WILL WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS? HOW?

christmas

A Neat Idea, But It Still Requires Wisdom

Andy Oldham has an interesting post, Glory To God In The Highest . . . Rebuilding The Bridge With Susan And Lilka. What is it about? He begins by telling of his family’s encounter with a black family in 1958 and the lesson he learned about racism.  He ends with an invitation.

I would like to invite you to the Bridge. Let’s rebuild what Satan has destroyed. Ben met me at the bridge in 1958. We met there as children, with open minds and hearts, wanting to share. We reached out to each other and found unity, if only for the day. Can we do that today? Can we become as children and overcome color? We are called by God to love one another. I believe through Bridges we can find this same child-like unity today. God is telling us unity in the Body of Christ will not only make our world better, but our lives. (from here)

How we respond to a call like ‘s is actually sort of complicated.  Part of the complexity is that most Christians don’t fully consider what the Bible has to say. Hence, as I refer you to ‘s call, I also feel an obligation to refer you to some timely posts written by altruistico.

Consider how ends the second of the two posts.

Multiculturalism, in practice, is simply an expression of God’s creativity. There is much to be valued in different ideas, perspectives, and tastes (Proverbs 11:14; Romans 14:5). To what extent a particular nation enforces certain choices on others is not so much a biblical question as a political one. The Bible does not support the transformation of multiculturalism into relativism, however. Christians are obligated to be loving, respectful, and tolerant (1 Peter 3:15–16; 2:17); at the same time, we are commanded not to participate in the sins of any particular culture (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 11:3), even those of our own culture (Romans 6:17–18; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11). (from here)

Respecting the persons and the rights of other people is something the Bible calls upon us to do.  However, we can carry anything to an extreme.  Of course it is wrong to discriminate against someone just because they have a different sex, race or creed. Nevertheless, that does not make all discrimination wrong. It just means that to discriminate properly we must exercise Godly wisdom, and Godly wisdom requires us to discriminate between good and evil. Unless we give heed to what the Bible says about discriminating between what is good and what is evil, we cannot rightly call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.

That brings us to what the rest of this post is about. Christmas is both a Christian and a cultural celebration with traditions that predate Christianity. Should we celebrate Christmas? How? Why is this a tolerance issue? A religious tolerance issue? Various people would pull us in different directions.

The Various Cases Against Celebrating Christmas

Some insist Christmas is everybody’s holiday! Some in our culture insist that we treat Christmas as a secular holiday (Think of it. A secular holy day?). That is, they would like to dechristianize Christmas.  Consider, for example, this paragraph from a randomly chosen website, http://www.HumanReligions.info.

The main outstanding issue in the West is the Christian assertion that Christmas has something to do with the Christian figure of Christ or his birthday. These elements should be disclaimed. Firstly, the paganism inherent in Christmas, such as decorating trees, is warned against in the Bible (Jeremiah 10:2-4). Second, there are no Christian birthday celebrations in the Bible. Thirdly, early Christians celebrated Christ’s birthday in April or May – it was only changed to match with 25th of December, a major pagan holiday, by Emperor Constantine, in order to harmonize Christianity with paganism. It is certain that Christians should not attempt to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and they certainly shouldn’t do so at Christmas. (from here)

The author is not a Christian. Still, he is gung-ho to tell Christians how to celebrate Christmas.

Some Christians insist Christmas is not Biblical. Maria, a gentle iconoclast has a couple of posts related to celebrating Christmas.

  • Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Megiddo TV playlist: This is a video that points out the Bible says nothing about celebrating Christmas. Essentially, the guy in the video sees Christmas as man’s idea, not God’s. He uses this quote from Charles Spurgeon, for example.

    We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.

  • Go read! Pn’N at HubPages, on Christmas: This post focuses on the pagan origins of the Christmas and references an article that makes the case.

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas (www.ucg.org) puts all the reasons for not celebrating Christmas together. This article provides a good summary of all the reasons you might not want to celebrate Christmas.

The Various Cases For Celebrating Christmas

Catholics see Christmas as a holy day of obligation. Most seem to credit the Catholic Church for starting Christmas.

Some detest the commercialism. Is commercialism killing Christmas traditions? (www.post-gazette. com)speaks of reclaiming Christmas from Santa Claus.

