By Daniel Kok.
It is difficult for people to understand why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. I offer the following as an explanation and defense of that position so that you can understand why that is:
25 Protestations against Christmas
1. The scriptures do not inform us of the date or season of our Lord’s birth.
2. Thus all attempts to date the birth of Christ are conjecture and cannot be substantiated from scripture.
3. Although many Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25, many Eastern Christians commemorate it on January 7 instead. Yet neither date has scriptural backing. The difference between the two dates is such as the apostle Paul would say “cause(s) disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” (1 Timothy 1:4).
4. Therefore to say, as some do, that “Christ was born this day” or “today is Jesus’ birthday” is a bearing of false witness.
5. There is no record of the subsequent celebration or commemoration of His birth in the New Testament.
6. The scriptures do not command us to observe or otherwise commend to us the celebration of Christ’s birth.
7. Most importantly, the scriptures do not give the church the authority to institute holy days, days of custom or observance for the purpose of commemorating various events in scripture. For Christ’s church is only required and allowed to do as He directs her (Matthew 28:18ff.).
8. In fact, the scriptures speak against the institution and observance of holy days: 1 Kings 12:33 & Galatians 4:9-10.
9. The fact that Paul condemns the superstitious observance of Old Testament feast days by some early Christians (Galatians 4:9-10) demonstrates the danger of their observance in our time. If this applies to those that God had warranted in the Old Testament but have passed away in Christ, how much more does this apply to ceremonies which He has not commanded? (Jeremiah 7:31)
10. The truth of the incarnation is not limited to one day or one season. Nor is it ignored by those who do not celebrate Christmas. Lambertus Danaeus states: “Christ is born, is circumcised, dies, rises again for us every day in the preaching of the Gospel.” In addition, the sacraments are a constant reminder for the church of Christ’s incarnation as she receives the waters of baptism as a sign and seal of Christ’s cleansing blood and partakes of His flesh in the symbols authorized by her Lord.
11. Thus one can affirm the significance of Jesus’ incarnation and birth without having to celebrate or commemorate it at any particular time of the year.
12. Furthermore, the amount of time spent on the event of the incarnation (almost the entire month of December for some) is out of proportion with the event in Jesus’ life that the scripture focuses on: His death and resurrection which are celebrated every Lord’s Day.
13. The Christmas season is often a cause for violating and causing others to violate the second commandment, regarding the making of images of the Son of God through manger scenes, plays and Christmas cards.
14. The Christmas season is often a cause for violating and causing others to violate the fourth commandment, regarding the observance of the Lord’s Day. In the past, when Christmas has fallen on a Sunday some churches decided not to hold a worship service. Furthermore, many churches tolerate their members coming only on such days of worship while said members routinely ignore and violate the Lord’s Day.
15. It is especially sinful for Christians to desire Advent sermons leading up to a day that is not instituted in scripture when they do not regard the one day that has been instituted for the church in the New Testament: the Lord’s Day.
16. The implementation of holy days also violates the liberty of individual Christians. Either one is required (by scriptural law) to attend these services or one is not required. If the former is true, then scripture must speak to these days. If the latter, then no one’s conscience must be bound and the day is of no account to the church.
17. The use of Romans 14:5-6 to establish liberty for the celebration of Christmas fails for three reasons: 1) it is not the church but the individual who may observe or not observe the days mentioned here (vs. 6 “he who does not”). We are given no right to establish, in the name of or on behalf of the church, a day that has no precedence in scripture 2) Paul is referring to Jewish holy days since: i) there is no record of Christmas or any other day from the earliest times of the church and ii) this is most analogous to the situation elsewhere in the New Testament (Colossians 2:16-20; Galatians 4:9-10) 3) It cannot be established that Paul had in mind the celebration of any New Testament festival or ceremony.
18. Although the scripture speaks of the antithesis between the believer and the unbeliever, Christmas often creates and encourages a false antithesis between the two parties as there is no evidence that Christmas is of divine origin. It encourages us to not live at peace with our fellow man (contrary to Romans 12:18 & 1 Thessalonians 4:11) as some fight over those matters that God has not authorized (public manger scenes, Christmas tree displays, proper naming of the holiday, mentioning of it in public schools etc.)
19. The false church of Rome loves the celebration of Christmas and continues to enjoy promotion of its supposed authority and teaching with the acknowledgement of “Christ’s-mass” into religious & secular celebrations. And, as George Gillespie notes, idolatry of the past and present ought not to be countenanced by the church (See English Popish Ceremonies, Part 5).
20. Reformed churches, in the main, have historically condemned the celebration of Christmas because of its association with Rome and paganism.
21. Reformed churches, in the main, have recognized the supreme authority of scripture in matters of worship and church polity and thus many have refused to have anything to do with a day that is not divine in origin.
22. The fact that Christmas was reconstituted by the government for the masses in 17 century Holland (after efforts to either remove or curb its recognition at the Synod of 1574) demonstrates the impulse of this day: sentimentalism but not true religion.
23. Indeed there is much sentimentality that is baptized in the name of Christmas through seasonal hymns and songs state things that are not even verifiably true (and some which are patently false).
24. Furthermore Christmas’ advocates must abandon all attempts to placate or otherwise tug at the heartstrings of man’s sinful heart and mind (Jeremiah 17:9 & Romans 8:7).
25. So if there is any value to Christmas the Christian must demonstrate it from scripture and scripture alone. In particular, he must prove that Christmas is of divine origin. I maintain that this has not and, indeed, cannot be done.