There are a growing number of Evangelicals
who are concerned about Christmas and whether it should be celebrated by true believers.
There are various reasons for this distress, the main one being the pagan origins of the
25 December festival. There is historical evidence that Christmas was not observed by the
early church fathers and it was the Roman church which adapted the `Natalis Solis Invicti'
(birth of the sun-god) and `Saturnalia' festivals. Further, there is no Scriptural
injunction to celebrate Christmas. Also, the secularisation and commercialization of
Christmas troubles many believers.
Some believers feel that for the above reasons Christmas
celebrations should be shunned.
We submit some other points to consider - indeed good
reasons why Christians should take full advantage of Christmas:
1. Ungodly origins are not always a reason to reject what
God has allowed. Two examples:
a) Jesus is the King. No Christian disputes that. Yet,
kings have an ungodly origin. Indeed, this pagan tradition was so prevalent that the early
Israelites demanded their own king - much to God's displeasure.
But, in God's eternal wisdom He allowed it to happen and
Jesus is today proclaimed King of Kings.
b) Cities have a very shady origin. The first inhabitants
of cities, the Bible tells us, were the descendants of Cain. The Bible generally speaks
about the evil of cities. Yet, we believers shall dwell in the holy City, the New
2. Christmas is the only remaining Christian event which
virtually the whole world acknowledges (even Cuba has recanted on its past banning of
Christmas celebrations). It is an opportunity to proclaim Christ and the real meaning of
His glorious birth. The giving of presents, festivities and the general (though temporary)
feeling of goodwill can be used by Christians around the world to proclaim the Good News
of the real Gift, the Christ Child, who was born to die and give us the gift of pardon
from sin and eternal life.
3. Despite growing ignorance about the reason for
Christmas most people still have some vague knowledge that the celebration is connected to
the birth of Christ. Believers should take advantage of this and pass on the full message
of the meaning of Christ incarnate. At least it is one time during the year when the
secular world is more receptive to the Good News. Unconverted church members have some
tinge of conscience and are willing to attend a Christmas service. What an opportunity to
proclaim the Gospel!
4. Jesus and His disciples and the history of the church,
have shown that opportunism is not always a bad thing. Indeed, the zealous Christian will
use every opportunity, in season and out of season, to proclaim the Gospel. Paul was even
willing to address ungodly philosophers in heathen surroundings on Mars Hill.
5. There are increasing attempts to `deChrist' Christmas.
Many companies do their best to avoid the word Christmas and will rather refer to Season's
Greetings. All the more reason to emphasize the Lordship of Christ in Christmas and all of
As the Editor of Evangelical Times (December 1997 No.12)
puts it: Of course, opportunism is not adaptation. Jesus and the apostles did not adapt
their message to the culture of their time. They did not modify the Gospel to suit their
hearers. To do that must be wrong. But we must not let a fear of making mistakes keep us
from taking every opportunity to preach the Gospel and using familiar things as vehicles
for the unchanging truth.
by K. Olsen