Three Reasons Why Christians Should Not Celebrate Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, but should Christians hold this holiday in such high esteem? In this article, we look at three reasons why Christians should reject celebrating Christmas –

merry

1. The Earliest Christians  Didn’t Celebrate Christmas

As shocking as it might seem, the earliest Christians – including the apostles and disciples of Christ, had no such celebration. The early Church Fathers Iraenaeus and Tertullian omit any mention of it from their list of Christian feasts. The Church Father Origen argues that only sinners celebrate their birthdays. Furthermore, the early Christian apologist Arnobius ridiculed the pagan Graeco-Romans for celebrating the ‘birth’ of their gods.

Notoriously absent from any of the four gospel accounts is the mention of a yearly celebration of Jesus’s birth. During Jesus’s ministry, no such celebration is ever recorded. During the formative years of the Church, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, no such celebration is ever mentioned. One needs to ask, if such a celebration was essential to the Christian faith, wouldn’t Christ, his mother, his apostles and disciples have mentioned it? Whether Catholic or Protestant, Christian tradition does not record any yearly celebration or feast of Jesus’s birth in the Bible, nor is there any record of any yearly celebration or feast of Jesus’s birth in the early Church tradition until the 3rd century CE.

When mention of this celebration did occur, the dates listed were the 20th of May, the 19th or 20th of April and the 28th of March. Even if one wanted to celebrate the birth of Christ due to some late Church tradition, it would not be held in December. So, if you’re a Catholic or adhere to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, it’s going to be quite difficult to claim that Christmas is an essential Christian feast that merits the Christian faith. According to all historical records, Christmas is a later development, far removed from the time of Christ and early Christian apologists ridiculed the pagans for celebrating the ‘birth’ of their pagan gods.[1]

2. Christians Once Banned Christmas and Condemned it as a Heretical Festival

Citing a lack of ‘Biblical Justification’ and its ‘derivation from the Catholic tradition’, Protestant Christians in England banned Christmas in 1644. In further condemnation of the festival, the English’s Long Parliament in June 1647 passed an ordinance confirming the abolition of the feast of Christmas. Protestant Christians in England considered Christmas Trees, decorations and Christmas foods to be unholy pagan rituals.[2] Across the Atlantic, Christians in America soon followed suit. Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681, and it did not become a legal holiday in the New England until 1856.[3]

sadsanta

3. Christmas in a Christian Perspective

The festival now known as ‘Christmas’ is derived from the Old English phrase Cristes Maesse, first noted in 1038 CE.[4] While the first use of Christmas Trees – the Evergreen Fir Trees, was adopted from the pagan usage of them for decorating their homes during the winter solstice. Similarly, it is documented that pagans also used them for decorating their temples during the festival of Saturnalia. The first documented use of the Christmas Tree was in the cities of Tallinn in Estonia (1441 CE) and Riga in Latvia (15010 CE).[5]

Taking into consideration the previous evidences – there was no yearly celebration of Christ’s birth recorded to be done by Christ, his family, the apostles or the disciples. No mention of a yearly celebration of Christ’s birth by the early Church, and early renunciations of this practise as a pagan festival by at least one noted Christian apologist. The dates for Christ’s birth are not only historically uncertain, none of the recorded date coincide with the month of December. The festival itself was banned by Christian nations, with those prohibitions being based on a lack of scriptural evidence and an acute similarity to pagan festivals.

Christmas itself is not, and has not been for a long time about the nativity or Jesus. The most famous character during the Christmas season is Santa Claus. Worldwide search trends since 2004 record Santa Claus being the dominant search term, exponentially outpacing Jesus Christ on a year to year basis during the Christmas Season by a factor of 7:

cc-2015-santavsjesus

Commercialization. Holiday sales account for at least 1/5th or ~20% of retail industry’s sales in the US. The holiday season accounts for more sales than Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter, and St. Patrick’s Day combined.

cc-2015-christmassales

Notably, the only time Jesus is said to have reacted violently, is recorded in the Gospels when money changers were using the Temple as a marketplace. In essence, people were using something holy for commercial means, not unlike what we find with the commercialization of the Christ-mass season today. A cursory reading of Matthew 21:12-13 or of John 2:14-17 makes it absolutely clear that the commercialization of Jesus’s name is something of great disrepute.

