The Bible is right to consider people sheep. We do a lot of things because we have always done them. Whether it’s where we work, our patterns for the day or the things we get involved in, there’s a combination of enjoying the familiar and not causing ripples that keeps most people from doing anything different.
This is part of the reason that I believe we have a celebration of Jesus’ birth in the middle of winter, and why it will probably never change.
Now, you could obviously start this conversation with a discussion of whether we should be celebrating His birth at all. The New Testament is devoid of decreeing any kind of celebration of days– in fact Romans 14 goes so far as to say that regarding any day better than another is something that really isn’t all the Spiritual, but a personal preference.
The disciples met at Solomon’s porch on Sunday after the Ascension as it was the day that Jesus rose, but that was not dictated by Christ. So you could make the argument, like the Jehovah’s Witness, that there’s no command to celebrate Christmas, Resurrection Sunday or any of that, and I wouldn’t really have a good argument against non-participation.
The reason that we celebrate special days is to remember– or to get presents or sell used cars and mattresses, I’m not quite sure which it really is! Which gets us to the topic of this post, should Christians get concerned about December 25th?
When the first settlers of this new world came here, they didn’t celebrate Christmas. If the Bible didn’t say it, they didn’t do it. And it’s hard to think about Mary, Joseph traveling in the Israeli winter to get registered and finding no room in the inn with shepherds outside at night in the dead of winter. So there is good reason to wonder about the timing of the birth of Christ– especially when said timing isn’t spelled out in Scripture.
Again, I want you to gather the significance that’s not placed on when our Savior was born. We know the month in which some of the Old Testament characters were born. We know about Jesus lineage, how his mom visited Elizabeth and the miracles surrounding His birth, but the date at which Christians now have fights with others over is no where spelled out and we have reason to believe is incorrect.
Call it a hunch, but I don’t think that God considers the most important thing about Christ’s life His birth. We enjoy it because who doesn’t like babies and the idea of a virgin birth is wild. We like to put wise men at the birth (instead of where they belong, sometime after it) and celebrate the gifts– and boy do we like spending money. We’ve made something that God deemed not insignificant the most significant thing on our calendar. Just look at the songs, the plays, the cantatas and all the trappings around this event, compared to Resurrection Sunday (which used to get a full two weeks off and now you’re lucky to get Good Friday).
Should Christians be concerned about defending the 25th? I would say no. To some degree we are fighting a battle against the culture for a day that the culture has redefined as an idol to consumerism and it probably isn’t even the right day. I’m not calling for people to stop giving gifts, not to tell the story of Jesus’ birth, or to cease making Jesus the “Reason for the Season” but calling for Christians to be honest about why we celebrate in winter time and not make this date the bell-weather of Christianity’s appeal in this culture. Let’s keep the important things important.
The whole point of the story of the birth of Christ is that God’s promised redemption had come– something that wouldn’t happen for 30+ more years from that birth. He was born to die upon Calvary that we might live. If anything, make that the point of your interactions this Holiday Season– and look forward to the cross and the resurrection.