Christmas means different things to different people. In our day it is largely a secular event given over to much commercialization. However, to some it means a joyful celebration of the birth of Jesus. And just as the “wise men from the east” brought gifts to honor the Babe’s birth, so we celebrate with gifts to our loved ones.
Matthew 2:11, "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
The careful student of the scriptures knows that December 25th is not the proper date of the birth of Jesus (rather it occurred around the beginning of October). Yet Christians often will look past this mistake, and the commercialization, and then take a charitable view of the matter. They choose to be thankful that some special attention is being paid to this blessed event. Many Chrisitans, myself included, use the Christmas season as an opportunity for sharing what the birth of Jesus means to them.
As with so many things in life we have little to no control over external affairs, we can only control our internal response, our own reaction. In this matter of Christmas, while we may disagree with much of what Christmas has become, yet we can still make a decision for ourselves to try and improve our own understanding of the birth of Jesus, and to express a joyful and giving spirit, and try to always be a good witness for God.
From a completely different perspective, may Christians with a clear conscience celebrate non-scriptural holidays? More importantly, did Jesus ever celebrate non-scriptural holidays? Yes, He did! Scholars agree that Jesus went to Jerusalem (something He avoided unless it was very important) to celebrate the feast of dedication (John 10:22, Chanukah). This Jewish feast was established by Judas Maccabaeus to commemorate the cleansing and rededication of the Jewish temple in 139 BC. It is also called the Festival of Lights because it remembers the miraculous burning of the lamps of the menorah for a full seven days. (History records there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Hence it was a miracle.)
When our Lord was in the temple, He did not tell them to stop celebrating Chanukah. Instead, He used the occasion to tell the people that if they were God’s, they would recognize Him (Jesus) as sent from God and could receive eternal life. Similarly, we can use the celebration of Christmas as an opportunity to tell our family and friends about Jesus.
The birth of our Savior was announced by the angels as a time of great joy for them and for all mankind. Luke 2:8-14, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
If the angels rejoiced, shouldn’t we rejoice as well?
For Jesus, Himself, is a GIFT. A gift from God to ALL mankind.
Romans 5:18, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."