All in all, Christmas is not about Jesus. It’s not essential to the Christian faith and it’s not a practise found in the early Christian tradition. Christians who practise Christmas today are practising a festival that took hundreds of years to develop, a festival which adopted pagan practises, a festival which has no Biblical basis, a festival that is more about retail sales and Santa Claus than it is about the person of Jesus the Christ.

Christians have an important decision to make. Either you go against the grain and reject this pagan-commercialized syncretic holiday or adopt a non-Biblical modern commercial holiday:

Aggravation is better than merriment
because a sad face may lead to a glad heart.
4 The wise heart is in the house that mourns,
but the foolish heart is in the house that rejoices.
5 It is better to obey the reprimand of the wise
than to listen to the song of fools,
6 because the fool’s merriment
is like nettles crackling under a kettle.
That too is pointless.

– Ecclesiastes 7:3-6.

and God knows best.

Sources:

1 – Martindale, Cyril Charles. “Christmas.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 24 Dec. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm&gt;.

2 – Burton-Hill, Clemency. “When Christmas Carols Were Banned.” BBC. BBC, 19 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Dec. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20141219-when-christmas-carols-were-banned&gt;.

3 – Melina, Remy. “The Surprising Truth: Christians Once Banned Christmas.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 24 Dec. 2015. <http://www.livescience.com/32891-why-was-christmas-banned-in-america-.html&gt;.

4Ibid – 1.

5 – “The History of Christmas Trees on Whychristmas?com.” The History of Christmas Trees. Web. 24 Dec. 2015.<http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/trees.shtml&gt;.



Categories: Bible, Christianity

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27 replies

  1. I stopped celebrating it in the couple of years before I converted to Islam.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t see anything wrong in it myself. If Christians want to celebrate the birth of Jesus in this way they are free to do so and they are not breaking any laws in so doing, in my view.

    It would be a weird bunch of Christians who don’t want to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If Christians adapt a pagan festival to do so that is their freedom I believe. I agree it is not compulsory from a biblical point of view.

    If the non-Christian masses choose to celebrate Christmas in their way as some kind of cultural heritage so be it. It doesn’t bother me. Seems to bother Muslims though.

    Like

    • madmanna

      I say;
      If the non-Christian masses choose to celebrate Christmas in their way as some kind of cultural heritage so be it. It doesn’t bother me. Seems to bother Muslims though.

      I say;
      It bothers some Christians too. According to Christian, it is a sin to celebrate Christmas

      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Christians in the West claim the spirit of the age of enlightenment for themselves. Yet they celebrate this irrational spectacle including lying to their children and inventing a “Christmas gospel”. Etc pp

      Like

  3. Interesting and thoughtful article.

    To share my own perspective –

    I’m aware of pagan elements and influences, and general commercialisation, but though not binding on Christians it’s a great reminder to celebrate Christ, and to spend time in love with our friends, families and communities.

    And speaking as a church attendee and former Christian Union representative, it’s one of the best chances of the year to bridge the religious divide with non-Christians, and share the Gospel with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Richard, I appreciate it, though I must disagree.

      I imagine that you are not Catholic or Orthodox, if you are, do correct me. However, I am certain that almost anything can be excused if one paints it as a “great reminder to celebrate Christ”. It’s superficial, papering over clear cracks, that open the door for syncretism. Which is how we end up with folk-Saints in South America or Africa. Which is how we ended up with Spiritual Baptism here in Trinidad. Which is also how we ended up with the Rastafari movement.

      I think John Loftus discusses this in the anthological work, the End of Christianity.

      Best Regards,

      Liked by 3 people

    • It seems christians cannot be together except in the falsehood!
      ” I’m aware of pagan elements….but”
      What is the but for?
      The prophet pbuh said
      “He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.” by Abu Dawud ( Sahih).
      You are celebrating of paganism, indeed. You have no concept of ( Silat Alrahem) becuse you are lawless people. You don’t have divine teachings.
      Thank God for Islam.

      Like

    • Richard,
      In regard to your comment, “it’s one of the best chances of the year to bridge the religious divide with non-Christians, and share the Gospel with them.”

      Christians may share the Gospel with whomever they like, but when non-Christians actually read that Gospel, and don’t find anything written therein about Christmas trees, or the cartoonish Santa Claus, Rudolph the red nose reindeer and Frosty the snowman (etc.), they may realize that Christianity has incorporated much falsehood within its traditions. When they look further and find that that there are no verses in which God, or Jesus condone the celebration of Jesus Birthday, in combination with the rest of the facts in the above main post, then I think at that point Christmas becomes a serious LIABILITY in gaining and maintaining converts (let alone thinking Christians who reflect upon these things as well).

