To top it all off, my religious tradition does not attach any special significance to Christmas. To us it’s simply a secular holiday, and that’s fine by me. The Bible says absolutely nothing about celebrating Jesus’s birth, and Christmas is really a man-made holiday with traditions built upon Northern European pagan winter solstice rituals, so I think that we are on solid ground here.
He’s right in many ways. Many of the holiday traditions are based on ancient pagan rituals. But be that as it may, the more important question revolves around the biblical importance of the birth of Christ. Is that event something that Christians should commemorate or not? To answer that question, we first need to consider another. How did believers in the Bible respond to the birth of Jesus Christ? I found three responses as I read through the accounts of Matthew and Luke.
- The shepherds responded by spreading the news and praising God for what he had allowed them to see (Luke 2:8-20).
- Simeon and Anna, who had been awaiting the coming of the Messiah, praised God for his arrival (Luke 2:25-38).
- The wise men, at least a year later, responded by worshiping the young child (Matt. 2:1-12).
In each case, the individuals involved saw the importance of the child’s birth. The baby was born to be the King, Savior, and Redeemer of mankind. They looked beyond the immediate to see the greatness of our God in sending just what the world needed most. It was a time of great excitement because of what they knew he would accomplish. The Lord Jesus left the wonders of heaven, to live among sinful people, and to eventually sacrifice himself for the sins of the world so that man could be reconciled with God. That, my friend, is something worth celebrating.
While the Bible doesn’t command us to commemorate the birth of the Savior, it certainly seems to be a good idea. Just reading the responses of these three groups (not to mention the response of the angelic host) makes me want to shout out the good news to my neighborhood. But somehow I don’t think the neighbors would enjoy it at 11:30 pm. Know what I mean? But as with all celebrations, we each have to make our own decision on the matter (Rom. 14:5). Some celebrate the event; some don’t. In either case, let’s take the moment to thank God the Father for sending his Son for us. Amen.