• Michael Jakes

To Christmas or Not To Christmas? That is the Question

Updated: Nov 28, 2021


Rudolph. Santa. The elves. The lights. The tree. The toys. The songs. One popular song touts it as being ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. Yes, obviously I’m talking about Christmas. As a child all these things and more, were staples around my house. And all of those cartoons! I can still remember them all! And ‘The Yule Log’! Just sitting and watching that fire burn as the music played, or just having it on in the background as you moved around the house. I enjoyed it all so much--and I still have it on every Christmas morning!

This time of the year, all my memories of the season come back to me. How I would help my mother put out fruits and nuts on the table; how we would get the colorful lights out, unravel them and put them in the windows; how we would put some of those lights on our tree, and how I would make a star out of cardboard, and wrap it in aluminum foil and and place it on top of the tree. It should be noted that I had no idea what the significance of the star was; I only did it because the Christmas trees in the cartoons on television did it that way. And how could I forget the time that I decided one Christmas Eve that I was going to 'wait up' for Santa--because I wanted to see him for myself--only to be disappointed in the morning because I had fallen asleep. These were the Christmases I remember.

As a child growing up, I knew nothing about Jesus. I remember going to church on Easter a couple of times, but that’s about it. But when I got saved at the age of fifteen, everything changed. Christmas took on a whole new meaning. Now I really understood what Linus was talking about at the end of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ I finally learned what a manger was from that song 'Away In A Manger', that I learned in school; and I found out that the three wise men may not have been just three after all. And now, as a Christian, most importantly, I began to truly celebrate the birth of Christ.

You can call me naive, but up until a few years ago, I thought that all Christians celebrated Christmas in one way or another. I was most surprised to find out that this is not the case. The reasons many Christians don’t celebrate it varies. They range from ‘Christmas is not in the Bible’, and, ‘Jesus never told us to celebrate His birth', to ‘Christmas is a pagan holiday,’ and ‘Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th.’ Allow me to briefly address each; not so much theologically (though I will use scripture), but from a more practical point of view.

So, is Christmas in the Bible? I think it depends on what you mean. Will you find any of the trappings and traditions the world embraces there? No. Will you find the word ‘Christmas’ there? No. What you will find is the birth of Jesus Christ, including the events that led up to that magnificent event. The Holy Spirit through the various writers go to great lengths to describe and capture the mood of the times, along with the various people groups involved. There was Mary and Joseph, His divinely chosen parents. And there was Herod the King, fulfilling prophecy in his satanic attempt to destroy Christ. What about the 'lowly' shepherds visited by angels from on high? And of course the wise men from the east. It seems that every strata of society at the time all had a part to play in this wondrous story. His birth matters. But in spite of all this, should we celebrate this birth? First, let’s define the word:

celebrate = to publicly acknowledge a significant or happy day or event…to commemorate; observe; to honor, keep or remember

Isn’t this event worthy of all of this, seeing that it centers around our Saviour, Jesus Christ? The wise men thought so. They came a great distance to do so. They unabashedly proclaimed to Herod:

‘…for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him’ (Luke.2:2).

We read further that when they saw the star that they followed, standing over where young Jesus was, they responded by rejoicing with exceeding great joy (Matthew 2:10). This means that they were absolutely enthralled beyond measure over what had taken place! Is this not cause for celebration? And were they not celebrating?

The shepherds were also a part of this story. Their response to seeing the baby Jesus was also one of celebration. We read in Luke 2:20:  

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had seen, as it was told unto them.’ 

The glorifying and praising that I’ve been exposed to in my Christian walk, has always been indicative of celebrating.

And what about the angels? Luke 2:13-14 says:

’…And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

If the angels, who desire to look into these things concerning our salvation can honor Him in this way, based on His mere presence, and that as a baby, ladies and gentlemen I believe that not only do I have the right, but I am obligated to honor, praise, worship and yes, celebrate the fact of His coming to earth so that I could be saved! I am a recipient of the results of His grace!

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. (John 1:14)

As to Christmas being a pagan holiday, I am very well aware of this argument. I will not take the time to go into detail here, but whatever the reasons those involved did concerning this day, thousands of years ago, it has nothing to do with me now. I know many don’t see it this way. And no, I am not guilty of trying to take something evil, wrap it up in good, and make it alright. I truly believe that the birth of Christ ought to be celebrated; along with His life, His death, and His resurrection. I know I won’t change anyone’s thinking on the matter, and that’s not my purpose, but if we could all step back and take into account that these are things that we should remember daily, not just a couple of days out of the year, and that He is so worthy of it all! Even if your mind revolts against the word ‘Christmas’, celebrate Him. Of course we know Jesus was not born on December 25th (shepherds would not be out in the field with their sheep on a winter night), but if I choose to honor Him on this day, or any other day or days for that matter, I do not believe my Lord takes me to task for this.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (Colossians 2:16).

Each year around this time, we hear the usual rants from various churches, and individuals, warning us about the ‘evils’ of Christmas. We know the history--ad nauseum. What I want to know is, what then do you do with His birth? Ignore it? Downplay it? Treat it with scorn? Lock it up in the recesses of your mind, labeling it as 'unimportant'? Or tell people they are sinning if they acknowledge it? Fine, don't buy a tree, if you don't want one; tear down the holly and mistletoe if you need to; don't fashion your front door with a wreath if it offends you--but whatever you do, don't neglect Him--celebrate Him! Away with Santa (after all, Santa is ‘Satan’ spelled sideways, sort of, right?). No problem. And don’t get caught up in all of the commercialization. Good job. But do not forget Jesus. I know folk who praise and worship Him ferociously for this thing and for that; jumping, shouting and the like and rightfully so. But you cannot then turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the greatest miracle we’ve ever known; that is, the Incarnation. Our very salvation was made possible because of it. Unfortunately, folk get so caught up in keeping the letter of the law, that they step over the spirit of the law. Celebrate Jesus! 

In the final analysis, you can forget the fact Christmas means nothing more than a few days off from work for some, or an opportunity to embarrass oneself at the annual office party. That’s what the world does. I stand for Jesus. If He did not come, I would not be here; or else I would be here with no hope.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)

That’s Jesus. Praise Him!

What grace is this that brought my Savior down,

That made Him leave His glorious throne and crown. The one who made the earth, the sky and sea. Who put the stars in every galaxy! What condescension, Oh how can it be! What shame He suffered oh what agony! And then the death He died, For sinners crucified, What grace is this! What grace is this!

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.

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