In the thirty-two years of my life, I have never once celebrated Christmas. For most of my life, that was due to the home I was raised in. Having grown up, married, and now raising my own family, it is due to personal conviction.

In some ways, not celebrating Christmas makes you stick out like a sore thumb. It is sometimes difficult and awkward to tell people who speak to you in public that you don’t celebrate Christmas, because more often than not you simply don’t have time to explain the reasons. One is often fearful of leaving the impression that he rejects the holiday because he is an atheist, or a pagan of some variety. I always wish to tell people, when the subject comes up, if I can say nothing else, that it is through no disbelief of the gospel narrative, but that I am as thoroughly persuaded of the reality of the incarnation of the Son of God as any, and believe it should be remembered and celebrated every day, not just once a year.

That being said, I want to give three reasons why I and my family do not celebrate Christmas (more could probably be added, but these are three of the major factors):

1. The very name of the holiday. Most people probably do not even think about what the word means, but it is basically self-explanatory: “The Mass of Christ.” To my mind, any biblically-minded person should reject this holiday for that very reason. Tragically, modern ecumenism has convinced many that Roman Catholicism is just another variant of the Christian religion, and just as good as any other denomination. This was not the view of those who came out of Catholicism during the Reformation, nor of their descendants. The view propounded by the London Baptist Confession of 1869 would have been agreeable to the minds of almost any ProtestantĀ believer up until the days of our modern apostasy: “… the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.”

If we understand the gospel at all, we ought to have nothing to do with anything that has the scent of the Roman Mass about it. This ritual is a gross insult to and perversion of the Lord’s Supper, pretending by some sort of magic trickery to transform the bread and wine into the literal flesh and blood of Christ; thus, the communicant receives real merit through this cannibalistic ritual. Rome teaches that the Mass is a real and literal re-sacrificing of Christ, which flatly contradicts the teaching of scripture, that Christ has offered one sacrifice for sins forever, and then sat down on the right hand of God. Since Christmas, or “Christ-Mass,” by its very name indicates a Mass celebrating the birth of Christ, I believe it should be shunned by all sober Christians.

2. This holiday is of pagan, rather than Christian origin. One need only type in the words “origins of Christmas” into his search engine to find reams of information showing that the 25th of December was either the day, or at least one day of several in a pagan festival. According to history.com, it was not until the 4th century that Christian leaders decided to begin celebrating the birth of Jesus, which means Christmas was a celebration entirely unknown to the primitive church.

Why is Christmas celebrated on the 25th of December? There is no mention of the date of the Saviour’s birth in the scriptures, so clearly there is no biblical basis for it. The only data we have from the Bible that may even be helpful is the reference to Zacharias the priest serving in the course of Abia; if we know when the course of Abia ended, then perhaps we could perform some calculations and arrive at a reasonable estimate. However, this could certainly never be narrowed down to a single day, not only because many infants are not born exactly at the 9 month mark after pregnancy begins, but also because we do not know how long it was after Zacharias returned home that Elisabeth became pregnant, nor if Mary became pregnant immediately after the announcement of the angel, or if there was an interval between the announcement and the conception. So, why December 25? Again, history.com explains: “Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.” Even a cursory knowledge of church history will show us that one of the great failings of the early church was the decision to incorporate elements of paganism into the Christian religion, in order to make the “converted” pagans feel more at home. What this really showed was that the “converts” were not true converts at all who had forsaken their idols to serve Christ, but were only willing to embrace the Christian faith so long as they could maintain their pagan practices and culture as well. The Roman Catholic church quickly discovered they could build up their numbers and power, while keeping peace among the people, by letting people be Christians and preserve their pagan culture at the same time; they need simply rename and reclassify pagan gods, holidays, and heroes, as Christian, and stick Christian names and themes on them. This, of course, is utterly alien to everything taught to us by the law of God, or what was practiced and preached by Christ and His apostles. Therefore, we do not celebrate Christmas, because to do so is to tactitly embrace pagan customs and rituals. (I will not even try to bring in here how many of the trappings of Christmas, such as trees and wreaths, are likewise of pagan origin.)

3. The crass materialism and greed of the Christmas season seems to me to be also a good reason to avoid the holiday altogether. It is not difficult to see that for most people, Christmas is a time of great stress, which stress naturally produces strife, contention, and bitter feelings, instead of “peace on earth and good will towards men.” I can readily understand why there should be so much stress; trying to come up with money for gifts for no telling how many people, especially for those on short budgets, could easily stress one to the breaking point. I am fairly certain that, in my case, with my wife and I having between us four children, nine siblings, nineteen nephews and nieces, four parents, and four grandparents, to say nothing of friends, that it would produce almost unbearable stress trying to find the means to get gifts for all of them! That trap is escaped simply by refusing to celebrate the holiday. Instead of trying to make it a season of giving, or (as is probably more often the case) a season of getting as much as we can, it is easier to spend a quiet day at home simply enjoying one another’s company, and keeping a little money in our pockets. I do not believe the corporate and materialistic madness of the holiday season does anything to generate true spirituality.

These are all, in my mind, excellent reasons to avoid celebrating the Christmas holiday. As much as any Christian, I wholeheartedly believe and celebrate the truth that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;” that “God was manifest in the flesh;” that “Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed forever.” I can celebrate that sacred truth more serenely without the hassle of trying to keep up with the holiday spirit of stress, greed, and materialism, and can also celebrate it without associating it with the blasphemous Roman Mass or the practices of ancient pagan cultures.

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