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Why Some Christians Don't Celebrate Christmas

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One day, years ago, someone asked me why I kept Christmas. “The Bible says to keep it,” I responded. “Somewhere in the Gospel of Luke, it speaks of the nativity scene. An angel told some shepherds that were keeping their sheep in the fields at night that the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I think they went to see Jesus at that time.

“That was the first Christmas! And that’s why I keep Christmas, because the Bible supports Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ.”

“That’s not true and here’s why,” my friend replied.

I soon learned that the Bible didn’t teach Christmas. I also found that its origins have nothing to do with the Bible. It was an important lesson about things I’d long assumed to be true.

Just because some 2 billion people—roughly 1 billion Catholics and another billion in Protestant faiths—observe Christmas, does that make it right? Does it really matter one way or the other?

Why do so many people observe it?

If you were asked, “Why do you celebrate Christmas?” how would you respond? Many would say Christmas honors the birthday of Jesus. Others feel that Christmas is a good Christian family get-together. Many do it simply because they’ve always done it.

Christmas can appear tantalizing to the eye and ear. People appear happy, generous, full of good cheer. Twinkling lights decorate many houses. Santa Claus and his reindeer are pictured as poised to lift off from snow-covered front yards or rooftops, although in the southern hemisphere and tropics there is no December snow. The colorful, peaceful-appearing Christmas scene can be intoxicating, addicting.

Shoppers pack stores, browsing for gifts they hope to buy at bargain-basement prices. Soaring strains of “White Christmas,” “Silent Night” or “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” resonate everywhere.

The December weather of the northern hemisphere might be frightful outside, but the feeling and warmth inside is delightful. Christmas trees with twinkling lights and bright, sparkling ornaments create a mystical and glowing environment. Entire families want to experience the special mystery that only comes with the Christmas season. There is no religious holiday quite like it for the millions everywhere who observe it.

Was Jesus really born on Dec. 25?

But stop and ask yourself: Was Christ really born on Christmas Day? After all, the Bible nowhere tells us the day of His birth.

In fact, most credible secular historical writings tell us that Christmas, more than 200 years after Jesus’ death, was considered sinful: “As late as A.D. 245 [the early Catholic theologian] Origen … repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ” ( Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910, Vol. 6, p. 293, “Christmas”).

In A.D. 354, a Latin chronographer mentioned Christmas, but even then he did not write about it as an observed festival (ibid.).

There is no biblical evidence that Dec. 25 was Jesus’ birth date. In fact, the Bible record strongly shows that Jesus couldn’t have been born then.

For example, Luke tells us that the shepherds were keeping their sheep in the fields at night when Jesus was born. “And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:7-8 Luke 2:7-8 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

But late December is Judea’s cold and rainy season. Would shepherds actually keep their fragile flocks out in the open fields on a cold late-December night near Bethlehem?

No responsible shepherd would subject his sheep to the elements at that time of year when cold rains, and occasional snow, are common in that region.

“The climate of Palestine is not so severe as the climate of this country [England]; but even there, though the heat of the day be considerable, the cold of the night, from December to February, is very piercing, and it was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1959, p. 91).

Luke also tells us that Jesus was born at the time of a census ordered by the Roman emperor (Luke 2:1-3 Luke 2:1-3 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.
American King James Version×
). The Romans were brilliant administrators; they certainly would not have ordered people to journey to be registered at a time of year when roads would have been wet and muddy and traveling conditions miserable. Such a move would have been self-defeating on its face.

The belief that Jesus was born on or around Dec. 25 simply has no basis in fact, even if 2 billion people have accepted it without question. As the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing.”

Does Christmas really honor Christ?

If the Christmas holiday is an important celebration to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, why is it nowhere mentioned in the Bible? Why didn’t Christ instruct His closest followers, His 12 chosen apostles, to keep Christmas? Why didn’t they institute or teach it to the early Church?

Before you answer, consider that Jesus gave great authority to His 12 apostles, assuring them that they will hold positions of great importance and responsibility in His Kingdom (Matthew 18:18 Matthew 18:18Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29-30 Luke 22:29-30 29 And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me; 30 That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
American King James Version×
). But since Jesus never taught His apostles to keep Christmas, nor did they ever teach it to the Church though they had years of opportunity to do so, shouldn’t that make us question whether Christmas is something Jesus really wants or appreciates?

