I realize, first of all, that this article may offend some, yet I hope my writing (if I am enabled by the Spirit) will not be weak and just pleasing to the natural flesh of those whom God has decreed for me to contact. God's message from His Word is personal, and oftentimes, sharp and convicting. I desire that God would be pleased to bring tears of concern and repentance to all of His children who may be involved in the celebration of the pagan holiday called "Christmas;" or the "Mass for Christ." I have often wondered why many of those who profess a hope of eternal life are wrapped up in this evil holiday (and other holy days as well); and I have come to at least one conclusion: that not many who are called to preach Jesus Christ are faithful in admonishing the sheep from God's Word concerning the evils of this world. Dear preacher, Hosea 4:6 says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Also Ezekiel 44:33 says: "And they teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean."
My subject needs little introduction except to mention the fact that for anyone to speak out against X-mas appears to be like attacking the American tradition of motherhood and apple pie. My objective in this article is, above all else, to be honest with the Scriptures.
In this article I want to bring out four reasons which individuals give to ease their consciences in celebrating the evil and satanic time of year called "Christmas."
First, Many say, "I feel responsible to celebrate the birth of Christ." Yes, there are many that feel this way and have been taught this way, but of course this raises some questions that need to be answered:
1. I ask "what is your responsibility founded upon?" What commandment is given by the Lord to place anyone under any responsibility to celebrate His birth? There is no command given by Christ in the Scriptures either in writing or by example to do so - NONE whatsoever. What our Lord has designed for His people to do - He laid down very plainly in His written Word or gives us a principle by example. Three ways in which we can see this are: Baptism, and the Lord's Supper and feet-washing.
But, one must search in vain for any commandment or responsibility or authority in regard to celebrating His birthday. In fact, the exact date of Christ's birthday is unknown. It most certainly is NOT December 25th nor in December at all. This can be verified by the Scriptures and by secular historical records. We do know that the Lord was born six months after John the Baptist (Luke 1:26,36). The Scriptures verifies this as well as do Jewish historical records. John the Baptist was conceived (not born, but conceived) at the end of Zacharias', the priest, course which was in June. (Luke 1:5,24) Nine months later puts John the Baptist's birth in mid-March. Six months later is mid-September (not December!) which is the most probable date for Christ being born of Mary. Also we read in Luke 2:8 that the shepherds were watching their sheep by night in the fields. December is an extremely cold rainy month in the hill country of Judea; it was only during the warm months of summer and fall that shepherds took their sheep into the open fields at night. In Luke 2:1, we have one of the reasons for Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem and that was to be taxed. When were the people taxed? At the end of the harvest season. Another reason, was the Feast of Tabernacles which was celebrated in the seventh (Jewish) month, or our September. In spite of what I have stated some may still feel responsible and say: "Christ never told us to celebrate X-mas but He never told us not to either."
2. I ask: "If you feel responsible to celebrate His birth, in what manner do you intend to remember His birth?" The best example for all to follow has been given for us. Christ Himself, nor the apostles, give us an example nor word as to how we should celebrate Christ's birth. But what if Christ had given His people an example to follow? Would He have celebrated His birth in the manner in which people now do? No, a thousand times, no! Everything around the celebration has an evil spirit about it, not the Holy Spirit. We can read from the Scriptures, the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and other available source materials that the early saints did not accept nor participate in any part of the pagan holiday called "Christmas." It took a long time to creep into the so-called church through unregenerate people who professed to be saints. Twice in the Gospels we find the birth of Christ mentioned and we are not told to celebrate it. There are only two birthday celebrations mentioned in the Bible. One is in Genesis 40:20-22, in regard to Pharoah's, and in Mark 6:21-28, of Herod's, and there was an evil about both of them. In both cases someone had his head cut off! When one celebrates the birthday of Christ he adds to religion something not in the Scriptures. When one adds to religion what the Scriptures do not teach he is as the Pharisee and is adding the traditions of men. Most people want something to make them happy; they like the idea of the manger and happiness; a new baby promised; yes, the majority of people can grasp the idea of a new baby in the manger instead of the fact of a torturous death on the tree of Calvary, and the subsequent resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ed. note: Here may be the cause of the Scriptural silence on the subject: why should we celebrate such a great humiliation as the Son of God's glory taking on the likeness of sinful flesh?) Anything to please the flesh; no concern whether it is right or wrong. But they say: "I want to show my love in celebrating "Christmas" and giving gifts, etc." But if you really want to show your love and concern for people, tell them of this pagan holiday. Peradventure the Lord, if He is pleased, might give them repentance from their evil ways.
