MARRIAGE INSIGHT: Should We As Christians Celebrate Christmas?
When Steve and I first received Christ as savior, we were naïve, to say the least. We thought that all Christians celebrate Christmas. After all, “Christ” is in the name. But we were wrong. Through the ministry of Marriage Missions we hear from a number of Christians who are appalled that we even mention celebrating Christmas. At first it surprised us. Here is what one person recently wrote us: "Christmas is NOT a day that God sanctions. Christ was not born in December and nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to celebrate His birthday anyway. Leviticus, chapter 23 lists all of God’s feast days that most of Christianity ignores. The traditions of Christmas are steeped in Babylonian pagan traditions that our Lord considers an abomination."
We’ve received other emails similar to this one through the years. It caused us to look into this matter because we don’t want to do anything wrong in celebrating Christmas. We don’t want to offend Jesus in any way, but to honor Him. After asking God for wisdom, then doing A LOT of research, we prayerfully came to a place of peace. Recently, we’ve done even more research about all of this. And that is what we want to pass onto you. So, should we as Christians celebrate Christmas? We openly confess that personally, we do. We love to celebrate Jesus Christ in any way that we believe it will honor Him. And we will give you some of the reasons we do in this Marriage Insight. We hope all of this will help you too.
First, here is something that Pastor Jon Piper spoke and wrote that lines up with our own beliefs: "I sympathize with those who want to be rigorously and distinctly Christian, who want to be disentangled from the world and any pagan roots that might lie beneath our celebration of Christmas. But I don't go that route on this matter because I think there comes a point where the roots are so far gone that the present meaning doesn't carry the pagan connotation anymore. I'm more concerned about a new paganism that gets layered on top of Christian holidays.
"Here's the example I use: All language has roots somewhere. Most of our days of the week—if not all—grew out of pagan names too. So should we stop using the word ‘Sunday’ because it’s related to the worship of the sun once upon a time? In modern English 'Sunday' doesn't carry that connotation & that's the nature of language. In a sense, holidays are like chronological language."
Christian Post writer Shane Idleman makes this same point: "It is my guess that there are a number of Christians who do not acknowledge holidays because of how they originated, I respect that. But let's follow that line of thinking in other areas: should we not acknowledge days of the week whose names originate from false gods…Sunday from the sun god, Monday the moon god, and so on?" So, do we throw out the days of the week, along with Christmas?
Actually, if we look deep enough, we can trace a great number of words we use, traditions (even wedding) & other habits back to pagan beginnings. What about them? At what point do we join God to redeem that, which the enemy keeps distorting? As Pastor Jon Piper says, “Christmas now means that we mark, in Christian ways, the birth of Jesus Christ. I think the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ are the most important events in human history. Not to mark them in some way, by way of special celebration, would be folly it seems to me.” We agree.
Here’s another important point (made in a Grace to You article): “We believe celebrating Christmas is not a question of right or wrong since Romans 14:5-6 provides us with the liberty to decide whether or not to observe special days: ‘One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks’ (Romans 14:5-6). According to these verses, a Christian can rightfully set aside any day—including Christmas—as a day for the Lord. We believe Christmas affords believers with a great opportunity to exalt Jesus Christ.”
from Marriage Missions.