So how did Christmas become such a widespread practice if the Bible doesn’t sanction it, if Christ didn’t observe it and if He never taught His disciples and the early Church to celebrate it?

True origins of Christmas

Most people never stop to ask themselves what the major symbols of Christmas—Santa Claus, reindeer, decorated trees, holly, mistletoe and the like—have to do with the birth of the Savior of mankind. In the southern hemisphere summer climate of December, few people question why they observe a Christmas with northern hemisphere winter scenery!

The fact is, and you can verify this in any number of books and encyclopedias, that all these trappings came from ancient pagan festivals. 

Even the date, Dec. 25, came from a festival celebrating the birthday of the ancient sun god Mithras. (If you’d like to learn more about the origins of the many customs and symbols associated with Christmas, request our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? )

Jesus never told His followers to celebrate Christmas, but He did warn us not to adhere to false, man-made religious doctrines: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7 Mark 7:7However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
American King James Version×
). The truth is, Christmas and other non-biblical religious holidays constitute vain or empty worship of Christ.

The Catholic Encyclopedia indicates that the Christmas season came from an ancient midwinter festival that occurred at the time of the winter solstice. Interestingly, the previously noted Origen, despite the early period in which he lived (ca. 182-251), never even mentioned it ( The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 3, 1967, and “Christmas and Its Cycle,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. 3, “Christmas”).

Tertullian, another Catholic theologian who lived at about the same time (ca. 155-230), referred to compromising Christians then beginning to join in the pagan midwinter festival celebrated in the Roman Empire, which eventually evolved into what is now Christmas:

“The Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians” (Tertullian in De Idolatria, quoted by Hislop, p. 93).

In time Catholic religious leaders added solemnity to this pre-Christian holiday by adding to it the Mass of Christ, from which it eventually came to be known by its common name of “Christmas.”

A matter of whether, not what

The purpose of The Good News magazine is to share with you the living truth of Jesus Christ. A true Christian cannot decide what he will obey, only whether he will obey God’s truth.

We strive to publish God’s pristine truth; people who read that truth have to decide what to do about it and whether they will honor it. Our commission from Jesus Christ is to teach the truth of God and to welcome as disciples and fellow workers those few who hear and obey the truth. We hope the truth about Christmas starts you on the road to true happiness and God’s purpose for you.

History shows that Christmas does not represent Christ. It misrepresents sound biblical teaching and is in opposition to God’s truth. God wants us to worship Him in truth (John 4:23-24 John 4:23-24 23 But 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. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
), not fable.

In Deuteronomy 12:28-32 Deuteronomy 12:28-32 28 Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you for ever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. 29 When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; 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×
, God told His people to worship only in the ways He commanded, telling them “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” He explicitly ordered them not to copy or adopt the religious practices of the pagans, calling such practices “abomination [ s ] … which He hates.”

Yet hundreds of millions of men, women and children unwittingly observe Christmas, not knowing or caring from where it came. They assume that 2 billion Christians can’t be wrong or that it doesn’t matter how we worship God so long as our intentions are good. But why should we think we honor God or please Him when we worship contrary to His commands?

Crucial questions only you can answer

The crucial question is, do we worry more about what others think or about what God requires? Also, can other human beings give us salvation? If honoring God’s truth determines our salvation, then why honor men over God?

Jesus Christ said to those who appeared religious but denied the power of His true teaching, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 Luke 6:46And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
). Since Christ is opposed to Christmas, why would any thoughtful Christian observe it?

Walking in Jesus’ footsteps in a world that doesn’t is never easy. But it is much better and eminently more rewarding than following the empty ways of the world.

God tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 2:15-17 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.
American King James Version×
: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  

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    Comments

  • Meralexpierce

    Should we give up Easter too?

  • Steven Britt

    Yes - for many of the same reasons. The “Holidays or Holy Days” booklet has a lot of information if you want to dig into the history of Easter, and you can find tons of articles on all of the traditional holidays by searching the site.

    For me, the most compelling argument is that God so carefully described His Holy Days in Leviticus 23 - He gave the dates, the command to assemble (have a “holy convocation”), and specific instructions on how to celebrate each one (such as which ones you could not work on or that we are to fast on the Day of Atonement). In contrast, there is not a single mention of celebrating anything that resembles Christmas or Easter, much less how or when to celebrate them.

