It’s Christmas time again. During the coldest and darkest season of the year, beautiful, colorful Christmas lights surround us. Some houses are decorated with breath-taking splendor, and one can hardly help oneself but to admire the display of electric lights in the midst of the cold and gloomy wintertime. Our children are introduced to the Christmas season as the time of peace and good will — as an important time of family unity and togetherness. In Washington, following an 80-year old tradition, national Christmas tree-lighting ceremonies are publicly held, and speeches are given talking about how Christmas celebrates the fact that Christ was born to bring peace to this world. When entering grocery stores, we hear famous and melodious Christmas songs, ranging from “Silent Night, Holy Night” to “O Christmas Tree,” or other well-known tunes. One sentence in a popular Christmas song may be especially telling, loudly proclaiming, “And man will live forevermore because of Christmas Day.”
Then, there are the Christmas presents. Especially children can hardly wait until Christmas Eve to see their presents displayed under the beautifully decorated Christmas tree. I still remember when my brother and I, as young children in Germany, were asked by my parents to go on an errand on Christmas Eve. When we returned, we were told that the little “Christ Child” had arrived at our home and had left behind a brand-new electric toy train, as well as other nice presents. Of course, in Germany and in certain other countries, children receive a double portion of presents, as they are being given a “foretaste” on St. Nicholas Day on December 6: An adult with a white beard, dressed in a red suit, appears to remind the children of their conduct throughout the year. He speaks of their good deeds, as well as, especially, their bad ones. Upon their promise “never to do it again,” the red-clothed Santa Claus puts his rod away and opens his big bag to present nice gifts. When St. Nicholas or Santa Claus appeared to us, we did not realize, at first, that our mother always “happened” to be away — and that she returned shortly after Santa Claus’ departure.
This sounds all so innocent, so well meaning, and it warms the heart of adults and brings back emotion-filled memories of years long gone by. But, could there be anything wrong with those celebrations?
Many, who support Christmas festivities, recognize their dark side. They point out that Christmas has become totally commercialized. The sale of Christmas merchandise begins right after Thanksgiving, in order to give all potential customers enough time to buy multiple presents for all their loved ones, their family and their friends. They also “need” to buy presents for those whom they are somehow “indebted to,” or from whom they hope to receive certain favors in return. People buy gifts, which they can’t afford, incurring credit card debts that they can never repay, only to fulfill their expected “obligations” to give presents to others. We also know that especially during Christmas season, more crimes are committed than at any other time of the year, and alcoholism runs rampant.
Religious people realize, too, that Christmas celebrations have become less and less focused on Christ, the alleged “cause” and “reason” for the holiday. And so, as we read in WorldNetDaily.com, “Every December, a call goes out from the nation’s pulpits to ‘put Christ back into Christmas.'”
But there is a problem with that call, as there is a problem with the entire Christmas festivities. The above-mentioned article continues, “… growing numbers of Americans — including fundamental Christians — are claiming Jesus Christ had nothing to do with the holiday.”
This brings us to the crux of the matter. What, if anything, does Christ have to do with Christmas? Was He born on December 25? Did He command, in the Bible, to keep Christmas holy? Where do all the different Christmas customs come from? Are they Biblical?
The fact that Christmas lights and candles look pretty is not the answer. If we can establish that Christmas celebrations are not commanded in Scripture — yes, that they are, in fact, prohibited and a counterfeit to true godly worship, then it is irrelevant how “nice” certain customs may look. Remember, we are told in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that there is a “god of this world” — Satan the devil — who has “blinded” the minds of those who don’t believe the gospel, “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ… should shine on them.” If wrong, then Christmas lights would be a pitiful substitute for the true light of the gospel. Also, we are being told in 2 Corinthians 11:14, that “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” What he offers does look nice and good and bright. In fact, sin has “passing pleasures” (Hebrews 11:25).
When researching the origin of Christmas and its customs, it becomes very soon abundantly clear that Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Christ and the purpose for His First Coming. We discover that virtually every custom celebrated at Christmas time is of pagan origin, which had been used to worship pagan gods. Many of those who have studied the origin of Christmas have decided not to keep it any longer. Still, they are bombarded with Christmas customs, wherever they go. They may catch themselves, if they are not careful, humming or singing along with the Christmas tunes played in a supermarket. On the other hand, even professing Christians who strongly support Christmas celebrations are forced to admit the pagan origin of Christmas. They argue, however, that it does not matter. One article states:
“The true Origin of Christmas is filled with controversy and compromise. A quick study will reveal a number of disturbing roots… in short, the Christmas holiday we celebrate today is indicative of Christianity’s willingness to absorb the world’s customs and traditions, and forget its simple roots in the historical reality of Jesus Christ. Christmas should be nothing more than a simple, yet wonderful reminder of Christ’s humble beginning as a human child in this world… Whether it’s December 25th, sometime late in September, or any other day of the year, we should use each and every opportunity to reflect on Jesus Christ and His message of hope for all of us.”
But is this true? Should we use every opportunity, even if this means, embracing pagan customs? Is that the teaching of the Bible?
In this special Update on Christmas, we are addressing these important questions. Please be sure to carefully study the material, and read or re-read the booklet mentioned in this publication. Whether to celebrate Christmas or not, is man’s choice. However, to decree whether it is right or wrong to do so, is God’s prerogative.