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Shall We  “Put Christ Back In Christmas?”
Ivie Powell
     Every year about this time we hear the slogan, “Put Christ back in Christmas.” This same slogan will appear on various advertisements.  Even some uninformed members of the church will echo the same sentiment.  Well, the truth is, it is impossible to “Put Christ back in Christmas,” since He has never been in Christmas!  One will search the Scriptures in vain in an attempt to find December 25 as the birth date of Christ or any other date as far as that is concerned! Scriptures nowhere assigns the exact date of our Lord’s birth. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol.5, p.641) states: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come in the calendar, whether on January 6, March 25, or December 25.”
     Observe also that the Bible gives no instructions as to HOW to celebrate Christ’s birth, even if the date were known! Now, if someone says, “The three wise men conferred gifts on His birthday and this is our example to follow. First, it cannot be proved that there were three wise men. Yes, three gifts (gold, frankincense, myrrh), but the number of men is not mentioned. As far as that goes, one man could have brought more than one gift. Second, one must prove that the wise men came the day of Christ’s birth. It is purely fictional that the wise men came to the manger as most “Christmas scenes” are presented. Jesus was born in a stable (Luke 2:1-7), but Mary, Joseph and Jesus were in a house when the wise men visited them (Matthew 2:11).
     It is often stated, even by some brethren, “Well, what you say is true, but what is wrong with setting aside December 25 as the birth date of Christ?” The wrong is in establishing a religious observance without divine approval! Take note of the following passage of Scripture: “And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians  3:17). Question: Where is the biblical authority for setting aside any date to observe the birth date of Christ?
     Furthermore, the Bible condemns the setting aside of special days in the following passage: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Galatians  4:10-11). The only day Christians are to observe with God’s approval is the first day of the week. At which time we remember the Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-30; Acts 20.7).
     While we are discussing the subject of: “Putting Christ back in Christmas,” it is really amazing the number of people (including brethren) who will make their “annual pilgrimage” to the meeting house on so-called “Christmas Sunday” and yes, “Easter Sunday,” but any other time seldom assemble with the saints!  Not only that, many will spend more on gifts during this season than they give to God all year!   Could it be that many will allow “Santa” to rob God of their obligation to give as they have been prospered?!  The Lord did not say to give as one has prospered (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) only on “Christmas” and/or “Easter!”
     How then, if at all, should Christians celebrate December 25? The same as they do Labor Day or Memorial Day —as just another holiday without any religious attachment! To observe this time of the year as purely social is left to the discretion of the individual. Let us always remember it is through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that true blessings have come!
     Shall we “Put Christ back in Christmas?” How can this be done, since Christ was never in Christmas! 
 
Editor’s Note: Observing Christmas as a secular holiday is just as acceptable as observing Easter or Labor Day as a secular holiday.  We do need to be careful to avoid the appearance that we observe these days religiously.  For example, we should avoid stars on our cards and trees; manger scenes and anything else that is associated with Jesus birth.  We should avoid “Christmas  songs” about Jesus birth during the holidays.  We need to teach our children and grand-children what the Bible says.  Enjoy Christmas as a holiday with family and friends!

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Lay Lake church of Christ

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