    Once we understand that these holidays were actually pagan customs that were later “Christianized,” the question becomes “is it okay to celebrate a pagan holiday if we relabel it with Christian symbols?” God answered this question in Deuteronomy 12:30-31 - “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.”

  • Skip

    My Webster’s New World Dictionary says that Easter is a “name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident with Paschal festival of the church.”

    Why not celebrate the “Paschal festival” listed in Leviticus 23?

  • jjm859

    I believe God has been trying to get my attention for a long time. And I am truly thankful that I finally noticed. There is a big responsibility to living like a child of God. it is so easy to become tangled in society. Sacrifices must be made to actually be saved and to serve God properly. This is not easy.

    I suspected that the Christmas holiday was a bad one. Your description of the “glory” that surrounds that time of year is very accurate. It is very inviting and feels very good. It has loads of sentimental value. But this behavior, as it turns out, isn’t exactly proper. My wife has a very hard time dealing with the “new way” after having God in our life. She has always loved Christmas. And she was raised in a big family of “Christians” who have always been traditional. They always seemed kind of hypocritical at times, with exception to my wife. But she feels like one now because of the real “truth” about God’s rules. She fears for her family ending up in Hell.

    There seems to be a common misconception that all you have to do to reach salvation is LOVE Jesus, ACCEPT Jesus, have FAITH in Jesus, and BELIEVE he died for our sins. This makes it too easy for people to keep sinning. It becomes OKAY to sin. I do not believe this is the way to salvation and it’s plainly a distortion of the truth.

    Jesus demonstrated through all his actions and words that one must leave his old life behind to live for God. We must follow all commandments and lead a sin free life. He mentions “repent”. That is a step to becoming “saved” which symbolizes a sin free life from then on. Only then can you serve God and reach salvation. Jesus is “THE” way. But he is the same God from the old testament. All rules still apply unless Jesus specifically changed one. He never did. He added to them. The act of adultery can now be committed with the eyes. This is an important thing to understand. It isn’t just about adultery. It’s gives us insight to the fact that we cannot possibly “mingle” with society and lead a sin free life. Jesus was the only man that ever could do that. His disciples left everything behind as he instructed them to. But he also asked a rich man to as well and requested ALL to be given away. He also told the prostitute to “Go and Sin no more”. He didn’t tell her to repent every time she sins (like Catholics). To sin while you are serving God in full knowledge would likely be an extremely bad thing in the eyes of God. But I cannot support this with scripture since I am fairly new at learning about what God wants from me. I am 39, have been married once to my wife of 16 years, and we have three kids. I am having a difficult time as of now because serving God the way I am compelled to do so means leaving worldly things behind while caring for my family. My kids have already been exposed to the many things society has offered. So it is a difficult transition. God is showing me the way each day. Large sacrifices of “worldly junk” are being made and it is improving our lives a lot. I am amazed at how caught up in the world I really was with television, music, video games, and other material nonsense. This stuff really is a work of evil and serves no purpose other than to trap us within ourselves. We think we have “freedom”. But we are actually in a worldly prison of neverending torment. Society is constantly using us as “consumers”. We mean nothing. Yet, our behavior makes us mean nothing to God. When you begin to live life God’s way, you begin to heal spiritually. All the things I have thrown out mean nothing any more. They trash your mind anyway.

    I sincerely hope that at least one person out there understands the true importance in “walking away” from a life full of non-necessity JUNK. God will have no one who indulges in such things. The whole world can praise technology. But God places no value on it. If want to live like his children, we must think like Him. We must live RIGHT.

  • Skip

    Response to jjm859

    I like what you are thinking. But
    I would advise you not to cut yourself off from the entire world

    too soon, or too completely.

    Those of us who have committed to a new way of life have been encouraged to find a group of others who also are trying valiantly.

    Without overstating, I would encourage you to read some of the doctrinal literature of the United Church of God. If you are still interested (and I hope you are!) request a visit, ask questions, and see for yourself that there are regular people out there who don’t keep Xmas or Astarte Sunday or Hollow Evening and yet still have a meaningful, fulfilling life.

  • Andy

    JJM859,

    I just read your post, as I too have felt the Lord convicting me about not celebrating so called Holidays that have not been ordained by God. I am still praying about it and feel that God is giving me grace as He guides me by His Word and the Holy Spirit in His will.

