I’m Lauri from USA. I have been convicted about Christmas and Idol worship for a while now. Can Christians put a “Jesus” stamp on what is clearly a Pagan holiday that is full of Idols and make it acceptable to God? In Lev 10:1-2 Aaron’s sons offered strange fire and the Lord killed them. Where in the Bible is the Christians freedom to celebrate pagan holidays?
@Lauri Welcome to Connect! So glad you have joined us. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus through your time here on the forms.
Regarding Christmas, I think as long as we keep the focus on Jesus’ birth, there is nothing wrong with celebrating. You may find the following article helpful. I think the main thing is that we set our minds on what is above - on the things of God. So I think the issue is where our focus is during Christmas - not celebrating it.
At Christmas - I think a great way to do this is to read the story of Jesus and watch movies like ‘The Nativity Story’.
Philippians 3:19 - Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2-10 - Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
It just so happens that on the twenty-fifth of December in the Roman Empire there was a pagan holiday that was linked to mystery religions; the pagans celebrated their festival on December 25. The Christians didn’t want to participate in that, and so they said, “While everybody else is celebrating this pagan thing, we’re going to have our own celebration. We’re going to celebrate the thing that’s most important in our lives, the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. So this is going to be a time of joyous festivities, of celebration and worship of our God and King.” I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition.
How could millions of people be wrong? How could the Jews not know when their messiah was to be born. Didn’t Gabriel tell them in the book of Daniel the exact day? Why did they not recognize “this thy day”?
Could it be they were distracted from the true word of God by keeping the man made laws and traditions put in place by evil spirits?
How could millions of people be wrong about a traditional holiday? It’s that same evil spirit. The one that makes us lie to our children.
This is disturbing for me as well. Yes, there are several festivals celebrated in the Jewish traditions that were ordered and sanctioned by God. Jesus celebrated all of them but Christmas cannot be assumed to fit into those God-ordained celebrations, can it?
We also know for a fact that Jesus was not born on December 25th. I think we have all accepted our own inertia and have not stood for what is rightfully to be celebrated - because we add the Christmas trees, the Santa legends, and giving each other presents, etc., into our ‘celebration’ of Jesus’ birth.
If we want to honour, God’s feasts as ordained, why don’t we as Christians incorporate those into our celebrations? For years, I have celebrated Christmas with trees and all but I’m starting to question my own reasoning for this. Is God okay with all this? Are we truly honouring Him through this Christmas celebration?
@Lauri I appreciate your concern. Personally, I avoid anything I think is associated with evil spirits - such as horror movies.
In the case of Christmas, let’s take another example. What if I decided that I wanted to celebrate Jesus’ birth on my birthday as a way of honoring God for all that He has done for me? Do you think that would be wrong?
Sure - it is not sanctioned in the Bible to celebrate Christ’s birth on your birthday, but it is not wrong either. Simply because something is not commanded in Scripture does not make it wrong.
I think this is an issue of conscience - so we should check out Romans 14. In this case, some people were eating meat sacrificed to idols because they knew there was only one true God, so why did it matter if it had been sacrificed to idols? However, other people felt it was wrong. Also, some people were celebrating special holy days and others felt every day was alike holy unto the Lord.
Let’s check out Paul’s response - he says that each person must obey their own conscience. I think Christmas is similar - if it is against your conscience, don’t do it. But do not judge your brothers or sisters who have the freedom to do it either.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. Romans 14:4-10
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:22-23
@vuyiswakeyi I think that depends on how we celebrate Christmas. What if we celebrated Christ’s birth every day of the year because of how thankful we are? Would that be wrong? Having the date of Jesus’ birth wrong does not make it wrong to celebrate His birth.
I understand your concern. I think if it is against your conscience to have santa in your house, then don’t do it. Francis Chan doesn’t have santa decorations - I remember a sermon where he discussed not wanting santa in his house because he wanted to exalt Christ. But he still celebrated Christmas. I can understand that…
Again, as I told @Lauri, I think this is an issue of conscience as we see in Romans 14 and I Cor 8. Some people felt okay eating meat sacrificed to idols while others did not. Paul said each person must obey their own conscience on the issue because in Christ we have freedom to do either.
I have heard it said that Romans 14 is the “Christians Freedom” to celebrate their man-made holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) But it appears to me that this scripture is talking more about food offered to idols, not the idols themselves.
Rom 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who EATS, EATS to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not EAT, to the Lord he does not EAT, and gives God thanks.
And the conclusion of Romans 14 even states:
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to EAT meat nor DRINK wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
However, Paul does say:
1 Cor 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (Ex 32:6 Worship of the molten calf) …11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come…14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 Cor 10:19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
@Lauri I am glad you found it helpful. It has helped me think through many difficult questions about application of our faith to real life circumstances.
Welcome to Connect, @Lauri! I’m glad you’re already making use of the question and discussion. @SeanO has given some great insight into the celebration of holy-days. If there is another burning question you have, do start a new conversation on either the Daily Evangelism or Bible Questions thread so that others can see and join in!
We’re glad you’ve joined us here, and we pray that this community will be a place of encouragement and strengthening for you.
Hopefully this link works. This is a fascinating interview of Bill Federer by Frank Turek.
Thank you so much Loralie for sharing this. It does make me feel better. I like St. Nicholas. Really good to know that he was a real person and a caring one at that!
I wish they had discussed the fact that Jesus was not born on December 25. And I really wish we as Christians could actually start to celebrate the real birthday of Christ.
I will certainly look for Federer’s book.
Have a glorious New Year in Christ!
*Vuyiswa B. Keyi *
*Positive Change Champion
“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)