There is no set “holy days” that the church is required to keep, and there is no specific instruction in Scripture that tells believers to celebrate Christmas. Western nations did not observe Christmas as a festival until far beyond the biblical era. Christmas didn’t receive official recognition until the middle of the fifth century.
We think that since Romans 14:5–6 gives us the freedom to choose whether or not to commemorate a special day of the year, celebrating Christmas is not a matter of right or evil.
This page will explain what the Bible says about this subject, especially with regard to how the holiday is currently observed.
Should A Christian Celebrate Christmas?
Yes and no! You will have to decide whether you want to celebrate Christmas or not. To answer this question, let’s take a look at a brief history of Christmas.
An Overview of Christmas’s Pagan Origins
The central celebration of Christmas is the birth of Lord Jesus, the son of the Almighty. During the year of the Child jesus, we honor Emmanuel, also known as God with us, who temporarily lived among us in human form. The angels announced the announcement to Mary, Zacharias, and the shepherds. One of the places we went on our trip was Bethlehem. The shepherds and astrologers visited the infant Jesus around Christmas. There is no question that everything mentioned here is wholly Christian, and the Bible itself contains examples of it. All of these, together with manger scenes, Christmas songs, and Christmas Eve services, aid in our remembering and celebrating the birth of Emmanuel.
There is no denying the fact that some of the traditions that surround Christmas have a pagan origin. As far as we know, there is no exact date for the birth of Jesus. We do not find any indication in the Scripture that helps us determine what day of the year it is. According to the majority of scholars I have read, it is more likely that it happened during the spring than during the winter. Shepherds were always found to have their flocks out in the fields near Bethlehem on the day of the birth of Jesus. However, some argue against that as well.
What is the significance of celebrating his birth on December 25th? Many people consider this a date that has been marked on their calendars for a long time. December 25th was a day of celebration for many Romans, as it was the anniversary of Mithra’s birth. Additionally, the Romans had celebrations that were held around the winter solstice that was similar to those that we have today. Taking advantage of this date provided Christians with an opportunity to replace the pagan celebrations that were taking place at the same time with their celebration.
We also find in our celebrations a variety of decorations that are derived from pagan customs, as well as other traditions that are related to our celebrations. What matters is whether or not it matters. Honestly, I don’t think so. As far as the origins of these things are concerned, it doesn’t matter how they got into our celebrations. What matters is what we do with them now.
The truth is, the origin of Christmas does not lie in the Bible. The word “Christmas” itself comes from the pagan Roman festival Saturnalia, which was celebrated from December 17th to December 23rd. While it’s true that Jesus was born sometime around 6 B.C., no one knows exactly when; hence, there are many conflicting dates for his birth within our culture’s history. And while some Christians may celebrate Christmas because they want to experience joy during this time of year and others will simply do so because they have family traditions surrounding it (which I think is perfectly fine), neither reason should be used as an excuse for embracing a pagan holiday like Christmas Day itself—not if you’re truly following God’s Word!
In fact, according to various historians and scholars throughout history who have examined Christianity’s roots closely enough, it appears that early Christians did not celebrate Christmas at all! One scholar named David Wasserstein wrote an article back in 1998 titled “The Origins of Advent” where he discusses how early church fathers such as Tertullian had negative things to say about Roman festivals like Saturnalia being incorporated into Christianity:
The Secularization of Christmas as A Holiday
In the United States, at least, Christmas today seems to be essentially two separate celebrations that take place at the same time. Among these is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, which is held every year on the 25th of December. A different kind of celebration has grown out of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus and has evolved into something completely secular.
As Christmas becomes increasingly secular, the Christian origins of the holiday are becoming less and less evident. There is no better time to gather with family and friends than during the holidays. In the last few days of the year, retailers are making one last attempt to make a profit before the end of the year. It’s a time for giving and receiving gifts, so it’s a time for giving and receiving. “Merry Christmas” is now replaced by “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.” Christmas music is no longer about the one born in Bethlehem and placed in a manger, and public displays of manger scenes are becoming more and more controversial.
