Last Saturday we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. Her birthday wasn’t on that date, but it was convenient for a number of family and friends to gather and show their love and appreciation for her. We all knew it wasn’t the right day, but that didn’t change the celebration.
Which brings me to Christmas. December 25th is not Christ’s birth by any provable method. There are a number of reasons why it would not be His birth date, but I’m going to celebrate His birth anyway. The date is not a problem for me any more than Saturday was a problem for celebrating my daughter.
I don’t wait around for Christmas to celebrate my Savior, either. Every Sunday I celebrate His life and recognize His resurrection by worshipping with our local congregation. We sing hymns of rejoicing, remembrance and raise our voices while we . . .
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. (Psalms 98:4 KJV)
Christ told us to remember His last supper:
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-25 KJV)
But no where in the Bible are we told we must do anything in remembrance of His birth. I do remember it each year, though, as a part of God’s love, expressed in His word:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
And, because I love Him:
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 KJV)
I believe Luke interviewed Mary, which gives us a close look at the reality of Jesus’ birth. I think of how hard it must have been for her to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I wonder how large the group was that made the trip? Were they tempted to linger in Jerusalem, or did they press on without stopping, reaching Bethlehem too late for a room at the inn?
Were there women traveling with them, or was it just Mary and Joseph at our Lord’s birth? How did she feel when the shepherd’s arrived?
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Luke 2:16-18 KJV)
Why ignore this beautiful story of His birth? Why not celebrate it at a given time each year?
Oh – because that time coincides with pagan worship? What time doesn’t? Because that time has been commercialized beyond reasonable limits? Ignore the commercialization. It’s that easy. Do not give into peer pressure or other people’s expectations. Lovingly make gifts if desired, but realize buying power will never display love.
Do not celebrate Christmas if it does not hold the gospel message for you. Do not celebrate Christmas if you cannot celebrate His resurrection. Do not celebrate Christ’s birth if Christ is not a part of daily life. It becomes a distraction, doesn’t it?