    However, I did want to comment on what you said about Salvation.”There seems to be a common misconception that all you have to do to reach salvation is LOVE Jesus, ACCEPT Jesus, have FAITH in Jesus, and BELIEVE he died for our sins. This makes it too easy for people to keep sinning. It becomes OKAY to sin. I do not believe this is the way to salvation and it’s plainly a distortion of the truth.”

    The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by Faith in Jesus Christ alone, lest any man should boast. I would counter that there are people who are baby Christians that believe in Jesus and trust in Him, but out of ignorance are celebrating pagan holidays. Do I think these activities are probably stumbling blocks in their lives? Yes! Do I think that when these people die they will still go to Heaven? Yes!

    As for your wife’s family, you may want to pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them of God’s truth regarding celebrations. Let God’s revelation do its work through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    There were many things I did not know or even believe were sinful until God revealed them to me and I was already a Christian. Was I still saved when I was participating in them? It seems so. I had faith in Jesus Christ and He was working miracles in my life at that time. He gave me grace as I was learning (even learning by my mistakes) and growing in Him. It may take some people longer to grow in Him than others, but are they still saved while growing in Him? I have to believe that the Bible indicates they absolutely are.

    After a true Believer receives Jesus I believe we are being sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit (becoming more like Jesus Christ). I believe the Bible says Believers will never be totally sanctified in this world, not until we are with Jesus. Will Believers still sin and make mistakes. Yes. We all sin. Hopefully less and less as we grow in the Lord. Does God show us mercy and love and compassion as we are being sanctified…I believe He does.

    I agree with you that people should not sin on purpose. But, I also believe that even someone who sins on purpose may still truly be a Believer and is still saved unless they reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior after having received Him at some point in their lives. God knows their heart and IF they have received Him or not. The only way it seems to me in the Bible for someone to loose their salvation is to totally turn their back on God and reject Him.

    I have seen Christian friends who love the Lord make sinful choices and struggle to overcome sinning in an area. While being able to resist temptation in many other areas. Were they saved the whole time, even when they were knowingly sinning against God, choosing on purpose to do that sin again? I think they were because they still had faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Did those sins make their lives harder and grieve the Holy Spirit? It would seem so.

    It sounds like your heart is very much for the Lord and I believe He will completely respond to your desire to live your life for Him. But your salvation, as I understand the Bible, is through Faith in Jesus Christ alone as is your wife’s family and everyone’s. It takes away from what Jesus did if we think we can add anything to His death on the cross by our good works to add to our own salvation. We cannot. I pray that we all (Believers) continue to trust in Jesus Christ and are guided by the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives to His glory.

    May the Lord continue to bless you as you seek to do His will in Jesus’ name.

    Andy

  • chiconcruz

    I have a question and I know that this post is very old. Why do we celebrate our own birthday? We can’t celebrate the birth of Jesus at all?? I would feel funny celebrating my own birthday and not Acknowledging his at all. No one knows when Jesus was born. Please give let me know what you think.

  • Larry Walker

    This is in response to a good question posted by chiconcruz.

    We celebrate our own birthday because our birth was a valid and happy historic event.

    Certainly, the birth of Jesus Christ was also a valid and happy historic event that is obviously far more important than the birth of any other person. So why not celebrate it? Here are some reasons:

    1. Church history is very clear that Christmas did not originate in the Bible but was a compromise with those who didn’t want to give up their pagan celebrations on that day.

    2. We don’t know when Jesus was born, but we do know that it could not have been in winter, because shepherds were still tending sheep in the fields. His birth was probably during the fall festival season when the taxation census most likely took place.

    3. Because of who Jesus was and is,celebration of his birthday would be a religious observance, not just a birthday celebration.

    4. If God wanted us to celebrate Christ’s birth, He would have given instructions to do so in the Bible, as is the case with remembering His death.
    5. The Bible does not instruct us to celebrate His birth, nor is there any New Testament mention of the apostles or any other true Christians celebrating it.

  • SweethomeChicago

    I think you make a good observation that in general we should not celebrate our own Birthdays. Putting aside the correct timing for Christ’s Birth you make a good point that it seems a bit odd we don’t acknowledge Christ’s birth but may want to celebrate our own birthday.

    Our family stance is to acknowledge the event with a phone call or something like to that effect. Many in the church do not celebrate Birthdays which we would be one of them.

    Some will disagree saying there is nothing in the Bible about celebrating Birthdays as wrong but when one looks at the the underlying self oriented attitude often comes with celebrating your own birthday it seems wise to avoid.

