Some Facts About Christmas

by Jon Gary Williams
christmasfire.jpgThis season of the year is enjoyed by people everywhere. It is a time of being together with family and friends, a time of special meals, sharing cards and decorating trees. It is a time of exchanging gifts and a time when little children are enthralled with Santa. We all appreciate the closeness this holiday season brings to each of us.
However, as we enjoy the happiness this season brings, we need to remind ourselves that Christmas, to the Christian, is really nothing more than a national holiday. Though the world associates it with the birth of Jesus, the knowledgeable Christian is aware that this is not the case.
Following are some interesting facts about this time of year with which some may not be familiar. It is good to be aware of these things, for sometimes we can let the trappings of the world influence our thinking.
First, “Christmas” is not in the Bible. It did not originate with the apostles and was not observed by the church of the 1st century. Actually, the observance of Christmas (as the birthday of Christ) began many years later and the term “Christmas” was not coined until the 11th century.
Second, the date of Christ’s birth is unknown. Through the years while many different dates were argued, it was not until the 5th century that December 25th came to be generally accepted.
Third, the word “Christmas” is indicative of the Catholic religion. It became a religious observance (a “mass”) in honor of Christ, or “Christ-mas.” Hence, December 25th is set aside by the Catholic Church for a special “midnight mass.”
Fourth, the observance of Christmas was influenced by pagan customs. In 313 A.D., when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, made Christianity the state religion, many pagans came into the church bringing with them some of their crude customs.
One of these was the festival of “Triumph Over Darkness” honoring the Mithraic rites of the birth of the Sun which was celebrated with riot and merrymaking. To accommodate the pagans, church leaders merely changed this to a celebration of the birth of Christ, whom they were told was their “True Light.”
For the above reasons churches of Christ do not place any significance on December 25th as a “holy day” to observe the birth of Christ – such observance is of human origin. If Jesus wanted His birth to be celebrated in a special service on a special day, He would have said so. However, neither He nor the apostles said anything about such a practice. Of this the scriptures are completely silent.
Instead of setting aside one day a year, we should rejoice every day that Jesus was born into this world to bring salvation to lost man. This is the true spirit of being a child of God. And we must remember — the only thing Christians are told to observe is the death of Jesus. This is done each week as Christians gather to partake of the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-28; I Corinthians11:23-26).

________________

Brother Williams recently stepped down from full-time pulpit work, now devoting his time to writing. He resides in LaVergne, TN where he preached for 37 years, completing more than 50 years in the pulpit.

4 Replies to “Some Facts About Christmas”

  1. Please re-read Romans 14 and re-consider your position.
    4Who are you to judge someone else
    5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.
    8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
    From this verse I see that we have a choice to observe or not observe, either way we do it for the Lord. Your point of view observes the day but completely ignores any association of the Lord. The opposite of Paul’s instruction.
    13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
    14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food(holiday) is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
    If you have a problem with Christmas, fine, don’t do it. But don’t preach sin to the rest of the world.
    19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
    22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.

  2. Jared, I’m not quite sure what you are protesting here. We celebrate Christmas as a secular, family holiday. What is wrong with that?

  3. I understand the reasons why Christians would not observe Christmas as a religious holiday. I do not understand why they would recognize the holiday as a secular holiday, though. There are pagan influences in our Christmas traditions. Christians who celebrate only the secular parts of Christmas seem to be accepting only the pagan traditions (tree, Santa, magic, etc.) and leaving anything that might include Jesus. Seems like our choices are A) celebrate it unto the Lord, or B) ignore it completely as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I choose to include Jesus in my every day life, and if I celebrate one day above another (as I do also with July 4, my birthday, anniversary, etc.) then I will do so unto the Lord.

  4. I love this publication about the subject matter “Christmas” many who claim to be Christians do not know the origin of what they celebrate in the name of Christianity.
    Good work, keep it up.

Share your thoughts: