The War on Christmas
Christians are distressed that secular progressives and atheists have succeeded in removing God’s name from schools, and now Christmas is under attack.
Recently there has been a concerted effort by a minority in the United States to remove nativity scenes from public places and for Christmas trees to be called “holiday” trees. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced by “Happy Holidays.”
So, American Christians are getting upset and frustrated that their traditions are coming under fire. They see an erosion of Christian values in the media and in society in general.
However, there is a far greater concern that Christians should have. What does God think of all this? What does Jesus Christ think of what is happening? Can we know?
The answer is given in the Bible, and it is going be a big surprise for many mainstream Christians.
What God wants
One of the first things a Christian needs to ask is what God wants for His people. Does He even want them to get involved in the Christmas traditions in the first place? Each year hundreds of newspapers print articles about the origin of Christmas. Most encyclopedias point out that Christmas is based on the ancient celebration of the winter solstice and the birth of the sun god. Those are the pagan traditions that found their way into the Christmas celebrations.
God commands His people to follow His laws. Interestingly, one of those laws requires us to teach our children the truth. That is one of the 10 Commandments. Christians are upset that plaques and postings of the 10 Commandments are being systematically removed from schools and public places.
So why would Christians intentionally break one of God’s laws on an annual basis? How could Christians, who believe in the Ninth Commandment, lie to their children about Santa Claus?
Parents know the story of Santa Claus is a myth. And God does not want His people to lie—pure and simple. Christians have to make up their minds—lie to their children or obey God?
Inaccurate nativity scenes
Christians should also understand that the Bible itself reveals that many of the traditional nativity scenes are simply not biblically accurate.
Notice Luke 2:8-11: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”
Shepherds were not in the field in the winter months! Here is what Adam Clarke’s Commentary states: “As these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up” (note on Luke 2:8).
The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary agrees: “These humble pastoral folk are out in the field at night with their flock—a feature of the story which would argue against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted it” (Luke 2:4-8).
Concerning another aspect of nativity scenes, Joe Kovacs, author of Shocked by the Bible, wrote, “You won’t find three wise men showing up at the manger when Jesus was born.”
This statement is based on what we read in Matthew 2:1, 11: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. … And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (emphasis added).
The Bible does not list how many wise men were there, and they came into the house (not to a manger) where they saw the young Child. So the traditional story of three wise men coming to the manger to worship the newborn Jesus is just not found in the Bible!
If not Christmas, then what are we to observe?
Jesus never admonished His disciples to observe the day of His birth, which decidedly was not on Dec. 25. On the other hand, Jesus did command His disciples to honor Him on the day of His death, which we know occurred on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar.
Jesus Christ reminded His disciples (as they ate the bread during the New Testament Passover) to “do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The apostle Paul also admonished the brethren to honor Jesus Christ on the anniversary of His death (not His birth). See 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.
The observance of the New Testament Passover is just one of the seven festivals of the Lord (Leviticus 23). Jesus observed these days and told His disciples to celebrate these holy days as well. In fact, the apostle John recorded some of Christ’s words as He observed another one of the festivals of God: the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 14, 37-39).
So, instead of celebrating the pagan-originated Christmas holiday, a Christian should be celebrating the annual commanded festivals of God.
Learn more about the origin of Christmas in the article “Christmas: Should Christians Celebrate It?” For more about the vitally meaningful festivals of God, see our section on “How God’s Holy Days Reveal His Plan of Salvation.”