Is it wrong to celebrate Christmas?
As Christians we will need to decide whether e feel we should celebrate Christmas or not but here we need to answer why we feel it is not wrong and so we can choose.
It is an acceptable fact that Jesus was not born on December 25 but in September/October. However, no one knows the exact date and December 25 is used to remember such an important event. The fact that the Bible does not tell us to celebrate it is not an issue because it does not tells us NOT to celebrate it and then gives clear instruction that we are not to condemn each other over days that we keep.
There is a wealth of information in books and on the Internet, for instance we read,
People have celebrated a mid-winter festival since pre-historic times. They marked the beginning of longer hours of daylight with fires and ritual offerings. The Roman festival of Saturnalia — a time for feasting and gambling — lasted for weeks in December. Germanic tribes of Northern Europe also celebrated mid-winter with feasting, drinking and religious rituals. December 25th was chosen for the celebration of his birth by a Pope, Julius I, in the 4th century — to include a Christian element in the long-established mid-winter festivals.
In other words, they were not trying to “Christianise a pagan festival” nor were they just taking all the customs and pretending they were Christian. It was using a day that was already there but seeking to make the Lord Jesus the centre of attention that He was the one who was to be the “sun rising” – Malachi 4:2.
In an article in our newsletter entitled, Guilty by Association, I wrote,
The classic example that is often put before me is Christmas. This day is pagan and so all Christians that celebrate Christmas must be in some way ‘of the Devil.’ However, let us look at this a little more carefully. If I am saying that 25 December is pagan then so is every day of the week. How about Saturn day or Sun Day? The day itself is not pagan but what we do is. If I am celebrating the coming into this world of the Lord Jesus Christ – that is not pagan but is glorifying to God. Clear distinctions do need to be drawn and not associations jumped upon.
What is also important in this argument is that the pagan festival was not just December 25 but was much longer than that and so to say that December 25 was specifically chosen because it was the pagan day is not true.
The Roman’s celebrated their god Saturn. Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!” the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits).
The fact that Christians today can misuse December 25 I do not disagree but then they can misuse much of what God has told us to do – see the first letter to the Corinthians – but providing I am celebrating the remembrance of God stepping into this world I believe it is acceptable for Christians to do that. Indeed I believe it is shown to be acceptable in Colossians 2:16 and that we are not to judge one another over this issue.
For a fuller discussion on this subject go here