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The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

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Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It’s become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.

Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the U.S. retail industry, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as “Black Friday”—not because it’s bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been “in the red”—operating at a loss all year—suddenly see their sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) the rest of the year. “Black Friday” is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its Christmas sales.

Christmas is big— very big. Schools and colleges commonly take a week or longer break at this time, some businesses shut down to give their employees time off, many families plan trips and get-togethers, and some people darken the door of a church for perhaps the first time all year.

So it’s not surprising that I get some pretty shocked looks when I tell people I don’t celebrate Christmas. That’s pretty unusual for anyone, much less someone who’s been an ordained minister for 15 years and edits a Christian magazine.

So what’s up with this? Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Are there valid reasons for not participating in all the holiday hoopla?

American Late Show television program host David Letterman is famous for his “top 10” lists in which he offers pointed commentary about popular culture and current events. So here I offer my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas!

1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

It’s not that difficult to recognize what really drives the holiday in our age. Cal Thomas, an American syndicated columnist who often writes from a Christian perspective, acknowledged uncomfortable truths about Christmas in a December 2003 column.

“I’m not sure it’s worth keeping Christmas anymore,” he began, lamenting that the holiday has become a “road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year.”

He asks a great question: “Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in the Victoria’s Secret window? . . . No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot.”

But perhaps his most insightful statement is this: “It’s instructive how just one season away from lusting after material things can break the habit. It’s something like liberation from an addiction or lifestyle choice. Being away from it can cause one to realize the behavior is neither missed nor needed for fulfillment and enjoyment.”

Having said good-bye to the Christmas habit several decades ago, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

This is rather obvious, but most people never give it a second thought. The books of the New Testament cover 30+ years of Jesus Christ’s life, then another 30+ years of the early Church following His death and resurrection, but nowhere do we find any hint of a Christmas celebration or anything remotely like it.

Yes, the Bible does give us quite a few details of His birth—the angelic appearance to Mary and then Joseph, the conditions surrounding His birth in Bethlehem, the heavenly choir’s performance for the shepherds in the fields outside the town. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God the Father or Jesus Christ expects us to do so.

3. Jesus wasn’t born on or near December 25.

Surprising but true! Remember those shepherds who were “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night”? (Luke 2:8 Luke 2:8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
American King James Version×
). December weather around Bethlehem is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!

The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds to be out in the fields with their flocks then.

And Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays tells us that Luke’s account of Christ’s birth “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (p. 309) rather than keeping them outdoors.

Also, Luke 2:1-4 Luke 2:1-4 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
American King James Version×
tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents came to that town to register in a Roman census. The Romans were well known as highly efficient administrators. It would have made no sense to have conducted a census in the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and traveling was difficult due to poor road conditions. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating!

4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration.

Again, surprising but true! Read it for yourself in just about any encyclopedia.

Consider the customs associated with Christmas. What do decorated evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ?

None of these things have anything to do with Him, but they have a lot to do with ancient pagan festivals. (Read the eye-opening details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? )

And what about the date of Dec. 25? How did it come to be assigned as the supposed date of Jesus Christ’s birth? Historians Gerard and Patricia Del Re explain:

“The tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ’s birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the third century the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.

“Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome’s latest official religion … It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith” ( The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).

It’s difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, but historians generally agree that it was sometime during the fourth century—some 300 years after Christ’s death. And then a contrived date was chosen because it was already a popular pagan holiday celebrating the birth of the sun god!

Similarly, virtually all of the customs associated with Christmas are recycled from ancient pagan festivals honoring other gods.

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

Since Christmas is supposedly a day to worship and celebrate God the Father and Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it be a good idea to look into the Bible to see what it says about how we should worship God?

The answer is quite clear. God gives specific instruction about using pagan practices to worship Him— the exact thing Christmas does! Notice what He says in Deuteronomy 12:30-32 Deuteronomy 12:30-32 30 Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
American King James Version×
: “. . . Do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way . . . Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (emphasis added throughout).

And lest some think this is simply an Old Testament command that no longer applies, the apostle Paul makes the same point in 2 Corinthians 6, where he addresses whether unbiblical religious customs and practices have any place in the worship of God’s people:

“What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [the devil and/or demons]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God . . .

