The Ancient Faith
Question: We were recently told that Christians can celebrate Christmas anyway they want to. Is this true? (Tx.) What do you believe the Bible teaches about celebrating the pagan holiday, Christmas? (Pa.)
Answer: This subject is a very emotional one, especially when discussed near the end of December. For any number of reasons, people on both sides of the issue, find it difficult to reasonably and calmly assess their respective positions. Truth can suffer if we allow our feelings to get in the way, and when such happens everyone loses. For this reason, we ask that you read the following with an open mind, considering what we say in the light of sound reasoning and divine revelation. I would first of all like to examine what I consider to be unsound approaches to a study of this subject.
- The observance of holidays, including Christmas is a Christian liberty. Such may or may not be the case. Since anything unscriptural can never be a liberty, we must first prove that the observance of Christmas violates no scripture before we conclude that it falls within the realm of Christian liberty. (Digressive brethren make the same mistake with reference to individual cups and Bible classes taught by women. They claim it is their liberty to use both – that both are expedient. Their reasoning is false, since a practice must first be scriptural before it can be a liberty or expedient.)
- All or most holidays share a common heritage. Thus, if we reject one, we must reject all or if we accept one, we must accept all. The fallacy of this argument lies in the assumption that similarity proves identity. The fact that two things are similar does not prove that they are identical. Some reason: 1. the observance of birthdays originated with pagans. 2. the observance of Christmas originated with pagans, thus if we observe birthdays knowing it is of pagan origin, why can’t we observe Christmas even though it is of pagan origin? First of all, how a thing originated does not in and of itself make it right or wrong. A thing is right or wrong based on its relationship to the teaching of the Bible. For example the use of a baptistery and individual cups are both of human origin. The former is scriptural because it is generically authorized by the command to baptize, and violates no precept of God. The latter is unscriptural because it violates plain Bible commands. So sharing a common heritage neither proves or disproves the scripturalness of a practice.
- The fact that one does certain things at a particular time of the year does not in and of itself prove that he/she is observing a particular holiday. For example, I eat every day of the year. The fact that I eat on Dec. 25th doesn’t mean that I am necessarily observing Christmas. If, as a part of my salary, the company where I work gives me a bonus at or near Dec. 25th, that doesn’t mean that I accept it as a part of Christmas celebration. What then does the Bible say about Christmas and the involvement of Christians in its observance?
As everyone knows the Bible does not address Christmas directly. In fact does not even mention it. While the scriptures record the birth of Christ, nothing is said to infer that we are to remember or celebrate His birth in any particular way. We are commanded to remember his death and we observe it weekly when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Mt.26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:23-29. The silence of the scriptures would, therefore, rule against a religious celebration of the birth of Christ. Perhaps the most significant reason Christians should have nothing to do with Christmas is the fact that it is a lie from beginning to end. Most, if not all, Bible scholars conclude that Christ could not have been born on Dec. 25. To so state and teach is a lie. Santa Claus is a lie. He does not keep a record of the good and bad that children do. He does not bring them gifts. To so teach and practice is a lie. Christmas is basically the product of the corrupt religious system known as Catholicism, and is interwoven with their unscriptural religious practices. One cannot deny that Christmas is an inherently and intrinsically religious event. Such urgings as “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas, and “Jesus is the reason for the season” testify to this fact. When Christians participate in this they are living the lie, for they know that Christ is not the reason for the season. They know Christ has no place in Christmas or in the Catholic church.
Can one observe Christmas in a non-religious way? I think not. In fact, in my opinion, it is impossible to observe an inherently religious thing in a non-religious way. Could one kiss the ring of the Pope of Rome, and call him “Holy Father” in a non-religious way? Of course not. To claim such flies in the face of reason and logic. The same is the case with Christmas. Brethren, I beg of you, leave Catholicism and its practices where they belong. Come ye out from among her. (Rev. 18:4) Receive not her mark in your hand or forehead. (Rev.14:9) Be the shining light to the world that our Lord demands. (Mt.5:16) Those wishing to study this subject further are encouraged to order from Bro. Alton Bailey a tract which he wrote “Christmas, Christian, Roman, Pagan?”
[This is from “The Querist Column” of the February 1993 Issue of the OPA]
Introducing the Church of Christ – Ronny Wade
God’s Sevenfold Unity – Jerry Cutter
Repentance – J. W. McGarvey