The original Grinch who stole Christmas, Rev. Heinz argues, was the 17th-century Puritan movement. Puritans outlawed Christmas in Massachusetts and England. They considered it a licentious celebration of idolatrous Catholics. By evicting Christmas from the church, Rev. Heinz believes they paved the way for commercial takeover. (from here)

Christmas and Commercialism reminds us to take the celebration of Jesus’ birth back to church where it belongs.

Rob Barkman sort of sits on the fence. He offers a couple of posts that consider the pagan influence. Should Christians Participate In The Christmas Celebration? considers scriptures that speak of toleration and reviews what we know about the origins of Christmas. That post with this observation.

Let’s all hold a non-judgmental attitude towards each other, let us all allow the Lord to lead us to do what is pleasing to Him for each of our individual lives.But the most important decision we can make is to honor Christ and have others see Christ in us.  That means no drunkenness, no gluttony, no materialism, no lies.  If we abstain from these types of sin, the other stuff will take care of itself however the Lord may lead us. (from here)

To Christmas Or Not to Christmas…. That Is The Question looks at how the early church chose December 25. Finally, gives us some pastoral advice taken from holy scripture, A Christian’s Guide To Having A Merry Christmas.

So What Should We Conclude?

Am I going to tell anyone to celebrate Christmas or not celebrate Christmas? No.  I am more concerned about religious freedom than I am about this particular celebration. If some Christians don’t want to celebrate Christmas because they don’t think it is Biblical, it is not my place to argue with them. Since the Bible does not instruct us to celebrate Christmas, I don’t think it is that important.

Is there a Biblical case for Christmas? The Bible is the story of how Jesus redeemed us.  Jesus’ birth is a dramatic part of the story.

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Given the tremendous sacrifice He made on our behalf, it makes sense that we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but how and on which day? The Bible says nothing about how we should celebrate His birth.  Jesus celebrated Jewish holy days, but arguably all He told us to do was to break bread and drink wine in memory of Him.

Nevertheless, in the fourth century, the persecutions of Christians slowly came to end. As men are wont to do, early Christians created traditions to manage a “problem”. How do we celebrate Jesus’ birth? Since they provided a solution, we now we have another problem. Are we celebrating Jesus or their man-made traditions?

Consider what Jesus taught the Pharisees about their traditions in Matthew 15:1-20 and Mark 7:1-23. He observed that their traditions had become more important to them than God’s Word by quoting from it.

Isaiah 29:13  New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Therefore the Lord said:

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

If Biblical teachings — what God says in His Word — are not the center of our Christmas celebration, we risk putting the commandment of men before the Word of God. Therefore, if we are going to celebrate Christmas, then we must keep the birth of the Christ child and the example of Jesus at the center of the occasion.

Traditions are not necessarily bad things. Traditions are just cultural habits, reminders and procedures, that seem to work. Because traditions seem to work, we keep them. If as Christians we want to pass our faith on to our children, we need traditions. If as Christians we want to pass our faith on to our children, we need Jesus and the Bible, but we don’t need Santa Claus or a Christmas Tree. We also don’t need to keep up with worldly neighbors and buy a bunch of stuff we don’t need.

Does that make Santa Claus, a Christmas Tree, or gift-giving wrong? No. It just means that when we teach our children about Santa Claus, a Christmas Tree, or gift-giving we must demonstrate to our children how Santa Claus, a Christmas Tree, or gift-giving remind us of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

9 thoughts on “WILL WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS? HOW?

  1. LOL! Wow, that’s an awful lot of opinions and perspectives.

    In crazy upside down world we do have this Christian Holy Day, with many Pagan roots, being objected to and protested against by…… atheists and Christians alike. As if that isn’t confusing enough, Jehovah Witnesses and Jewish people are really the most vocal about their opposition. So if you are not yet thoroughly confused, Jewish people tend to object to the celebration of the…. Jewish Messiah’s birth. So that is why we accommodate them by giving them the “Jewish Christmas,” Hanukkah, which some Christians now celebrate….to show solidarity with the Jews.

    I jest here, Hanukkah is not really the “Jewish Christmas,” but that is a perception we have created within the culture of multi-culturism. Not be outdone, we also now have Kwanzaa.

    My suggestion is to just pour yourself a stiff egg nog, sit under a dead tree, and start eating candy out of a sock while you listen for the sound of reindeer hoofs on your roof. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @insanitybytes22

      I sure like egg nog and candy. Sigh….. As I get older. Well, it is Christmas!
      😀

      Whenever I hear Kwanzaa, I get an eye tic that suspiciously looks like this.
      🙄

      Kwanzaa is the epitome of phony religion and the dumbing down of Americans, in this case those Americans who happen to be black. It is part of a foolish idea to establish a meaningless black identity.

      The Hebrews suffered slavery for 400 years. Only an idiot thinks Mose created a religion for the sake of creating a Hebrew racial “identity”. The Irish suffered under the English for hundreds of years. They are the same color as the English. They just have a different funny accent (Only folks in the South don’t have a funny accent.). Did the Irish remain Catholics just for the sake of their their “identity”?

      Fortunately, Kwanzaa has not yet caught on. Google Kwanzaa and then google Christmas and compare the number of hits.

      I doubt most people even know what Kwanzaa is. I was just starting high school when some professor in black studies (the universities did not waste any time in becoming politically correct) started this ridiculous secular holy day. When I first heard about it, I did not know what to think. I could not get past the word “why”. But the secular liberal news media took it altogether seriously. After all, it was invented by a secular liberal (I know I am being redundant.) professor.

      Eventually, I figured out the answer to my question. Pride. If anything will cause a man to do something stupid, it is pride. Kwanzaa is pathetically stupid. A secular holy day that is suppose to instill values. Secular values?

      Everyone has a choice. If we want to go back to our “roots” again, we can all become pagans. The only true alternative is Jesus, and He shows no partially. He has already proven His love. We just have to put our faith in Him.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Culture, traditions, and wisdom.

    Great thoughts by you and altruistico about messages of diversity…..
    “when we teach our children about the Bible, Santa Claus, etc”

    However, if you live or every lived, in various ethnic Chicago neighborhoods, you would learn “street wise wisdom.”

    For example, if you go into certain neighborhoods, you risk being robbed or beaten by diverse ethnic gangs, bullies, or robbers.

    In my opinion, there will never be diversity until any person of any culture, ethnicity, or skin color can walk safely into any neighborhood without fear.

    Until each diversity solves how to make that happen in their own communities. there will never be diversity in any city, town, or country.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the spirit of Christmas but it tends to get lost amongst the gift buying, food gorging, stress of dealing with relatives etc…This year my main focus is relationships and gratefulness to keep me from getting caught up in the hectiness. Not always successful but it’s kept me grounded.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Tom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Celebrations, even those done for the best of reasons, always result in some stress. Don’t we want everything to perfect?

      I think your solution is the best one, focusing on relationships and gratefulness. Best ways I know to honor our Savior.

      Merry Christmas to your and yours too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes CT, You have outdone yourself with another fair rendition of a sensitive and charged topic.

    I don’t recall seeing in the scriptures where we should drive cars either. Liberty is a precious thing in the faith. Perhaps we should consider blessing God for all the wonderful hymns given by they who inspire us in the Christmas tradition, and that at this time of year, hearts maybe are more receptive to hearing the truth of scripture also.

    I love to sing, as it is akin to reaching for the divine, and I couldn’t imagine anybody chastising a believer for wanting to be so occupied with the things of God through song.

    But the other side? I’m not about to abrade a believer for their desire not to participate in the traditions of families. My mother used to say it was her fondest time of year, not because of trees or gifts, but because she appreciated the effort of her six children to be there for her and family. The older I get, I see how wise she was.

    And celebrate or not, let every one be persuaded in their own mind, and not make it a cause for others.

    Merry Christmas to you also. And may the Lord’s blessings abound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @ColorStorm

      Thank you for reading my post and for your kindness.

      Music is in our souls. Even someone like me who prefers talk radio cannot help but whistle a tune sometimes.

      Christmas is a time when people come together and share their love for each other. Does Jesus approve? My guess He perceives what is in our hearts, and it is what is in our hearts that matters to Him.

      My only hope is that I understand the Bible correctly, and that I have learned to love my God and my neighbor.

      1 Peter 4:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

      8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.

      For better men than I have known they were sinners and found only One upon which they could pin their hope.

      Like

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