Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           December 12, 2010                           NO. 50

 Who Put Christ In Christmas?
    At this time of year we often hear, "Keep Christ in Christmas." But, who put Him there?
1) Did God? God "sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 Jn. 4:14) and Jesus only acted or spoke on His Father's authority (Jn. 6:38; 12:49). But, where in the New Testament (NT) did the Father give the Son instructions for celebrating His birth? The birth of Jesus was the Father's will (Gal. 4:4) and Matthew and Luke record it. But, did God put Christ in the tradition celebrated as Christmas? No, God never gave instructions for "Christmas" anywhere in the NT. So, God didn't put Christ in Christmas.
2) Did Jesus? Jesus has all authority (Mt. 28:18). So, did the founder, foundation and head of the church (Mt. 16:18; Col. 1:18) put Himself in Christmas? Where in the NT did He say so? In what NT passage did He teach His disciples to celebrate Christmas? It cannot be found, thus, Jesus did not put Christ in Christmas.
3) Did the Holy Spirit? Jesus promised the apostles the Spirit would guide them "into all truth"(Jn. 16:12-15). Perhaps the Spirit put Christ in Christmas? If so, we must accept His word keeping "Christ in Christmas" for to reject the Spirit is to reject God (1 Cor. 2:10-13; cf. Acts 5:3,4,9). But, the Spirit never even revealed the word "Christmas" in the NT. So, the Spirit certainly did not put Christ in Christmas.
4) Did the Apostles? To reject the word of the apostles is to reject the word of Christ and God (Lk. 10:16; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 4:1,2,8). The "apostles' doctrine" is "the doctrine of the Lord" (Acts 2:42; 13:12). Perhaps the apostles put Christ in Christmas? Most allege that "keeping Christ in Christmas" is an important duty; so surely we should find the first devoted disciples of the Lord doing so. But, no where in the NT do we find disciples at the behest of the apostles observing Christmas. So, the apostles did not put Christ in Christmas.
    The facts are, "scholars believe Christmas originated in the 4th century as a Christian substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice" and "The Bible provides no guidelines that explain how Christmas should be observed, nor does it even suggest that it should be considered a religious holiday." (
    Friends, the Bible is silent concerning the observance of any religious holiday connected with Jesus' birth. If we heed Paul and Peter's admonitions not to go "above that which is written" (1 Cor. 4:6) and "If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11) we will not "keep Christ in Christmas" nor celebrate it as a "religious holiday". To "keep Christ in Christmas" is to follow the traditions of man and it is being "turned from the truth" (Titus 1:14) and "turned aside to fables" (2 Tim. 4:4) making our worship vain (Mt. 15:9).
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    Most brethren understand that we are to assemble on the first day of the week and partake of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7), and we are not to bring in special religious "holy days" invented by men. Paul rebuked the Galatians as he said, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years" (Gal. 4:10). Denominations have brought in Christmas, Easter, and even Mother's Day as special religious holidays. Regarding Christmas, we understand that there is no authority to celebrate the birth of Christ as a special religious holiday or to put "Easter Sunday" above others to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
    The number of congregations, among brethren, who have started celebrating Christmas and Easter as special religious holidays just like the denominations do, are probably few. Increasingly, however, many brethren seem to be moving in that direction. On a Sunday morning around Christmas, the preacher may get up before the congregation and say, "We all know that we do not celebrate the birthday of Christ as a religious holiday, but since that subject in on our minds, during this holiday season, I want to focus my sermon today on the birth of Jesus Christ." On "Easter Sunday," he may say, "We commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ every Sunday with the Lord's Supper, but since this is the Sunday when Easter is celebrated by the world, and it is already on the minds of everyone, my sermon today will be on the crucifixion of Christ." In the children's classes, special emphasis may be placed on these two subjects at the time that the holidays occur.
    What about Mother's Day? Denominations commonly have Mother's Day as a special Sunday. The preacher may preach a sermon on "Mothers." Poems might be read about moms, and perhaps the oldest and youngest mothers will be asked to stand up, and they might be presented a rose.
    How are we moving in that direction? Many preachers, in otherwise sound congregations, on Mother's Day find that day a "convenient" time to preach on the subject of Motherhood since "we are all thinking about it." Articles, and often poems, are put into the bulletin about "mother" on that day. There is nothing wrong in having a special day to honor our mothers, but some congregations, I'm afraid, are starting to get closer and closer to observing Mother's Day as a special Sunday like the denominations do.
    It might be argued that a preacher could preach about mothers, the birth of Christ, and the death and resurrection of Christ throughout the year on any Sunday. That is true, but we need to ask ourselves this question, "Will a visitor, a few years from now, be able to tell any real difference between our services on Mother's Day, Easter, and Christmas and the services of a typical denomination?" Perhaps not if trends continue. Some are already starting to advertise Easter Sunday Services. Again, it should be emphasized, that a preacher can preach on these subjects whenever he wants to, but we need to be careful lest we drift into becoming like the denominations in observing unauthorized days. Remember that the road to total apostasy is usually traveled by very small steps at first.
---Mike Johnson
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"You can't do much about your ancestors, but you can influence your descendants enormously."
"If you think of this world as a place intended simply for your happiness, you might find it quite
intolerable. But think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad."     
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