  • Lena VanAusdle

    @Chiconcruz
    We don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth because God doesn’t tell us to, and He’s always very specific about how and when to worship Him. It’s a matter of obedience and remaining free of pagan rituals and practices. There are some Christians that choose not to celebrate their own birthday, however, for those that do, they do so because celebrating a birthday isn’t substituting something pagan for something Holy. They aren’t doing so to worship God, they are simply acknowledging a passing of time, much like an anniversary.

  • Norbert Z

    People celebrate or do NOT celebrate birthdays because it is a tradition they learn from others. So I would feel “funny” celebrating my own birthday because tradionally my parents (who were basically atheists), were also NOT very big on celebrating birthdays.

    However I have no problem Acknowledging Jesus’ birth at all because I have the freedom to study and take to heart the scriptural references to that event on any day of the year. This seems to me as a very appropriate way to Acknowledge His birth because people don’t know which day He was born.

    In my view nothing should stop a person from Acknowledging His birth unless it is being promoted in a way contrary to God’s will.

  • Skip

    Hi chiconcruz!

    I think you answered your own question!
    No one knows exactly when Jesus was born.
    We do know it was NOT on December 25. And
    Christ said to celebrate His death, at the Passover, not his birth.
    I don’t think Jesus will be disappointed if we do as He said!

    But why do we celebrate our own birthdays? Good question.
    Perhaps we need to tone that down a bit.
    My wife & I try to tell our children that we are very happy
    that God allowed us to have them but
    throwing a big party where we invite people to GET presents
    has never been a part of our plan.

  • Skip

    Nicely said Lena!

  • Skip

    Norbert Z,

    Sounds good to me!

  • Steven Britt

    Celebrating the birth of Christ is less of an issue than the pagan trappings that come along with the traditional observance of Christmas. Christmas trees, Santa Claus, flying reindeer, mistletoe, gift-giving, and almost every other aspect of the celebration has been handed down directly from the traditions of pagan festivals as ways of worshiping false gods. Deuteronomy 12:29-31 specifically prohibits us from worshiping God in the way that other religions worship their gods, but this is exactly what Christmas does.

    It’s better instead to focus on celebrating the days that God actually tells us to celebrate, which are found in Leviticus 23.

  • chiconcruz

    @ Skip

    I didn’t answer my own question.

    When I said that “no one knows when Jesus was born”…

    I was trying to say that just because we don’t know when he was born “we shouldn’t acknowledge his birth at all but we acknowledge our own birth!!!!

    I know someone that was adopted (from another country) and she doesn’t know when her real birthday is…. so her new parents made up a day. They still celebrate her birth.

  • d_phil09

    I came across this today looking for information to about the history of Christmas and why some Christians choose not to celebrate. Let me say this and I’m not trying to start an argument out of a discussion. The Apostle Paul who by the annointing of the Holy Ghost wrote nearly 2/3 of the New Testament would probably not be well liked here. The apostle Paul wrote that we are free in Christ. We are free from the sinful nature that once controlled us, through Christ death. We are free from the works of the law as well. Free from sabbath days, holy days, and all other self righteous works. We have been made righteous with a righteousness that doesn’t need a law to make it work. It works by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. He makes us walk and talk right. Christ nature becomes our nature. Paul was free to eat meat that was offered up to idols because he knew an idol was nothing. I cannot believe sometimes how people like Messianic Jews for example are still trying to keep the law. What in the world was Paul talking about then when he wrote that the things in the law are only types and shadows of a greater covenant? People reference the scripture in Jeremiah that talks about heathen cutting a tree down and fashioning it with gold and silver. This isn’t talking about putting a tree up in your home. This is talking about carving out a graven image to worship. But people know exactly how to booger hunt to make it fit what they want. I’ve looked into the history of Christmas, the Christmas tree and other things that have become traditional, and yes I have come across some people like this that trace it back to pagan roots, but other sites place it’s origins in the church. But the point is that I’m not using Christmas to worship, I’m celebrating. These are two different things. I’m celebrating Christ’s birth. I’m celebrating what it means to be a Christian. I give gifts to my kids because the wise men brought gifts to Jesus and God gave his best when he gave us Jesus. Do I teach my kids that it’s about the gifts no. We don’t go crazy on gift giving, just a few things. I could go on and on about how we can go on wild goose chases sometimes to get holy and we haven’t done one thing that pleases God. I guess all I can say is I will obey God and not man and until He tells me it’s wrong and I’m convicted me and my family will continue to CELEBRATE the birth of Christ.