3. Also I ask: "If Christ had given us an example to follow in remembering His birthday, would not He have given us the manner in which His birthday is to be celebrated?" Christ is the Holy, Eternal, Son of God and John tells us that light is come into the world and the darkness comprehendeth it not. To consider that Christ would have in any way identified His birth with the pagan gods of His day is blasphemous! All that celebrate this day and identify the birth of Christ with these pagan things blaspheme the most Holy God. The Scripture teaches the saints in Philippians 1, that we are to have the mind of Christ. Now I ask, has the mind of Christ changed in almost 2000 years? No, the mind of Christ the Lord never changes. One can go to the Old Testament and study the examples given in the progression of evil and it hasn't changed either.
Second, But, perhaps, you would give as your reason for celebration, "My Christian liberty gives me the right to remember Christ's birthday and you, you are a legalist."
Those who hold this view go to Romans 14:4-6, which says "Who are thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or fallest. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eatheth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." Their argument, of course, is quite obvious - they use these verses to justify December 25 as the birthday of Christ even though it is not (and some will admit this), but they say they regard the day as unto the Lord. But, one must study the Scripture in context and with other Scripture. The days to which Paul refers were holy feast days that were not pagan, but were legitimate, given by God under the Mosaic economy. They were proper in the Old Testament days; but, and as some Jews were added to the New Testament Church, they still clung to the old things and Paul says that the other saints were to wait patiently until it pleased God to give more light to those who were still clinging to the old feast days. Paul gives us an explanation of those days in Colossians 2:16-17: feast days were a shadow of things to come in Christ. No, Romans 14 does not give anyone the right to recognize heathen, or pagan festivals as days "unto the Lord." There are people today who are described in Galatians 4:9-11, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain." It is beyond my comprehension to understand people who say they are children of grace, after they hear the truth of the evil of "Christmas" and then still seem to have a desire to please the flesh, to please the world, and to follow after the traditions of men and not after the commandments of God. Luke 16:15 says, "And He said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of Cod." Dear reader, if you would study a little you would find out what is said of the early saints in contrast to others. You would find that the Roman religion was purely external and consequently very impressive to the flesh. The Romans could not conceive of a religious service without temple images, altars, and sacrificial activities. Henceforth, the Christians were considered as atheists to Roman religionists and Rome wanted nothing to do with them. They said, "Away with the atheists." The Romans advocated happiness, satisfaction and pleasure for the flesh. The Christians preached self denial and emphasized the joy of the future life with Christ. The Christians would not decorate their houses for pagan festivals. They would not advocate marriages into heathen families. They would not accept government offices which included the performances of heathen religious rites. They abstained from the "respectable" enjoyments. Think of it, the Christians were looked upon as a sect - a sect that was averse to the philosophy of the great and noble "humanities." Yes, they were accused of being hostile to humanity. They were called "haters of mankind," evil doers. The early Christians stood out as a people, a peculiar people not ashamed that they had been crucified with Christ. They were bound together by love one to another, founded upon righteousness, truth, and a striving to conform to the image of Jesus Christ and having the mind of Christ. Call them what the Romans might: rabble rousers, controversalists, madmen, etc., and they said as Joshua of old: "As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord." I ask you, dear readers, "How are your thoughts concerning the Lord and His commandments?" Truth as it is in Christ is the foundation for all the children of grace. Where are the people with courage? Where are the preachers that are called of God who will stand up to proclaim the "whole counsel of God" rather than saying "Let's not rock the boat. I don't feel that I ought to cause waves?" Hosea 4:6 says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.." John 17:17 says that His people are sanctified through "Thy truth."
Third, "My conscience does not convict me of the day being wrong; what's the difference; I don't look at it that way.
