To make my point one only has to go to the mall during the last Saturday before Christmas to see for them selves how our society has fallen away from the faith. The Christmas holiday as we know it was not declared a federal holiday until 1870. In fact the celebration of Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681. For most of our history December 25th has been considered a pagan time of worship. Ancient Rome celebrated “Dies Natalis Invicti Solis” this time of year. Which means the birthday of the unconquered Sun. History tells us they had parties, formal meals and exchanged gifts. So when was Jesus born? The following scripture is one of many keys to the story.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8 (KJV)
It is highly unlikely that the shepherds would be out at night during the winter season. It would have been too cold and wet more likely in spring, summer or fall. October would be more accurate. When we read the story of the shepherds we find they were given specific instructions on where to find the Savior. No mention of wise men there.
Notice within the following verse the word “house.” No mention of the word manger. We may have established the idea of three wise men based on the three gifts mentioned within the following verse.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Matt 2:11 (KJV)
The story of the wise men coming to see Jesus much later after His birth is again noted in the following:
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Matt 2:16 (KJV)
The time frame of two years and under suggest that Jesus may have been several years old by the time the wise men came to see him. Certainly they saw the Savior in a house and not a manger.
Another tradition celebrated at Christmas is the Christmas Tree not a Holiday Tree. Is this biblical? At the birth of Christ the Bible has no mention of a Christmas Tree, Yule logs, wreaths, boughs of holly, mistletoe, lights, eggnog, elves, toys, cookies, reindeer, Santa Claus, Bing Crosby or a report of Grandma being run over by a reindeer. Today we have it all and it is getting worst in my opinion. We do have a biblical reference and warning about the tradition of trimming the tree.
This is what the Lord says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them. Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol. They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails so it won’t fall over. Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak, and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods, for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.” Jer 10:2-5 (NLT)
Since the Book of Jeremiah was written around 600 B.C. we can conclude that the trimming of a tree for celebration dates back before the birth of Christ.
Another point is made that the apostles throughout the New Testament have no mention of the birthday celebration for Jesus. December 25th may not have been the accurate birthday for our Lord and Savior. Evidence shows that pagan celebrations and Christianity have intermixed in some way. Many of the Christmas tradition we do celebrate may not be biblical.
I too am guilty of following the worldly view of Christmas. Scrambling across the Mall. Driving from store to store. Falling deep into the Hallmark conspiracy of what Christmas is all about. God gave us the greatest gift of all. What have I done with this priceless gift? It would honor my Father in Heaven better if I were to openly read aloud from my Bible in the middle of the mall and risk going to jail for it than too continue to run like a mouse in a maze during this holiday season.
The only unchristian thing about Christmas is what we make of it. Take a moment to say thank you to the hard working underpaid clerk behind the counter. The waiter or waitress at the restaurant who is working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Too often we find our Christian brothers and sisters with their heads down wondering where has the joy gone? For the unsaved it is even worst. God gave us Christ Jesus. Make a point to share this gift with others throughout the year.