WHY TRUE CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
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.
Just because some 2 billion people observe Christmas—roughly 1 billion Catholics and another billion in Protestant faiths—does that make it right? After all, can 2 billion professing Christians be wrong? Does it really matter one way or the other?
Yet hundreds of millions of men, women and children observe Christmas without knowing or caring about where it came from. 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? As the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing.”
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), not fable.
In Deuteronomy 12:28-32, 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.”
Considering that Christmas is not even once mentioned in the bible, nor is it recorded that Jesus or his family or his disciples ever celebrated his birthday, it is amazing that such great numbers of Christians still celebrate Christmas.
You may ask the questions, “Why celebrate Christmas?” Or “How do we celebrate Christmas?” If you look to the bible for your answers you will not find them, because God has given no such instructions.
For any serious Christian this alone should be sufficient to leave it completely alone, but for those who won’t this is a bible study that gives scriptural reasons why a Christian should not celebrate Christmas.
If you really dig deep enough in your Bible, you will find reasons that Christians ought NOT to celebrate Christmas! I want to invite you to read these simple, but serious reasons you and I, as Christians, should not celebrate Christmas.
2.0 THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
It is a historical fact that Christmas is not the day or the season when Christ was born. So why observe a day that is a lie? Most people do not want to admit this fact. For example, how does the use of Santa Claus depict the birth of Christ? How does the Christmas tree depict Christ?
Celebrating Christmas violates at least the First, Second and Third Commandments of God’s Ten Commandments. Observing a pagan holiday is a sin. God condemns the worship of pagan gods.
The Bible does not command people to observe the birth of Christ as a holiday. This day, December 25, is the date that has been observed for centuries as a pagan holiday in honor of the pagan ancient sun god Mithras.
God commands those who want to serve Him not to observe pagan holidays or any custom that breaks His holy laws. The fact is, and you can verify this in any number of books and encyclopaedias, that all these trappings came from ancient pagan festivals.
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?
Christmas was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed, neither by the apostles nor in the apostolic church — not for at least the first 300 years of church history.
History reveals that about 440 A.D., the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, following the lead of Roman Empire.
The fact of the matter is this — the early church did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the “Christianization” of pagan practices when Christianism was made the state religion by Constantine in the fourth century A.D.
The Emperor Constantine understood that by giving official status to Christianity, he brought internal peace to the Roman Empire.
After declaring Christianity the “state” religion (Constantine forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptized into Christianity), there was need for true union between paganism and Christianity.
There was full of pagans now masquerading as Christians, all of which had to be pacified. What better way than to “Christianize” their pagan idolatries.
- Pagan rituals and idols took on Christian names (e.g., Jesus Christ was presented as the Sun of Righteousness [Malachi 4:2] replacing the sun god).
- Pagan holidays were reclassified as Christian holidays (holy-days).
- December 25th was already celebrated as the “Victory of the Sun-God” Festival in the pagan Babylonian world.
The pagans flocked into the Christian places of worship, because they were still able to worship their old gods, but merely under different names.
It mattered not to them whether they worshiped the Egyptian goddess mother and her child under the old names (Isis and Horus), or under the names of the “Virgin Mary” and the “Christ-child.” Either way, it was the same old idol-religion.
Most people never stop to ask themselves what the major symbols of Christmas—Santa Claus, reindeer, decorated trees, holly, mistletoe, human made idols, of 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 following customs and traditions associated with Christmas all have pagan/heathen origins:
The Christmas Tree … Evergreen trees have long symbolized immortality, fertility, sexual potency, and reproduction, and were often brought into homes and set up as idols. The bible expressly forbids this in the book of Jeremiah, written several hundred years before Christ’s birth:
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen… For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. [Jeremiah 10:2-4]
Christmas Wreaths … Made from evergreens, Christmas wreaths were most frequently round, which symbolized the sun (just as do halos in most religious art). In addition, the round form can also relate to the sign of the female, which stands for the regeneration of life.
The church soon found a way to confer its own symbolic meanings. For example, the sharp pointed leaves of the “male” holly came to represent Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries His blood, while the “female” ivy symbolized immortality.
Mistletoe … The use of the mistletoe plant (which is poisonous to both man and animals) can be traced back to the ancient Druids. Kissing under the mistletoe is also reminiscent of the temple prostitution and sexual license proliferating during Roman Saturnalia.
