It is all so grand. The Christmas play, the Nativity scene, the midnight mass, Linus, and all the talk about the “Christ child.” It allows us to tut-tut a little public morality about how commercialism has made all those worldly, sinners forget “Jesus is the reason for the season.” In fact, why don’t we have some of those signs made with our congregation’s name on them. I’m a little jealous of my neighbor always seeming more religious than me (Matthew 6:1). I know our fuddy-duddy preacher keeps prattling on about Christmas not being in the Bible, but what’s wrong with the warm, fuzzy feeling we get celebrating a man-made tradition or two?
As a certified, fuddy-duddy preacher, let me say, “Absolutely nothing is wrong with those things…as long as no one bothers to thing what we teach about Jesus is actually true.” I mean, if we never intend for someone to believe Jesus really went to the cross and was resurrected, then anything goes. As long as it makes people feel religious for a season.
The problem with all these things is, they are all based on a lie. In the movie Elf, Buddy the elf comes across a dime-store Santa. Buddy (who in the movie knows the real Kris Kringle) confronts the imposter and cries out, “You sit on a throne of lies!” Why would we expect non-believers to react any differently to us if we were to go along with all the religious celebration of a birthday we know did not happen on the day or in the way it is celebrated?
A group called American Atheists has made an annual tradition of attacking the holiday with billboards that read, “You know it’s a myth! This season, celebrate reason.” or ““Just skip church. It’s all fake news!” The problem is, they are at least partially right! It must puzzle an honest atheist to find out: We don’t know when Jesus was born. We have no idea how many wise men there were (Matthew 2:1). Jesus was not lying in a manger when the wise men brought their gifts (Matthew 2:11). And there is no record of a Christmas celebration in the Bible. The average churchgoer may not be aware of these details, but most religious leaders are. So, why should I believe anything you say about Jesus when you spend a month of every year telling me to observe a holiday you know is based on a made-up date, with completely incorrect imaging, and is unknown to the word of God? Good question.
There are many reasons we do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday at North Second Street. Since there is no mention of it in Scripture, we have to ask ourselves this question: Is celebrating the birth of Jesus, “from heaven or from man?”-Mark 11:30. Our options are from God or man. Since our Father in heaven never mentions it in his book, Christmas must be or human origin. Jesus has plenty to say about self-made religion, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”-Mark 7:6-8.
The reason we don’t, “Just let it go, relax and enjoy the show.” is because it defies the very Jesus people claim to be worshipping. God is completely capable of telling us how to worship him. If he wanted us to turn the birth of Jesus into a worship celebration, he would have told us.
We can not in good conscience claim to be preaching truth if we knowing observe a holiday we know is based on a false date and made-up details. More sobering is to do all those things in the name of God (I Corinthians 15:15). May it never be. The virgin birth of Christ is a real event that confirmed prophecy (Matthew 1:22-23). Jesus really lived, died for my sins, and was raised from the grave to reign as the Son of God and Lord of those who seek salvation by forgiveness of their sins (Luke 1:77; Acts 2:32-36). It is the truth, and it will set you free!
1 “Atheists’ Holiday Billboards Say “Skip Church” to Avoid Fake News.” American Atheists, 1 Dec. 2017, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.