      The message that comes out loud and clear to many non-Christians every year at Christmas, is that Christians seem to modify and change their faith at will, without concern or respect for the original integrity of their own religious tradition. They seem to prefer cartoon characters, myths, paganistic customs, lies, invented stories, and innovations in lieu of a religious practice purified of all such falsehoods which ultimately only serve corporate interests in distracting from the worship of the one true almighty God (Allah).

      Anyone who understands his own religion and then witnesses the spectacle of Christmas is quickly reminded of the danger of innovation in religion, and the deviations, both serious and trivial, that it can lead to. It is hard if not impossible for anyone who truly believes in the everlasting eternal monotheistic One God to trade that belief for an ill-conceived trinitarian god who had a “Birthday” even if you sweeten the deal with some Christmas presents, Turkey Dinner and a pecan pie.

      (We might accept the pecan pie, but you can keep your Gospel!)

      Like

    • I also agree with Ijaz, that anything can be justified or excused if one paints it as a “great reminder to celebrate Christ” even ignoring the scripture itself in order to adopt paganistic practices which the Bible forbids:

      Jeremiah 10:1-5 forbids the paganistic practice of decorating of Christmas trees:

      Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD:
      Do not learn the way of the heathen,
      or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens;
      for the nations are dismayed at them.
      3 For the customs of the heathen peoples are false:
      a tree from the forest is cut down,
      and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan;
      4 people deck it with silver and gold;
      they fasten it with hammer and nails
      so that it cannot move.
      5 Their idols[a] are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
      and they cannot speak;
      they have to be carried,
      for they cannot walk.
      Do not be afraid of them,
      for they cannot do evil,
      nor is it in them to do good.

      Like

    • Hi all, thanks for your thoughts 🙂

      A common theme to these comments seems to be the danger of syncretism/paganism. But I don’t think Christmas runs that risk quite simply because we’re not worshipping Santa etc., and we’re not claiming that all of the Christmas traditions actually are a part of our faith – e.g. to be a Christian does not mean you must believe in Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

      I also think it’s fine to use something pagan or of another religion if it’s divested of the original meaning. For example, Muslims say As-salam a leikum to each other (don’t know how it’s spelt, apologies), as well as Inshallah. I think these are good traditions, even though they come from (in my view) a false religion. So I say them (very) occasionally, not at all feeling any less of a Christian.

      To provide an analogy – if mankind invented glass because a pagan society worshipped and burned sand, would monotheists forever deprive themselves of glass?

      Like

    • Hi Richard,

      I would disagree with you, there are many Christians who would dare not celebrate Christmas. Whether it’s the story of the 3 wise men, or placing a manger scene outside their homes/ churches, or having a Christmas sermon, or fighting secularists to place Christian Christmas symbols in public places, all these customs do clearly indicate that there is a cultural Christianity, which is as a result of syncretism. I would think it is hard to deny that the vast majority of Christians see Christmas as something special and important (at least 96% of them do: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/23/christmas-also-celebrated-by-many-non-christians/).

      There’s a distinct difference from the use of a production material and the worship of something. This is effectively the fallacy of poisoning the well, which I am certain you are well acquainted with. I am though bothered by something you said. You initially claimed there is no syncretism ongoing, but then argued that it was okay that it should happen (if devoid and divested of its original meaning). I am not sure how that reasoning follows, but it is faulty at best, you are both against and for syncretism.

      From my perspective, it is unjustifiable to combine pagan worship practises with that of Christianity, merely because you think cultural Christianity has left the origin devoid of its purpose. That’s effectively being open to adding new traditions, adopted from other cultures which being a Prostestant should ring a bell for you. How many Protestants do we find today that criticise and condemn the Catholic Church for “unbiblical” traditions? When at the same time, you are becoming the very tradition your very faith demands you condemn.

      Best Regards,

      Like

    • “. I think these are good traditions, even though they come from (in my view”
      Greeting by Alsalam is not ” tradtion” ! It’s from our religion which is true religion. It’s in Quran!
      We don’t do things that we believe they have come form pagan sources. Here’s the difference!

      Like

  4. A light in the darkness is just what the world needs – Merry Christmas to you all!

    Like

  5. Celebration of post truth and fake news

    Like

    • Christmas is about the Sun God as much as the Kaaba is about pagan worship of a stone.

