Monday, 26 December 2011

Arguments For, And Against Christmas

Christmas is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and the only begotten son of God the Father (See John 3:16). With this definition, one could easily think that all Christians celebrate Christmas. But that’s not the case. A good number of Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas, and many also do not. It must be noted that there are strong believers as both ends. So in this post, we bring you face-to-face with some of the arguments against Christmas and those in support of its celebration. Remember to share your own thoughts about Christmas via the comment box at the end of this post.

Arguments against Christmas (By: Kielenstijn Favour)
In the Scripture, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birtday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day in whitch they were born unto this world. Christmas was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth a feast was established in memory of this event in the fourth century.

In the fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of Saturnalia as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed. In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birthday of Iranian mystery god Mithra, de Sun of Righteousness. 

On the Roman New Year January 1 houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites where the Teatonic tribes penetrated into Gaul Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. The December 25 festival of natalis solis invicti, the birth of the unconquered sun, was decreed by the emperor Aurelian in A.D. 274 as a Winter Solstice celebration, and sometime later was Christianized as a date to celebrate the birth of the Son of Light.

Arguments For or In Support of Christmas (By: Bob Godwyll)
Thank you Favour. All your arguments against Christmas may be valid, but they in no way affect the way I celebrate Christmas. Yes, Jesus may not have been born on December 25, but that's of little importance to the meaning of Christmas. There are thousand and one things linked to each day of the year, and Christmas day (Dec 25) will be no exception.

I celebrate Christmas, but do not hate or criticize those who don't. It's just a matter of differences in our beliefs. And the Bible says it is given to each of us a measure of faith.

Secondly, I see nothing wrong with one day of the year set aside to commemorate the birth of Christ, the Saviour of the world. My only problem with Christmas is how it has been secularized, and even such secularization has not made it lost its power of bringing families, friends, old classmates and school mates together to show love to each other.

Each day is a day that the Lord has made, December 25 is no exception, and so we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). The names given to each day of the week are believed to have different traditional, mystical, and even pagan backgrounds. However, none of such affects what we do or don’t do in each day of the week. It’s the same with Christmas. Whatever affiliations that other gods or traditions have with December 25, had nothing to do with what we Christians do on that day, because December 25 is also a day that God has made.

Different churches across the globe use the Christmas season to reach out to many people of all kinds. One church in Ghana, organizes an event for all the disabled and all people living on the street. At the event, they eat, drink and feel accepted and receive medications to combat some health issues. As Christians we are obligated to show kindness to the poor, needy and disabled in our societies. Would you say that it's wrong to help the poor in Christmas?

From experience, I have noticed that, church attendance is amazingly higher during Christmas. I know lot of researches will also prove the fact that more people go to church during Christmas. Although going to such does not guarantee salvation, it is a good opportunity for people to come and hear the Word of God. And the Word of God is what eventually changes their lives as they accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. The Word is Spirit and life, remember? – See John 6:63.

Finally, it is important to note that, the Bible is not against the celebration of Christmas, as has been erroneously taught and perceived by people who don't celebrate it. In Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians, he wrote, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." - Colossians 2:16-17. The scripture is self-explanatory: no one is in a position to judge another on why he celebrates a 'holyday', like Christmas. The reason being that, all the arguments and debates about Christmas are nothing but shadows, Christ is the main thing. So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let your focus be on Jesus Christ.
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