Celebrating Christmas in Faith

5 Dec

I had a visit from the local Jehovah’s Witnesses yesterday. They were bringing around the new issue of the magazine their religious organization publishes and this one was on The Truth About Christmas. While some of their beliefs are so ridiculous that they’re actually funny, I do think that as a Christian who claims to believe the truth, I shouldn’t be opposed to reading about and understanding other religions. My experience thus far is that salvation by faith alone in grace alone continues to win (and I believe it will continue to do so).

But nevertheless, I listened to the Witnesses’ spiel about Christmas and how it should not be celebrated by Christians. They said Christ commands us to celebrate His death, not His birth. Which I have to agree that Christ did indeed command us to celebrate His death (through communion) but where I disagree is that Christ commanded us to not celebrate His birth. It isn’t in the Bible.

The next reason why they said we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas is because the magi were actually astrologers and that was a profession detestable to God. Moreover, the star of Bethlehem was actually a “sinister device of Satan” because it was used 1) to lead the wise men to Herod 2) to lead them to Christ and 3) instead of angels like God did for the shepherds. So the wise men were pawns in Satan’s grand scheme to  kill Jesus and they… were unsuccessful. I’m confused… why is that a reason we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas? And even if all that is true, why then did the magi travel 800-900 miles to see Jesus, only to worship Him and bring Him expensive gifts? The logic here is falling short, I think.

The final reason why they said we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas is because it is usually accompanied by overeating, imbibing, partying, dancing and not just giving gifts but exchanging gifts. Now, I have to agree somewhat with this statement. I do think that our secular culture does indeed take this time of year as an excuse for an endless number of holiday parties, resulting in many a person getting sloshed and stuffed. The culture also uses this time of year to keep the American marketplace in the black (Black Friday is no secret) and gift giving has become more of a “must” instead of a suggestion or option. I will give them that.

But I don’t agree that Christmas has to be celebrated that way. In fact, when Travis and I have kids, I am going to be very careful about teaching our kids the real meaning of Christmas, making sure they understand the privilege of receiving presents (and those in appropriate amounts), and not deceiving them by saying there’s a Santa. But even now when we don’t have kids, I feel that I keep the real meaning of Christmas in mind and that it’s not just about tinsel, cookies, and holiday lights (though those are great accompaniments), but it’s about Christ becoming flesh and dwelling among us – an AMAZING TRUTH!!

As a Christian who wants to live a life glorifying to God, I don’t want to just dismiss these statements by the Jehovah’s Witnesses as stupid and legalistic. If that is really what the Bible says, then I have to accept that and repent. But after study, I believe that the Bible doesn’t say anything about not celebrating Christmas (though its roots are a pagan holiday). In fact, I feel there are many verses that say it’s up to the individual and their personal convictions from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:23-31; Galatians 5:1; Colossians 2:16-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-5). For some Christians, it may be wrong to celebrate Christmas. They might not be able to do it in faith (“in faith” meaning they believe it is pleasing to God and have no doubts) and if they can’t, they shouldn’t. But for those of us who are focusing on the real meaning and cause of celebration of Christmas, and are doing so in faith, Christmas is a wonderful time of year that should (and can) be received with thanksgiving.

I, personally, am very thankful for this time of year and believe that celebrating Christ’s entrance into the world (and being humbled by the fact that GOD became MAN) is very pleasing to God.

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