“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
This past Christmas season was a great time for me, only that there was so much fuss about whether or not Christmas should be celebrated by Christians. Some took it upon themselves to go dipping their hands into the unknown history of speculations in search of arrows of condemnation to shoot at those who chose to celebrate. But in this article I wish to talk on that issue and bring it into clear light lest the next Christmas season be ruined again. I shall therefore be presenting the points of those opposed to the celebration of Christmas and give a response to it as to why their argument is not only inadequate, but outrightly uncalled for.
Christmas: A Celebration Of Nimrod’s Birthday
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.”
“Nimrod was born on the 25th of December” is by far the most absurd anti Christmas argument I’ve heard. How do people know that he was born on the 25th of December? They just bring up one funny photo of an old artifact and say that is Nimrod. Because they have such a photo they think anything they say should be believed as accurate. The exact day of birth of Jesus, David, and Abraham is not known, despite the thorough tradition of keeping genealogy of the Jews, yet the exact day of Nimrod’s birth is known. That’s pretty wonderful.
The thing that baffles me about this people is that when they’re told Jesus was born on 25th December, they rightly refuse to accept that as true not seeing enough evidence for the claim. They’d ask you the intelligent question, “where is it written in the Bible?” Very good. But when they are told Nimrod was born on 25th December, despite not having any evidence apart from the photo of the artifact of a funny looking head of which we don’t know whether it is even a representation of Nimrod, his brother, his father, or somebody else entirely, maybe even the person who put forward the argument, yet they believe. The Bible did give an account of Nimrod’s birth but remains silent on the day of his birth. Yet when this our friends who acted intelligently before are told that Nimrod was born on the 25th of December, they forget to ask this time, “where is it written in the Bible?” I don’t understand why they do this but I’ll leave it at that for now.
Observing Times Is Evil
“Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
(Galatians 4:10 – 11)
Another argument I heard is that it is wrong to keep days, months, times, and years. This they claim misquoting and misapplying the verse above. But in his epistle Paul is quite clear that he’s not condemning the practice itself but that the fact they sought justification by these things. The people who put them forward claimed that they were required to do these things in order to be Christians which is entirely false. This is what Paul was condemning.
To be sure about the fact that there’s nothing wrong in keeping days, Paul himself kept days. It is written, “For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.” (Acts 20:16). He also said himself, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” (1 Corinthians 16:8). If it was the keeping of days in itself that was evil, the day of Pentecost too should not have been kept by the apostle. It should even have been overlooked and not even mentioned in reference to a date of an appointment or coming event.
Furthermore, Christ himself observed days. He observed the Passover, and indeed it was on the day of the Passover that he introduced our holy sacrament of holy communion. For he said, “And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?” (Luke 22:11). He also said later on, “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15). This is Christ himself speaking and expressing his earnest desire to keep that day.
So it should be clear that keeping dates is not evil in itself. It is when we do it thinking that by it we are justified that such hope in mundane things becomes wrong, else Jesus would not have kept the day of Passover. Let us be careful the way we judge others. We may be “holier than thou,” but can never be holier than he. If he kept the days of the Passover, we must not attribute sin to the deeds of the holy One.
The Real Origin Of Christmas Celebration
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Certainly the claim that Nimrod was born on the 25th of December is a farce, now here’s how Christmas came about. What we have good records of is that 25th of December was indeed a pagan holiday of Saturnalia. But it was later changed to Christmas by Emperor Constantine when he got converted to Christianity.
It was well known in the church even before this time that 25th of December was not the day of birth of Jesus and was not in agreement to the assumptions of Bishops at this time and before this time. So it couldn’t have been that Constantine put it to celebrate the birthday of Christ. Rather, it is a way of saying, “Seeing we now know that there are no gods such as Saturn, therefore we cannot celebrate a non-existing god. For this reason this day shall now be used to the honour of the Living God by celebrating the incarnation of Jesus, the manifestation of the True God.”
For this reason, contrary to what many suppose, from many indications Christmas was not a celebration of the birthday of Christ but of the birth of Christ. Not the celebration of the day that he was born but the celebration that he was born. Such is not a thing that should attract condemnation of any kind.
To condemn this is just like condemning someone who was an idolater and used to read a book of magic, as he was trained to do, for one hour every 6pm. But after his conversion to the faith he says he can no longer be reading this book of magic but would instead dedicate such time to the reading of the Bible. Condemning Christmas is just like condemning this person for reading the Bible at the same time of the day saying he’s reading the Bible to the honour of the god he’s abandoned for the Living God. That is not only absurd but silly. That is how silly it is to say that people are celebrating the birth of Christ in honour of Nimrod or some strange god.
