On the Celebration of Christmas
It is interesting to note that the date of Christ’s birth is not recorded anywhere in the Scriptures. For whatever reasons, however, which is a matter of historical debate, the birthday of Jesus is celebrated at different places on different dates (mainly on December 25 or January 7). Interestingly, though the Scriptures took care to record the exact date when the word of God came to many of the prophets in the Old Testament, there is no attempt seen to record the exact date when the Word of God became flesh and came and lived among men as the Finality of God’s speaking business. Of course, the place of His birth is mentioned.
While the Birth itself had many significant pointers flashing around it (the Census order, the Star, the Magi, the shepherds, etc), attempts to pinpoint the exact time have been difficult. Whatever, I think God doesn’t want us to waste our time thinking too much of the date when Christ is born that we lose significance of the purpose for which He was born and the mission that He accomplished on the Cross. Also, it’s clear that God is not interested in our celebrating Christmas so much as He is interested in our submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus certainly did not begin on December 25 or January 7 or 4 BC or 1 AD. “In Him was life,” declared the Apostle, “and the life was the light of men.” John doesn’t even bother to mention very much about the Nativity events. He begins with the statement, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
But, it is evident that there were many who did remember the various events associated with the birth of Jesus; and, Matthew and Luke, especially, have very well collected the testimonies surrounding Christ’s birth and put them in record for us to read. Possibly, in one sense, separating a holiday to commemorate those events may also help retell those stories in clear and concrete terms to posterity (unless the place of the Nativity stories is taken over by fairy tales and/or Santa Claus). But, there is one danger that must be avoided; and that is of compartmentalizing the hymns and homilies about the Incarnation to only the Christmas season. It is amazing that while songs and sermons on the death and resurrection of Jesus are popular throughout the year, the “Christmas” stories are not so popular throughout the year. That is at least evident from the fact that Christmas songs reach very high view-scores on YouTube only especially during this season. That I think is a practice that is not expected by the Scriptures.
Also, there are some who begin looking at the Christmas season as a partying and frolicking time, a time to have great fun and festivity. Celebration is a good thing when we are really doing things that honor the One it is all about. There is a general accusation that wine-selling soars high during Christmas. That indicates that there are people who have just been looking for a time of partying and they have now found this season as a socially acceptable time for feeding their carnal appetites. That, in turn, indicates the vileness of both societies (cultures) and individuals. There is nothing viler than dishonoring Jesus by calling a day in His name and indulging in acts that bring shame to His name. But, that is something that must be strongly challenged by pastors and preachers, who are mainly responsible for how the Christian community turns into as a result of their holding out or withholding the light of God’s Word. There is a great need of repentance among those who call themselves by His name.
But, whether it is December 25 or January 7, Christmas, as it has come to be known as, is a great opportunity to remember once again and declare aloud to the world that when the Son of God was given to us as God’s gift, when He became one of us and lived among us, the veil between God and man was rent down. There is nothing now that can stand between us and God. The only thing that we can do now is to avoid Him or try to go away from Him. And, of course, He cannot be killed again; for He died and rose up as Conqueror of Death for our sake.
Have a Blessed Celebration!