What Does the Bible Say about Christmas?

What Does the Bible Say about Christmas?Text: Matthew 1:20-25

Christmas is one of two main “Christian” religious holidays (the other is Easter). It is so common that people take it for granted and never give a second thought about it. But what does the Bible actually say about Christmas? Is it part of our service to God or something else?

The Bible Says Nothing about Christmas

  • Christmas is viewed by many as a religious holy day to celebrate the birth of Christ
  • The word “Christmas” is not in the Bible – this by itself does not make it wrong, but it should give us pause
  • There are no instructions regarding the celebration of Jesus’ birth – we are to act by authority (Matthew 21:23-27); the Scriptures equip us for EVERY good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • There are no examples of this type of celebration in the NT church – the only commemoration in the early church was the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7); this was done in keeping with Jesus’ instructions (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  • So it is odd that Christmas services are among the most popular and well-attended in the religious world

The Origin of Christmas

  • December 25th was first suggested to be the day of Jesus’ birth in 221 AD – by Sextus Julius Africanus (180-250)
  • The first Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, 336 – December 25th was the winter solstice on the Roman calendar; according to Augustine (354-430), Jesus chose to be born on the shortest day for symbolic reasons
  • It was briefly banned by Puritans in England in the 17th century due to the holiday’s association with drunkenness and other sins
  • A 2010 survey by LifeWay Christian Resources found that 6 in 10 Americans attend various “Christmas” church services

The Importance of the Birth of Jesus

  • The birth of Christ was prophesied and fulfilled (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20-25) – this is something to build our faith
  • His birth was also an essential part of the scheme of redemption (Hebrews 2:14-15; 9:14; 10:5, 10) – so He was sent at the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4)
  • We are to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) – this includes the incarnation (John 1:14)

Should We Celebrate Christmas?

  • As a church? … No – no authority to do so (Colossians 3:17; Matthew 7:22-23; Ephesians 5:24)
  • As an individual participating in a religious celebration? … No – again, no authority to do so (Colossians 3:17; Galatians 4:10-11)
  • As an individual simply reflecting on the Bible teaching about the birth of Christ? … this can be done anytime – part of Bible reading, study, and reflection (2 Timothy 2:15; Psalm 119:97)
  • As individuals observing a national holiday? … time with family, exchanging gifts, etc. – this is up to us as a matter of liberty (Romans 14:5-6)

Responding to the Religious Observance of Christmas

  • We do not need to participate (Romans 12:2) – if something goes beyond what is authorized, we cannot join in with that (2 John 9; Ephesians 5:11)
  • We do need to be patient (Titus 3:2-3) – many are sincere and simply do not know any better/different; those who are sincere are teachable (cf. Acts 18:24-28; 23:1)
  • We can be thankful that people are thinking about spiritual things (cf. Philippians 1:18) – anytime there is common ground, there is an opportunity to teach (Acts 17:22-23)
  • We can take advantage of opportunities to teach – we preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23); answering questions as to why we practice or don’t practice certain things (cf. 1 Peter 3:15)

Conclusion

  • Holidays and holiday seasons are good times to spend with family, appreciate blessings, etc.
  • Every day is good to remember Christ and serve Him according to His will

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