Friday, December 21, 2018

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Q. Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

A. Christmas is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus, usually on December 25th, and a legal holiday in many countries. As celebrated, it contains elements from the Christian tradition that endorse biblical events, as well as other elements that are secular at best.[i] Following the spirit of Romans 14:5, I believe Christians and Christian families are free to celebrate Christmas, but that we need to deliberately and decisively keep it out of the gathered fellowship of the church. We can acknowledge the biblical elements in church at this or any time of the year,[ii] while the non-biblical elements (of which there are many) have no place in the worshiping church.

[i] The Scriptures seem to allow Christian individuals to celebrate other cultural holidays as well – such as Independence Day – as long as the celebrations remain within biblical constraints (i.e., not in rioting and drunkenness, etc.). (Cf. e.g. John 10:22-23, Jesus attending the feast of the dedication, a Jewish festival originating circa 165 BC; also 1 Maccabees 4:59. Wedding celebration.)
[ii] The biblical elements include acknowledging, preaching or singing about the facts that Jesus was born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, and so on, regardless of what day of the year it occurred. Following a Regulative Principle of Worship means we should not worship in any manner not prescribed by Scripture, neither add elements that are not biblical.

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