Is celebrating Christmas a sin?

QUESTION: Is celebrating Christmas a sin? I've heard that its foundation is very pagan and evil.

A: Those who disapprove of believers celebrating Christmas do so for two main reasons:

1. They cite the fact that the Christmas holiday emerged from pagan celebrations and was ultimately taken over by a Christian theme. But the roots, they passionately assert, are pagan in nature.

2. Secondly, they point to Jeremiah chapter 10 which says in part:

...the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Jeremiah 10:3-4 (ESV) 

Based on those two points many people are discouraged from celebrating this "evil" holiday. So let's look into this closely.

Pagan Roots?

So, does our modern celebration of Christmas have pagan roots? Well, the fact is, the ancient pagans did a lot of celebrating. And many of the acts connected with their celebrations bear a strong resemblance to some of our Christmas customs. There's no denying it. And December 25th is almost certainly not the date of Christ's birth. The fact is, many other pagan celebrations occurred around that time of year, so it's quite possible that Christians chose that date to present an alternative reason for celebrating something that was Christ-centered. Here's my response to all that.

So what?

The fact is, I'm not a pagan. I'm a Christian—a follower of Jesus—and as such, everything I do I desire to do for the glory of God. That means when December 25th rolls around I choose to celebrate the greatest gift that God gave to mankind in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Does it bother me that Jesus wasn't born on December 25th? Absolutely not! And quite honestly it doesn't matter to me if we celebrate on December 25th or June 13th. I know for sure that Jesus was I choose to celebrate that birth. That fact that I choose December 25th is nothing more than a convenience. And the knowledge that pagans celebrated some holiday or other on that day means absolutely nothing to me. As I said, I'm not a pagan, which means I don't celebrate nor even care about past pagan holidays.

Does the Bible Forbid Christmas Trees?

It's incredible how many people cite the passage I quoted above from Jeremiah 10:3-4 as a proof text that Christmas trees are forbidden in the Bible. But that is not what that passage is taking about. Rather it reveals how pagans would cut down trees and then use the wood to fashion idols, which they would proceed to adorn with silver and gold and then bow down and worship. The passage is one of many in the Old Testament where God's people are warned against the foolish practice of fashioning an image from the wood of a tree and then bowing down to it as if it were a god. It is is NOT talking about decorating Christmas trees. The context of the passage makes that abundantly clear.

The Bottom Line About Christmas

This whole discussion about the possible origins of Christmas deflects what is actually the real question we should be asking, which is: Is Christmas for you a true celebration of Jesus Christ? Quite honestly the possible roots of Christmas concern me a whole lot less than where Christmas is being taken today! It breaks my heart that secular overtones of Christmas have almost all but drowned out the biblical message of the Saviour's birth.

Perhaps you've seen the sign the American Atheists have been splashing all over billboards in our country boldly telling people to "Keep the Merry, and Dump the Myth." Frankly this is a far greater threat to Christmas than any possible pagan roots. Removing Christ from the celebration of His birth is so much more destructive to the our nation and we who are called by His name ought to be passionately battling this modern movement and using Christmas as an opportunity to tell people about the One who came to earth to save us from our sin.

Personally I'm sticking with Linus on this one. Let's tell people what Christmas is REALLY all about!

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