Question:Should Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter?
If so, why?
Bible Answer: Are Christmas and Easter really
Christian celebrations or are they just modified versions of the holidays
of ancient religions, legends and folklore? Some would say that Christmas
and Easter are secular holidays with a Christian emphasis. Many people
understand that today they are religious holidays but do not want the
religious emphasis. The majority of Christians know that the original
purposes for Christmas and Easter celebrations were designed by the Christian
churches to celebrate Jesus' birth (Christmas), death, and return to
Christmas. The celebration of Jesus' birth
was apparently not formalized until about the fourth century. The date
for Christmas appears to have been chosen to replace a pagan holiday
- the worship of the sun. If true, the celebration of the Son was a victory
over pagan gods, including the "invincible sun."
Easter. The first celebrations of Easter
occurred during the first century at the time of Passover. The celebration
started on Saturday night and continued until Sunday morning in honor
of Christ's return to life. Sometime after A.D 200 early records show
that Christians finished the worship celebration with the baptism of
new Christians. This pictured the death of new Christians to their old
life and commitment to a new life for Jesus.
Change Has Occurred. Today, Christmas and
Easter are celebrated very differently in the homes and churches around
the world. In the United States the spiritual emphasis of Christmas has
almost been completely replaced with gifts, feasts, decorated trees,
Santa Claus, and music. Easter now includes rabbits which carry chicken
eggs in baskets, stylish clothes, yellow and pink colored paper, and
a Sunday feast. The beginning was good back in the first and fourth centuries
but, today, the world has almost lost the message. Unfortunately, it
is becoming a tradition in Christian churches and the meaning is drifting.
So what should a Christian do - participate or not?
Celebrate Or Not? The apostle Paul provides
us with a biblical principle that will help us here. In 1 Corinthians
10, he provides advice to some Christians who are struggling with eating
meat offered to idols. The idea of eating meat offered to idols was offending
some Christians. Here is His advice. It will surprise many.
Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without
asking questions for conscience sake; FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORDS,
AND ALL IT CONTAINS. If one of the unbelievers invites you, and you wish
to go, eat anything that is set before you, without asking questions
for conscience sake. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:25-27
His point was simple. Do not ask, just eat. To participate in Christmas
or Easter is not a sin. Christians are not worshipping idols or other
gods. The issue is why are we celebrating Christmas and Easter? I would
encourage every Christian and Christian family to use Christmas and Easter
as a time to remember Jesus' birth, death, and return to life. Return
it to its original meaning. But if doing so in some way is offensive,
then I would suggest that you do not celebrate. Listen to His Paul's
words at this point.
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his
eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. (NASB)
What is important is that we celebrate with a clear conscience.
Conclusion:Christmas and Easter are wonderful
opportunities to remember Jesus' birth, death, and return to life. They
are opportunities to teach our children the true meaning of these events.
But I would encourage every Christian not to teach your children that
Santa Claus or Father Christmas or the Easter rabbit are real for three
major reasons. First, it is a lie. Christians are to tell the truth.
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the
old self with its evil practices . . . (NASB) Col. 3:9
Second, if a Christian parent tells his or her child that someone who
they never see (Santa Claus and the Easter rabbit) are real and alive
today, how can they expect their children to believe them when they say
that God is real? I would encourage every Christian parent to explain
the real meaning of Christmas and Easter, to tell our children the truth
that Santa Claus and the Easter rabbit are not real, and to minimize
the worldly emphasis. Third, to teach our children that Santa Claus and
the Easter rabbit mysteriously give gifts is to ascribe to them god-like
powers. God has asked us not to give honor to any other "god." Christmas
and Easter are times to worship Jesus - not things that have not eternal