Being a pastor for a long time, I have guided my congregation through countless Christmases. It’s a time of year when the world seems to come alive with joy and celebration, and the Christian faith finds itself at the heart of the festivities. But amidst the lights, gifts, and carols, it is crucial to remember the biblical significance of Christmas.
In this post, we will delve into what the Bible says about Christmas and illuminate its true meaning through the words of Scripture.
Christian Debates Over Christmas Celebration
The word Christmas is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Neither does it say that it is celebrated on December 25. Hence, some Christians think that celebrating this holiday is not necessary. They point out that December 25, the date traditionally associated with Christmas, may not align with the actual time of Jesus’s birth.
Another argument against Christmas pertains to its traditions, which are believed to have roots in paganism. Finding reliable information on this matter can be challenging due to the obscurity of the origins of many traditions, often leading to contradictory sources.
Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations have been associated with pagan rituals. However, it’s important to note that using these items in one’s home doesn’t necessarily signify a return to paganism.
While some traditions do have pagan origins, there are numerous others connected to the genuine essence of Christmas—the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. For instance, bells ring out to announce the joyful news, candles are lit to symbolize Christ as the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star adorns the top of Christmas trees in remembrance of the Star of Bethlehem, and the exchange of gifts serves as a reminder of the Magi’s gifts to Jesus, reflecting God’s greatest gift to humanity.
Another argument among Christians is about using Christmas trees, which stems from a biblical perspective. They often point to a passage found in Jeremiah 10:1-16 as evidence that the Bible discourages the practice of bringing trees into homes and adorning them. However, it’s essential to know the context of this passage to understand its intended message fully.
The verse actually addresses the act of cutting down trees, carving wooden idols from them, and then embellishing these idols with silver and gold. The purpose behind such decoration was to bow down and worship these man-made idols. This context underscores that the passage in Jeremiah is primarily about idolatry rather than a direct condemnation of using Christmas trees as decorative elements.
Debates on this matter are plentiful, encompassing considerations such as Israel’s climate, shepherds’ practices during winter, and the timing of Roman census-taking. These discussions are often marked by uncertainty and conjecture, which brings into focus the Bible’s lack of explicit guidance regarding the birth date of Jesus.
Was Christmas Mentioned In The Bible?
The book of Isaiah contains one of the most famous prophecies about the Messiah’s birth (Isaiah 7:14). This prophecy was fulfilled when the angel visited Mary and announced that she would give birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:31-32).
The Bible reveals that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). This fulfillment is described in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:1-6).
Moreover, the account of the wise men or magi, as found in Matthew 2:1-12, reminds us of the universal significance of Jesus’ birth. These men from the East followed a star to worship the newborn King. They even brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which symbolize Jesus’ royalty, divinity, and sacrificial death.
In John 8:12, Jesus declared He is the world’s light. Whoever follows Jesus will never have to walk in darkness and instead will have the light of life. This statement emphasizes that Christmas marks the entrance of the Light of the World into our lives, dispelling the darkness of sin and ignorance.
While it’s true that Christmas is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, we must recognize the deeper truths and spiritual insights that it represents.
Christmas is a celebration of love and hope, encapsulated perfectly in John 3:16. God’s love for humanity was so great that He gave us His only Son, a gift beyond measure, to bring us eternal life and reconciliation with Him.
Let us approach the Christmas season with a heart full of gratitude for the profound biblical truths it represents. Instead of getting entangled in debates over traditions or historical details, let us focus on the essence of Christmas—the birth of our Savior, the Light of the World, and the embodiment of God’s boundless love for humanity.
In this spirit, let us celebrate Christmas with joy, faith, and a deeper understanding of its true biblical significance.