Tuesday, December 24, 2013

As for Christmas, Live and Let Live

Arguing over "the real meaning of Christmas" has got to be one of the most foolish things we Christians do.

Through the years I've been all over the spectrum on the meaning of Christmas issue. I began with the typical American Christian practice of mixing Christian and secular traditions. I happily enjoyed celebrating both Jesus' birth and Santa Claus' arrival.

Then I went to seminary and became a big time "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON" guy. I think we even had a car magnet that said something to that effect.

Sometime after seminary I found out about Saturnalia. This showed me that Christmas, at least to some extent, had pagan roots. While Christ's incarnation is certainly worth cherishing, the actual Christmas holiday was not exactly that. It's all at least a bit confusing.

About the time I learned about Saturnalia, I also began reading my bible to see how the early church lived and functioned. This led, as has been well chronicled here, to my resignation from professional pastoring. It also showed me that the early church was not concerned with any sort of festival focusing on the birth of Christ. Rather, the early church looked much more intently at the death and resurrection.

In light of all this there was a short period of time when I didn't think Christians should celebrate Christmas at all. In particular, the pagan roots and capitalistic excess bothered me (the excess still does).

Now I've finally come to a new point as far as Christmas is concerned. My view is let's simply live and let live. As Christians, we all love Jesus and want to live for Him. Christ wants and demands that His church be united. It's a great victory for Satan when we fight over issues as silly as "the real meaning of Christmas."

We have much more important things to be concerned about. These include building one another up in Christ, proclaiming the good news to the lost, and caring for the needs of the poor, sick, and needy. These are all things we can easily unite around.

Therefore, feel free to celebrate Christmas in just about any way you want. If it's just about Jesus' birth, then go ahead. If it's only centered on Santa, feel free. If, like most folks, it is a mix, then enjoy it. If you decide to abstain from the whole thing, then be my guest.

Let's just not argue/fight about it. Let's also avoid passing judgment upon one another.

As for Christmas, live and let live.


Norm M. said...

Just to be clear, I can drink egg nog AND watch "Elf" without feeling guilty, right?

Eric said...

Well, that might be pushing it just a bit, but O.K.

Mac said...

I agree with live and let live and that satan loves to create division. However we are called that once we know the truth to live in obedience to that truth. While it is not a salvation issue it is important. Bibically it can be proved that Christs birth was in early Sept during the year 3 BC. Most probably on Sept 11. If in fact that is true and after a lot of research I have found it to be true, biblically, Then the question needs to be asked why celebrate the birth of our Lord on the birth date of all the other pagan God. Put it another way, who is the person you most dislike or may even consider an enemy. How about if everyone celebrate your birthdate on that date. How can one say Jesus is the reason for the season when He was never in the season? There is also no mandate to celebrate His birth in scripture. It takes a long time to come into obedience to the truth and to be a pecular and separate people as unto the Lord. We should instead be celebrating His presence in our heart daily with no particular day set aside as unto man. While it is not a salvation issue, once we know the truth we have a duty to live by that truth. Blessings brothr Eric, thanks for the post.

Eric said...


Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your desire to live according to biblical truth.

I have one question for you. You wrote, "Bibically it can be proved that Christs birth was in early Sept during the year 3 BC. Most probably on Sept 11." Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion? I'm not being argumentative; rather, I'm just curious. Thanks.