There are many opinions about the celebration of Christmas. Some old and some new groups oppose the celebration of Christmas as absolutely evil. Groups like the Jehovah Witnesses, Worldwide Assemblies of God (followers of Garner Ted Armstrong) and the Assemblies of Yahweh all teach strongly that celebrating Christmas is to be abstained from completely. But what does the Bible really teach on this subject?
DOES THE BIBLE COMMAND US TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
Scripture doesn't specifically command believers to celebrate Christmas--there are no prescribed "Holy Days" the church must observe. In fact, Christmas was not observed as a holiday until the mid fifth century. But that does not mean that the birth of Christ was not observed only that it was not set aside as a special day. In my study I conclude that there is no reasons to believe that the birth of Christ was not remembered in special ways in the early church. Yet, It is nowhere in the Bible where there is a command to observe the birth of Christ.
I 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 man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
According to these verses, a Christian can rightfully set aside any day--including Christmas--as a day for the Lord. I believe If someone wants to set aside a particular time to remember the Lord in a special way there is nothing inherently wrong about that unless they begin to teach it as a holy commandment for all to obey.
IS IT WISE TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
In my opinion Christmas affords believers with a great opportunity to do some very wise things as they observe the birth of Christ and celebrate Christmas.
A. IT IS WISE TO EDIFY SAINTS!
Teaching any truth of the scripture is wise during any time of year. Teaching about the Incarnation of Christ and its great mysteries at special time of the year seems very wise. Remembering important truths about Christ and the gospel is a prevalent New Testament theme (1st Cor 11:25 ; 2nd Thess 2:5). Truth needs repetition because we so easily forget it. Repetition is the key to learning. So we should celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Christ and to learn more and more about the mystery of the Incarnation.I know most every year we spend nearly the entire month of December in all our classes and assemblies teaching, dramatizing and singing in order to learn and teach more doctrine concerning our Lords birth, death and resurrection in attempt to EDIFY the SAINTS! I don’t see that as evil I see that as wisdom!
B. IT IS WISE TO EXALT THE SAVIOR!
Christmas can also be a time for a more intense reverent worship. The shepherds glorified and praised God for the birth of Jesus the Messiah. They rejoiced when the angels proclaimed that in Bethlehem was born a Savior, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). The babe laid in the manger that day is our Savior, the "Lord of lords and King of kings" (Matthew 1:21). It only seems wise to me to set aside times when we focus more intensely upon the Lord Jesus Christ and in so doing we break out in praise of who He is and what He has done for us! In our hearts, homes and churches we should always strive to worship and exalt our Lord. Every day, week, month and season. But it is wise to set aside special times during the year to focus on particular the greatness of God. Seasons like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other times help us to increase our intensity and frequency of worship. Allowing us to worship with particular focuses. Certainly this is honoring to the Lord! I suspect that the Lord Jesus Christ has been worshipped over the past few weeks all over this world in a more intense way than usual. That seems not only wise but appropriate for the ONE who deserves and desires all the exaltation his people can give.
C. IT IS WISE TO EVANGELIZE SINNERS!
Most people tend to be more open to the gospel during the Christmas holidays. It is wise to take advantage of that openness to witness to them of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. Christmas is chiefly about the promised Messiah who came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The holiday provides us with a wonderful opportunities to share this truth. People are more apt to receive an invite to church, a tract about the virgin birth, a brochure from your church. Many lonely, depressed and broken people are receptive during this season.
Although our society has muddied the message of Christmas through consumerism, myths and empty traditions, we should not let these distract us from appreciating the real meaning of Christmas. Let us take advantage of this opportunity to teach about Him, worship Him and faithfully witness of Him.
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.