Many of us may recall a person in our life who does not celebrate Christmas. This is fine; in fact, it’s perfectly okay for an individual or family to not celebrate the holiday. What concerns me, however, is when some of those individuals pronounce judgment upon those of us who do celebrate Christmas holidays. Many times we are called sinners but there is no Biblical evidence to substantiate the absurd claim. I understand where these individuals are coming from…it is true that Christmas is found nowhere in the Bible. It is also true that the 4th of July, New Years Eve, Thanksgiving, Easter (except in the KJV), or any other days are found nowhere in the Bible. Why is it Christmas is a “special” sin? What makes it different from the others you might ask?
It is true that Christmas was created in order to mask another pagan holiday and convert it to a Christian holiday. It is just as true that the early church took over pagan temples and converted them into places of worship! We already know that Christ was not born on December 25, but does it make it sinful if we want to celebrate Christ’s birth on that day? Knowing that Jesus rose on the third day (not night), is it also sinful to celebrate His death and resurrection at night when that is not when it occurred? I would argue that the sinfulness of celebrating Christmas is one of those “stupid and pointless arguments” the Apostle Paul warned about. In fact, Paul has a few things to say about those who hold to religious festivals! Let’s begin in Colossians 2:16-17:
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.“ (ESV)
It seems as though much arguing was taking place in the Colossian congregations! Some of this seems to have taken place over what one eats and drinks (which, if given enough time, leads into the discussion of whether drinking is sinful [not talking about being drunk]), and the celebration of festivals such as the new moon festival. I may be reading the text wrong here, but Paul seems to say that we are not to pass judgment regarding holidays, food, and drink.
In Romans 14, Paul discusses another occurrence of this type of judgment taking place about ones eating and drinking. But listen as he goes further into 14:5-10:
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother?” (ESV)
Okay now, neither of these verses said anything about Christmas. In fact, the holiday was created long after Christ…however; we need to look at what the principle of the matter Paul is addressing is and how it relates to us. In short, Paul argues that a celebrated day (or holding it better than another) is not sinful. But, neither is counting all days as the same. Our only conclusion we can draw from the Biblical examples is that condemning the act of celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 (or any other day) is to directly disregard the Biblical teaching on the matter. Paul (and God through His inspiration) declares “holy festivals,” “esteemed days,” and many other things permissible to an individual! How else can we apply this text to our lives? We must always remember that Jesus freed us…He didn’t shackle us to ignorance and deceit! If you celebrate holidays, good for you! Just remember not to judge those who do not. If you don’t celebrate them, no problem…just remember that it is permissible for those of us who do to do so!