A week from now, people all around the world will be celebrating the holiday known as Christmas. Some will be putting their trees up with presents underneath, and others will be making a point to centralize this event as the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It will once again completely baffle me for a number of reasons. Though before I get into those reasons, it would seem best to set a foundation for this conversation. Let us observe (2 Timothy 3:16) which states, “All scripture is inspired by God and is[a] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”. Alright, now let’s carefully read this.
It says all scripture is inspired by God, useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. What appears to be the prevailing theme in this verse describing Scripture? It doesn’t appear to be a stretch to say that the prevailing theme of this description of scripture is that it shows us what’s right. I think most followers of Christ would agree with that. So setting that foundation of looking to the Scripture for what is right, I think in light of this standard given to us, we should be applying this to the idea of celebrating Christmas.
So let’s ask ourselves some honest questions. I think the first thing one should ask when understanding whether something is truthful Scriptural belief or not, is whether the idea or concept of it is in the Scripture. So question, is Christmas in the Scripture? The answer to that question is no. There’s not one example of an annual celebration of Christmas to be found in the Scripture. This is a fact that can’t be denied, and whether one chooses to celebrate Christmas or not, if we’re going to be intellectually honest, we have to acknowledge this.
Now let’s continue to unravel things a little more. If we’re all followers of Jesus Christ here, then we all strive to follow what Jesus commands of us as followers. So let’s be honest again. At any point in Scripture, did Jesus ever say he desired or commanded for his people to celebrate his birth? The answer to this question again is no. Jesus didn’t command it, nor did the Apostles. This was something that was historically started by man, specifically by the Catholics. So a question that comes to mind here, is why is it that people are doing something that man established without the consent of Jesus? These people essentially decided to throw a surprise party for someone who never asked for one.
I ask the person who celebrates Christmas, if this is a celebration that God intended for man to always celebrate, then why was this not celebrated by anyone for nearly 300 years after the death of Christ and the establishment of Christianity? Why did none of the early church fathers during those 300 years mention this as something Jesus instructed, or the Apostles instructed? These are questions that are very hard to simply sweep under the rug and just choose to make this issue a matter of preference. So if Scripture doesn’t instruct this, and if history prior to the establishment of Christmas also doesn’t instruct this, why have people decided to listen to a group of men in Rome in late 300 AD who decided one day to just say, aw heck, let’s start a lie that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, because we want to have a party.
My friends, this is a selfish desire that these men had. They didn’t want to worship Jesus; they wanted to worship themselves and their own perceptions of God. God warned us of unauthorized worship in (Leviticus 10:1-2). It states, “Now Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” Ask yourselves, are you worshipping God in way He did not command to be worshipped? If you recognize that you are, you can repent of this sin now, and choose to seek God only in a manner that He instructs in His Word. I discussed this in my 1 Timothy post a few days ago, where Paul instructed Timothy of the only authentic teaching being that which comes from the Apostles who were given it via the Holy Spirit. Are you going to stand against God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit, and worship in your own selfish desires as the men who started Christmas did? Is God’s Word really the standard of what’s right in your life, as (2 Timothy 3:16) illustrates it’s supposed to be? The prevailing culture around you can do whatever they want, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to stand up and not conform to it, and choose to be transformed (Romans 12:2).
I leave you with these final words of Jesus warning about following what men have established. May we all choose to not be like the Pharisees, and instead, choose to be like true Scriptural followers of Christ. Mark 7:6-9, “He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition”. Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!”