Christmas holiday traditions are cherished because they bring families together, but was Jesus Christ really born on December 25th or in the winter season?
Many admit that Jesus may not have been born during this time, but believe it is okay to observe Christmas to honor Him anyway. After all, it is a time of giving and joy. Doesn't that show God is pleased with the celebration? Does it really make any difference? Is Christmas biblical? Does it really please God?
Jesus said, “Your [that is, God's] word is truth (John 17:17).” Christmas is a sentimental time, indeed, but in reality, the “truth” of Christmas is that it is mostly about perpetuating non-biblical myths and idols such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, elves and flying reindeer - the real heroes of Christmas. It's also more about selling merchandize than it is about honoring Jesus Christ or promoting peace on earth.
Is it any wonder that to non-Christians and atheists, the myths, legends, idols and customs of Christmas, taught and observed by traditional Christianity, are seen as evidence that Christianity is nothing but lies? Christmas is based on superstitious beliefs and fables, which discredit Jesus Christ, God, the Bible and the truth. James, the apostle and half-brother of Jesus Christ, wrote: “...do not boast and lie against the truth (James 3:14).” Such rejoicing or glorying in pagan non-biblical Christmas traditions is apart from and against (that is, in opposition to) the plain teaching of the Word of God.
The observance of Christ's birth was ordained and popularized by the Roman Catholic church to “Christianize” the pagan winter festivals of the Saturnalia and Brumalia, which honored the pagan sun god, in order to facilitate the conversion of pagans into the Roman Catholic church. This took place in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. (After Jesus - The Triumph of Christianity, Reader's Digest, pp 190, 215, 239; Halley's Bible Handbook, 23rd ed., Paganization of the Church p. 867; Unger's Bible Handbook, 1966, p. 516)
Why, then, do many who claim to be Christians, followers or disciples of Jesus Christ, keep and teach pagan traditions instead of the biblical truth?
What is the truth?
The Scriptures admonish Christians to, “Test all things; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).” Jesus said to His disciples, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32, NKJV).” However many would argue that gift-giving is a tradition honoring Christ because he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35),” and also, “Give, and it will be given to you... For with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:38).”
Giving is a principle for all times, but it is not an excuse for people to keep pagan customs. But merchants use Christmas as a means of making money, not to promote strong religious beliefs or truth about Christ, and Christmas sales make the difference between profit and loss for many businesses. We have a biblical example of delinquent commercialism in the bible where merchants actually prevented the Apostle Paul from preaching the truth about Jesus Christ. Merchants and craftsmen in Ephesus, who made great profits making shrines to the goddess Diana, were greatly upset and created an uproar against the apostle Paul's preaching against idol worship in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41). Imagine the potential uproar from merchants today if all people were taught the truth about Christmas!
When the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?" Jesus answered, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition (Matthew 15:3)?” He had warned His disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15).”
Jesus did not change or reject the commandments of God. However He did say to His disciples and those religious leaders who persecuted and sought to kill Him:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven, but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).”
Jesus warned His disciples: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name...and will deceive many (Matthew 24:4-5).”
Clearly the traditions and myths of Christmas do not honor Jesus Christ, but rather deceive the world about Christ and what Christ emphasized as important especially little children who learn to believe in the fantasies of idols and false gods like the mythical Santa. Adults rush to merchants for must-have gifts to give to children. Yet, they are all given for a lie. What part of this sounds anything like the lessons God and Christ teach? Do you read anywhere in the Bible that it is right to lie, deceive, or substitute mythical creatures for the teachings of God?
Christmas observance is fairly new in the United States.
“In Early America, many Protestants rejected the celebration of Christmas on the grounds that there was no biblical sanction for December 25 as the date of Jesus’ birth and because of the pagan origins of many of its traditions. It’s common knowledge that Christmas and its customs have nothing to do with the Bible... The theological question is quite simple: Is it acceptable to God for humans to choose to worship Him by adopting paganism’s most popular celebrations and calling them Christian?” (“American Christians new to holiday” by Tom Breen, Associated Press - The Columbian, p. D6, Dec. 15, 2007).
Breen also cites Bruce Forbes in his book, “Christmas: A Candid History,” saying that Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Congregationalists either ignored the holiday or actively discouraged it until the late 19th century, even making the holiday illegal in colonial New England, punishable by fine for celebrating it.
Christmas is only part of Satan's great deception, part of a counterfeit “Christianity” propagated through a system of commercialism. Ultimately, we all make a choice; do we keep this holiday that has no basis in biblical truth or do we submit to the biblical truth about how God the Father would have us worship Him and His Son, Jesus the Christ?
For more information on misrepresented holidays, read the free Bible study aid Holidays or Holy Days – Does It Matter Which Days You Observe?