Is It Wrong To Celebrate Christmas- Nairaproducers
Should Christians celebrate Christmas? A number of unorthodox new religions which profess to follow
Christ insist that Christmas is a pagan festival to be shunned by all true Christians. Probably the most
notable of these religions is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who publish stinging attacks on the celebration of
Christmas year after year. Other religions that take the same position include the World Wide Church of God
(led by Herbert W. Armstrong) and the Assemblies of Yahweh.
However, these unorthodox religious groups are not alone in their condemnation of this most popular of
religious holidays. Many evangelical Christians also believe that Christmas is a pagan celebration dressed
up in “Christian clothes.” While many Christians mark Christmas as a special day to worship Christ and give
thanks for His entrance into the world, they reject anything to do with Santa Claus, Christmas trees,
exchanging gifts, and the like.
Are there biblical grounds for rejecting all or part of Christmas? What should be the attitude of Christians in
this matter? That is the question before us. The answer given here is that while certain elements of
Christmas tradition are essentially pagan and should not be indulged at that time of year, Christmas itself
and many of the traditions associated with it may be celebrated by Christians with a clear conscience.
Those who are inclined to reject out of hand such a position might be interested to know that at one time
this writer would have agreed with them. A closer examination of the issues involved, however, leads to a
Should Christians celebrate Christmas- Celebrating Jesus’ Birthday
The most basic and common argument brought against Christmas is that it is not found in the Bible. Many
Christians, as well as groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, feel that because Christmas is not mentioned in
scripture, it is therefore not to be observed. In fact, the Witnesses argue that since the only people in the
Bible who celebrated their own birthdays were Pharoah (Gen. 40:20-22) and Herod (Matt. 14:6-10), God
takes a dim view of celebrating birthdays in general. Therefore, they feel, God would hardly approve of
celebrating Jesus’ birthday.
In answer to these arguments, a few things need to be said. First of all, the fact is that the Bible says
nothing against the practice of celebrating birthdays. What was bad in the cases of Pharoah and Herod was
not that they celebrated their birthdays, but that they did evil things on their birthdays (Pharoah killed his
chief baker, and Herod killed John the Baptist). Second, what the Bible does not forbid, either explicitly or by
implication from some moral principle, is permissible to the Christian, as long as it is edifying (Rom. 13:10;
14:1-23; 1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23; Col. 2:20-23; etc.). Therefore, since the Bible does not forbid birthdays, and
they do not violate any biblical principle, there is no biblical basis for rejecting birthdays. For the same
reason, there is no biblical reason to reject entirely the idea of celebrating Jesus’ birthday.
Should Christians celebrate Christmas- December 25
Another common objection to Christmas relates to observing December 25 as the birthday of Christ. It is
frequently urged that Christ could not have been born in December (usually because the shepherds would
supposedly not have had their flocks in the fields at night in that month), so that December 25 could not
have been his birthday. It is also pointed out that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival in the
Roman Empire in the fourth century, when Christmas began to be widely celebrated on that day.
It is true that there seems to be no evidence for December 25 as the actual birthday of Christ. On the other
hand, it has been shown that such a date is not impossible, as is so commonly supposed.1 Nevertheless, it
may be granted that it is highly improbable that Christ was actually born on December 25. Does this fact
invalidate Christmas? No. It is not essential to the celebration of someone’s birth that it be commemorated
on the same date as his birth. Americans commemorate Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday on the third
Monday of February, even though Washington’s was February 22. If it were to become certain that Christ
was actually born on say, April 30, should we then celebrate Christmas on that day? While there would be
nothing wrong with such a change, it would not be necessary. The intent or purpose is what matters, not
the actual date.
But what of the fact that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival? Does this not prove that Christmas
is pagan? No, it does not. Instead, it proves that Christmas was established as a rival celebration to the
pagan festival. That is, what Christians did was to say, “Rather than celebrate in immorality the birth of
Mithra, a false god who was never really born and who cannot save you, let us celebrate in joyful
righteousness the birth of Jesus, the true God incarnate who is the Savior of the world.”
Sometimes it is urged that to take a pagan festival and try to “Christianize” it is folly. However, God Himself
did exactly that in the Old Testament. Historical evidence shows conclusively that some of the feasts given
to Israel by God through Moses were originally pagan agricultural festivals, which were filled with idolatrous
imagery and practices.2 What God did, in effect, was to establish feasts which would replace the pagan
festivals without adopting any of the idolatry or immorality associated with them. It would appear, then,
that in principle there is nothing wrong with doing so in the case of Christmas.
Should Christians celebrate Christmas- Santa Claus
Perhaps the thing that bothers Christians about Christmas more than anything else is the Santa Claus
tradition. Objections to this tradition include the following (1) Santa Claus is a mythical figure endowed with
godlike attributes, including omniscience and omnipotence; (2) when children learn that Santa Claus is not
real, they lose faith in their parents’ word and in supernatural beings; (3) Santa Claus distracts children from
Christ; (4) the Santa Claus story teaches children to be materialistic. In the face of such weighty objections,
can anything good be said about Santa Claus?
Before examining each of these objections, let it be noted that Christmas can be celebrated without Santa
Claus. Take Santa out of Christmas and Christmas remains intact. Take Christ out of Christmas, however,
and all that remains is a pagan festival. Whatever our individual differences however best to handle Santa