“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 7:1).

Rather than relabeling pagan customs as Christian, or allowing members of the Church to continue their old pagan practices, the apostle Paul told them in no uncertain terms to leave behind all these forms of worship and worship God in true holiness as He commands. Jesus likewise says His true followers “must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
)—not revel in recycled pagan customs and symbolism.

6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men, and a holiday found nowhere in the Bible, does God honor or accept such worship?

Jesus provides the answer in His stern rebuke of the religious teachers of His day, men who had substituted human traditions and teachings for God’s divine truths and commands: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites . . . ‘in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9 Mark 7:6-9 6 He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. 9 And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.
American King James Version×
).

In the 17th century Christmas was actually outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies because of its unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have forgotten or have never known!

7. You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in.

Some people admit the many problems with Christmas. But rather than face up to those problems, some assert that we should “put Christ back in Christmas.”

However, it’s impossible to “put Christ back in Christmas” since He never was in Christmas in the first place! He never so much as heard the word “Christmas” during His lifetime on earth, nor did His apostles after Him. You can search the Bible cover to cover but you won’t find the words “Christmas,” “Christmas tree,” “mistletoe,” “holly,” “Santa Claus” or “flying reindeer.”

Putting Christ back in Christmas may sound like a nice sentiment, but it’s really only a misguided effort to try to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than what the Bible tells us we should do.

8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth —but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His  death.

As noted earlier, the Bible nowhere mentions Christmas or tells us to celebrate Christ’s birth.

This is not to say that the Bible doesn’t tell us to commemorate a highly significant event in Jesus Christ’s life on earth. It does —but that event is His death, not His birth.

Notice what the apostle Paul, conveying the instructions of Jesus Himself, tells Christians: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes . . . Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:23-28 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
American King James Version×
).

And yes, many believers do what they consider a form of this today in taking communion or “the Lord’s supper.” They fail to realize, however, the full significance of these acts, or that what Paul is actually describing here is the Passover — which is what Jesus Himself called this observance (Matthew 26:18-19 Matthew 26:18-19 18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master said, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
American King James Version×
; Mark 14:14-16 Mark 14:14-16 14 And wherever he shall go in, say you to the manager of the house, The Master said, Where is the guest room, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said to them: and they made ready the passover.
American King James Version×
; Luke 22:8-13 Luke 22:8-13 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said to him, Where will you that we prepare? 10 And he said to them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in. 11 And you shall say to the manager of the house, The Master said to you, Where is the guest room, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said to them: and they made ready the passover.
American King James Version×
, 15).

And many have no idea of the real date of Christ’s death and the annual Passover observance, but that’s an issue for another time. (Hint: It isn’t “Good Friday” prior to Easter as so many mistakenly believe.) The point is: Jesus clearly expects His true followers to commemorate His death—not His birth—by observing the Passover.

9. Christmas obscures God’s plan for mankind.

Passover, mentioned above, has enormous significance in God’s plan for humanity. The Old Testament Passover, described in Exodus 12, was symbolic of Jesus Christ’s future role and sacrifice. As the blood of the slain Passover lambs on the Israelites’ houses spared them while the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, so does Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf spare us from death— eternal  death.

Paul alluded to this great truth when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×
that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” Similarly John the Baptist, speaking under divine inspiration, said of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
American King James Version×
).

Peter wrote that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19 1 Peter 1:19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
American King James Version×
)—a clear reference to the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:5 Exodus 12:5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
American King James Version×
).

A central key to God’s plan for humanity is Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×
)—meaning His death for our sins was planned before the first human beings were ever created (1 Peter 1:18-20 1 Peter 1:18-20 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
American King James Version×
). Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God’s gift of eternal life (John 3:14-17 John 3:14-17 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×
; Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
American King James Version×
).

Christmas, in contrast, teaches us none of this. Regrettably, because it is a hodgepodge of unbiblical customs and beliefs thrown together with a few elements of biblical truth, it only obscures the incredible purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming—as well as why He must return to earth a second time! (For more details, request our free booklets Jesus Christ: The Real Story and The Gospel of the Kingdom . )

10. I’d rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

God in His Word sets out many choices for us. Will we do things His way or our own? Will we worship Him as He tells us to, or expect Him to honor whatever religious practices we choose regardless of what His Word says?

It’s always good to ask the question, What would Jesus do? The answer, from the Scriptures, is quite clear as to what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t allow His followers the option of adopting pagan practices in their worship. He and the apostles plainly kept God’s Holy Days and festivals that we find recorded in Leviticus 23.

As noted above, they kept the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
American King James Version×
). Scripture shows they also observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6 Acts 20:6And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
). The New Testament Church itself was founded on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1 Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
American King James Version×
), another biblical festival they clearly observed (Acts 20:16 Acts 20:16For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hurried, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
American King James Version×
). They likewise kept the Day of Atonement (called “the Fast” in Acts 27:9 Acts 27:9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
American King James Version×
) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2 John 7:2Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.
American King James Version×
John 7:10 John 7:10But when his brothers were gone up, then went he also up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
American King James Version×
).

Christmas, meanwhile, is totally missing from the biblical record.

Most people don’t know that the Bible includes a whole list of festivals that God commanded, that Jesus Himself observed and that the apostles and early Church were still keeping decades after Christ’s death and resurrection. And unlike Christmas, these reveal a great deal about Jesus Christ’s role and mission.

Each one teaches us a vital lesson in what Jesus has done, is doing and will yet do in carrying out God’s great plan for humankind. The differences between these and the tired old paganism and crass commercialism of Christmas is truly like the difference between day and night. Why not look into them for yourself?

I’ve given you my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe it?

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    Comments

  • josiahstevenson

    I agree with you on Christmas, but I’m not convinced modern Christians should be celebrating the Jewish holidays either. Paul seems not to think so – Romans 14-15 seems to indicate that the position of the “stronger brother”, the one Paul holds himself, is that Christians shouldn’t observe ANY days as holier than others. While he tells the Romans repeatedly to tolerate each other’s differing position on holidays (and food laws), he has a stronger word for the Galatians:

    “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces [or principles]? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you” (Galatians 4:9-12).

    The broader context of the letter suggests that has Jewish holidays in mind: throughout Galatians, Paul has harsh words for Christians who insist on adopting Jewish traditions in general, even those God had explicitly commanded the Israelites to follow (e.g., the rather extreme suggestion for people who think Christians should be circumcised). Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, and so celebrated Jewish holidays and kept Jewish food laws – but an astonishing portion of the New Testament is devoted to correcting those who were teaching that the Gentile Christians needed to do the same.

  • David Henree

    According to friend Jonathon, “PAUL seems not to think so” ? Do the opinions of Paul take precedence over the commands of Jesus? What are we then “Paulians” or Christians?

    Jesus said: “Ye worship me in vain by following the doctrines of man” ! Who are we “Christians” to follow - Paul or Jesus?

    I observe the Holy days of Jesus, not because they are “Jewish”, but because THEY WERE THE HOLY DAYS OF JESUS ! Yet, Most or likely all “Christians” forego His Holy days, bur fervently observe some of those of pagan Rome.

    The Commandment of God - which Jesus obeyed states: “Thus shalt bless the Sabbath and keep it Holy” … yet almost all self-proclaimed “Christians” have renounced the Sabbath. They observe the Roman “holy” day of the “sun god” - called, appropriately “Sunday”.

    Do we, in our impertinent presumption, know more than Jesus Christ Himself?

    Think about it !

  • Michael Gardner

    Thank you , Scott, for listing for me for reasons not to celebrate Xmas and all the other God named pagan holidays. I am going to print this article so I can refer to it often.

    I have not “celebrated” these non-biblical holidays for many, many years and I do not miss any of them. I am grateful for God’s Holy Days and than God for them.

  • cjgennaro

    Josiah, it’s interesting to note that the holy days are not Jewish holy days. They are God’s holy days. Lev 23:1 “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”
    Furthermore, the subject being talked about in Romans 14 is regarding whether or not to fast on certain days and on whether to be vegetarian. It is not required to be vegetarian or to fast on any certain day of the week over another. However, this has no bearing on keeping God’s festivals. They are still to be kept. With regards to Galatians, Christians are most definitely still to be circumsised. But now, our circumcision is circumcision of the heart through baptism. Paul had to correct the misunderstading of the parts of the old covenant that were changed. ie, the ceremonial and animal sacrificial laws. Again, this does not affect the need to keep God’s holy days. They teach us His plan of salvation!

