What Harm Is There In It?

By Darwin Hunter


Many well-Intentioned people do not understand our objection to celebrating Christmas as Christ’s birthday.  They say, “What harm could there be in helping people to remember Christ’s birth anyway?” It is a good question, and worthy of a response.  Maybe these answers will help.

It is without scriptural basis.  The birth of Jesus Is factually presented in Scripture as is the rest of the Gospel story (Luke 2).  The religion of Christ is a Holy Spirit - revealed religion (John 14:26; 2 Peter 1:3).  It is not based upon human doctrine, or opinions (Matthew 15:8-9).  Not one word is found In the Gospel to suggest that a celebration of the Savior’s birth be conducted.  To engage in such a festival as a religious holiday would be to act without the Lord’s authority (Matthew 28:18).  All that we do in religion must be done “In the name of the Lord Jesus,” which is equivalent to saying by His authority.  We are to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Faith is supplied by hearing the Gospel (Romans 10:17).  Thus, to walk by faith is to walk in accordance with revealed truth.  Absent any Biblical teaching on the celebration of Christmas then, it cannot be done by faith (Romans 14:23).

It teaches many fables about the Lord’s birth.  The Bible does not teach much of the commonly held notions of the popular legend surrounding the Christmas celebration.  Pictures and nativity scenes and plays often depict the little baby in a manger surrounded by the shepherds and the three wise men bringing gifts.  However, a close reading of the inspired accounts of the Savior’s birth would indicate that the shepherds visited Jesus at the manger (Luke 2-11, 12, 16), but that the wise men visited the child much later when Joseph and Mary were in a house (Matthew 2:11, no longer was the baby in a “manger,” from the Greek word phate, meaning a stable, or perhaps a feeding place under the open sky, Arndt and Gingrich, pg. 862).  The visit of the wise men (from the Greek magi; men of learning, often priests, well-versed in philosophy, medicine, and natural science) was much later than that of the shepherds.  The star appeared in the east at the time of His birth and led the men (from the Mesopotamian valley, or Parthia or India) to where Jesus was in a Bethlehem house.  Herod’s questioning about the timing of the birth (the appearance of the star, Matthew 2:7-8), and his order to kill the male babies in Bethlehem “from two years old and under” must have corresponded with the answer the wise men gave regarding the time of the birth.  Thus, at the time of the visit of the wise men, Jesus could have been at near two years of age.  We also do not know many wise men came.  We only know that those which came gave three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

It encourages a yearly remembrance of Jesus.  Many substitute the annual festival of Christ’s birth for the daily service which He demands (Luke 9:23).  They will rob the story of Jesus of His Lordship and universal judgment of all men, preferring a baby in a manger to a King on His throne!  The only commemorative act of worship taught In Scripture is the keeping of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7) in memory of the Savior’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23ff).  Far too many annual Christmas religious celebrants refuse to honor the Lord in weekly communion!  Jesus Is NOT the “reason for the season” but the reason for every day of our lives!

There is nothing wrong with keeping the secular elements of Christmas which are without religious significance (non-religious decorations, festive gatherings, exchanging gifts, family time, etc.), but we should avoid those religious aspects of the holiday that are without scriptural warrant.