Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
1. It is a fact that Christ was not born on Christmas day. The Bible is silent about the date of His birth and even more silent about its celebration. Therefore, it is wrong to celebrate it as the birthday of Christ.
2. We are not alone in rejecting Christmas as the birthday of Christ. Many evangelical Christians also believe that Christmas is a pagan celebration dressed up in “Christian clothes.” While many of them mark Christmas as a special day to remember Christ (and not celebrate it as His birth) and give thanks for His entrance into the world, they reject anything to do with Santa Claus, the Christmas story, Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, and the like.
3. The questions that have often been asked: Are there biblical grounds for rejecting all or part of Christmas? What should the attitude of Christians be in this matter? The answer I could provide is this: While certain elements of Christmas tradition are essentially pagan and should not be indulged in during this time of the year, Christmas itself and many of the traditions associated with it may be celebrated by Christians with a clear conscience, minus its religious connotation.
4. Parents should not tell their children the Santa Claus story as if it were literal truth. However, they should take the opportunity to tell their children about a God who gives (John 3:16) and encourages them to be givers than receivers (Acts 20:35).
5. Christians can take the occasion to tell their friends about Jesus who came into this world and died for their sins.
6. Today, Christmas is more commercialised than religious. Offices and friends celebrate even though they are not Christians.
7. In the west, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas are the two biggest festive celebrations. Those who do not attend church are also in a festive mood. Our brethren in the States celebrate it as a seasonal holiday and a time to come together.
8. Can Christians attend a Christmas party? The answer is Yes. Most Christmas parties are simply social gatherings for families and friends.
9. Can I organise a Christmas party? The question I would ask is: Why are you organising it – Is it to celebrate the birthday of Jesus or it is just a social gathering? The answer is Yes is if the answer is the latter.
10. Can I display a Christmas tree in my house? Paul says: “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Can I display the Chinese word “福” during Chinese New Year? The Christmas tree is neutral; it is just a decoration. So, search your heart. If you do not feel good about it, do not display one. Some have refrained from using a Christmas tree out of conscience.
11 Does Jeremiah Jeremiah 10:1-5 refer to the Christmas tree?
Jer 10:1 “Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
Jer 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3 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.
Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Jer 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
Though it does seem to be describing a Christmas tree, the Christmas celebration happened only hundreds of years later. Isaiah 44:12-20 speaks of the same thing. He describes a man who plants a tree and cuts it down. Half of the tree he burns in the fire to warm himself and cook his food. The other half he fashions into some "god." “He falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god” (Isaiah 44:17b). God was saying this is how foolish men are to worship something made of the same wood that they used to build a fire to warm themselves and cook their food, and with the remaining wood, they “created” a god. Rather than worshipping the One True God who made the tree that provides the wood, they worship a god they made from a piece of wood.
God says: “Learn not the way of the heathen…. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good [referring to the gods made of wood they worship].”
There are superficial similarities between the Christmas tree and the tree of Jeremiah and Isaiah. But the tree in Jeremiah and Isaiah is an idol that was worshipped as a god. The Christmas tree is just a decoration. Again, if your conscience hurts, do not do it.
12. Can Christians attend a Christmas service or mass? The answer is NO. Those are religious, and the message being propagated is that Christ was born on Christmas day.
13. Can Christians exchange gifts? In some offices, there may be a tradition of exchanging gifts. It is all right to do so as it is a matter of festive traditions and nothing religious. Can I give and receive moon cakes during the moon cake festival? How many who eat a moon cake know the story behind it? The idea of exchanging gifts is a festive tradition and not a religion. Christmas has become a season for many to give gifts to their loved ones – nothing wrong with it.
14. Can I return a greeting to someone who wishes me “Merry Christmas”? If we take it as just another festive season, why not? It’s like “Happy Thanksgiving,” or “Happy new year.” We exchange various kinds of greetings during the Chinese New Year. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with it; don’t say it.
15. Can the church hold a Christmas party? Better not. Our neighbours will think we are celebrating Christmas. The weak Christians who do not have the same knowledge may think we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. The principle in 1 Corinthians 8 applies: “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled….. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”
We certainly do not want to cause any stumbling blocks to our neighbours and the weak Christians in our midst.
Christmas has its good. At least the world has no excuse they do not know or have never heard of the name Jesus. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10, 11).
Christmas is a season to be jolly. Take this holiday and enjoy yourself with your family and friends.