Marvin L. Weir
The Lord’s church suffers greatly in today’s politically correct climate and people’s erroneous beliefs regarding the “Christmas holiday.” The church of Christ surely cannot please the world but neither can the precious bride please those who subscribe to man-made religious creeds and convictions. Most people of religious persuasion today believe a person is anti-God if he will not say “Merry Christmas.” Why is this? It is because of one’s conviction that December 25th is the day to celebrate the birth of Christ. And, in their mind, if one refuses to say “Merry Christmas” or place religious emphasis on this holiday, this makes this person anti-religion or anti-Christ.
According to most people of religious conviction, the birthday of our Lord is the reason for this holiday season. Because of this conviction, many who believe in God and Christ are adamant about “putting Christ back in Christmas” or demanding that people say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” In their minds, the term “Happy Holidays” is a lack of Christian conviction, and is caving in to secular pressure to eradicate Christianity.
The American Family Association has even suggested that businesses be put on a “Naughty” or “Nice” list based upon whether their employees greet shoppers with “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” AFA’s Walker Wildmon “asserts that Christians must continue to stress the importance of retailers keeping Christmas themes in stores — instead of caving in to secular pressures to de-Christianize the holiday dedicated to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.”
As God said, “Come now, and let us reason together…” (Isa. 1:18). The real reason for the season is not God’s authoritative Word but rather the Roman Catholic Church. One searching the Scriptures will search in vain for the birthday of Christ. God obviously did not want the Savior’s birthday to be celebrated as a religious holiday or He would have recorded and commanded that such be done. The December 25th birthday of our Lord is a mixture of Christianity and paganism, and for such we give full credit to the Pope and Roman Catholicism. Speaking of Christmas, Philip Schaff says, “We find it first in Rome, in the time of the bishop Liberius, who on the twenty-fifth of December, 360, consecrated Marcella, the sister of St. Ambrose, nun or bride of Christ…” (History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, chapter 7, #77, pp. 394-396). This information reveals that the celebration of Christ’s birthday did not exist for the first three hundred plus years of New Testament Christianity. As one contemplates this truth, he must admit that the religious observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin. This being true, the observance of Christmas as a meaningful, religious holy day (originally, “Christ’s mass,” or “Festival,”) comes from the wishes and authority of man but not the authority of God!
If people honor the Bible as the inspired, authoritative Word of God, they will realize that there is absolutely no authority to insert Christ into a pagan holiday and celebrate His birth. Modern day religion gives lip-service to the Bible, but they see no need for Biblical authority for what is done in worship or practice. This attitude allows one to do as he pleases when it comes to worship or living as a Christian. Christians are commanded, “And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, (do) all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17). To act in the name of someone is to act by his authority. This means that all we do of a religious nature must be done according to the mind and will of Christ as declared in the glorious gospel. If people would accept and practice Bible authority, it would immediately end all denominations which are built upon man-made creeds, and all unauthorized practices such as observing Christ’s birthday, or any other religious holiday. Again, one will search the Bible in vain for such a Divine command!
We have seen thus far in our study that the early Christians did not celebrate the birthday of Christ. In fact, the day and month of the Lord’s birth is not mentioned in the Bible. Does one truly believe that God wanted His Son’s birthday to be remembered and celebrated but forgot to give us the date of His birth and forgot to authorize it? No, God has not forgotten to authorize the things that He would have man to do to honor and glorify His name!
We live in a world where national holidays are observed, but none of these holidays are authorized as a religious holy day in the Scriptures. December 25th can be observed as a national holiday like any other holiday to visit with friends and family. It becomes a violation of God’s law only when one seeks to recognize it as a religious holy day and connect it with the birth of Christ. Giving gifts and eating meals in and of themselves are not wrong — just do not associate these things with the religion of the Bible or the birth of Christ!
Please understand that it does not mean that members of the Lord’s church are anti-Christ or anti-God for refusing to say “Merry Christmas” or for not celebrating the birth of Christ. The simple truth is that Jesus Christ was not born in Bethlehem so the world would celebrate His birth once a year. He was, however, born to become the Savior of all mankind. God freely gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), and Jesus Christ came to earth to die on Calvary’s cross for our sins (Rom. 5:8). The Lord was raised from the dead, and we are commanded to remember His death (not birth) every first day of the week (Luke 22:19ff; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:26). The only day that is of special significance to the Christian is Sunday — the first day of the week. A failure to recognize God’s authority will lead to men getting things backwards — celebrating Christ’s birthday for which there is no authority while neglecting to partake of the Lord’s Supper each Sunday for which there is authority (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20).
May we respect and demand authority from God’s Word in all matters pertaining to religion!