House Church Talk - Real Believers Celebrate Christmas?

goodwordusa at goodwordusa at
Wed Nov 19 12:31:38 EST 2003

Should "Real Christians" Celebrate Christmas? 

I know people today who struggle to be happy this time of year. They watch 
old movies about Christmas, and they think of loved ones far away, and they 
do unusually kindly things for strangers. And of course they decorate their 
homes with bright colors, and listen to lots of Christmas music. 

Some people do all of this stuff to run away from the dark feelings of gloom 
and loneliness they feel inside.  Scientists claim that the longer nights and 
shorter days depress lots of people.  The lack of sunlight makes people feel 

But whoever knows the Lord Jesus Christ has the true and eternal light of God 
already burning brightly inside.  This does not mean that we cannot feel 
depressed or unhappy.  But it means that a living spring of joy and peace 
forever flows upward out of our innermost being.

We do not simply look for music or overt behavior to cheer us up or to remind 
us of "olden days" when things were all better. And we do not try to pass 
over the words of a carol (as the world too often does), for in those 
Scriptural promises and reminders, we hear the truths of God's kingdom 
ringing out loud and clear. We're able to rejoice without any ceremony or 
rituals, because we are already alive to the truth of Jesus Christ -- even 
without the holiday. 

So we do not really need all the celebration that comes with Christmas.  But 
we are also free. 

And while the Lord calls us away from the traditions that once held us in 
bondage, He also sets us free from the fear of those traditions. True 
believers in Jesus Christ are the only really free people in the world -- 
because the world no longer owns us. The world can no longer put us in a box 
and make us stay.  And we should not allow a religion that hates tradition to 
put us in a box, either.

Who cares what some pagans did three centuries ago, or eight centuries ago on 
this or that day, or at this or that time of the year?  Pagans today eat ice 
cream.  Shall I abstain from eating ice cream?  I'm not a pagan.  I'm a man 
(who was once a blasphemer and unbeliever) that has been washed in the blood 
of Jesus Christ.  I've been made alive in Christ by the Spirit of God.  

My steps are directed by the Lord and not by a fear of what pagans might ever 
have done.

So when I wish others happiness at Christmas time, I really mean it.  I 
say "Merry Christmas!" as loud and as often as anyone -- and I say it as a 
blessing, and as a prayer that God will truly capture the hearts of all who 
hear it. Only in the Lord can anyone have real joy. And only He can bring 
genuine light (the precious and warm light of His own dear Presence) into a 
gloomy heart. 

All believers are free to celebrate or not celebrate, as the Lord works in 
each life and in each family.  Many Christians who celebrate the holidays do 
so as a perfect opportunity to share their faith.  And those who do not 
celebrate also try to do so in a manner that offers the world a testimony to 
Jesus Christ.   The Lord guides each heart and each family according to where 
we live and what He is doing in our lives, and in the lives of those around 
us.  True believers are servants of God, and do not merely live for their own 

No believer should engage in the rowdiness and drunkenness that the world 
often associates with party life and celebration.  The world should be able 
to tell by our laughter, our singing, our worship of God, and the kindness we 
show to others that we truly believe in Jesus Christ.  Our love for Jesus 
should be evident in everything we say and do.

But whether we celebrate a holiday or choose not to observe it at all, we are 
not by that choice more spiritual or less spiritual than those who do 
otherwise.  So whatever the Lord leads us to do, let's be careful to just do 
it without thinking we're more correct or more sincere than others. When we 
honor our brothers and sisters, God is glorified in all that we do, and no 
shame or needless division is brought on the church. 

By all means obey the convictions that God gives you.  But also understand 
that God does direct all of His children to do the exact same things. We do 
not all speak the same language or live in the same kind of a house, or wear 
the same clothing, or eat the same kinds of food. But whatever we do, we 
(should) do to the glory of God, as His Spirit directs each of us.  

Nearing the end of his life, John the apostle wrote, "...the darkness is 
passing away, and the true light is already shining."  (1 John 2:8b)

Jim Sutton

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House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.