This excuse breaks down in the light of God's revealed truth. A conscience can be "seared with a hot iron;" (I Tim. 4:2) and "even their mind and conscience is defiled." (Titus 1:15) It is true that the saints use their minds and their conscience as a part of reasoning but the conscience is never autonomous. The saints cannot do what they please; they are bound by the Spirit of God to the revealed will of God. Yes, there are many who have the idea that they can do anything they please and they say their conscience is autonomous or free. That particular teaching and thinking is as Satan said: "I will be like the most high God." Some seem to think that whatever decision they make is determined by the way they look at it,' but the child of God does not determine what is right or wrong by the way he views a situation; but it is determined as right or wrong by the way God says it. God (and His Word) is the absolute standard of faith and practice for the saint; and the saint does not measure God with fleshly standards, but sees in the Scripture, "Be ye holy for I am holy."
One may ask, "How then does this pertain to "Christmas?" It is simply "Can you say in your heart that it will be done to the glory of God; knowing of its origin; knowing of God's holiness; knowing that God changes not; and knowing that whatever is not done for the glory of Christ is an abomination in His sight?"
In John 5:21, Jesus says, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." The word "keep" means to guard yourself; that no intrusion of evil is found in the child of grace. The saints are led by, and do seek, the Spirit's guidance in studying God's precious Word, that they may know how to follow the commandments of God, and that they might stay away from the things of this world. The Church delights in the law of God and they meditate upon it.
Jeremiah in 10:1-5 says, "Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 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. 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. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with NAILS AND WITH HAMMER, that it move not. 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." One of the major things in the pagan nations' worship was and is tree worship which is associated with Baal and Nimrod; yes, all the nations had this association, and still do today; they even had a queen mother and had a little son (a little 'incarnate' son they said) they had their own pagan imagery, a sungod and groves of evergreen trees. The emphasis in Jere 10 is on the words "Learn not the way of the heathen." But what has happened? Many of the people of God who seem to give evidence of being children of God, have learned the way of the heathen!
Dear reader, God changes not. He hasn't changed since the day of Jeremiah. He hasn't changed since the days He was here in the flesh some 2,000 years ago. He hasn't changed today - not one bit. It is not how the world sees things, but how God Almighty ordains things. His Scripture teaches the child of grace to abhor evil in whatever form it takes, when sanctified by His Spirit.
Yes, I know someone says "But I don't worship the tree or the ornaments - I worship Christ." The answer to this statement is found in the Book of Joshua. In actuality the whole Book of Joshua teaches "Learn not the way of the heathen." We find recorded in Joshua 23:7, "That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither MAKE MENTION of the NAME OF THEIR GODS, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them." Joshua says don't even name them or identify with them and don't have anything to do with them! Exodus 20:24, says: "I am the thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." One thing we can get from Exodus 20 is that the child of God is not to use means, or aids, in his worship toward God. Dear reader, the Word of God leaves you, if you be a child of grace, without any excuse. It says to stay away from all parts of any pagan holiday.
Fourth, The last reason I find that people give for celebrating this day is this: "Everyone else is doing it and has been doing it for years." The Scriptures warn the child of grace not to follow a multitude to do evil (Exo.23 :2). Child of grace, this means your friends, your relatives, father and mother, and the people with whom you work. It doesn't matter who they might be, the child of God is not to identify with, or associate with, that which is evil and you are not to follow after the traditions of the fathers, nor anyone else.
The world, the wicked, love the things of "Christmas" and the things they associate with it. They love Christ in the cradle (?), they want Him wrapped up in swaddling clothes. They are like the Pharisees who would not have Him as Lord of all things. If you don't put a two-edge sword in His mouth, if you don't put royal robes upon Him, and if you keep Him in the manger, the world will love you and "that Christ."
It may be that many who call themselves the children of grace are as those spoken of in John 21:43, where it says: "For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God." Praise everyone else, please everyone else, love the flesh, but have no love for the glory and honor of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Many worry about what everyone else says and does, but have no concern for what God has said in His Word.
I hope I believe in the Christ who was born to die so that all His people would live forever with Him, the Christ that is not in a cradle, but is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Christ that is no longer in His mother's arms, but is seated at the right hand of His Father. He is the King supreme, working all things according to His will and pleasure, raising up children of grace to praise His Name. Yes, Christ is the One who holds the key to life and death. He is no longer a baby in a manger. He is triumphant over all. He is the Mighty Conqueror, the Prince of Peace whose kingdom has no end.
What can we say? "If God be for us, who can be against us." Let the world have the cradle but the children of grace' thoughts are: "as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord." I leave you with the words of Paul in I Corinthians 2:5: "That your faith should NOT stand in the WISDOM OF MEN, but in the POWER OF GOD."