      Like

    • LuxAeterna

      While the root of Kaaba is from Prophet Abraham, the root of Christmas is from Paganism, as everyone including Christians know.

      Muslims are going to Kaaba because of Prophet Abraham and not because of Pagans. The Pagans were descendants of Abraham and from centuries, still worship Allah, the God of Abraham but added other gods to the only one and alone Allah. That is shirk and prophet Mohammed came to correct the pagans but continue with the rituals prophet Abraham and his children were doing when they build the first place to worship only Allah the God of Abraham.

      So, the different is the root here. While the root of Kaaba and its rituals came from Abraham, the prophet of God who practice monotheism, Christmas has its roots from pagan practices. Do you understand?

      Thanks.

      Like

  6. That is what you think – historians would disagree with you “Intellect”.

    Like

    • LuxAeterna

      Sometimes historians got things we think wrong. Most historians did not agree Moses parted the red sea or there is flooding in Noah’s time but I and you believed all happened.

      So, I am telling you that we think prophet Abraham built the Kaaba with his children to worship the only, one true God who is alone to be worshiped. Muslims are doing all these rituals just because of prophet Abraham and not the pagans who also believed in Allah the God of Abraham but added other gods to Him.

      Most historians will believe Arabs were descendants of Ishmael so there is some historicity to this. The Arabs whether Jews, Christians, Muslims or Pagans believed in Allah the God of Abraham from the time of Abraham till today. That is the history behind it.

      When you perform Hajj rituals, there are some evidences we believe trace back to prophet Abraham(pbuh). When we visit to perform Hajj, our minds is on how God blessed Abraham and have prayers to God for Abraham and all the prophets. No idol thinking in Hajj. We are just happy to touch the first building by a prophet of God to serve only one true and alone God who created everything and kiss a stone that we think is from heaven to guide Abraham to know the coordinate of the building but not to worship any thing apart from the God that created everything like Jews kissing the western wall in Jerusalem to remind them about Moses and the holiness of the place.

      With that said, it is clear to everyone including 99.9% of historians that Christmas is purely from Pagan rituals without tracing its source from any prophet of God but from Greeko/Roman gods.

      Thanks.

      Like

  7. “One aspect of the worship of the pre-Islamic Arabs that attracted the attention not only of Greek and Latin authors who came in contact with Arab society but also of later Muslim authorities on the Age of Barbarism was a widespread cult of stones. For both sets of observers it seemed odd to venerate stones, whether they were totally unshaped or fashioned into some kind of very rudimentary idol. It was not, of course, the stones that were being worshiped but an animated spirit within them.” (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994)

    Like

    • LuxAeterna

      We never mentioned the name of any stone. We mentioned the name of Allah alone. Sometimes we mention the name of Abraham and some prophets and asks Allah to bless them and bless us like how He blesses them. That is the purpose of Hajj. Yes, the Arab Pagans might have influence from other idol worshipers and that is why the Prophet destroyed all like how Prophet Abraham destroyed the idols of his house.

      You see the commonality that traced the building of Kaaba by Abraham?

      If the Christians had destroyed all the Christmas trees of the Greeko/Roman pagan worship, and praying to the only one true God of Abraham, we would not have been here talking about the Christmas which is a Greek/Roman practice.

      And what is the qualification of F.E. Peters? What university or academic Institution does he belong?

      Thanks.

      Like

  8. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD): ”The Arabs worship stone”.

    Like

    • LuxAeterna

      Clement of Alexandria is wrong and don’t know what he was talkin about. Some Arabs were Christians at his time and some Arabs were Jews, Pagan and Muslims. It is disingenuous for him to say “The Arabs worship stone” because Arabs are diverse in their religion.

      It is just like me saying the people of USA worship 3 Gods. It is not a true statement.

      Even the Pagans worship the God of Abraham Allah. They just added other gods to the one god to make them polytheists and idolaters. Mr. Clement should have better known this.

      Muslims never worship stone and do not mention any stone or Kaaba in their prayers but worship Allah the God of Abraham who is one, only and alone. Muslims never celebrate a birthday of stone, goddess of love, sun/son God, etc. but Christmas is about the birth day of the Sun/Son God of the Greeko/Romans.

      Thanks.

      Like

  9. Wrong “Intellect” – Clement of Alexandria was an eye witness, who saw the widespread worship of stones among Arabs some 500 years before the birth of Islam.

    Like

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