Is Christmas Biblical?

“Celebrate annually the coming of Christ. Make it a time of beauty, family, and tradition. Put up lights and a tree. Watch many movies. Gorge yourself on treats. Be happy every day of the season. In so doing, you will glorify the Lord.”

– 1 Snickerdoodle 3 (AKA not in the Bible!)

The Bible never tells us to celebrate Christmas. In fact, Scripture warns us about traditions like celebrating holidays. “For the sake of your tradition (you have) made void the word of God” (Matthew 15:6). In another verse, the Bible references “hollow traditions.”

How many of those do we have?

Christmas is full of traditions that have very little to do with God. Few of us can connect Christmas trees to Christ. Fewer the concept of decorating gingerbread houses or dressing up in fancy outfits to attend parties blaring music about Rudolph and Santa.

Does that mean celebrating Christmas is unbiblical?

Probably not.

God offers plenty of examples of commanding, embracing, and rejoicing over celebrations.

Whether or not the celebration of Christmas is biblical has a lot to do with how and why we celebrate –and even more to do with what’s in our hearts.

jesus-didnt-have-one-of-these-should-we

Some of the main hallmarks of traditional Christmases are Biblical, but we must be careful.

  1. The Spirit of Giving

God loves a cheerful giver” –2 Corinthians 9:7

Gifts are one of the first things that most people think of when they think of Christmas. In Scripture, we find the ultimate example of giving. Christ, in coming to save us, gave Himself up for us. God, in sending Christ, gave His only son to save us.

All throughout Scripture we find examples of giving. God gives good gifts. Christ gives peace and joy. We are encouraged to give with the understanding that all that we are and all that we have is Christ’s. It’s a joy to give of His plenty and in His love!

The Risk: For many, Christmas gifts are about getting. For many others, gifts are stressful, accompanied by the frustration of selection and people-pleasing. Over-spending also undermines the “cheerful” part of what makes this part of Christmas at all Biblical.

  1. The Celebration of Christ’s Coming

“Celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” –Psalm 145:7

Christmas, when it comes down to it, is a celebration of Christ’s coming! This whole time of festivity and adornment and gathering is in His name. It is to be a time of praising Him and beholding in wonder all that He has done, is doing, and will do.

Some of us praise Him with lights that shine like He does. Others by baking cookies as sweet as His kindness while enjoying the company of people He’s given them. Make the connection between these joyful traditions and the joy of our Savior.

The Risk: Christ often gets only an “honorable mention” around the massive celebration of His birth. Much of the celebrating- many decorations, traditions, songs, etc., have nothing to do with Him. That’s fine. Not everything we do needs to be deeply impactful. But we must be careful not to miss the point. That means prioritizing accordingly and not focusing on the world’s offerings above our awe of the Lord.

  1. The Gathering of Loved Ones

“Love one another with brotherly affection” Romans 12:10

The true Gospel of Scripture is as personal as it is corporate. We are all loved by Christ, and we are all precious to Christ. There is no division in the body of Christ, but the unity of love. Christmas is a time of gathering with loved ones to praise Him with those in the body and point those who are not to the One eager to welcome them with open arms and make them new.

The Risk: All too many a Christmas gathering is obligatory and exclusive. Many of us take the social aspect of Christmas for granted, settling for fun, comfortable, and casual. We neglect to realize the significance of sharing His love with those who are familiar and unfamiliar. We must not turn from God’s desire for us to make the most of every opportunity and to build one another up.


Of all times of the year to be living for Christ’s glory, Christmas offers a special opportunity to rejoice in and serve the Lord.

Celebrating Christmas Biblically means celebrating it as those sustained, filled, and loved by the One we celebrate. Watch out for the easy pitfalls that turn the celebration into less than it truly is.

Lord- let us mind our hearts while we celebrate yours! 

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

 

25. BEHOLD: The Christ

Behold, the warmth of a newborn baby.

Behold, the peace in the stable.

Behold, long journeys over that have only just begun.

Behold, the world forever changed in a moment.

Behold, the moment by moment blessing.

Behold, the hope we have forever.

Behold, the promise fulfilled.

Behold, the victory over sin and death.

Behold, the reason for the merry and joy.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”

-1 John 5:1

Behold, Him, still. Still in the manger, still at work in the world, still seated by the Father, still in our hearts…stilling us in awe today.

Behold, behold, the Christ!

 

20. BEHOLD: The Song

Do you hear what I hear? Hark the herald angels sing! Unto us a child is born. In that little town of Bethlehem. On a cold winter’s night that was so deep, it came upon a midnight clear.

Oh, Holy night! All is calm, all is bright. On Mary’s lap He is sleeping. Down in a lowly manger, our humble Christ was born.

Born is the king of Israel. Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!

Oh come, all ye faithful. Come let us adore Him. Come, adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

Repeat the sounding joy. Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Come and behold him!

“Praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'”

Luke 2:13-14

Behold, the one we sing about, His song resounding in our hearts as the joy of Christ rings clear.

Behold, the song whose words we’ve only just begun to learn.

Behold, the Conductor at the front, teaching us line by line to sing His praise in harmony.

17. BEHOLD: The Surprise

Shh, it’s a surprise. That’s what we say when we pick out unexpected gifts and tell others about them before Christmas day.

On Christmas morning, we want our loved ones to open their gifts and light up with delight over the surprises inside. We make goodies for friends and randomly bring cookies to work, just to give a little bit of surprise joy to those around us.

The idea of gifts being surprises was God’s idea first. Imagine Mary’s surprise, to be chosen as his mother as a virgin. And Joseph’s -when an angel showed up with the best but most unexpected news. The Shepherds in the fields surely lit up in shock and awe when the skies came alive with praise.  Then, to find the newborn king lying in a manger of all places?!

Still, the surprises continued.

Many of the expectations people had regarding their coming Messiah were thrown off. They thought we would come and reign on earth immediately, not (when? Oh we still don’t know the time!) Instead of conquering with swords and great, terrifying power He won us over from death by…dying. Surprise!

When we look at all the unexpected gifts God has given and gives, we react like the Shepherds and Mary and Joseph and the Disciples with more fear than delight.

“Do not be afraid”

Luke 1:30

Matthew 1:20

Luke 2:10

There’s a reason that this phrase is so often repeated in Scripture. We, as control-seeking, nervous, limited human beings, are not big fans of surprises…until we see them work out in our favor.

Upon being surprised, we scream. We’re often terribly confused. And, if the surprise does not turn out to be wonderful and beneficial, it often becomes a story told only as a “what-not-to-do.” (Don’t we all know of “oops” surprise stories?)

Surprises from the Lord are treated in much the same way. Our first reactions when the Lord does something unexpected are often fear and confusion. We ask “well, what about this?” or “what if?” before we say, “Lord, your every gift is perfect! Thank you!” Fortunately, his grace is sufficient. His kindness does not fail.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

1 John 4:16

We can look back through history, and the Bible, and our lives, are recognize that His surprises are delightful. No mystery of the Lord’s is shrouded in darkness and risk. When we see His surprises fully revealed, we are in awe of the gift-giver.

Behold, our reason to trust even in the unexpected.

Behold, the one whose endless grace and love continue to surprise us.

Behold, the Lord whose surprises are always perfect.

This post is being shared on: #DanceWithJesus and #LifeGivingLinkup.

9. BEHOLD: Our Treasurer

People tend to count often in December. Fastidious budgeters often check their bank accounts multiple times a day during December. Others tally what’s left in their wallets. Some people take the time to count their blessings. I know I’ve also counted the hours in the day and the tasks left to complete.

December is a month of spending, tracking, budgeting, and collecting. Whether our time, our money, our gifts, or our to-do’s, we have much to manage.

Fortunately, the Christ we celebrate this month is the best treasurer to ever exist.

“Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” Job 31:4

                        “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7

If He knows the number of the hairs on our heads and every step we take, He is certainly doing a better job of keeping track of our mess and our gifts than we could ever hope to. More than just tracking, though, Christ, on our behalf:

  • Has paid our debt
  • Has provided what we need
  • Has invested our lives in eternal things
  • Has given us everything we need, counted and tallied, to glorify Him
  • Has sacrificed to ensure that all our loved ones are covered too
  • Has secured for us a future with Him that is priceless –and that can’t be bought or sold

The Christmas lists of budget sheets, wants and needs, and plans to complete look a little different when we recognize the work that our treasurer is doing.

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Behold, the one who counts most (pun intended!)

Behold, the treasurer who exchanges for treasure in heaven.

Behold, the treasure Himself.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday

6. BEHOLD: Our Home

After holiday festivities, you just want to get home. People traveling far and wide for Christmas celebrations know the nostalgia of wanting to get to their own place –or even just the familiar, beloved place they are headed.

When Jesus was born, it wasn’t in His own place. But He still had a place to be. And the welcome was grand!

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Romans 15:7

Regardless of our physical location and setting, we have a place to be too. We all have a home. Over and over in Scripture we read about God as our place of refuge. God is our dwelling place. He makes a safe pasture for us.

Because of Christ, we even have access into the most Holy Place. More than that, we are welcomed there:

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,”

Hebrews 10:19

The Lord ensures that we all have a home. It may not be in this world, and it may not be a place in a physical sense at all. But just as “home” is found where loved ones are and the heart is full, so home is the place of being near the Lord. He loves to have us there.

As we bustle about and rush to get places –even our own places- may we behold the home we have in the Lord!

Behold, the one who always welcomes us with open arms.

Behold, the safest, most loving, perfect home we can have and hope for.

Behold, our place with the Lord that we eagerly run to regardless of where we are.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup