Friday, December 18, 2009

Pop Quiz on Christmas Celebration

I’ve observed (and taken) different positions on Christmas celebration.

There are some who believe it is wrong to sing “Christmas songs” during December lest someone think that Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus. One of the great controversies in one congregation was whether to hang “Christmas wreaths” on the door for the same reason. The biggest protest of that event was by an elder’s wife who was irritated that wreaths were hung on the door. She made her complaint while wearing a green sweat shirt with a Christmas tree on front. The lights outlining the tree were blinking in my eyes as she registered her objection just before Sunday services.

We had friends who thought that it was wrong to celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday and wrong to exchange presents on Christmas. When we visited them on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, their dining room table was full of presents. We asked, “Are you exchanging Christmas presents?” The answer was, “Absolutely not. We just decided to get something for each other.”

There are those who choose to think about the birth of Jesus and thank God for His birth, life, and death during December. But some of these same gracious people also want to ridicule and scold conscientious and faithful followers of Jesus who choose not to celebrate His birth any more on December 25th than they do on the 4th of July. Surely people who would not set aside this special day started by we don’t know who and when must be narrow-minded, unspiritual, and against reaching out to others.

Is either approach to this wonderful time of year – as well as other wonderful times of year – one that enhances love, respect, and unity in Christ’s body? Is there a scripture that tells me and others that it is either or and that I should disparage those who don’t do it my way? Does God address this?


“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things…Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother?...Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:1, 4-6, 10, 13).

Thought questions:

  • Is it right to scold people for remembering the day God decided to “camp out” personally on the earth – the event that fulfilled prophecies, split the calendar, and gave hope and help to all creation? In view of what Paul wrote through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, should I be moving my brother to a lower degree of maturity because he sets aside more time during the last few days of each year (or on Valentine Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, George Washington’s birthday, or any other day of the 365) to reflect on this great event?
  • Is it helpful and edifying to rebuke and ridicule a fellow-Christian who at this point in his Christian life has decided that all days are the same?
  • Who is most spiritual in action and attitude:
  1. The “anti-think-about-the-birth-of-Jesus-around-December-25” Christian?

  2. The Christian who chooses to celebrate on that day and expresses contempt for those who don’t?

  3. The Christian who is content with Paul’s observation, “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind; He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord,” who will not be critical of a brother who makes another choice, and will not be intimidated by a brother who criticizes his choice?