Christmas & the Christian
John D. Telgren

"A good Christian should not observe Christmas in any religious way." "It is sinful to have a nativity scene up. "Christmas is a matter of opinion, not faith." "Christmas is not the day Christ was born, so it should be completely ignored religiously, but it is okay to do Christmas trees and Santa Claus and things of this nature."

This list could go on. As a teen I still remember statements such as these being heatedly hurled at one another in various arguments. What is needed is a balanced response both Biblically, and sensibly.

Just because a practice had roots in paganism does not mean we are sinning if we practice it. We have many practices that originated from paganism, but over the aeons of time no longer have that meaning. Take weddings for e xample. Here are some of the traditional practices that had their roots in paganism: Throwing rice, having a bridal procession, and the use of lighting of candles. Or what about the names of days of the week and the months of the year that originally honored pagan deities (January for "Janus ", Thursday for "Thor‘s Day", etc.) Does any of this mean you have honored a pagan deity if you have done any of these? Of course not.

Scriptures are often misapplied in this discussion. Jeremiah 10:3 is not a condemnation of Christmas trees as so many have vehemently claimed. A look at the context will reveal that this is talking about fashioning an idol. Galatians 4:10 is not a condemnation of the observance of Christmas. A quick look at the context shows that this is talking about the Judaizers trying to be justified by law instead of grace.

Let's look at some principles in dealing with this matter.

What would Jesus do? Is there any indication? Christmas is a holiday that originated as a man-made tradition, not from God. It is embellished with a lot of excess baggage and traditions from various sources. The Jews have such a holiday as well. It is known as the "Feast of Dedication", "The Feast of Lights", or simply "Chanukah". You will not find it anywhere in the Old Testament. It too, has its embellishments. Like Christmas, it originated with man, not God. It commemorates the deliverance and re-dedication of the temple during the Maccabean period of Jewish history.

What did Jesus do during the Feast of Dedication? (John 10:22-24) Before asking that question, let's ask this – what did Jesus NOT do? He did not speak out against it. He did not boycott it. He did not condemn others for it. What he DID do was use it as an opportunity to teach. On a day the people commemorated their deliverance from Antiochus, Jesus teaches them about the Christ (The anointed one, the Messiah).

Should we not do as Jesus did? Instead of boycotting Christmas, let's see an opportunity to become all things to all men. Instead of arguing, let's witness! On a day when people are thinking about the baby Jesus, let's teach them about the risen Lord!