  • Larry Walker

    Thankfully, we live in a free country where we are all free to worship God based on our beliefs, so I support this person’s right to keep Christmas with his family. However, I wish to comment on many of the points that he makes that I believe are contrary to scriptural teaching.

    “The apostle Paul wrote that we are free in Christ.

    “Freedom” without law is anarchy. God’s law defines true freedom. The apostle James wrote that “the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free” (James 2:10-12, NLT).

    “Free from sabbath days, holy days, and all other self righteous works. We have been made righteous with a righteousness that doesn’t need a law to make it work.”

    While it is true that no law can make us righteous, true righteousness involves obeying the laws of God. Keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days and obeying the commandments are some of the “works” that we prove our love for God. “Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3, NLT). “If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth” (1 John 2:4).

    I challenge you and anyone else who believes that it is no longer necessary to “keep the law” to read what the apostle Paul writes in the Romans 7, including his comment, “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12).

    What … was Paul talking about then when he wrote that the things in the law are only types and shadows of a greater covenant?

    The word “shadow” appears twice in the New Testament in reference to the law. (Hebrews 8:5, 10:1). The context of both passages is the sacrificial laws that served as temporary types of the sacrifice of Christ. In Colossians 2:16-17 Paul defends the Sabbaths, Holy Days and new moons as foreshadowing future events in the plan of God, thus defending their observance as a defense against the criticism of those who were trying to pressure the Colossians to return to ascetic worship customs of their pagan past.

    More in the next post.

  • Steven Britt

    d_phil,

    In your view, is a Christian free from the fourth commandment but not the other nine? Or is a Christian also free to worship idols? You’re misunderstanding the words of Paul - he was writing to people who believed that they could SAVE THEMSELVES by works of the law, which is clearly wrong since salvation is a gift by God’s grace. This doesn’t mean that the law is no longer valid or useless because it cannot save us; in fact, the purpose of the law was never to bring salvation, but to define sin. If you say that God’s laws, such as the Sabbath and Holy Days, are “self-righteous works,” then you have just accused God of giving people a law that was not good for them! On the contrary, Paul says that God’s law is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12) - why would we want to be free from something that God decreed as good for us, and why would Paul preach that we should no longer honor something that God declared to be holy and just? Rather, Paul preached that we ought to be freed from SIN. Either we are a slave to sin because we break the law or we are slaves to God because we obey the law (Romans 6:15-18).

    We have a really thorough resource for understanding the role of the law in the New Covenant if you’re interested in understanding what Paul was actually teaching: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law

    Concerning Christmas, it seems that you’ve examined the issue and made your decision to keep it despite the obvious pagan trappings (there is no way that the “magic” of Christmas, such as flying reindeer, is of Godly origin because God hates magic). My counterpoint then is this: God specifically commanded celebrations that He wanted us to take part in, and He gave details of these in Leviticus 23, where He called them “the feasts of the LORD” and “My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2). These are the days that Jesus Himself celebrated and honored, but Christians today pay them absolutely zero attention while going to great lengths to justify celebrating days that God spoke nothing of, such as Christmas. If God has called them “My feasts” and they are no longer His feasts, then what guarantee do you have that the people in the New Covenant, who He calls “My people,” will always be His people? Fortunately, God does not change (Malachi 3:6).

  • Skip

    d_phil09, hello

    “I will obey God and not man until He tells me it’s wrong…”

    Interesting.
    How does God tell us anything? I would say God tells us things by what He has inspired to be written in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.
    So how does God say to worship Him?
    John 4: 24 “in Spirit and truth.”
    Do we throw out the Old Testament? Just keep what Jesus said in the New Testament? How about Matt 5: 17? Christ said He came,
    not to destroy the Law or the prophets, but to fulfill it. That means to make it understandable and fully doable. Or how about
    Matt 7: 22& 23 — “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,have we not prophesied in Your name,cast out demons in Your name,and done many wonders in your name?’
    “And then I will declare to them,”I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

    I think we had better worship God the way God wants to be worshiped and NEVER think that OUR way to do so is the right way.

    I do not want to appear to be making fun of you but to me the insanity of the commercial aspect of Christmas,that you say you do, just a little, means to me that you ARE obeying man (keeping the old economy afloat!) and not God! God lists His Holy days in Leviticus 23. Read, understand, and do them —- not Christmas.

  • Larry Walker

    This is a continuation of my reply:

    He makes us walk and talk right. Christ nature becomes our nature.

    No, God doesn’t “make” us do anything. Conversion does not put our minds on automatic pilot or turn us into puppets for God to manipulate. We still have to make choices, and God doesn’t take away all temptation to sin or disconnect us from the pulls of the flesh and the devices of the Devil. One more quote from the apostle John, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

    Acquiring the nature of God is not a complete, instantaneous act that begins and ends by accepting Christ. It is a lifelong process of transformation (Romans 12:1-2).

    Paul was free to eat meat that was offered up to idols because he knew an idol was nothing.

    This is incorrect for two reasons. First of all this conclusion suggests that Paul was advocating violating the conclusion of the Jerusalem conference to avoid eating meats sacrificed to idols. Secondly, Paul did not teach that it is OK to eat meats sacrificed to idols because he knew that “an idol is nothing.” This statement is a temporary concession that Paul makes in response to the statement made in a letter from congregation members justifying their practice of eating meat in an idol’s temple because of their alleged “knowledge.” Paul first of all objects to this because it could offend other brethren. But he then puts the matter in a larger context, concluding that eating sacrificial meat in an idol’s temple is worshiping demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

    People reference the scripture in Jeremiah that talks about heathen cutting a tree down and fashioning it with gold and silver. This isn’t talking about putting a tree up in your home. This is talking about carving out a graven image to worship.

    This is true. However, the main point of the passage is that pagan customs of worship are “futile” (Jeremiah 10:3). Jesus corroborates this point by saying that human traditions can result in worshiping God “in vain” (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7)

    other sites place[Christmas] origins in the church.

    The holiday of Christmas did originate with traditional Christianity (at the time of Constantine’s alleged conversion to Christianity) as a compromise to accommodate pagans who didn’t want to give up their pagan worship customs. But that doesn’t make it right in God’s sight.

    But the poi

  • Skip

    Hello Chiconcruz!

    Thank you for your explanation.
    Again, I state: I am very grateful for the 2 children that my wife & I have had. If we had adopted, we would be very happy when that adoption became final & the child was ours.

    And that child would have a special day just like anyone else.
    My special day is on my drivers license. Everybody has (or is given) a birth date! But

    Does Jesus Christ want us to celebrate His birthday?
    The Catholic Church says yes but the Bible, while recording quite a bit of information about that birth, does not promote that celebration.

    Again I refer you to Leviticus 23 which shows festivals that God says to keep. I am very happy that Jesus was born but I actually want to celebrate the days He says to celebrate.

  • Save By Grace

    Good day my beautiful people of God, I do not celebrate Christmas because in my heart I have the most amazing Savior Jesus every day, to me Christmas is every day of my life since I accept my Lord in my heart,mind and soul.When people ask me if I celebrate Christmas I tell them the same thing, No. because Christmas to me is every day, and I’m very thankful to my Savior every day of my life, when I need to give any gifts I do not wait for the event of Christmas I give any time I see a need. It was very easy for my family to understand why. But I’m not critical to people who does, because they still don’t understand the meaning of Salvation, and for unbelievers is at least a time to share with family. God bless you all.