  • benjaminlight

    Josiah,

    I respectfully disagree. If you look at the overall context of Galatians, particularly Galatians 4, Paul is addressing a very specific group of people, and given his conversion and understanding and discipleship of Christ, in no way said the Holy Days, circumcision or food laws were done away with.

    When you look at the church in Galatia, it was an eclectic mix of individuals. There were converted Jews who had come out of the Pharisaical system of a laundry list of man-made laws (with some baggage) and converted Gentiles who had come out of the system of the Roman Imperial Cult which had their own unique baggage. Additionally, they were stuck in the middle between their families and friends (who were Roman, and a part of the cult) and the Jews who were telling them was that they had to become, ‘Jewish’ before they could become Christian.

    Many of the converted Gentiles were as you might imagine discouraged with things, as they’re being told they have to be physically circumcised, that they have to keep all these cleanliness laws, etc… so many of them had made the decision to walk away from it and go back to the Imperial Cult days their friends and families kept.

    Enter Paul. Overwhelming message - you do not have to be a Jew to become Christian. For New Covenant Christians, physical circumcision not necessary, don’t have to wash your hands a certain way, etc. When we get to Galatians 4, the line of, “You keep Special Days, Seasons, Months, etc…” is not in reference to the Holy Days, it is in reference to the Imperial Cult Holidays that dotted the Roman Calendar at the time.

    Paul wanted to know from them, “Once you left those days behind, and knew Christ and his Gospel, why would you return to them?”

    Regarding Gentiles and the Holy Days, one needs only look at 1 Corinthians 5 to see the Apostle Paul, writing to the Gentiles in Corinth making references and metaphors to leaven, without implicitly stating why. Logically, the inference is that they were familiar with the process because they kept Unleavened Bread. Additionally, he says, “therefore let us keep the feast” - the reference is Unleavened Bread. If he kept one, and the Gentiles did also, he kept them all.

  • AlsIkKan

    agreed, benjaminlight. Yahushua the Messiah and his apostles all kept the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and The Last Great Day! They also kept sabbath on the 7th day of the week, commonly called Sat. not “Sun”day.
    The heavenly fathers holy name is Yahweh. He continually states “my name” in the bible. God is not a name, but a title. Seek the truth and you will find it.
     Blessings.

  • Ivan Veller

    Hi Josiah,

    The following resources could provide additional explanation of our own interpretation of Galatians 4:9-12:
    • Galatians 4:9-10: Are God’s Laws Bondage? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/circumcision-vs-new-creation-christ/galatians-49-10-ar/
    • The Sabbath in Acts: Luke’s Record of Paul’s Understanding http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/sabbath-acts-lukes-record-pauls-understanding/
    • Was the Sabbath Changed in the New Testament? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/sunset-sunset-gods-sabbath-rest/was-sabbath-changed-new-testament/
    • Did Paul’s Words to the Galatians Contradict His Actions? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/circumcision-vs-new-creation-christ/did-pauls-words-ga/
    • What law is referred to in Galatians 4:21? http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-law-referred-galatians-421

    Like you and I, the biblical King Josiah was likewise surrounded by a culture whose religious practices of his day did not accord with biblical teaching (2 Kings 23:22). He was one of the most zealous and best kings Judah ever had—and yet even he was able to grow in his effectiveness in service to God and his people. As Josiah said, “‘our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do’” (2 Kings 22:13b, NLT 2010). His own careful “‘inquir][y about the words written in this scroll’” (v. 13a) resulted in recommitting “heart and soul” to “kee[p] all [God’s] commands, laws, and decrees” (2 Kings 23:3)—including observance of the biblical holy day cycle. As Josiah commanded the nation: “‘You must celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant’” (2 Kings 23:22 NLT).

  • zsazsa

    Well said! AMEN
    I have never celebrate Xmas in my whole entire life. I do celebrate God by keeping the Sabbath Holy. Also, what I find funny is most people who celebrate xmas are the ones who doesnt go church weekly.

    God did said multiple times to keep the Sabbath holy but people are rejecting it. And no where to be found in the bible about xmas but millions of people are celebrating it.
    I see how the devil works.

