between God and the
disobedient of the Old Testament days were recorded as examples for us,
so that we would not make the same mistakes that they made (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11-12).
Either we can choose to listen to the Word of God and learn from these
examples… or we can reject it. Jesus is clear about what will happen
to those who reject the Word of God.
John 12:47-48 “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them,
I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save
the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a
judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
Jesus clearly says the one who “hears my words and does not keep them…
…the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
Things that are not authorized by the Word of God… that are not found
in the Scriptures… violate the principle of authority by failing to
“speak as the oracles of God” and they go “beyond the things which are
Christmas should not be celebrated as a Christian holiday or the birthday of Christ… there is no authority for it.
Not only is there no authority for Christians to celebrate Christmas
as a religious holiday, it is made up of primarily ancient pagan
practices and a large number of modern creations of a secular nature…
with a touch of Christianity toss in to the mix to make it appear
morally acceptable. There is no reason for atheists to complain about
Christmas has also become a highly commercialized season whereby
retailers dump millions of dollars into Christmas advertising each year
making it a monopoly at the feet of Jesus Christ. The Christmas spirit
is jingled every year, but it is not to truly honor Christ, it is to
sell merchandise. Hundreds of ads delude and deceive people about the
“beauty” of Christmas. There is media everywhere that exalts and
eulogizes this pagan celebration and its spirit.
Then good ole us… we are so gullible… allowing ourselves to become so
inoculated with this spirit that we take offense when the truth about
Christmas is unveiled. Make no mistake, Satan with his powerful
delusions appearing as an “angel of light” will continue to deceive
many. If we would consider forgoing our selfishness each year and spend
these millions of dollars on the sick and poor… and on furthering the
Gospel of Christ, instead of wasting it on our spoiled children who
already have more than they will ever need, our blessings from God would
be multiplied tremendously. We desperately need to wake up and realize
that we must seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness… and
He will provide us of our needs (Matthew 6:33)… none the less, we seem to be too worried about ourselves than others.
Who has the right to tell me I cannot celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday?
As I chuckle at this question, I immediately and very seriously respond, God does!
Inevitably, some people are going to say, “Even though Christmas was
originally a pagan custom honoring the false sun-god, we do not observe
it to honor this false god; we observe it to honor Christ.” As
previously noted, God has already responded to this reasoning… "take
heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them (the pagans in
their customs)... and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying,
'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You
shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination
to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; …Whatever I
command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take
away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).
God tells us plainly in His Word that He will not accept this kind of
worship, even though it is intended in His honor. It is an abomination
to Him, and therefore it does not honor Him, but rather it honors the
false pagan gods. God says we must not worship Him according to the
"dictates of our own conscience" – “There is a way that seems right to a
man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus says, "God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). And what is truth? According to Jesus, the Bible is truth… God’s Word is truth (John 17:17);
and as we have clearly learned, the Bible says God will not accept
worship when people take a pagan custom or manner of worship and try to
honor Christ with it. Jesus said: "In vain they do worship me, teaching
for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).
Christmas observance is a tradition of men. The commandments of God,
as previously quoted, forbid it. Jesus said to them, "All too well you
reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9).
Christians are ignoring the commandments of God.
Do you realize that this is exactly what millions of people who
claim to be Christians are doing today? They are ignoring the
commandment of God. Even though God clearly says, “You shall not
worship the LORD your God in that way;” there are many people today
taking this command of God lightly and following the traditions of men
in observing Christmas as a religious holiday. There have been warnings
throughout history against the tendency of men to look with favor and
appreciation upon the religious traditions and practices that God has
not authorized. As one man stated, "God's people in all ages have
created appalling problems for themselves and distorted their own faith
by incorporating alien practices and concepts."
God is going to allow it to happen. He will allow us to disobey Him
and follow the popular majority. He understands this will happen. As
mentioned earlier, even Jesus said that “many will follow the broad path
to destruction.” (Matthew 7:13)
God will allow us to sin and follow traditions of men, but there will
also be a day of reckoning… and we will be judged by how we respond to
the Word of God (Revelation 20:13-14).
Herein is the entire problem with ignorance to the authority of the
Scriptures. We cannot respond to the Word of God if we do not
understand it… and we will never understand it until we start studying
it. It is going to do no one any good to simply grace the doors of a
church building and depend on a mere man to teach them what they need to
know to get to heaven. Yes, we do need to assemble with the saints, we
do need to hear the Word preached, but we also need to live it, and we
cannot live it unless we study it and know what is expected of us. The
Bible is the revelation of God’s mind… it is what He wants us to know
about Him… and it is His will for our daily lives and how we should live
for and glorify Him. We have a choice to either live like God wants us
to live… or live like the world thinks we should live. If we simply
follow what the worldly majority does, or simply rely on what our family
does to determine how we live our lives religiously, we will not enter
into heaven. In order to enter heaven, Jesus plainly and clearly says
we must do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21)… not our own will or the will of men.
The Word of God will judge us in the end… are we taking it seriously?
We must study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needs
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Until we stop dimly reading over God’s Word and start seriously
studying it… and until we quit trusting in what mere man says from the
pulpit… and start being like the Bereans (Acts 17:11),
the devil is going to continue to deceive us and take advantage of
these traditions of men to lead more followers away from God. You think
you are getting closer to God, but Satan is the master of deceit. It
is so easy to get all wrapped up in this world and what the majority are
doing, that we lose sight of the narrow path (Matthew 7:14). Are you going to be one of the “many” or one of the “few”?
