During this Christmas season, some people are trying to produce division. Some of the Christmas antagonism has an element of truth to it. December 25 is most certainly not the date when Jesus was born. The shepherds would not have been in the hills with their sheep in December. Critics say Christmas is just a commercial holiday, which is true for many people. Some businesses make their entire yearly profit in December.
Some religious people say, “This is just a human-created holiday and is not in the Bible.” It is true that no biblical command or example compels Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ. Others say that the winter holiday has roots in pagan rituals. That is true, but we do many things and celebrate special days that are rooted in cultural and national traditions.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 14 that some people esteem one day while others do not. The essential point is that we live in harmony and do all to the glory of God. He points out that “he that observes these things serves Christ and is acceptable to God and approved of men” and that Christians need to “follow after the things that make for peace and things by which we can edify one another.” (See verses 1-9.)
The Jewish people in the time of Christ observed celebrations that God did not command, and Jesus participated in these. For example, God did not command Purim, which celebrated the Jewish people’s deliverance, as revealed in the book of Esther. Likewise, Hanukkah celebrates the cleansing of the temple, and Jesus participated in the observance (See John 10:22.)
Many good things come from the Christmas observance. Here is a partial list. Christmas is…
1) …a catalyst for artistic expression in music and art.
2) …a motivator to the joy of giving. (See Acts 20:35.)
3) …a catalyst for unity. (See John 17:11 -23.)
4) …a reminder of the importance of family.
5) …a cure for midwinter depression.
6) …a catalyst for gratitude.
7) …a reminder that God cares about us. (See John 3:16.)
8) …to remind us of why we exist. (See Isaiah 45:18, Ephesians 3:9-11 and 6:12.)
While Christmas antagonism emerges every year, having a time when the world focuses on Christ’s coming, purpose, and message is worth the struggle with Satan’s attempts to corrupt the holiday.
— John N. Clayton © 2022