And the rest … Giving of Gifts (has nothing to do with a re-enactment of the Magi giving gifts to Jesus, but has many superstitious, pagan origins instead). Nativity Scenes, Christmas Eve, Yule Log, Candles, Christmas Goose, Christmas Ham, and Christmas Stocking, etc. are among others as Pagan traditions to name a few.
Santa Claus … Originally, the Santa Claus concept came from the pagan Egyptian god, Bes, a rotund, gnome-like personage who was the patron of little children.
Bes was said to live at the North Pole, working year-round to produce toys for children who had been good and obedient to their parents. In Dutch, he was called “Sinter Klaas.” Dutch settlers brought the custom to America.
Santa is the blasphemous substitute for God! He is routinely given supernatural powers and divine attributes which only GOD has.
Later on, the church found to confer Santa Claus or “Father Christmas” its meaning with the story of the Dutch “Saint Nikolaas.”
“Saint Nicholas” was the 4th century Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who gave treats to children. He was canonized by the Church and regarded as a special friend and protector of children.
Carole Singing … These tended to be pagan songs for events such as the Winter Solstice, until the early Christians appropriated them: a Roman bishop in AD 129, for example, decreed that a carol called Angel’s Hymn be sung at a Christmas service in Rome.
3.0 CHURCH INITIATIVE TO STOP CHRISTMAS BUT FAILED
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]
The truth is, Christmas and other unbiblical religious holidays arising from pagan religious practice constitute vain or empty worship.
After King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic church and created the Protestant Church of England, Puritans sought to further reform his newly-founded church.
In the 17th century, the Puritans had laws forbidding the ecclesiastical celebration of Christmas, unlike the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church, the latter from which they separated.
With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake was forcibly renamed the “equality cake” under anticlerical government policies.
But the voices and festive spirits of English men, women and children were not to be so easily silenced.
For the nearly two decades that the ban on Christmas was in place, semi-clandestine religious services marking Christ’s nativity continued to be held on 25th December, and people continued to sing in secret.
Christmas carols essentially went underground – although some of those rebellious types determined to keep carols alive did so more loudly than others.
After Oliver Cromwell, a staunch Puritan, ordered the execution of King Charles I and became Lord Protector in 1653, he upheld the ban on Christmas, despite its unpopularity.
But when the monarchy was restored in 1660, so was Christmas, when legislation between 1642-60 was declared null and void, both the religious and the secular elements of the Twelve Days of Christmas were allowed to be celebrated freely.
Still, the Puritans held Christmas at bay, decade after cheerless decade, until Massachusetts finally made Christmas a legal holiday in 1856—almost 200 years after it was banned. President Ulysses S. Grant made it a federal holiday in 1870.
Later, in the 20th century, Christmas celebrations were prohibited under the doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union. In Nazi Germany, organized religion as a whole was attacked as an enemy of the state and Christmas celebrations were corrupted so as to serve the Party’s racist ideology.
Modern-day controversy, often associated with use of the term “war on Christmas”, occurs mainly in the United States and Canada, and to a much lesser extent the United Kingdom.
Some opponents have denounced the generic term “holidays” and avoidance of using the term “Christmas” as being politically correct. This often involves objections to government or corporate efforts to acknowledge Christmas in a way that is multiculturally sensitive.
Some common excuses to celebrate Christmas:
(i) “Christmas is Merely the Honouring of Christ’s Birth” — Someone says, “I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it’s not wrong to have a special time for honouring Christ’s birth.”
But since when did any man have the right to add to the Bible? Is man a legislative body? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will do exactly as the false cults and follow heathen traditions!
(ii) “It Doesn’t Mean Anything to Me” — Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e., “I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison”), it would likely lead to a quick physical death.
Why then do people think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God’s spiritual warnings?
(iii) “The Pagan connections are no longer present” — While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that anyone seeks to commemorate Christ’s birth with the faded symbols of Satan.
Though many people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, it is sure that God is not.
(iv) “There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin” –Which of these other pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? For the Christian the origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form, does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship of God.
Such other things have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Christmas customs and traditions.
4.0 THE BIBLICAL TRUTH OF JESUS BIRTH
Jesus was not born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8).
This could never have occurred in Judea in the month of December [i.e. in Kishlev (3rd Month) or Tevlet (4th Month)].
The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15 [i.e. in Cheshvan or Marcheshvan (2nd Month)], to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date.
Notice that the Bible itself proves, in Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9-13, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night. The weather in Bethlehem during December is miserably cold.
No shepherd would let his tender and fragile flock of sheep be out on the field in this type of weather. We also recall that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem for a Roman census.
The Roman government would never order such census to occur in a time when the roads are in bad condition, and the temperature often drops below freezing point.
