By Larry Ray Hafley
Our title was on a sign I saw south of St. Louis. Doubt- less, it was placed there by people with the noblest of intentions. I am sure they meant nothing but the best for the religion of Jesus Christ! However, they could not prove that statement if their lives depended on it. (Sadly, unfortunately, their spiritual lives may!)
How would one prove that Jesus introduced “Christ- mas,” that he is its author?
• He might begin by showing that Jesus was born on December 25. Scholars and historians admit that this is unlikely, or that, even if it were possible, it cannot be proved.
However, even if one were to find a birth certificate citing December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, he still would not have proved that Christmas, as we know it, was “brought to” us by Jesus. All he would have proved is that Jesus was born on that day.
• One might find a prophecy showing that men should observe the birth of the Savior. We find prophecies that tell us to hear, honor and obey the Son, the coming, crowned King of Israel (Ps. 2; 110:1-4; Isa. 11:1-11; Zech. 9:9, 10). But, where, O where, is the prophecy that speaks of the exaltation of his birth as a matter of reverence and remembrance? And, if there be such a passage, where is it tied to December 25 and to the custom and manner of men today?
• By showing that Jesus himself authorized his disciples to observe his birth, one might show that Jesus initiated Christmas. Jesus did say that his disciples were to be taught to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). In all the revelation of God, where is such a citation to be found? Further, if such an observance were found, would it be in the motive and after the manner of “Christmas” as it is kept today?
For example, Jesus indeed authorized water baptism in his name for the remission of sins (Matt. 28:19; Luke
24:47; Acts 2:38). Baptism can be found authorized by Jesus, but baptism, as practiced by Catholicism bears little resemblance to the baptism Jesus ordered and ordained (Acts 8:12, 38, 39; Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12). So, even if we were to find Jesus approving of his birthday, are men noting it after the plan and pattern of God? If they are, where do we find that plan? Where is the blueprint for the structure of Christmas as we know it today (Col. 3:17)?
• Finding Christmas in “the apostles’ doctrine” might show that Jesus instituted it (Luke 10:16; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 4:6; 14:37). To reject and repudiate the word of the apostles is to refuse God (1 Thess. 4:2, 8). Truly, as Jesus said, “He that heareth you, heareth me.” To hear the word of the apostles is to hear the very word of God (1 Thess. 2:13). Thus, if it can be shown that the apostles told “the Christmas story,” then it can be shown that Christmas is brought to us by Jesus. Where, though, is that testimony? Where is that evidence? We have “all truth,” “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (John 16:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:3). Where is Christmas, as seen among us today, displayed in the Bible?
• One could find Christmas was brought to us by Jesus if he could find an approved example of it in the New Tes- tament. Jesus said nothing about the day upon which the disciples were to show his death in the Lord’s supper. The apostles did not specifically and directly command a set day. However, we find that the disciples came together “upon the first day of the week” to “break bread” (Acts 20:7). When we do as they did, when we follow their ways, we are following Christ’s ways (1 Cor. 4:17; 11:1, 2; Phil. 4:9). Thus, we remember and show the Lord’s death in eating the bread and drinking the cup “upon the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Now, is there a similar narrative with respect to commemorating and celebrating the Lord’s birth? If so, where is it? Find it, and we may agree that Christmas has been brought to us by Jesus.
We are not doubting or denying that Christ, the Son of God, was born of a virgin and placed in a manger (Matt. 1; Luke 1-2). We are simply saying that the Christmas tradition was not brought to us by Jesus. He did not authorize it. Therefore, as Christians, we cannot observe that which God has not sanctioned (2 John 9).
How many other things, like Christmas, can you think of which God has neither authored nor approved? Infant baptism? Sprinkling for baptism? Easter? Churches be- coming social, recreational, and entertainment centers? If you are tired of worldly religion, why not study the Bible, serve God, and worship with us? If you have questions, we would love to hear from you.