All of this does not mean that we cannot “esteem one day above another” (Romans 14:5).
Authorities may very well set aside a holiday to honor certain people
and certain events of the secular world. There is no sin in this until
one Christian attempts to bind it upon another (Romans 14:13).
While I would prefer to be safe and forgo it altogether, I suppose
families could gather around Christmas time each year to share a meal
and give gifts if they so choose, which can be done on any occasion or
any time of the year for that matter. There is a significant difference
between a holiday gathering that a family may enjoy… versus that of
honoring a religious holy day. The question might be, can you really
have this holiday gathering at Christmas time of the year and not
connect it to Christmas in at least some minor way? I say it would be
difficult and it is not worth the risk.
The important point we must remember is that there is absolutely no Biblical authority for anyone to establish any day as a religious holiday, including the setting aside of December 25 as the birthday of Christ and celebration of the same. Neither does
the church have any scriptural authority to set aside a religious
holiday. We simply cannot ignore God’s Word… period. Presumptuously
concocting and observing such a man-made day as a religious holy day is a
definite and deliberate sin against God.
This also does not mean that we cannot celebrate Christ and the fact He was born. We can most certainly rejoice
in Christ, His birth and what He has done for us. However, as
mentioned earlier, have you ever thought for a few moments why God never
inspired anyone to pinpoint the day that Christ was born? God
obviously did not see it as an important day to remember. None the
less, Jesus was not even born in the sense that we are born for the
first time because He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1).
If we are going to celebrate the birth of Christ, let us do it daily,
not just once a year when it is time to dust off the ole suit and tie.
The world has already taken Christ out of Christmas.
We do not have to take Christ out of Christmas… commercialization of
Christmas has already done so. The truth is that most people are too
wrapped up in the festivities, parties, shopping… and grazing at the
table… that they do not focus on Christ anyway. They fail to realize
that going through the motion of dragging out that dusty coat and tie,
for one of perhaps their three or four annual visits to a vain worship
service, is not in the least bit going to help them enter heaven. The
majority of those people could not tell you the first verse of the Bible
and have probably never read it; much less have they ever studied the
Bible. If they had, they would heed the warning to not forsake the
assembling of the saints (Hebrew 10:24-27) by skipping all those other
services during the year. They probably have no clue what “DO THIS IN
REMEMBRANCE OF ME” means. I am not judging them, but the Word of God
Please consider what we are commanded and authorized to remember about
Jesus, per God’s Word. This is the truth and this is what is important
as far as God is concerned. As a matter of scriptural authority, we
are commanded by Christ Himself to remember Him every Lord’s Day…
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and
gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying,
"This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:19-20).
Jesus Christ instituted the Lord's Supper…
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,
That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is
my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped,
saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as
ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The Lord's Supper is Communion with Christ…
“The cup of blessing that we bless is a sign of our sharing in the
blood of Christ, isn't it? The bread that we break is a sign of our
sharing in the body of Christ, isn't it? Because there is one loaf, we
who are many are one body, because all of us partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
I cannot resist asking the very important question…
If Jesus, the One who suffered so horrendously for us, the One who
paid the penalty for our sins, asked that we partake of the Lord's
Supper "in remembrance" of Him”, why would we not want to
show our gratitude by REMEMBERING HIM EVERY WEEK when we come together
on the first day of each week (the Lord’s Day) for worship service?
How many congregations find all kinds of excuses to ignore the very words of Jesus?
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him;
for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who
rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—
the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
Consider what Luke wrote, “Now on the first day of the week, when the
disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next
day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Luke 20:7).
During the days of the early church, the people gathered on the first day of each week to break bread and remember the death
of Christ. They wanted to remember what Christ did for all mankind,
just as He commanded us to do. This is the pattern and tradition that
God authorized for us to practice. What has changed this pattern of
remembering Christ over the years? Men have changed it to be more
convenient and less time consuming during worship services. They claim
that it takes too long to do the Lord’s Supper every week, yet they have
no problem passing the collection plate around weekly. They have no
problem making time to honor special events and people in the
congregation. They have no problem with many unauthorized activities in
worship. Yet they cannot even obey the command of God and the pattern
of worship authorized by the Scriptures and “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF
ME” each Lord’s Day for the sake of Jesus. It is truly ashamed… and I
would have nothing to do with a congregation who cannot honor Christ as
He asked us to do.
Matthew 15:9 “AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN."
God has not authorized any changes to the pattern of worship, which He laid out for us in the New Testament.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit,
according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the
world, and not according to Christ.
Philippians 3:16-17 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
Celebrating, remembering and rejoicing in Jesus is not something we
only do annually at Christmas time when so many seem to come out of the
closet, or semi-annually, or quarterly, or every fifth Sunday... or
whenever we decide it is convenient. Celebrating what Jesus did for us
is something we should desire to do every day... and certainly by
obeying His very command to partake of the Lord's Supper every Lord’s
Remember the very words of Jesus and let them dwell in your heart and on your mind… His words were…
“DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”.
Let us celebrate Christ as we are authorized by the Word of God and not according to the traditions of men.
Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old
paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest
for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).