  • MichaelRobinson

    Mas means more and we have Christ the meaning of Christmas is more Christ. I see a great falling away of the church due to lack of spiritual discernment. The wise men the shepherds and simeon all celebrated the birth of Jesus. So this indeed is Biblical. The will of satan is to confuse all men i see this working I see a great falling away when believers can’t see how the enemy is sifting individuals. Satan would never lead you to celebrate the birth of Jesus simeon was led by the Holy spirit finding Jesus. The enemy has plot of turning Christmas into a pagan holiday adding santa materialism etc. But it is up to us to keep it holy. Not doing away with it because of satans scheming. Remember satan would never lead you to celebrate the birth of Jesus reject the voice of the stranger and have an ear to hear what the spirit of the Lord is saying to the churches. In Jesus name. Amen

  • Stephen Mutema

    The article by Scott Ashley is salivating. I know little about these things but I can tell you that I have accepted the admonishment the article gives me. I am one such person who gathered families for Christmas day and argued doing this for Jesus Christ without biblical proof but reasoning that what we bind here is bound in heaven. Mark 7:6-9 was then a contradiction to the general belief. With this kind of revelation, I fear God is angry with me for my blind contribution in perpetuating the unbiblical and unGodly practices. I hate my past for this. One more thing, as a Policeman, I wonder how I can effectively begin to observe all Holy Days in the Bible without hindrance. Oh! God have mercy. Amen and Amen

  • Ashley

    I wanted to do this exact same blog last week but I needed a little more information to make sure that I covered all my bases. I’ve known all of these things for awhile now and year by year, I continue to despise how Christmas has been twisted into what it is and that people still try to rationalize their traditions basing them on religious jargon.

  • chichynwaJesus

    I am well astonished with the articles published by UCG, especially on this page, as I go through the argument and explanation concerning Christmas celebration observed by people. but the funniest thing is that most of the observers do not even believe in Christ. I guess they would have given it another name if they really want holidays by the end of the year. Secondly,on the issue of unholy days, feast and fast. In my own opinion, I think that Apostle Paul would have explained what he meant in a simple language, such in Corinthians because it takes quite the depth of spiritual knowledge to understand. Since many people would have followed Jesus Christ way of observance as they were convinced that Christ kept the Sabbath day and other relevant things He did by making the Jews to understand God’s Law better, but it is like Paul’s teachings seems to be controversial or like contradicting these ways, or may need deeper understanding, of which people find it harder to get as they will always refer to Paul’s epistles. Please this is my view. Thanks

  • edbellas

    “Do this in remembrance of Me” said our Lord at the last supper. The Lord wants to be remembered as often as possible, and Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to honor our Father who is in heaven. Take notice that the pagans of today do not like to utter the phrase “Merry Christmas”; they hate it! instead they say: “Happy Holidays”, and “Season’s Greetings”. The pagans know that Jesus is the reason for the season, and they despise that concept and they intend to ultimately, as the bully in the block, extract Jesus from Christmas and make Him an irrelevancy.
    Never forget, Christmas is a marvelous opportunity to introduce Christ to all those who would listen; an opportunity to bring our Lord Jesus front center to glorify Him and proclaim Him Lord of lords and King of kings; Christ, the Shepard to all who seek Him. Amen!.

