Should Christians Abandon Christmas?
I celebrate the birth of our Savior. This is not meant as a condemnation on any. I am a questioner by nature, and as such, I think about, and examine, many things that are perhaps taken for granted. My inquisitive spirit is not meant to be a slight or offensive to any, for my thoughts are often detached and without feeling. I know this is sacred ground to some. Consider these words a thought experiment. Rather than dismissing the matter before hearing it, just consider what I have written on its own merit. If it fails, continue on your way, without giving another thought. Please read the entirety of this entry so as not to misunderstand, misrepresent or unduly dismiss me. If after everything, I am still a fool to you, let it be so, only let us be kind to one another.
Should Christians Abandon Christmas?
The answer to that question will be one of your own conscience, and I will not force the issue. However, I will here make the case that we should, not only as individuals, but as the entire body of believers, abandon Christmas.
First, let me say what are not my main arguments – those things that historically have been used to malign Christmas, although these things perhaps ought to be considered as aggravating circumstances to the discussion, so I will briefly mention them. Each will play a role in the final conclusion, however.
- This is not a post all about the pagan roots of Christmas.
Its true, the season of the Solstice and its accompanying festivals and traditions have strong roots in European paganism, and have found their way into our cultural celebration of Christ's birth. Festivals like Saturnalia, Yule, and the birth of Sol Invictus, are the direct precursors to our modern festivities. To some, this argument is compelling, because it shows Christmas is a textbook example of SYNCRETISM, the melding of true belief, with pagan practices, creating an offspring that looks unlike the original parts.
The most common objection to this by Christians is, “Well, the Lord knows my heart, that I am worshiping Him. When I do those things that have pagan origin, thats not the reason why I do them, so my heart is clean.” I imagine the same line of thinking was used in the Old Testament by the Israelites who were worshiping the Lord by sacrificing in the pagan High Places, and in the Asherah Groves. The logic is the same, and the logic was condemned by the Lord. I would also add, that whenever I hear someone say “The Lord knows my heart,” it is really a silent admission that they know they do wrong, but do not have the will to change it. If your heart is pure, why not let your actions match?
- This is not a post all about the evils of Santa.
We know Santa is not Jesus, so I will not belabor the point. I will say though that there is a conspicuous coincidence that “Santa” is an anagram for “Satan,” just a remixture of the letters. Also funny that these seemingly undying individuals, are seemly ever present, examining our actions in a red suit, flying around at night with their horned minions and supernatural helpers. One, we Lie about, the other is the Father of Lies. Funny coincidence is all.
Funny that Santa, in his modern conception, is a creation of the Coca-Cola corporation. Corporations, which seem to dictate the will, whim, and tone of the Christmas season anyway.
- This is not a post all about the evils of Commercialism.
Commercialism is Americanism, it is the Spirit of the Age, there is no avoidance.
So What Is This All About?
This is about abandoning Christmas because Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. I respect and admire the people who want to reclaim the “reason for the season,” however, its not an entirely true statement. The world is only taking back what was originally theirs (see reason #1). This holiday was co-opted by the Christians by executive decree of Constantine to ease the conversion of worshipers of Sol Invictus. The holiday is about Santa Claus now, Christmas Trees and presents. Its about fresh fallen snow, presents and candy canes. And presents. It has nothing to do with Jesus.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of tradition, there are the “traditions of men”, which are spoken evil of, as a corrupting force to the word of God, and there is the “tradition of Christ and the Apostles,” which we are to hold onto for dear life. Christmas is a time where the two traditions meet and intermingle, creating confusion and misinformation. Do we, who are the worshipers of the God who “hates every false way,” not care if our lump is leavened?
Not those three kings! In the books of Chronicles and Kings, there are basically three sorts of kings.
1. There are those who outright worship false gods.
1. There are those who outright worship false gods.
2. There are those who worship the Lord, but do not tear down the high places or discourage sacrifice there.
3. And there are those who worship the Lord and tear down the high places and the groves, restoring the unmingled worship of God.
We sometimes wonder why the second group didn't go all the way, and we often admire the last group of kings and honor them for their bravery and greatness. But just think how difficult it really is to overturn long-held mixed practices? It is very difficult, and those who wish to cling to the traditions of men tend to get angry that you would even call it into question. We don't purposefully want to be those who despoil the populous, but neither do we want to be afraid to do so if it is the right thing to do.