Now What Is The Celebration About?
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
(2 Corinthians 9:15)
Now, let is even come to the celebration itself. How is Christmas celebrated by the church? I know many people celebrate it in many ways. Businesses make the best of it to make sales, people use it as a period for partying, and what have you. But how is it celebrated by the church?
When people say celebrating Christmas is wrong, I am quite puzzled because apart from the holiday itself there’s very little that is done that should be qualified as celebration. I know that there’s a Christmas service held in which there’s a special emphasis on the birth of Christ, children act drama of his birth, etc. Outside church service, Christians use the opportunity of the holiday to visit one another, they share gifts, eat rice, and drink Malt. What else do Christians do during this period of the year? Drink the blood of slain animals? Spend the night in the graveyards making enchantments? Of course not. So what is bad in these things that should attract the condemnation of any rational being?
What’s With The Santa?
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
I heard some funny explanation of the origin of Santa Claus. I know we are prone to making such assumption when we’re sceptical about something. I for example used to enjoy listening to Enya, but I knew I had to stop listening to her songs as they were not Christian songs. It took me a while to eventually stop listening to her songs. At the time when I was trying to stop listening to her songs, I remember listening to a track titled “Tempus Vernum.” I jumped to the conclusion that she singing about something diabolic and sinister thinking Tempus meant tempest and Vernum is synonymous to venom. Well that helped me to stop listening to her music though. I was so convinced about this, but one day I thought it would be best to find out the meaning of Tempus Vernum so I could be sure of its exact meaning. To my greatest surprise I found that “Tempus Vernum” simply meant “spring time.” I laughed at myself with a wide mouth.
So I know we can draw funny conclusions on things, and so I was not surprised when I saw a post that said the true meaning of Santa Claus is Satan Claws. Why Satan Claws? Why not rat claws? And what is Satan clawing? Then they post a photo of one blued skinned guy, that looked like what you’d expect to see in Final Fantasy, and claimed that was the first Santa. That was so funny. The name Santa Claus however means Saint Nicholas, of which Claus is the corrupted version of Nicholas.
Now Santa is the only major aberration from the Christmas celebration that I know. I am opposed to introducing Santa into Christmas celebration by the church as there would be a conflict in the identity of the one who is the reason for the season. If we are going to be celebrating Christmas for any reason, we must focus on him of whom we are told shall be called Immanuel.
The Benefits Of Marking Days
“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”
Keeping of days has the benefit of helping to keep the event being marked in the memory, lest we forget. It serves as a memorial. However, let me make one thing clear, to as many as read their Bible regularly, those things which are written in it cannot be forgotten. For in all the verses admonishing us to keep the things we’ve heard (in the written word) in constant reminder, it is referring to doing so by consistently reading the Bible and not by marking days. The things we are to have in constant reminder are so much beyond what marking 365 days could suffice. However, such memorial could be of help to those who are slack concerning the faith and even those who are not, for while they may remember, they may as well have forgotten the essence of what is being marked. So let’s be clear in that.
Keeping of days has other benefits too, but Christmas has the major benefit of providing a good opportunity to share the gospel, and remind the world of her Saviour. When we celebrate it, it is a sign to the world to make them wonder and inquire about him who we celebrate. That is a good ground to share the gospel. It is only wisdom to try to keep, and preserve the celebration of Christmas for this benefit than to throw it away on the baseless grounds that it is marked on the 25th of December.
“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:6)
My conclusion on the matter therefore is that we ought not be judgmental on such issues. Romans 14 speaks clearly on how to handle such matters. It clearly says, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5). If any choose to celebrate, he does well and sin not. If another choose not to celebrate, he too does well and sin not. There is definitely sufficient reasons not to celebrate Christmas personally, but never enough reasons to condemn the celebration. So, while leaving it to the opinion of each individual to make up his mind, I will not take a stand for or against the celebration of Christmas. I however am strongly opposed to criticising or condemning those who choose to celebrate Christmas. That is both impious and unscriptural.
So let their be no condemnation of marking the day, only let us strive to ensure it is done in a godly way and in the glory of God. I pray God will help us to be convinced aright on the matter in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer: Dear Lord, it is your will for your church to be united on every issue. We therefore pray that you will help us to be united, according to your will, on the issue of Christmas to the glory of your name. Thank you for this great new year. Be exalted now and always. Amen.