W. C. Sawyer
At this season of the year much display is made and much false teaching is done with reference to what is ca11ed "Christmas." Many Christian people have for years placed emphasis on this day, not taking e n o u g h time to question the authority (or lack of Bible authority) for it being a religious day.
I remember very well the happy days when I looked forward to receiving gifts from a mystified character commonly known as "Santa Claus." My parents (as I remember) did not regard it (nor did they teach) that it was in any way religious.
Now that many years have past and I look back, I can see many dangers connected with it. As I write this article I hope and pray it may be of benefit to many who have questioned it before.
We do not know the day of Christ's birth. For us to put any religious significance on this day is a violation of God's word. We, as Christians, are to walk by faith in religious matters. Rom. 10:17 -- "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." 2 Cor. 5:7--"For we walk by faith, not by sight." If Christ had wanted his people to set up a special day once a year to observe his birth, he would have given it to us in His word. In the absence of such authority we cannot walk by faith and observe it as such.
This religious day had its beginning with the Catholics. "The name Christmas comes from Christ's Mass, the mass said in honor of his birth. From the Italian word for Christmas, Natale, meaning birth, comes Noel, the French name for Christmas" (Encyclopedia Britannica).
There have always been things that God wanted his people to observe. Christmas is not one of them! If so, where is Bible authority? When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt God told them, "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread ...." (Ex. 12:17.) Why should they observe it? Because God said so. A command was given, "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe tile Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant" (Ex. 31: 16 .) In Lev. 19:37 we find these words, "Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord." We have a very solemn charge given us in Matt. 28: 20 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I (Christ) have commanded you . . ." Has God, or Christ commanded us to observe Christmas? The words of Paul to the church at Galatia would fit well here, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest l have bestowed upon you labor in vain" (Gal. 4: 10).
"General observance of Christmas dates only from the 4th century. There are a few earlier references to the celebration of the feast in some places. The early Christians had to worship mainly in secret. But when Constantine became the protector of the church many of the pagan festivals were taken over and changed to Christian feasts" (Encyclopedia Britanica). Can we not see that the observance of Christmas religiously is pagan? During the early days of the church (according to history), they met in secrecy to worship God because of the force of the Catholic Church. Now, many people are being misled by observing things such as Christmas that came from the Catholics.
According to the Encyclopedia Britanica, "The exact date of Jesus Christ's birth is not known. For a time various dates were chosen for the feast, but in the 4th century December 2Sth was generally adopted." We also learn, "The Christmas tree was used in Germany as early as 1605." "The use of mistletoe comes down from the Druids, to whom it was a sacred plant." Brethren, does 7 this not make such a religious day a form of idolatry? Could not this be in the same category with Paul's statement to the Bereans as he spoke on Mar's Hill, "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you" (Acts 17:23).
It is surprising how many people who have become children of God, have accepted the teaching of men without searching the scriptures to see if these things are so. Our Lord said in Matt. 7: 21--"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
The Apostle Paul in speaking to Christians said, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:1-3.) Paul further states in Gal. 1: 6-8--"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
We are commanded to assemble on the first day of every week to commemorate Christ's death (Heb. 10:25), but we are no! so commanded to remember his birth. God has revealed all in the word of God that we need to know to live the Christian life. Notice the statement by the inspired apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 3:16-17--"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
May we as the children of God not put any religious significance on the 25th of December?
Truth Magazine VII: 3, pp. 14-15