Who Put Christ in Christmas?
by Larry Ray Hafley
During December we are reminded to, "Keep Christ in Christmas." Who, though, put Him there in the first place?
We know "the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (I
John 4:14). Jesus said that He neither acted or spoke of his own will, but that he said and did only those things authorized by his Father (John 6:38; 12:49). Is the celebration of Jesus' birth a thing spoken by the Father to the Son?
We are not saying the birth of Jesus was not the Father's will. It was. To God the Father, Jesus said, "A body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5). "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4). About Jesus' birth, as related by Matthew and Luke, there can be no dispute. However, we are asking a separate question; namely, did God put Christ in the tradition that we know as Christmas? What Scripture shows that God placed Christ in Christmas and put Christmas in the worship of the church? Does anyone know? If not, how can we say that God put Christ in Christmas?
Jesus was given all authority (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-23). Did He place himself in Christmas? Since He is the founder and the foundation of our faith, if His Father did not put Him in Christmas, perhaps, as head of the church, He did so himself (Ephesians 5:23, 24). If He did, where might we find this information? Surely, in the New Testament, but do we find it there?
Do we have a source which shows that Jesus taught His disciples to keep a tradition called Christmas, or an annual remembrance of His birth? If so, where is it? If it cannot be found, is it correct to say that Christ put himself in Christmas and that he set Christmas in the church?
Did the Holy Spirit?
Jesus promised the apostles the Spirit would guide them "into all truth," revealing to them things He had not spoken to them directly (Jn. 16:12-15). So, then, did the Spirit design the Christmas season as we know it, and did He put Christ in Christmas? If He did, we must accept His word and "keep Christ in Christmas," for to reject the Spirit is to reject God (I Corinthians 2:10-13; I Thessalonians 1:5; 2:13; 5:19; Cf. Acts 5:3,4,9). Where has the Spirit revealed that He is the one who put Christ in Christmas and Christmas in the church?
Did the Apostles?
To reject the word of the apostles is to reject the word of Christ and God (Luke 10:16; I Corinthians 14:37; I Thessalonians 4:1, 2, 8). The "apostles' doctrine" is "the doctrine of the Lord" (Acts 2:42; 13:12). Thus, if we can find the apostles putting and keeping Christ in Christmas, we may do likewise with the approval of heaven. Do we read of disciples who, at the behest of the apostles, observed the Christmas tradition, or who noted the birth of Jesus in any manner? Since keeping Christ in Christmas allegedly is an important duty, we should expect to find the first fervent and devout disciples of the Lord doing so. But, is that what we find?
What Do We Find?
"December 25 is...observed as the...birth of Christ." In early times this day was not one of the feasts of the Christian Church. In fact, the church fathers frowned upon the celebration of birthdays and thought them a heathen custom. It is thought that Christmas was not celebrated until some 300 years after the birth of Christ.
"No one is certain why December 25 was chosen. There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that this is the date of the Nativity" (The New Book Of Knowledge, Vol. 3, p. 289).
Since neither God, nor Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles put Christ in Christmas, why should we? If your preacher encourages you to "keep Christ in Christmas," show him this article and ask him to answer it.