Jesus asked his opponents, “The baptism of John, where was it? from heaven, or of men?” The authority behind John’s baptism was divine, not human. The works and words of Jesus and his apostles were also from heaven and not of men (Matt. 21:23-27 f; Ps 119:89). The religious leaders who opposed him had only human, and not divine authority for their peculiar doctrines and practices (Mt 15:7-9). All religious practices and observances today must submit to the test Jesus required – is it “from heaven, or of men?”
Christmas is more than a day. It is a season. It possesses a spirit, and not all of it is good. Frankly, much of it is evil. ” ‘Tis the season to be jolly,” the song says, but ’tis also the season for folly, for licentious, lascivious behavior. Drunkenness, revelings, banqueting, and excesses of all forms abound. Frequently many indulge in gluttony during the Christmas. Some get intoxicated, hurting both themselves and others.
One may, as a citizen, celebrate many holidays. The giving of gifts is optional. One could make a sin of it by extravagant, debt-causing spending and giving. Again, Christians often are guilty in this regard. Their giving to the Lord shrinks while they play Santa Claus to their children. Also the needs of the poor saints are neglected during this time by many who spend highly on their own wants.
Their abuses, though, do not negate the right for one to give gifts to friends and relatives. If I say I am doing this in honor of Christ who was born “on Christmas Day,” which is a lie, I would be doing wrong (Matt. 28:20 f; Gal. 1:8, 9). However, if I decide to give gifts to my family and friends, neglecting not my duties as a husband or a Christmas, then that is my prerogative.
The origins of Christmas has its history intermingled in Paganism and Catholicism. However, so do the days of the week. Tuesday is the day of Tyr, Norse god of war. Wednesday comes from Woden, a Norse god. Thursday is the day of Thor, Norse god of war and brother of Tyr (Tuesday). Friday is the day of Freya, Norse goddess of marriage. Saturday is a derivative of Saturn. Should one cease to mention the names of the days of the week because of their origin? The same could be said for January, March, May, and June, for they are named after Roman gods and goddesses. We use the days of the week and months of the year without any honor of pagan gods.
I may rest on Saturday, but no one ever accused me of being a Jew. I have had fish on Friday, but no one ever accused me of being a, conservative Catholic. Kids eager for candy dress up and go trick-or-treating on Halloween, but no one ever accuses them of practicing paganism.
Christmas wasn’t always called Christmas. There were Holy Days (holidays) celebrated by various religions. Some time after the church was founded, some churches started to observe days that were to commemorate Jesus’ birth and resurrection. Later the Roman Catholic Church wanted to encourage people to convert, so they mixed Jesus’ birth with the pagan Holy Days and moved their celebrations to the pagan time frame, and thus it became Christmas. I agree with you that Christmas is not Christian in any sense. There is nowhere in the Bible where God gives approval for this holiday.
However, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah (Jn 10:22). Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication, or the Festival of Lights, celebrated the re-dedication of the temple after driving out the Syrian general, Anticohus, and cleansing it.
But is Christmas celebration today the same as it once was? People do not bow down and worship the sun god and Nimrod. People do not sacrifice babies. The events in the modern-day holiday are not the same as those when it was celebrated by pagans. Christmas to most is a secular holiday in which they dress up their houses in lights, put presents under a lighted evergreen tree, and have a very good meal.
It is true that some try to make Christmas into a religious holiday, but those attempts by some are not why everyone celebrates this holiday. You don’t find people bowing before their trees or offering sacrifices to them, or expecting answers to requests from the tree.
Consider why are you celebrating Christmas. What is your motive behind it? If your conscience can’t be clear when you celebrate it, then don’t celebrate it. There is nothing wrong in not celebrating any holiday. Usually Christmas is a time many poor and middle class families can buy affordable clothes, toys, and even automobiles. Even many homeless people are fed well on this day by a variety of charities (religious and non-religious).
I have no problem with observing Christmas as any other national holiday. Surely, Christmas is not a day for man to observe religiously. It is a man made holiday made to enjoy. However, no Christian should neglect their responsibilities to the church or their families in celebration of Christmas. If you can afford to give presents, give presents. If you can afford to eat a good meal, eat a good meal. I hope you spend part of your holiday season giving to weak who have need, and if any hunger, feed them. Remember, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).