As we celebrate the Christmas holiday, many around the world take this time to think about Jesus Christ and His birth.
My family and I do not necessarily celebrate Christ at Christmas. Here is the reasoning why.
There is no place in the Word of God that specifies the date of Jesus’s birth. Without the date, or the directive from God to observe such a date, we do not feel comfortable presuming to do so. God’s Word is complete, and there is no permission space mankind has to add to it or take away from it.
In fact, the date of December 25 has been selected over history by people as the date of Jesus’s birth. There are a lot of reasons and a good Wikipedia article that provides the origins of December 25 (look under the “Choice of December 25 Date” section): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas?wprov=sfti1. But the fact remains that we did not receive this information from God.
So, despite all this, I ask: is it okay to celebrate Christ at Christmas? Of course! In fact, we should celebrate Christ at every opportunity, particularly on Sundays. For that, we do have biblical guidance.
What is not okay is if the only time we were to celebrate Christ would be on Christmas. In the New Testament, we have the example to celebrate Jesus every Sunday by taking the Lord’s Supper. This is something Jesus directed His followers to do before He gave His life for you and me:
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” I Corinthians 11:23-26
And here in Acts 20:7, is the implied frequency of honoring Christ with the Lord’s Supper: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…”
In the majority of our American culture today, Christmas has a lot more to do with materialism than it does with Jesus. As you probably know, this is due to a long but persistent trend of our culture leaving God and focusing on more trivial pursuits like money, pleasure and self-fulfillment. Each year, the “meaning” of Christmas tends to fade away in favor of the pursuit of that hard-to-find gift and credit card debt amidst lavish (and often unnecessary) gifts.
But this trend should not really bother us much because no matter the state of the world, God is in control. If we truly believe and cast our worries and cares upon Jesus, He will take care of us, no matter the state of the culture or society around us. Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Because of this admonition, we know the Lord is there to shelter us, to be our rock in times of turmoil. Sin in our society should bother us, but it should never overshadow the faith we have in the living God! A large measure of deep, abiding faith is required of us and we will summarily survive to follow Christ another day. Even though our culture is straying noticeably from God, we continue on and we nurture our faith because there is one true God – and in Him our hope lives!
Do I wish it could be as it was in the 1940s or 50s when there was prayer in schools and dust on the family Bible was a sign of a family losing its way? Naturally! But that is not up to us. Almighty God is in control, and those of us that follow Him know that He is seeking the best outcome for those who love Him: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
For my family and me, Christmas is more about spending time together, being away from work or school and giving each other gifts than it is about Jesus; we do our best to honor Jesus all the time, not just on this holiday.
Today my earnest wish for you and those close to you is that you celebrate Christ and what He means to you in accordance with the guidance we receive from the Bible.
As we exchange gifts, let us not forget the greatest gift we have ever received: God’s only Son and our precious Savior Jesus Christ.