Are Christians supposed to celebrate Christmas? Is it okay for Christians to celebrate Christmas?
There has been a long-standing debate regarding whether Christians should celebrate Christmas. What does Scripture teach?
First, the Bible recognizes the birth of Jesus as a special event. It was a virgin birth (Matthew 1:18). It was announced by angels (Luke 2:10-14), attended by shepherds (Luke 2:15-20), and acknowledged by wise men (Matthew 2:1-12). The fact that both Matthew and Luke share reports of this event note its importance to the early Christians.
Second, there is no clear command in the Bible to celebrate the day of Christ's birth. While it is expected that Christians would rejoice at the coming of Jesus to earth, it is also not a prescribed holiday. The church's celebration of Christmas on December 25 came later as a way to honor the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Third, there are some unwarranted reasons some argue against celebrating Christmas. For example, some argue against the holiday because the date of Christ's birth is unknown. While this is true, not knowing the exact date of Jesus's birth does not mean it is wrong to choose a date to celebrate it. The exact date is less important that the reason for the celebration.
Further, some argue against celebrating Christmas due to pagan or non-Christian influences. Some refer to the early pagan connections, while others argue against the modern connections with presents, Santa Claus, and other cultural traditions. Again, while aspects associated with Christmas may be at odds with Christian values, the celebration of Christ's birth is a positive and can be celebrated by all believers in Jesus.
The cultural celebration of Christmas also offers many opportunities to share the true reason for the holiday. Many have grown up with Christmas traditions without understanding the Savior who was born. A proper focus on Christmas can serve as a wonderful outreach to those in one's family or community.
Romans 14:5-6 offers a helpful principle related to the celebration of Christmas: "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. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord." There is no command to celebrate Christmas, yet Christmas can be celebrated in honor of the Lord. The goal of the believer is to honor God each day, including December 25, regardless of one's personal thoughts related to practices related to the Christmas holiday.
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