Four Reasons Christmas Is Not a Christian Holiday

Should Christians celebrate Christmas? Is Christmas Christian? Read on to learn why Christmas is not a Christian holiday.

Four Reasons Christmas Is Not 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 a Christian say:

“I don’t celebrate Christmas because it is not Christian to do so.”

There are people who object to Christmas because of its association with Christianity (some call this “the war on Christmas”). But it is not just non-Christians who object to Christmas. Many Christians do as well (including the author of this post!).

Why would a Christian—someone who strongly believes that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior—make a conscious decision to reject Christmas?

Four reasons Christmas is not a Christian holiday 

Let’s consider four reasons why Christmas doesn’t meet the criteria of being “Christian.”

1. Christmas is not Christian because it is associated with many pagan birth myths—and Dec. 25 was not the date of 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.

Dec. 25 wasn’t assigned to be the date of Christ’s birth until about 300 years after He was born. Why, you may ask, would this date have been chosen so long after the fact? The basic answer is, Dec. 25 was chosen to encourage followers of a variety of pagan religions that celebrated that day to convert to Christianity. Those pagan celebrations included the Roman Saturnalia and the birthday of the Persian god Mithra. 

To take a deeper dive into what we do know about Jesus’ birth, read “The Birth of Jesus” and “The Birth of Jesus: Myths and Misperceptions.”

2. Christmas is not Christian because most Christmas traditions come from paganism, not the Bible.

Dec. 25 wasn’t assigned to be the date of Christ’s birth until about 300 years after He was born. 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. However, 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.

To learn more about the pagan origins of Christmas, read “Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

3. Christmas is not Christian because lying is not Christian. 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? Is telling a lie not a lie if we tell it to children? Obviously, no. A lie is a lie.

For more insight about the lies told to children during Christmastime, read “Christmas Is Not for Kids.”

4. Christmas is not Christian because there are Christian holy days that Jesus Himself kept—and Christmas is not one of them.  

Leviticus 23 lists seven festivals that God calls His feasts. God’s holy days were created by God for His people. The Bible records that Jesus Christ kept these festivals (Luke 22:15-16; John 7:10).

Many Christians around the world celebrate these special days every year—to rejoice in and learn of their deep Christian meaning. Instead of keeping holidays that human beings invented and labeled “Christian” hundreds of years after the Bible was written, why not keep the holy days found in the Bible?

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?

Answering the question: Is Christmas Christian?

So, getting back to our original question: Is Christmas Christian? Let’s answer this by asking four similar questions based on the points above:

  1. Is it Christian to worship Christ’s birth on the birthday of the ancient sun god?
  2. Is it Christian to keep ancient pagan worship practices alive by calling them Christian?
  3. Is it Christian to lie to children about a mythical figure’s existence?
  4. 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?

No, Christmas is not Christian—but there are special days that are.

Topics Covered: Holidays

About the Author

Eddie Foster

Eddie Foster

Eddie Foster was born in Ohio, and after living in several parts of the northeastern United States, he once again lives in the Buckeye State, most likely for good this time. He lives in the Dayton area with his wife, Shannon, and two daughters, Isabella and Marley. They attend the Cincinnati/Dayton congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

Read More

×

Discern is published every two months and is available in digital and print versions. Choose your preferred format to start your subscription.

Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe

×

Please choose your region:

×

Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation