My second cousin sent me an email this week and asked me if I liked Christmas music. I must admit that while I do enjoy some holiday music, it is not because of religious reasons, but rather because it rekindles childhood memories of the smell of a live tree in the house, decorations, mistletoe, claymation holiday movies, and the anticipation of gifts. As a Christian, I don’t like how the holidays make me feel. The whole underlying theme is that we will all be much happier because we have spent money on someone else or have received something (someone else spent money on us). As a result, many people are actually more stressed during the holiday season because they lack funds to purchase gift….or perhaps they experience disappointment because they didn’t receive enough to fill their wanton desires. Let’s not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-3)!
I actually feel that Christmas is largely turning back into a secular holiday (which is fine with me, at least that way we can call a spade a spade). I say “turned back into” because I believe it always had its beginnings as a secular holiday celebrating the winter solstice (December 25th was the winter solstice in the Julien calendar established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC). The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and was seen by pagan’s as the rebirth of the sun because days started getting longer afterward. It was later rebranded into a “Christian” holiday by the catholic church as they were expanding their influence into the pagan cultures of Europe. The Bible doesn’t even say when Christ was born. Don’t you think if it was important for us to celebrate as an annual holiday that it would be told to us in Scripture? After all, it is Scripture that prepares us for everything we need to know to please God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If “every good work” is included in Scripture and there is no mention of celebrating Christmas, then Christians were never asked to celebrate it. So, Christmas seems to be returning to a pagan holiday for the most part covered by a thin veneer of religious symbolism.
Many people think it strange for a Christian not to celebrate Christmas (1 Peter 4:3-4). But could it be even more strange to learn that early Christians didn’t celebrate it either? Its interesting that after reading the new testament Scriptures, you will find no example of early Christians celebrating the birth of Christ as a holiday. Of course the media and the corporations have latched onto it as a reason to encourage consumerism. Its also interesting that the early settlers of the United States also didn’t celebrate Christmas and viewed it as a pagan holiday. It was actually banned by the Puritans…and these were very religious people. Their reasoning behind the ban was that it wasn’t found in the Bible and therefore a man-made tradition. It wasn’t until the 19th century in this country that people started celebrating the holiday. And in England it became popular again after Charles Dickens wrote his book “A Christmas Carol”. I also find it strange that Christians will lie to their children about the existence of a Santa Claus and then expect them to sincerely believe in Jesus Christ. Credibility blown!
From a biblical perspective, the emphasis for Christians was always placed on Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. If we follow Him, we can also have the same hope of being raised after we die. So that’s why I believe the Scriptures teach it is the more important thing for Christians to remember and celebrate Christ through the taking of the Lord’s Supper which He Himself instituted as a memorial (1 Corinthians 11:24)….the only memorial that Christ asked his followers to remember.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly happy that Christ was born…otherwise, He couldn’t have died for our sins.