Adventures in Christian Living
By: Keith Newell

"Why don't you guys at the Church of Christ celebrate Christmas?" You may have been asked this question in the past. I know I have.

The truth is, most members of the Lord's Church DO celebrate Christmas. We decorate a tree at our house and send cards to friends and loved ones. We watch "Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer" and "The Grinch who stole Christmas" on television. We even exchange gifts and have been known to sing "Jingle Bells" and other such carols. As a terrific holiday celebrating joy, peace and love, we gladly join the majority in celebration.

Maybe the question should be, "Why don't you guys at the Church of Christ celebrate Christmas as Jesus' birth?" There are two reasons for this. First and most important, we have no authority in the Bible to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th (nor any other day for that matter). We are told to remember His death, burial and resurrection each Sunday by partaking of The Lord's Supper.

Second, most Bible scholars agree that Jesus most likely was not born in Winter, let alone December 25th. Serious students of the Bible seem to agree that His birth occurred in the Fall of the year. Regardless of when our Lord was born, it still doesn't change the previous fact that we're not instructed to honor His birth with a religious holiday.

Was Jesus born miraculously of a virgin? Yes, with out a doubt. The Bible says so and we believe it. What about the wise men, the star and the manger - - are these factual events concerning the birth of Jesus? I'm 100% sure of it. Is the account of Jesus' birth a great account, worthy of our study? Absolutely. (In fact, it's one of my favorites to read.)

Still, do we have authority from God's Holy Word to give special honor to this event in Jesus' life? The answer is no. No more than we should celebrate the sermon on the mount every March 25th, the raising of Lazarus, every July 25th or the naming of the Apostles every September 25th. All of these events are true and factual yet we have no authority to celebrate them on any particular day either. Thus, we don't have Christmas plays re-enacting the birth of Jesus, we don't sing Christmas carols in our worship service and we don't display a nativity scene in front of our building.

Having said that, I think this time of year is a great opportunity to talk to people about Jesus. Many people don't give our Savior much thought most of the year but are willing to talk about Him now. As Christians, we have this small window of opportunity to possibly teach people about Jesus (starting at His birth) and what the Bible says about salvation. Any time someone is willing to honor or talk about Jesus, we should welcome it.

We can still enjoy this holiday season as a special time with family and friends. There is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas traditions like other red-blooded Americans. However, we must draw the line at observing "Christmas" as a part of our worship service or as a "religious holiday: There IS something wrong with unauthorized, unscriptural worship.

For a text this week, take time to read about the birth of Jesus. Matt. 1:18-2:23 & Luke 1:26-2:40