  • David L. Nunn
    I agree with Mr. Ashley and disagree with Edbellas. God does not want to be “remembered” or honored by Christmas. We must not profane God’s name by this condemned pagan practice. Ezekiel 20:39 Ezekiel 20:39As for you, O house of Israel, thus said the Lord GOD; Go you, serve you every one his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not listen to me: but pollute you my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.
    American King James Version×
    (“My holy name you will profane no longer with your gifts and with your idols”). It should be noted that ancient Israel was trying to worship God through the golden calf incident. Exodus 32:4-5 Exodus 32:4-5 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a engraving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
    American King James Version×
    (declaring their revelry to be a “feast to the Lord”). God did not accept this feast/festival. We are to remember Christ’s death through Passover. 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
    American King James Version×
    . God wants to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. John 4:23 John 4:23But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
    American King James Version×
    . Christmas is pagan, and any encyclopedia will bear this out. There is no truth in it. Pagan holidays are an attempt by Satan to mask God’s true plan of salvation for all mankind as revealed by the holy days. Sadly, nominal Christianity has rejected the commandments of God that they might keep their “traditions”.
  • HeatherLea77
    Mr. Gardner, I would love to know if you have podcasts or a website for your church? I have been searching for someone who understands such truths. Its so difficult going to churches where blind ignorance is followed so blissfully. The Spirit gets so agitated within me when I go and am surrounded by lies. Thank you, Heather Lea
  • Sabrina Peabody
    Hi Heather Lea, The United Church of God understands these truths and has a webcast each Saturday at 11am and 2:30pm. You can access these by going to http://www.ucg.org/sabbath-webcast/
  • verticleman
    This is to those who claim Paul was against the 7th day Shabbat or the 7 feasts. Peter tells us Paul’s writings will be misinterpreted to your own destruction. So would it be to your destruction if you interpret Paul and do NOT honor the 7th day Sabbath and 7 feasts or if you interpret Paul as telling us we should? 2 Peter 3:14 2 Peter 3:14Why, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
    American King James Version×
    Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. 15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.
  • Terry Kee
    Although Christmas is all of the above, it is a wonderful opportunity to share Christmas. Many faithfuls around the world had used Christmas to invite friends and colleagues home for a Christmas meal and talked about God’s love and many had came to faith as result of that. Many Churches in Asia use Christmas celebrations for the proclamation of the Gospel with good results. Christians can use Christmas as a time to reflect and thank God for the coming of the Saviour. There is no death and resurrection without the birth. We can choose to thank God for that everyday or any day so why not use Christmas? I have relatives and personal friends who came to know Jesus through Christmas. So instead of throwing it out, perhaps we can think about how we can redeem it for God’s delight and glory
  • Malachi 3_16-18
    Hi Terry, I would recommend your re-reading the article above. It all boils down to, do we do the things we do to please man, or to please God? Satan has deceived most of the world (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
    American King James Version×
    ) into believing that Christmas is OK, and duped mainstream “Christianity” into believing that we honor our Savior by keeping it. Much of our religion today is syncretism, a blend of the truth and paganism. Can you deceive a person with all error and no truth at all? No - which is why Christmas blends the pagan with some form of Jesus, loving our neighbor, etc. That does not make it right. God tells us in Deuteronomy 12:30 Deuteronomy 12:30Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
    American King James Version×
    to take heed that we don’t look at how others choose to serve their gods, but to do what He commands. Which days does He tell us to keep? The Sabbaths & annual Holy Days which are listed in Leviticus 23 & were observed by Jesus & the apostles, notably in the book of Acts. It’s hard at times to be different, but we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29 Acts 5:29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
    American King James Version×
    ), worshipping God in spirit & truth (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    American King James Version×
    ). If we do what’s right, He’ll bless us. To learn more about the days we should keep, check out “Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?” from ucg.org
  • John B
    While I agree with the article, and have not kept Christmas for decades as well, in reason #2 Scott mentions that the bible gives us quite a few details about His birth. He lists one of the details that He was born in a stable. This is incorrect. Here is a good explanation: **Link removed to comply with comment policy**
  • Sabrina Peabody
    That is true about the stable. There was another UCG article written that discusses that point better: http://www.ucg.org/jesus-christ/was-there-really-no-room-inn/
  • John B
    Thanks Sabrina. I just did a search on Jesus being born in a stable and posted a link to what I thought was a good explanation. I didn’t remember that there was an article by UCG that went into this, which as you say, does discuss it better. This is perhaps a minor point, but maybe they should either edit this article or rewrite it to be more accurate.
  • betty kioko
