Short Answer: The Bible does not teach us to celebrate Jesus’ birth. However, it is always permissible to rejoice in different aspects of our Lord’s life.
Discussion: Jesus never told His disciples to celebrate His birth. So, how did this celebration start? December 25 became the traditional date of Christmas when it replaced the pagan cerebration of the birth of the sun god, Mithra, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia. According to the Roman calendar, the winter solstice fell on December 25. Throughout the Roman empire, people would rejoice that from that point on the hours of sunlight per day would increase. December 25th., the holiday of the Nativity of the Sun, celebrated this solar event.
Historically, Christians were also happy to note the longer periods of daylight. Since celebrating the winter solstice was a very popular holiday, the “Christian” church chose to replace the Mithra nativity with the nativity of Jesus.
The word “Christmas” is not found in the Bible. “Christmas” is formed from “Christ mass”- meaning a Catholic mass. The mass re-sacrifices Jesus again and again on the Catholic altar. This is not scriptural. Hebrews 10:10 (KJV), “…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Yet, we consider the principle: “Where the scriptures are wide, we are wide. Where the scriptures are narrow, we are narrow.” The Bible gives us freedom to honor and remember Jesus in many ways. We study and rejoice in His teachings, His miracles, His death. We can also rejoice in His birth.
Love and appreciation for our Savior abound in people’s hearts on December 25th. We join in this attitude of glad remembrance. The habit of giving gifts to one another seems especially appropriate. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Certainly, amongst all His gifts, the one of greatest importance to us is the gift of His Son to be our Redeemer.