Every year, Christmas is under attack. Atheists who nothing better to do but get their panties in a wad over a nativity scene that they have to walk by, which has been put up every year for 90 years in a row, except in all those decades no one thought there was anything wrong with it but now all of a sudden somebody realizes it’s unconstitutional. That’s become commonplace in the last decade, ever since “establishment of religion” has taken a completely different meaning from what the founding fathers meant by the phrase. But what’s perplexing is the invective condemnations of Christmas coming from Christians. Yes, Christians attack Christmas and any Christian who dares to observe Christmas. They argue that many of the Christmas traditions we observe have pagan origins and therefore we shouldn’t observe the holiday. In fact, the "pagan origins" argument is pretty much the only justification for abstaining from Christmas that I've ever heard these people give. At least the only positive argument. The other ones are arguments based on what The Bible does not say...also known as the fallacious argument from silence.
These Christmas haters are just legalists. I usually ignore them to the best of my ability. They’re the kind of people most likely to think that Monster Energy Drinks are Satanic and that the devil invented the electric guitar.
"But! But! But! The Bible never tells us to celebrate Christ's birth!" Yeah? So? The Bible doesn't tell us to drive cars either. Are you going to walk everywhere you go? Argument From Silence is a logical fallacy for a good reason. I'd like to see them stop making their arguments from silence and cough up positive biblical proof that we should not celebrate the birth of God incarnate. Moreover, just because something has pagan origins doesn’t mean it’s a sinful practice. If brushing your teeth was an exercise that originated among the pagans, would you let every tooth rot and fall out of your mouth? There was an early pagan tradition of lighting candles to drive away the forces of cold and darkness. Does that mean we're dishonoring God if we light a candle during a black out in order to see where we're going? The ringing of bells is generally thought to have had its origin in the early pagan winter celebration of ringing of bells to drive out evil spirits. Does that means the act of bell ringing is an intrinsically God-dishonoring practice? Am I going to Hell if I ring the bell at the counter of a hotel I’m checking in so that I can get attention of the staff? Please. Get real.
Oh, and Astronomy grew out of Astrology. Should we Christians be against astronomy? I hope not. The atheists already think we’re anti-science as it is.
MOTIVE matters. These practices are not evil in-and-of-themselves. They only become sinful if you’re doing it in an act of idolatry. If you shave your head, is that sinful? Well, that depends. Are you taking the Nazarite vow to dedicate yourself to Yahweh? Or are you doing that to dedicate your life to a false god? Or are you doing it simply in order to look cool? What your motive is will depend on whether shaving your head was a sin or not.
In the same way, what are your motives for putting up a Christmas Tree? Do you do it in honor of Christ? Do you do it because it looks pretty? I think both of those reasons would be ok with God. I have a Christmas Tree that has nothing but religious ornaments on it. Ornaments of Jesus and the Nativity, crosses, and angels. Why? Because I'm honoring the birth of my Lord. I cannot bring myself to believe that Jesus would be red in the fact in anger of my doing that. The notion is far too implausible. On the other hand, I can easily imagine legalistic Christians getting red in the face at me doing that. I can easily imagine a legalistic Christian shouting at me to repent for putting up that Jesus-themed Christmas tree.
Moreover, I’ve heard somewhere that the Christmas tree resembles eternal life, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. The evergreen tree is green all year round. This is to symbolize the eternal life we have in Christ. The fact that we take the tree down and put another one up every year is to symbolize death and resurrection. The star we place at the top symbolizes the star that guided the magi. Now, I’m not sure if that’s accurate information or not. I haven’t taken the time to check it out. But even if it isn’t, we can project that meaning onto the Christmas Tree at the very least. Ever since I heard about the theological significance of the Christmas tree, I’ve never seen it in the same light since. The Christmas Tree now means much more to me than a pretty decoration. Now, every time I look at it, I am reminded of my salvation.
A little logic goes a long way, folks. A long way.
A little logic goes a long way, folks. A long way.
I happen to think we have more freedom than these annoying, pesky, logic impaired legalists will have you to believe. Jesus showed us that when he healed on the Sabbath and picked grain on the Sabbath. You are are free to adhere to your convictions, and you should. I can’t help it if your convictions aren’t well thought out. Nevertheless, The Bible says that if you believe something is a sin and yet you do it anyway, you have sinned. You have sinned because you have ignored your conscience.
“But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” – Romans 14:23 (NLT)
Please cease and desist with the holier than thou attitude and spiritual manipulation. Romans 14:5 says, "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." Similarly, Colossians 2:16 instructs us, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day."
“But, we should worship God every day, not just one day of the year!” Of course. But that doesn’t refute anything I’ve just said. We should, like Ebenezer Scrooge, keep Christmas in our hearts all year round. But I still see no reason why it would be morally wrong to set aside one day out of the year to celebrate the Word becoming flesh and making His dwelling among us (John 1:14) for the purpose of suffering under the wrath of the Father so that we wouldn’t have to suffer under His wrath (1 John 2:2).
Gathering together as a family and exchanging gifts in celebration of the gift God gave us appears to be totally suitable to me. The notion of gift giving is very biblical (Ephesians 4:8; James 1:17). Christmas can be celebrated without the smothering commercialism. In fact, Christmas can be celebrated without even any decorations at all. None of the usual Christmas traditions are required to rejoice at the birth of the incarnate God. You don’t need lights, a tree and a giant light up Santa Claus on your lawn in order to worship God for what He has done to save us, to reflect on the mystery of the incarnation, and to show good will towards your fellow man.