Four Reasons Christmas Is Not Christian
Millions around the world will observe Christmas once again this year. But, perhaps surprisingly, the facts show Christmas isn’t even Christian!
As millions of people around the world decorate trees, wrap and give gifts, and tell their children the story of Santa Claus—a fundamental question must be answered. Is Christmas really “Christian”?
Because of the attention paid to the story of Christ’s birth and the carols celebrating the baby Jesus, many may be shocked at this time of year to hear someone say, “I don’t celebrate Christmas because it is not Christian to do so.”
Much has been made recently of the liberal “war against Christmas,” but it is not just those with a bias against anything associated with religion who reject Christmas and its trappings. Why would a Christian—who strongly believes in God the Father and Jesus Christ—make a conscious decision to reject Christmas?
Four reasons Christmas is not a Christian holiday
1. Dec. 25 is the wrong day, and it’s celebrated for the wrong god. Dec. 25 is associated with many pagan birth myths—not Christ’s birth.
Though Dec. 25 is considered the birthday of Jesus by a large segment of Christendom, there is no evidence that this was actually the date He was born. The Bible does not give us Christ’s date of birth, but it gives some clues that it was at a warmer time of the year. Read our article “The Birth of Jesus” to learn more about what the Bible indicates regarding Jesus’ birth.
Dec. 25 was assigned to be the date of Christ’s birth about 300 years after He was born basically to encourage followers of a variety of pagan religions that celebrated that day to convert to Christianity. One popular pagan god whose birthday was celebrated at the end of December was Mithra.
2. Most Christmas traditions come from pagan religions, not the Bible.
The time of year chosen, starting a week before Christmas, correlates with the pagan festival of Saturnalia. This was celebrated in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture. Two of the traditions of Saturnalia that live on today in Christmas include gift giving and fabulous light displays. God instructs us to never worship Him with pagan practices: “You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things” (Deuteronomy 12:4).
Since the term “pagan” is not used as much today, it is important we understand its meaning. Paganism refers to religious worship of gods other than the true God of the Bible. Pagan worship often involves polytheism (worship of multiple gods) and often centers on worshipping elements of nature.
3. There is no Santa Claus. Parents shouldn’t lie to their children.
One of the most popular Christmas customs involves telling children that there is a jolly, potbellied man named Santa Claus who delivers Christmas gifts to all good children around the world. The custom practically makes Santa Claus into a godlike being—with the ability to hear children’s wishes (prayers) and visit all the good children of the world in one night (supernatural powers). And he’s portrayed as always staying the same age (immortal).
Of course, this myth is found nowhere in the Bible. Is it Christian for parents to teach this myth to their children? The Bible is very clear that lying is a sin: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). How can we exclude children from this commandment? It is not Christian to perpetuate myths like Santa Claus—especially to innocent children.
4. Christians should keep the holy days that Jesus kept, not holidays that originated in paganism.
Why not keep the holy days found in the Bible—instead of holidays that human beings invented and assigned Christian meaning to hundreds of years after the Bible was written?
To learn more about the deep Christian meaning of the biblical festivals, read “Festival Meaning: What Are the Meanings of Each of God’s Festivals?”
Questions that need answers
So, getting back to our original question: Is Christmas Christian? Let’s answer this by asking four similar questions based on the points above:
- Is it Christian to worship Christ’s birth on the birthday of the ancient sun god?
- Is it Christian to keep ancient pagan worship practices alive by calling them Christian?
- Is it Christian to lie to children about a mythical figure’s existence?
- Is it Christian to ignore the festivals sanctioned in the Bible to keep holidays found nowhere in the Bible?
The answers to these questions point to the answer to the original question: No, Christmas is not Christian.
Consider the words of the Man that Christmas is supposed to celebrate: “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9).
This year, instead of celebrating Christmas, why not study the true festivals that God reveals in the Bible and learn about their deep meanings. God’s festival calendar begins in mid-April of 2014.
To learn more about God’s true holy days, download our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.
Topics Covered: Holidays