    I do not agree with Josiahstevenson that when Paul talked about the “weak and beggary elements” according to the New King James Version, he was really talking about God’s Holy days. These Holy days were established by God himself and were not part of the Jewish customs that were later established to guard against breaking of God’s Laws. I believe that God intended all these Holy Days to be kept until Jesus’ second coming as indicated in the gospels e.g. (Luke 22:18 Luke 22:18For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
    American King James Version×
    )Jesus knew that he would not be able to celebrate the Passover again until His second coming. That is why he commanded his disciples to do that in His remembrance.
  • Edagr123
    .hey everyone my name is edgar and I’m 16. I have two questions that if you can please answer. Well first let me start with the background info my parents are divorced and I live with my mother. Both of my parents have differ ways to introduce or speak of god to me. My dad forces me and my mom lets it flow . She says “the beauty of god comes to you. I don’t have to force you to do anything” but she does speak and teach me about Jesus and other stuff. But my dad says that to go to heaven you to do the rosary and other stuff. Which I don’t do with my mom. Bit my mom goes to church , really religious and well I believe she is doing good. But I’m confused and that’s my first question, who should I believe and is my mom good? Well that’s my first two questions. My second one has to do with christmas. Both of my famalies celebrate christmas. This year my father decided to not give us presents and feed the poor and give them clothes. I’m cool with that and looking forward for that. But he said that people who buy presents have demons in them because they shouldn’t do that. My mother gets us presents and I’m scared. We are poor and don’t get gifts for birthdays and she gets us presents us
  • Edagr123
    .presents to make us feel better. She says christmas isn’t about getting but giving but I don’t know confused and that’s my question. Is my mom doing wrong? My brothers and I don’t care of we don’t get presents because we don’t need anything but I want to know I’m changing my ways getting closer to god it’s difficult but I’m trying . But I also want my family to go to heaven and me as well . Of you read this thank you and god bless you . I just want the best for my mom and family because I know my dads doing good in life I’m just confused
  • Dianitam
    100% Agree, my desire is to please my God, not to please the other 2 billion habitants of this world who celebrate this pagan custom. Me and my house will serve the Lord alone. So sad to see that even Pastors and Preachers celebrate it and even do crusades to do evangelism by spreading this celebration. The majority of Christian Radio station do concerts, and have special Christmas Radio online. I have lost respect to these people, churches, and ministries who do it. However, one cannot judge and only keep them in my prayers so the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth to their hearts. I was blessed to be baptized in a Church that is founded in the Word alone and this was one of the first truths that were revealed to me. Haven´t celebrated one Christmas in the last 4 years and I don´t miss it at all. I explain to everyone who asks me why I don´t do it, and I make them think, but still the evil spirit that moves along this celebration is strong. The fruits that it bears are terrible: loneliness, melancholy, debt, solitude, suicide, debauchery, lust, coveting, envy, hypocrisy, gluttony, greediness, etc. Let´s all together pray during this period of time; it is spiritual warfare.
  • RuMo
    How do you think I feel? I am born on the date many believe Jesus was born. All my life since I was a little boy all I ever heard was how lucky, special or blessed I was to be born on Jesus’s birthday. As I became older people would say, “So, you were born on Jesus’s birthday? Oh, you must’ve gotten cheated with people giving you one gift for both your birthday and Christmas. Right?” I didn’t really know who Jesus was when I was a child, but all the comments I heard associated with Jesus got me into thinking I was special. When you’re an innocent young child you do believe in fairy tales. As I became older it began to bother me hearing the same comments year after year, then lied to anyone who asked me my birthdate. I would tell them I was born December twelve. I really don’t recall having any real Merry Christmas’s anyway. As a child you are tricked into believing in Santa, his home, the North Pole. You are made to believe Santa is real and does exist. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of those kid things that mature adults do to kids. Now I know who Jesus is and know the truth about this pagan celebrated day. I thank God I don’t celebrate it anymore. The truth will set you free!
  • Sabrina Peabody
    UCG edited the article, John B! “Yes, the Bible does give us quite a few details of His birth—the angelic appearance to Mary and then Joseph, the conditions surrounding His birth in Bethlehem… ” Thank you for finding it!
  • Kandice
    First of all, the biblical holy days are God’s holy days, not jewish. these holy days tell a story of the unfolding plan of God and the more we study and observe them, the better we understand God’s plan. i think Paul was telling us not to get caught up in observance of things rather than doing God’s full will.Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, but all Isreal included many tribes, including Mannassah, which are the European people of North America. The biblical Israel is not the modern nation of Israel.
  • Kandice
    hello micheal robinson. Birthdays are not celebrated by the God fearing in the bible. Christ also was not born in December. Satan has confused the world and they think Christmas is good, but it is truly pagan.

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