The Haters: Christmas haters
Bah humbug! I am not surprised when unbelievers and hardened atheists attack Christmas. I am not even surprised when some believers decide not to observe Christmas due to the questionable origins of many Christmas traditions. What does surprise and disappoint me is the vehemence with which some Christians attack Christmas and any Christian who dares to in any way celebrate Christmas.
Yes, some Christmas traditions have pagan origins. Yes, Christmas in the United States has become a holiday focused on materialism. No, Jesus very likely was not born on December 25. But, none of that changes the fact that Jesus was born and that His birth is worth celebrating. Entire chapters in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are dedicated to the events surrounding Jesus' birth. If the Holy Spirit inspired the Gospel writers to describe the birth of Christ in such great detail, surely it is worth celebrating.
Gathering together as a family and exchanging gifts in celebration of the gift God gave us seems entirely appropriate to me. The concept of gift giving is very biblical (Ephesians 4:8; James 1:17). Christmas can be celebrated without all of the trappings. None of the Christmas traditions with questionable origins have anything to do with Jesus' birth.
Evergreen trees seem happier planted in the ground anyway. I'd rather not risk my life climbing on the roof with questionably wired/connected Christmas lights. I can definitely do without fruitcakes, Black Friday riots, and the sad song about the little boy buying shoes for his dying mother. Mistletoe can be fun for married couples, but I imagine it comes from some pagan tradition of sacrificing baby panda bears to a moon god.
But, the Christmas haters wouldn't be satisfied if all of the trappings and traditions of questionable origin were removed from Christmas. The Bible does not say when Jesus was born. The Bible does not record anyone celebrating Jesus' birthday. The Bible does not instruct followers of Jesus to celebrate His birthday. Therefore, it is wrong to celebrate Jesus' birthday. So goes their reasoning.
Don't get me wrong. To a certain extent, I actually admire their convictions. One thing I respect about Jehovah's Witnesses is their refusal to celebrate holidays with pagan origins/practices. You should follow your convictions. If you think it is wrong to celebrate the birth of Jesus, by all means, refrain from celebrating it.
But, please cease and desist with the holier than thou attitude and spiritual manipulation. As Romans 14:5 says, "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." Similarly, Colossians 2:16 instructs us, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day." Whether followers of Christ celebrate Christmas is between them and God. Sorry Christmas haters, you don't get a vote regarding this decision in other Christians' lives.
I am thoroughly convinced that Christmas can be celebrated in a way that honors God and glorifies Christ. To the Christmas haters out there, stand firm in your convictions, while at the same time continually examining those convictions in light of Scripture. I will strive to do the same.
S. Michael Houdmann
The Haters: Christmas haters