CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
is not a biblical holiday. In fact, Christ’s birth is hardly
mentioned in Scripture after the historic accounts in the Gospels.
The significance of His birth lies in the fact that it served as the
threshold for the Incarnation. It was His conception that was
miraculous, not His birth. His birth was certainly not celebrated by
the apostolic community.
Christmas is not nearly as religious as it is cultural. What we
celebrate today is the product of many years. Christmas actually
evolved with various influences. It is both secular and Christian. But
more than anything else, Christmas is cultural. Even those who try to
emphasize Christ’s birth during the holiday typically do so in a
scanty fashion. Typical recognition of His birth usually consists of
reading Luke’s account of the Nativity just before the family dives
into the presents. A few attend abbreviated worship services. Even
then, most of the attention is often not on His birth, but on the
Incarnation as a whole, for to celebrate His birth without celebrating
His death is meaningless.
celebrating the birth of Christ a bad thing? No. Is exchanging gifts
with loved ones a bad thing? No. (God so loved the world, that He
gave’ [John 3:16].) Is the good will and cheer of the season a bad
thing? No. Lights, Christmas trees, Yule logs, Santa Claus and the
host of other traditions that surround Christmas must be left up to
we should back up the question one level: Should Christians celebrate?
I think so. God’s people should be a happy people, filled with the
joy of the Lord and the ability to share love and kindness with
others. A study of the life of Christ reveals that He loved feasts,
parties, and a good time. This was one of His critics’ major
complaints against Him.
it appropriate for our inclination toward joy to be focused around
Christ’s birth and sharing with family and friends? I think the
answer is obvious. If for reasons of conscience or personal preference
some choose not to celebrate Christmas, this is perfectly legitimate.
However, one thing we can all agree on is that everyone should celebrate Christ! Celebrate His eternal plan. Celebrate His conception. Celebrate His birth. Celebrate His life and teachings. Celebrate His passion and crucifixion. Celebrate His resurrection and ascension. Celebrate “his great love wherewith he loved us” (Ephesians 2:4).
Do it all year long.
This article appeared in the Apostolic Sentinel, December 2000.