It really has nothing to do with the pagan roots of the holiday. That is in the past. What I object to and what I believe God objects to is what is happening in the present.
The Focus on Santa Claus
For one, Christmas is primarily about Santa Claus. It does not matter if you have never done the “Santa thing.” For, the celebration of the birth of Christ is being shared side by side with the celebration of a false god who his creators made him out to be a god like God. And who wanted to be God? Satan (Santa).
We all know the lyrics to the song, “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake.” But only God is all seeing and all knowing. Yet, Santa’s creators gave him God’s attributes of being all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere (he is all over the world in a single night).
All throughout Scripture God chided his people for mixing celebrations of him with celebrations of idols. And, even in the New Testament we are told that we can’t share in the cup of demons and the cup of the Lord at the same time, which is exactly what Christmas is about (1 Co. 10:21).
The goal of Santa’s creators is to steal the hearts of people away from the One and Only True God to follow after them and their false god, instead. So, while Jesus Christ is pictured as a helpless baby in a manger doing nothing but just lying there, Santa comes on the scene in all his glory. He is able to ride through the sky on a sleigh and to deliver gifts to children all across the globe in a single night (compare this to Isaiah 14:12-14).
And he asks children across the world to write him letters (like prayers) requesting what they want from him, too. And, children, who have long awaited his return, are anxiously anticipating his soon arrival (like Jesus’ return one day). Again, mimicking God and supplanting Jesus Christ. This is on purpose!
And if you ask most children, at least here in America, what it is about Christmas that they look forward to, it really has nothing or very little to do with Jesus Christ other than they may associate Christmas with nativity scenes, and they may have been told that it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. But that isn’t what they get excited about usually.
The Celebration of Jesus Christ
How did Jesus say he wants to be celebrated? After all, if it is truly his birthday, which it isn’t, don’t people generally ask the birthday boy and girl how they want to celebrate their birthdays? Shouldn’t that be a consideration here? Shouldn’t we inquire of the Lord as to how he wants us to honor him?
Before Jesus was crucified on a cross for our sins he gave instructions to his disciples regarding how he wanted to be remembered. They participated with him in something we call “communion” today. And he told them to “Do this in remembrance of me.” They were to partake symbolically in Jesus’ death in the drinking of the wine and the eating of the bread which symbolized his blood and his body which were given for us on that cross.
But this wasn’t just about a physical act of drinking and eating, but this has to do with us participating with Christ in his death and resurrection by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ. This has to do with us dying daily with Christ to sin and to self and us living with Christ in walks of obedience to him and to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:1-2)
This is how Jesus wants to be celebrated. He wants us to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He wants us to give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our spiritual (or acceptable) worship of him. And to worship Jesus is to adore, love, reverence, respect, fear, esteem, obey, and pay tribute to him.
And he wants us no longer conformed to this world. And celebrating Christmas is being conformed to the world, for it is doing not only what God doesn’t require, but it is doing a lot of what he instructs us not to do, which especially has to do with trying to celebrate his birth on a day when the world and many Christians also celebrate a false god (Santa/Satan).
I mean, think about this with me for a moment. Do you truly believe that Jesus is honored by most of the traditions of the Christmas holiday? Do you think that he wants us to go out and buy up a bunch of gifts for people who may or may not even appreciate or even need what we bought them, especially if it means going into debt to do so?
Do you think he is honored by our gift giving? How is that celebrating his birth? When it is your birthday, who gets the gifts? Does everyone sit around a room ignoring you and what you want, giving gifts to each other, then eating more food than they need, and perhaps some of them getting drunk? Do they then sit and watch movies and play games and not include you?
Do you know the gift the Lord Jesus wants you to give others? It isn’t toys and games and movies, most of which dishonor him, if truth be told. He wants you to give others the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that they can be saved from their sins and walk with him in holiness free from their addiction to sin, and thus have eternal life with God.
That is what Jesus cares about. That is what he wants from us but not one day a year but every day. He wants our all on the altar of sacrifice laid, our hearts under the Spirit’s control. He wants us walking in obedience to his commands and us forsaking our sins. And he wants us sharing Jesus with others and encouraging our brothers and sisters in the Lord to walk with him in holiness and righteousness and not in sin.
I mean, read your Bibles. The Jesus of the Scriptures is not to be celebrated as a helpless baby in a manger while all powerful false god Santa Claus flies through the air and brings gifts to children all over the world in a single night. If you think Jesus is okay with that, then you don’t really know him, not intimately. And you don’t know his word and what it teaches.
So, Why Don’t I Celebrate?
So, why don’t I celebrate Christmas? Because of all of the above. Because it is not what our Lord wants, and in many cases it actually opposes what he wants from us in the way of showing him honor and in the way of celebrating his life. Christmas is a pagan celebration, but not because of its pagan roots, but because of how it is celebrated today.
So, please take this to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to show you his heart and how he wants to be celebrated, and then obey him. Don’t do Christmas because you have always done Christmas or because people won’t like you if you don’t. We celebrated Christmas the last time in 2011. And when we didn’t celebrate it in 2012, it cost us the approval of many people.
So, don’t look at that. Don’t look at what you have always done. Take time to get alone with the Lord in his word and look at the ways the Lord Jesus said he wants us to honor him, for that is what this is all about, right? Well, it hasn’t been, but that can change if we are willing to make those changes.
Often when I ask why,
Teach me then on You to rely O Lord,
You surely know what is best
May I learn that in confidence and strength I can rest
Then, leaning fully on You, my questions fall one by one.
Oh, dear Lord, please don’t ever stop working with me
’til You see I can be all You want me to be
I am willing Lord, I am willing Lord,
To be just exactly what You want me to be
By Joni Eareckson Tada
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