8th December 2013

Is Keeping Christmas Sin? 

“For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV UK) 

In my younger days, I believed that celebrating Christmas was a sin. I wanted to let the Bible guide me in everything I did and, since I couldn’t find any command in the Bible to keep Christmas, I concluded that keeping it must be a sin. Of course, it wasn’t very good logic, and it kept me from enjoying one of the most meaningful and joyous celebrations of the year. After all, if we never did anything that isn’t specifically commanded in the Bible, we wouldn’t have Sunday school, children’s church, English language Bibles, printing presses, public address systems, fire alarms or charcoal grills. None of these is specifically commanded in the Bible. If we avoided everything not specifically commanded in the Bible, we’d have to avoid celebrating, Mothering Sunday, Father’s Day, anniversaries, the dedication of a new church building and even memorials for departed members of our congregations. 

When I look back on those days, I feel a little silly. I wanted to be faithful to God and to his Word, but I was interpreting it all wrong. The fact that the Bible doesn’t command us to celebrate Christmas is not a valid argument against Christmas celebration. In fact, what is more worthy of celebration than the arrival of our Saviour to this world? 

Through Jesus, Paul writes in Colossians 1:20, God reconciled the world to himself. It was only fitting that at his birth people who loved God rejoiced in praise—and even the angels praised God. In Luke 2:10-14, an angel of God described the birth of Jesus as “good tidings of great joy for all the people.” The shepherds celebrated at the birth of Jesus. The wise men celebrated. Certainly Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Zechariah celebrated. And the host of heaven celebrated, too. It is certainly in keeping with the message of Scripture for Christians to do so as well. 

Of course, following the apostle Paul’s instruction in Romans 14, it is important that Christians respect one another’s views on this subject and not judge one another. Neither those believers who celebrate the birth of Jesus, nor those who don’t, are more righteous or more evil than the other. But it remains true that those who avoid any celebration of Jesus’ birth are unnecessarily missing out on the opportunity to rejoice, give thanks and praise God for the greatest gift of all time. 

Holy Father, the first coming of your son is certainly something to be celebrated. If he had not come, then our future with you would, could, never happen. So we give thanks for the babe in a manger, realising that he didn’t stay that way, but is today the all-power Jesus. In his name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


 joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

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