Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 23, 1954
NUMBER 33, PAGE 2-3b

"Keeping Christ Out Of Christmas!"

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

Much ado about nothing is being made these days by the various sectarian religious groups, with the cry ... . "Let's put Christ back in Christmas?' However, if these sincere but misinformed and misguided folks would but investigate the Bible, or even secular history, they would learn that Christ never heard of Christmas. It would be just as logical to say . . . . "Let's put Christ back in the Fourth of July!"

Now if they mean to emphasize Christian principles during the celebration of Christmas season, then why not go a step further, as the Bible teaches, and stress these Christian principles about 365 days out of the year ? Why, I even think we should have Christians principles governing our July 4th endeavors .... simply because Christian motives and Bible teaching should govern the Christian in each and every day of his lifetime.

Facts About Christmas

"Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come in the calendar, whether on January 6th, March 25th, or December 25th." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 5, Page 641.) Other historians have assigned such dates as May 20th, April 19th or 20th, while Clement of Alexandria set the date as November 17th. Thus, by only skimming the surface of historical investigation, we have already collected a total of six out of the twelve months, in which some people, some time, and somewhere, have celebrated Christmas.

More Facts About Christmas Celebrations

"In Britain, December 25th was a festival long before the conversion to Christianity, for Bede relates that the ancient peoples of the Angli began the year on December 25th, when we now celebrate the birthday of the Lord; and the very night which is now so holy to us, they called in their tongue, 'modranecht,' that is, mother's night, by reason we suspect of the ceremonies which in that nightlong vigil they performed. In England the observance of Christmas was forbidden by act of Parliament in 1644; Charles II, revived the feast, but the Scots adhered to the Puritan view." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, pp 642.)

"As late as 245 A.D., Origen repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ, 'as if he were a king Pharaoh'." (Ibid. pp 642.)

The holly, mistletoe, the Yule log and the wassail bowl are all relics of pre-Christian times. In the 5th century the churches in the Western Mediterranean area adopted the proclamation of the bishop of Rome, in which the celebration of Christmas was to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, the Sun God, on December 25th: The churches of the Eastern Mediterranean regions, however, selected January 6th as the date upon which they would observe the birthdate of Christ.

Some Things To Consider

If it had been God's will that the physical birthdate of Christ be celebrated, then it would have been revealed in the Bible as accurately as the Lord's day, the first day of the week has been ordained for Christians to observe. If such a celebration had been taught or observed by the apostles and New Testament writers, then the date would have been specified and the churches would not have split on the subject in the 5th century.

If the celebration of Christmas is in any way spiritually profitable, it would have been enjoined by Paul in Acts 20:20.

If Christmas and its observance were any part of God's counsel, then Paul would have mentioned it in his writings and not have penned Acts 20:27.

If Christmas in any way pertains to life and Godliness, then Peter would have so indicated in his second letter, the first chapter and third verse.

If we expect to have close fellowship with God, then we must remain within the doctrine or teaching of Christ. See 2 John 9th verse. Since Christ did not include his physical birthday in his teaching, then to observe Christmas as a religious or spiritual activity would be 'going beyond the teaching of Christ,' and we would sever our relationship with God.

Additional Facts About Christmas

"The custom of making presents at Christmas is derived from ancient usage; but it has become consecrated by ages, and contributes greatly to make this festival an interesting event to families." (Encyclopaedia Americana, Vol. 6, pp 623.)

"Outside Teutonic countries, Christmas presents are unknown." (Ency. Britt.)

"The sending of Christmas cards by way of friendly greeting and remembrance has grown up since 1860." (Ency. Amer. Vol. 6, page 623.)

"The Christmas tree has been traced back to the Romans. It went from Germany to Great Britain, and is almost universal in the United States, where the customs of so many nationalities meet and gradually blend into common usage." (Ibid.)

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

"Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." (Gal. 4:10-11.) The practice herein condemned. by Paul was the religious or spiritual observance of days of their own choice. They were taught to meet upon the first day of the week for the breaking of bread and prayers. See Acts 20:7. They were taught to give of their means as they had been prospered. See 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Nothing is taught in the Bible about observing Lent, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter or Christmas.

But, I see that I have still not directly answered the question . . . . "Should Christians celebrate Christmas?" Here's my answer: "Religiously .... NO!" But as individuals or families, they may if they so desire. It is no more wrong than observing Grandpa's birthday with the whole family gathering in .... unless the family exercises a poor choice and tries to exalt Grandpa above the Lord, and take the Lord's day away from worship in order to elevate Grandpa. Perhaps you like to celebrate wedding anniversaries. That's all right too, as long as you do not usurp the Lord's day, and fail to assemble with the saints upon that day for worship. But please understand me ....if you wish to exchange presents with friends and family during the Christmas season .... that's your business, so long as you keep Christ out of it .... so long as you keep it separate from the church for which our Savior died.


From the quotations contained in recognized encyclopedias, it is easy to understand the different conceptions that various persons hold concerning Christmas and the celebration thereof. To some, they add to God's word, and make it the holiest of all religious festivals. To others it's merely a product of ancient mythology. To still others, it's a wonderful opportunity to make another dollar. To many folks, it is representative of a spirit of benevolence which should be cultivated 365 days out of every year.