  • Valeriebug
    I feel so torn. I know from my own studies not to celebrate Christmas, but I was not only born in a large Christian (Mormon) Family, but I now have a grandchild (soon to be grandchildren) of my own. Sending a present to her is one way I keep in touch since she lives so far away from me. What else can I do to acknowledge and keep in touch with my grand babies? How do I tell my family that I not only can’t but won’t celebrate Christmas with them? How do I let my husband’s family that draws names know that I not only can’t but won’t do this any more? Lots to think about and work out to keep my sanity alive. Birthdays seem to be easier, they are just a phone call, and I send gifts to the grand-baby all the time… maybe her *Christmas* gift should be sent the same way… all year round. The other grand-baby is due next June, so no problem on that one yet. Any advise?
  • Malachi 3_16-18
    Valeriebug, as a Christian who doesn’t keep Christmas, I appreciate your dilemma. It’s hard to be different in this world. Jesus said we’d be unpopular by obeying Him (Mt. 5:11-12). I’ve learned to be open but tactful, telling relatives I love them, & showing it in other ways. We observe our kids’ birthdays w/ small gifts & in a low-key manner, so they know they’re loved & appreciated but w/o a big focus on “getting.” My in-laws dislike us skipping their Christmas gatherings, but we celebrate Thanksgiving and send Thanksgiving cards to them. Plus we get together for their traditional Thanksgiving meal, as this has no pagan origins. But we try to remember that Thanksgiving is more than just turkey, pumpkin pie, & games; it’s about giving God thanks for His past provision, & acknowledging His presence & involvement in our lives. Also, we observe God’s annual Festivals that are listed in Leviticus 23 & were observed by Jesus & His followers in the New Testament. These are wonderful times for families and others to assemble together to worship God. For more information on these festivals, check out “God’s Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope for All Mankind” on this website.
  • lucerobear
    I have a question, I don’t believe in celebrating christmas either, but don’t have any friends or family who agree with this. I have two kids I’d like to steer away from all that madness. I would like to find others like me and even a church who believes the same. I cannot go to our church anymore because they do the things I don’t think they should be doing. Please, if anyone can help lead me to a church (in name only) that has the same beliefs this Good News has. I have searched our area for one, but every time they contact me back, they all celebrate christmas (and other holidays) and one even said they don’t take the Bible literally. Thanks to all!
  • SPACEDAG3
    Oh come on, I had lights and a tree all my life in a unbelieving family upbringing-sure we did not have any idea about faith or God so Christmas time for us was very meaningful to my family. In the years we never knew jesus-we never burned or drowned any one-we never took flying lessons to crash jet air craft into buildings-took no part in crusades or bulling people at church. And people wonder why islam wins new hearts and minds to allah/ My conversion to Christianity was at 38 I found a gidieon bible which led me to Christ in a calling independent of the bricks and stone church-its the invisible church that does the real work of jesus. We still keep a tree and lights at Christmas because its a lesser sin than the above-so if my believing dad and my daughter are going to hell on those grounds then may god show us mercy at the last day.- Yes my sins and yours held jesus to the cross no one is perfect in faith belittling people who might come to the light of Christ is wrong-its the inner intent of ones heart that matters to god not out would tokens like a tree at Christmas. Darren Australia.
  • Lena VanAusdle
    Lucerobear, I’m not sure where you are located, but the Good News is sponsored by United Church of God, they might have a congregation in your area. You can check here: www.ucg.org/congregations. I hope you find what you are seeking. Good job and trying to raise your children in a Godly manner.
  • Lena VanAusdle
    Darren, I don’t think the intent of this article was to “belittle” anyone. They are presenting the facts as to why they, and many other Christians, do not celebrate Christmas. They choose to see what the Bible has to say about something and obey it. And they believe they are doing the work of the church, as you mention, to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 15:16 Mark 15:16And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.
    American King James Version×
    ) and to encourage people to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24 John 4:23-24 23 But 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. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    American King James Version×
    ). In the end it doesn’t matter what my opinion, or the author’s opinion, or even your opinion is. What matters is what God tells us matters, through His word. You mention hell, thankfully God is merciful and just and has no intention of punishing/torturing people in an eternal hell. For those that willfully choose to go against God they will be burned up to ash and their memory forgotten (Malachi 4:3 Malachi 4:3And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, said the LORD of hosts.
    American King James Version×
    ; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • chiconcruz
    Bottom line is that…. if we are not to celebrate the birth of Jesus “at all” then we should not celebrate our own birthday. Just because no one knows when Jesus was born and a date was set around a pagan holiday, doesn’t mean that we should not acknowledge his birthday but acknowledge our own. It seems very hypocritical and vein to use words in a bible to explain why we shouldn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and yet throw these lavish birthday party with gifts for ourselves. If you truly believe that you should not celebrate the birth of Jesus then “stop” celebrating your own. Look into the history of birthdays and educate yourself on why a birthday cake is round, why they put candles on top and where did the birthday theme originate. It’s all pagan!! I think us people as a whole should stop and think about everything we do as a “culture”. Learn about every holiday before you celebrate it. Don’t just listen to a man and his point of view. Go out and seek your own truth and what things mean to you. Thanksgiving (The pilgrims killed the same Indians they made peace with) Halloween (PAGAN HOLIDAY) Columbus Day (Rapist and enslaved people) The list goes on! WAKE UP!
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