Last updated on November 10th, 2019
Is Celebrating Christmas biblical? Or is it sinful? Maybe you’ve never thought about that question before. Up until my 20’s, I never did. I just accepted what most Christian churches teach. That Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ. But shouldn’t it be important to know if Christmas is biblical?
Jesus is the Reason for the Season
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season”. It’s a statement some Christians have used to counter the secular understanding of Christmas being about Santa Claus, reindeer, and presents. Another phrase people state is “Keep the Christ in Christmas”. That phrase is used to counter the way some choose to say “Merry Christmas” by saying “Merry Xmas”. Just as a side note, this is not secular at all. According to Greek, the “X” comes from the Greek letter “chi”, first letter of the Greek word “Χριστός“, which in English is Christ.
Putting that side-note aside, here’s what I want to suggest for thought. Is Jesus the reason for the season? Does Christ have anything to do with Christmas? Is Christmas biblical? Let’s read the Bible to find out.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Before we get into the central question of this article, let’s read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The verses state, “16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
I think we’d all agree this verse indicates scripture is very important. Not a book of suggestions on life, but an actual writing of what is correct, right, and Godly. We can perhaps all agree that what is and what is not in these writings should be taken seriously. It should be a factor in determining how we think and act on our faith.
So getting back to our topic, I return to the central question of this article. In looking to the scripture, which tells us what’s correct, right, and Godly, is Christmas biblical? As far as I’ve read in scripture, the answer is no.
God, Jesus, and the apostles did not instruct to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, and call it Christmas. They never even instructed to celebrate Christ’s birthday in the first place. The tradition itself developed under Catholicism, which you can read more about here.
What’s the big deal?
Now some may ask, well what’s the big deal if I put up a tree, put up some lights, buy some presents, and choose to celebrate Jesus in this way? And that’s a very good question to ask. In response to that I would ask, is it important to do what God instructs of us to do versus holding to human traditions?
Jesus stated in 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!”
I know what you might be thinking. No, I’m not calling anyone a hypocrite, and I know Jesus was directing this to the Pharisees. I’m just pointing out that it mattered to Jesus that people don’t get caught up in keeping human traditions. That we should focus on the commands of God. I think we can all agree that what matters to Jesus should matter to us.
It’s not just the son of God who was against human traditions of honoring God, but God himself. Leviticus 10:1-2 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.”
God killed people who worshiped and honored him in a way He didn’t command. I don’t state this to scare anyone, I state this to point out how important this appears to be to God.
Scripture as the foundation
For me, the big thing in all of this is God and His scripture. Hence the question, “Is Christmas Biblical?” Do we take what His scripture states as the foundation of everything we think and do that’s right, correct, and Godly? Or do we follow human traditions out of fear of not conforming to the culture? Out of the phrases, “Well that’s the way we’ve always done things” and “But the Christmas holiday feels so special to me”?
If people did things the way they’ve always been done or only based on how things feel, all Jews would have kept being Jews. No Gentiles would have become Christians. Christianity might have never been anything more than a fringe cult.
This time of the year can be awkward as a Christian who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I have friends who practice Christianity that celebrate the holiday. They enjoy getting to spend time with their families. They have years of sentimental memories attached to Christmas. It’s the grand visual of bright lights, white snow, green trees, red decorations, and extra kind nature exhibited. As a result, it creates a strong emotional attraction that’s difficult to convince people to turn away from. Heck, I still like the sound of Christmas music.
I’m never offended by anyone who tells me “Merry Christmas”, because I know they mean well. But it’s my hope and prayer that we all think more about how we choose to live our faith in the name of Jesus Christ. I pray we make scripture the foundation of our faith. Even if it’s hard to stop doing it initially, it’s best in the end to live a life that’s pleasing to God. And reap the joy and blessings of honoring Him.
Peace to you all in Christ.