Which sort of King will you be?
Jesus did something similar when He overturned the moneychangers tables at the temple. Those men didn’t just show up that weekend deciding to change money. They were there for hundreds of years, as barrier to the worship of God, forcing people to use Temple Currency to buy sacrifices at incredible exchange rates. People always look to make money off of pure, innocent worshipers, but Jesus would have none of it. Is not Christmas, in many ways, a way to make money off of worshipers? Does it not make money a barrier to God? How many people, when financially struggling, feel they have had a “bad Christmas” because they couldn’t afford many, or expensive gifts? But in that day, He overturned that long-held tradition at the temple, establishing an new order of freedom to worship, apart from financial gain. He says, "Come and worship, no matter how much you have."
That is why I suggest we follow the earliest traditions and modern scholarship, and re-establish the birth of Christ at its rightful time, and celebrate it, unencumbered by worldly tradition, in a way that becomes Christians.
Instead, we carry on trying to clarify the confusion of the season.
Instead, we give credibility and ammunition to those who say “Christianity is just a repackaging of pagan practices.” They point to our holidays as a means to make their point.
One thing I've learned, is when you're wrong, just admit it. Why maintain the ruse to our detriment? Christ has nothing to do with it. Let them have it.
Sometimes, the best thing to do in a battle is to regroup at a more defensible position. Why defend an open field with many flanks, if you can take the defensible high ground?
Why fight commercialism?
Why confuse our most meaningful traditions?
Why defend a date that has no history upon it?
Why contend with a vicious worldly spirit?
Why receive the blows of critics at their rightful accusations of pagan origins?
The question is, Why are we fighting for a lie? If it were His birthday, and we were looking to keep it pure and worshipful, I can understand fighting with all our might. But its not. Why defend it?
"Therefore, from the birth of Christ to the death of Commodus are a total of 194 years, 1 month and 13 days. There are those who have calculated not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day. They say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, on the 25th of Pachon [May 20], others say he was born on the 25th day of Pharmuthi [April 19 or 20]." Clement of Alexandria, 195 AD.
Modern scholarship supports this early claim.
I suggest, we Christians, as a whole, move the celebration of Christ's birth to the Spring, where we may worship Him "in Spirit, and in Truth." For this season does *not* represent the Spirit of God, nor is there Truth in it. Let us re-establish a Spirit of love and thankfulness, having our homes filled with brotherhood and unity rather than trees and tinsle. Let our heads be crowned with remembrance rather than Santa hats. Let our own songs and hymns of praise ring, unclamored by the cacaphony of "jingle bells." Let us not lie to our children about the existence of Santa, but extol to them the truth of Christ our Savior.
For Christ was born in a desert, not during quaint New England snowfall. No true Christian tradition would be affected by such a move except for the time practiced. Due to its pagan origin, the Christmas festival was banned in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681 by the Puritans as an illegal observance.
In changing our day, we solve all problems have to contend with.
We no longer have to fight for attention amid the other holidays and their activities and practices.
We become pure in our worship, untainted by the leaven of syncretism.
We silence the critics who point out our error.
We establish truth and history as the basis for our practices.
We no longer have to clarify our position to others during the season.
We get the birth of Christ on our own terms, able to establish our own godly traditions, rather than man's.
Let them have their holiday.
Let us be the sort of Kings that tear down the high places and establish the true worship of God.
Let us establish the birth of Christ on our own terms, on truth, and with love.
Thanks for listening, and if you disagree, let us be kind.
I've never heard anyone else suggest this. I've only heard of not celebrating at all.
If you think it has merit, Share it!
Lastly, some parting quotes from Tertullian about Saturnalia, the precursor to Christmas.
"On your day of gladness, we Christians neither cover our doorposts with wreaths, nor intrude upon the day with lamps. At the call of public festivity, you consider it a proper thing to decorate your house like some new brothel . . . We are accused of lower sacrilege because we do not celebrate with you .. the holidays in a manner forbidden alike by modesty, decency and purity." Tertullian, 197 AD.
"The Saturnalia, New Year, Midwinter festivals, and Matronalia are frequented by us! Presents come and go! There are New Years gifts! Games join their noise! Banquets join the din! ... For even if they had known them, they would not have shared in the Lord's Day, or Pentecost with us. For they would fear, lest they should appear to be Christians. Yet, we are not apprehensive that we might appear pagans!" Tertullian, 197, AD.