When our children were young, they loved to watch the movie, “How the Grinch stole Christmas“, based upon the children’s story written by Dr Seuss.
There is no doubt that Christmas has been stolen by the market place, and for this reason many thoughtful Christians have begun to view the Christmas season with great suspicion. They would point to the pagan origin of the Christmas tree, and the fact that the 24th/ 25th December is probably not the birthday of the Lord Jesus.
I know of some Christian households who,for this reason,will not celebrate nor acknowledge Christmas, Easter, or any other Christian festival.
The Jehovah’s witnesses, a cult which denies the divinity of Jesus Christ, as a rule do not remember Christmas or Easter, nor birthdays for that matter.
Whilst sharing the concerns that thoughtful Christians have concerning Christmas, I am not sure that their thoughts or reactions are always biblical. The pendulum in Christendom frequently swings too far. Too often one’s zeal for Christian reform swings into legalism and a judgmental spirit.
Paul addresses this mind-set in his letter to the Colossians (Col. 2:16-23). The Scriptures leaves us a lot of liberty in matters of food, drink and the festivals we choose to celebrate. The same Scriptures however also point out that these liberties are not the substance. Christ is the substance (Col. 2:17)!
We have to make a distinction between people who only live for food, drink and festivities, whose god is their belly (Phil. 3:19), and those who eat, drink and celebrate with great gladness to the honour and glory of God. Israel was encouraged by God to eat, drink and celebrate (Ex. 23:14-16).
We have been created to give thanks to God in everything (1 Tim. 4:3-5), and especially for the gift of His Son (2 Cor.9:15)
So then, is it wrong to celebrate a Christ centered Christmas accompanied by all the singing, decorations, festivities and foods? Absolutely not, and especially so when our Lord Jesus Christ occupies our hearts and minds on such occasions.
There is every reason for us to celebrate His birthday, for unto us the great gift of salvation has appeared.
The fact that we choose to remember Him on the 24th or 25th of December is incidental.
The substance is that He was born for us! And surely that fact is worthy of our celebration!