“How absurd to think we could [celebrate Christmas] in the spirit of the world, with a Jack Frost clown, a deceptive worldly Santa Claus, and a mixed program of sacred truth with fun, deception and fiction. If it be possible to honor Christ in the giving of gifts, I cannot see how while the gift, giver, and recipient are all in the spirit of the world.” Charles Spurgeon on what Christmas had devolved into in his day.
Many born again Christians lament about what Christmas has become, yet the secularization of Christmas is not a new phenomenon. Today’s culture mirrors traditions that go back to the mid second century. These unscriptural traditions have formed the basis of a secularization of much of Christmas that in turn has led the prevailing culture away from the true meaning of Christmas and therefore Jesus Christ. Born again believers, those that have called on the name of Jesus as their Savior, see Christmas in a much different light. For believers this is a day to ponder who that baby in the manger is. It is a day we celebrate the advent of God’s Promised Messiah into this fallen world. It is a day we understand that the child we adore on December 25 came into this world to provide a means of salvation for a lost world. The true meaning of Christmas has become marred by Jack Frost Clowns and deceptive worldly Santa Clauses.
Once again these traditions are not new. These traditions have trivialized Christmas and have been an effective means for steering the world to celebrate the worldly not Christ. They are clearly the work of the prince of this world, Satan, and they are an effective means to his ends. For many years, people observed Christmas as a religious festival only. But they gradually adopted more and more customs unrelated to the church. In England, during the Middle Ages, Christmas became the merriest day of the year to an intolerable extent. The celebration of Christmas eventually became so debauched that the Puritans in England did away with the observance of Christmas by law in 1643. For over 400 years the celebration of Christmas was banned or discouraged in Scotland.
So what seems to be important to most of America during the Christmas season is not new. The commercialization of Christmas has placed an over emphasis on gift giving. The materialism that surrounds this season has become the reason for the season for many. Traditions, many of which have pagan roots that date back to before Christ, seem to direct our focus elsewhere rather than on Christ. Christmas trees, mistletoe, Santa Claus, reindeer, elves, candy canes, ginger bread, and drunken office parties have become the highlights and focus for those that live a life void of Christ.
Scripture does not command us to celebrate the birth of Christ. It certainly doesn’t command us to celebrate His advent on any specific day since there is no way to determined a specific date. We, as believers, should be looking at Christ’s advent with great joy throughout our walk with our Savior. We should be looking at that child in the manger for who that child is, what that child means to those who recognize why that child came into the world. As we gather at Christmas we should not be caught up in the triviality of the season, but take the time to reveal to unbelievers what this day really means.
The Bible is God’s complete and final revelation to man. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” God’s Word reveals to us the immensity and all sufficiency of our Creator. It reveals to us His plan of salvation that brings us eternal life. It reveals to us His plan for the Bride of Christ, His Church. It reveals to us His direction on how we should live in community as believers. God’s Word tells us how we are to worship, how we are to evangelize a lost world by reaching the lost, how we are to observe the Lord’s Supper and everything else pertaining to the Christian life. But not once in the Bible does God tell us to celebrate Christmas! We’re told to remember the Lord’s death, but nowhere are we told to celebrate His birth. Yet, we need to constantly contemplate who that baby is in the manger. We need to contemplate that baby not just on December 25 but throughout our lives as believers. So who is that baby?
Isaiah 53 reveals much as to who that baby is. He was destined before all time to come to this earth, He would be despised and rejected and a man of sorrows. He was sent to this earth leaving the the glories of Heaven and the presence of the Father. He was destined to die a criminal’s death. And for what reason did the Father send His Son to suffer and die? An all loving God sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die for those that were His enemy, for those that despised and rejected their Maker. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He offered up His Son to take on the sins of sinful people that they might have eternal life. Not just on Christmas day, but throughout the year we should contemplate what that baby lying in the manger means to us, what that baby would do for us. Isaiah 53 tells us how much God the Father loves us and what that baby knew He was going to endure so that those who believe may have eternal life.
“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”