There is no doubt that the world around us is co-opting Christmas as a festival of consumerism in the name of consumerism. There is no reason for us to abandon our celebration of the birth of Jesus as a result of this. There is nothing bad about gathering together with family and friends, decorating our homes, and exchanging gifts with each other. Keeping in mind what Christmas is all about—remembering the gift of God to us—can enhance the joy of our celebration if we keep in mind what Christmas is all about.
The Spirit of Christmas
As far as I am aware, there is no indication that there was a celebration of Christmas in the earliest church. The focus of their attention was on what he had come for, the life he had called them to live as his disciples, and what they had been called to do. A time came when the church began to celebrate not only the death and resurrection of Christ but also the birth of Christ at the same time. The first time the Romans celebrated the birth of Jesus was in 336 A.D., according to History.com. There is no doubt about this. Historically, Christmas, or Christ Mass, was first referred to as “Christmas” in 1038, when it was recorded for the first time.
Christmas as A Christian Celebration
As a Christian, you may be wondering whether you should celebrate Christmas. The answer isn’t simple, as there are many factors to consider. But here’s one thing you should know: the Bible doesn’t say Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas!
The apostle Paul wrote about how Christians were always supposed to remember Christ and put aside their differences during this time of year (Ephesians 2:11-18). While none of the faith’s foundational documents indicate that the celebration should be abandoned altogether—or even that it needs to be avoided—there is no explicit mention of celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25th.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why celebrating this holiday can be beneficial for your spiritual growth as well as your relationships with others in your community. Whether or not you choose to celebrate Christmas doesn’t depend solely on what God says about it; instead, it depends on what makes sense for both yourself and those around you who may have different beliefs than yours (or no beliefs at all).
Be Convinced in Yourself
Is it appropriate for you to celebrate Christmas as a Christian? As far as I am concerned, that is a question that only you can answer. In regards to the question of whether or not to celebrate Christmas, the Scripture is silent. There are, however, several annual celebrations that were supposed to be remembered by the Jewish people and that have been mentioned in this passage. They were generally times of remembrance of what was done for them by God and of what he had done for them in the past. Therefore, it would not be a stretch to add other days to the calendar of remembrance to honor those individuals.
Perhaps the more important question for you is how much of the secular nature of this season you should participate in. Do you think it’s okay for your house to be decorated with lights? Is it a good idea to put up and decorate a Christmas tree? Do you think it would be a good idea to take the kids to see Santa Claus? Do you take part in the exchange of gifts or do you go to Christmas parties? In my opinion, you can find the answer to that question in Colossians 3:17, which states, “And whatever you do, whether it be in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” My opinion is that if you can do those things with a thankful heart and honor our Lord, then I can see no reason to do so. However, if you cannot, or you cannot do it, then it is probably not wise for you to do so.
In my opinion, the most definitive answer to the question of why and how we should celebrate Christmas is found in Romans 14:5–6a. The Apostle Paul, when discussing disputable matters, says that one person considers a particular day more sacred than another; whereas another considers every day equally sacred. Every one of them should have a firm conviction in his or her mind that they are right. “A person who regards a day as special to him or she does so in the Lord’s eyes.”
Paul would probably consider the celebration of Christmas to be a disputable matter if he identified it as something to be disputed. It is not right or wrong in any absolute sense of the word. You should celebrate Christmas in the name of the Lord if you plan to do so. In the same way, if you decide not to celebrate Christmas, then do that as well for the Lord. Several passages in the book of Romans teach us not to look down on or condemn people who do not practice the observance, or non-observance, of Christmas in the way that we do. In the end, it is a personal matter that each individual needs to decide for themselves.
As a final thought, I would like to conclude by saying that there is no legitimate scriptural basis for not celebrating Christmas. The Bible does not mandate the celebration of this holiday; however, it also does not give a clear mandate for it. Christmas is, of course, a personal decision that can be made depending on how you feel about the holiday. It is important that whatever Christians decide to do regarding their understanding of Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which they beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over whether or not they celebrate it. In all things, as in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it generously to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, irrespective of what our views are on Christmas.