As Christianity was introduced into Rome and it was approved by Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. and became the state religion of the Roman Empire, Christians felt the need to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
However, they could not find the date from the Bible, so people brought up several dates that they estimated as the birthday of Jesus. Until the early 3rd century, nothing was decided about the birthday of Jesus and people celebrated it on any day in March, May or November.
Then December 25 came up for the first time by Hippolytus, one of the fathers of the Rome Church. Without any exact foundation, he made a presumption that the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus on March 25 and insisted that it was certain that Jesus was born on December 25.
At that time, his insistence did not catch any attention. Meanwhile, the church in Jerusalem in the east appointed one day among early January, as the birthday of Jesus and as the day when Jesus was baptized; and they celebrated each of them in Bethlehem and in the Jordan River.
As it was hard for people to travel to the two places, which are separated by more than 30 km [19 miles] away, in a day, they came to complain about it.
The exact date of Jesus’ birth is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge—though there are indications that it was in the early fall—probably September or early October—approximately six months after Passover.
The Apostle Paul says:
“God forbid that I should glory in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Galatians 6:14].
We find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus by itself, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Saviour, not in a cradle.
5.0 THE BIBLICAL FEASTS, CALENDAR AND TRUE WORSHIP
The god of this world mimics or imitates God’s holy days and festivals…very badly. His system, as far removed from God as it can be, focuses on personal pleasures and selfishness and keeps humanity blinded to the glorious Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.
Contrariwise, God’s Holy days and Feasts literally reveal the step-wise salvation of all mankind through three major harvest seasons (Deuteronomy 16:16; Leviticus 23).
If you want to know more about three major harvest seasons and seven Biblical feasts refer REVELATION OF GOD’S PLAN THROUGH 7 JEWISH FEASTS. I don’t want to become legalistic but I believe God is calling His Bride out of the Harlot system, these pagan festivals and keeping the non-biblical SABBATH DAYS.
Someday God will see to it that everyone will understand His exclusive way of life (Hebrews 8:8-10). In Paul’s letter to the Romans, (Romans 14) he mentions the problem of those who were concerned about eating food connected with pagan rituals or keeping special days.
Moreover, in Matthew 15:4-20 Jesus also explains about the differences between the God’s Commandments and Men’s commandments as well as doctrines & traditions. Matthew 15:6 says:
“And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”
The Christian is concerned with how he worships God. His guide in this matter is the Bible. The Scriptures state that God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). No place is to be given to images or idols or anything that could be mistaken for them.
The second commandment begins: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:4).
The nativity scenes that abound in homes, schools and even churches, are a flagrant breach of this commandment. The all too common depiction of the Son of God in the form of a plastic doll is therefore nothing short of blasphemous.
The Bible clearly tells us that pagan festivals are an abomination to God and these include Christmas. We obviously read:
“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you 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; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, BE CAREFUL TO OBSERVE IT; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” [Deuteronomy 12:29-32].
Jesus Christ is described in the Scriptures as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He was the Son of Man who had nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58). He was nailed to a cross to die for the sins and iniquities of others.
The quasi-religious aspects of Christmas are things which only take people further away from the truth of the gospel which Jesus came to declare. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
Rather than join with the world in Christmas pleasures, true followers of Christ should listen to His voice, as found in the Bible, and seek to serve Him in the ways that He prescribes there.
I hope you understand these reasons with an open heart and mind. One must pray to God as well to give each one of us the willing heart to accept these hard-to-believe truths.
Most of the things have lost their meaning over the centuries and that most people don’t incorporate such meanings into their own Christmas celebrations; the fact is that there is no biblical warrant for celebrating Christ’s birth, and that these pagan festivals have nothing to do with the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
Therefore, true Christians shouldn’t celebrate them. Even the very popularity of Christmas makes it questionable. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question — Pagans, nominal Christians, Muslims and even Buddhists and Hindus.
If, in reality, December 25th was a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, you could be sure that the world would have nothing to do with it.
After all, God has commanded one day in seven — the Lord’s Day — to worship Him. Does the world observe it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:18, 23-25).
If the Apostles and the first-century church members were alive today, they would be shocked to see “Christians” celebrating Christmas! So it’s your choice; will you celebrate a recycled, abominable, and cursed pagan holiday?
Or will you celebrate God’s ordained and appointed Feasts? The answer should be obvious, but it‘s hard to follow. But God will reward you richly with divine blessings when you really seek His will and do His commandments.
God tells us in 1 John 2:15-17: “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.”