Christmas is the most entertaining Christian holiday of the year. With Christmas songs wafting throughout the mall, a red-suited benign Santa hearing children's pleas for toys and evergreen trees sparkling with bright lights, Christmas is a captivating holiday. But is it harmless?
I have asked Christians why they keep Christmas if they know that Dec. 25 was not the date of Jesus' birth. "It doesn't really matter whether Jesus was born on Christmas. How harmful could it be to honor the birth of our Savior?" Sound irrefutable?
Is Christmas really harmless to Christians?
First, what is a Christian?
If you profess that you're a Christian, you're saying that you follow Jesus Christ. Christ says that a true Christian follows Him, no matter the cost (Luke 14:26-33), is a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1), thinks and acts like Jesus did (1 John 2:6) and obeys all Ten Commandments (1 John 5:3).
If Jesus never instituted or kept Christmas, never taught His apostles to observe it, never promoted Santa Claus or the Christmas tree—plus the fact that the Bible condemns such observances borrowed from paganism (Jeremiah 10:1-9)—how can Christmas be considered a Christian holiday, and why would you want to observe it?
Even the government-recognized church didn't accept the term Christmas for 800 years! "It was only in the 4th century that 25 December was officially decreed to be the birthday of Christ, and it was another 500 years before the term Midwinter Feast was abandoned in favor of the word Christmas" (Richard Cavendish, Man, Myth, & Magic, 1983, Vol. 2, p. 480).
Fact: True Christianity and Christmas observance constitute an oxymoron.
The greatest con ever
Early clerics wanted to make converts of pagans who kept the ancient, pre-Christian Midwinter Feast. "The festival was far too strongly entrenched in popular favour to be abolished, and the [Catholic] Church finally granted the necessary recognition, believing that if Christmas could not be suppressed, it should be preserved in honour of the Christian God" (Richard Cavendish, Man, Myth, & Magic, 1995, Vol. 3, p. 418).
This masterstroke swelled their ranks, in effect whitewashing pagans as nominal Christians. Therefore, Christmas, supposedly the mass of or for Christ, comes to us from early church clerics in order to Christianize the masses.
Very merry profits!
Today, a Merry Christmas is cleverly driven by merrier profits. Modern business has taken over the Christmas season, promoting the Christmas holiday as Christian while it tugs at your heart and lifts your wallet. Purdue University professor Richard Feinberg found the Christmas season produced at least 75 percent of yearly profits for the businesses he studied in 2004. Christmas holiday shopping totals nearly half a trillion dollars in America.
Christmas question revisited
Let's revisit the original question: Why do so many keep Christmas despite the fact that it doesn't mark the birth of Jesus?
Over 2 billion Christians accept Christmas as if it were based on biblical truth. But despite its widespread popularity, it still remains a counterfeit holiday that God condemns (Deuteronomy 12:29-30).
Christ on Christmas
Consider the viewpoint of Jesus regarding following human traditions instead of observing the religious customs taught by the Bible: "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).
Surely you don't want to engage in vain worship by observing Christmas, which allegedly celebrates the birth of Christ but is actually a pagan holiday with humanly devised customs that have no value in God's plan.
I encourage you to check into the real meaning and origin of this time-honored tradition. Order our free and freedom-giving booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? It can help set you free from slavish subservience to the long-standing customs of the Christmas season (John 8:32) and will introduce you to Bible-based Holy Days that will help you worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).