The time is here when folks’ thoughts turn to Christmas. Let’s start the season by asking whether our thoughts should turn to Christmas. At least once a year I see or hear someone say that Christians should not celebrate Christmas because the holiday was not created by God (unlike Passover, Yom Kippur, etc). Let’s address this question today.
First, where does the Bible say that we may only celebrate holidays that are ordained by God? I can think of no such place. The fact that God did ordain many festivals and holy days for the Israelites does not mean that they were only allowed to celebrate those days.
Which leads me to my second point: the Israelites did create new holidays of their own. The first was Purim in Ester 9:29-32. The Bible clearly does not say that God approved of this new holiday, but it also does not say that He didn’t. The text seems pretty neutral on the issue.
The second holiday the Jews created was Hanukah. This festival comes from the intertestamental period (1 Maccabees). This is only mentioned once in the Bible, and Jesus seems to be celebrating it (John 10:22-23). Even if He isn’t, there seems to be no negative treatment of the holiday.
Third, the New Testament does clearly say one thing about holidays: “do not let anyone judge you … with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day” (Col 2:16). I don’t think the apostle would say this is a big deal.
Finally, as Hank Hanegraaff likes to say, if you can’t celebrate Christmas, what can you celebrate? God gave up His glory in heaven to wrap Himself in human flesh – a sacrifice almost as great as the one at Calvary. It is absolutely appropriate to make a big deal out of that act of love and humility.
Next time we’ll look at the other big argument against celebrating Christmas: that it’s a pagan holiday.