On Christmas Eve 1871, the famed preacher Charles Spurgeon said these words about Christmas:
"Probably the fact is that the “holy” days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. Nevertheless since, the current of men’s thoughts is led this way just now, and I see no evil in the current itself, I shall launch the bark of our discourse upon that stream, and make use of the fact, which I shall neither justify nor condemn, by endeavoring to lead your thoughts in the same direction. Since it is lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men’s superstitions to render such a meditation improper for to-day. Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”
That last sentence is really the key that I hoped to convey in Stay Free #36 (if I'd known about this quote sooner, I'm sure I would have included it!) Since we're free to worship God any day of the year, it cannot be within the power of Satan or men's superstition to block one of those days. In other words, Satan doesn't get to claim December 25th as his own, thereby ensuring that no worship of Jesus is conducted by Christians on that day. Indeed, if that's the end result, then Satan has won a battle.
So celebrating Jesus' birth on December 25th is certainly permissible for us. But I want to bring it back to the real question of the episode: is it still beneficial? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23, that although we're permitted to do anything, we should always be aiming to give God our best.
So what is our best here? Does celebrating Jesus' birth on Christmas Day now bring so many negatives that it outweighs the positives? Do we trade focus on Christ with distractions like Santa Claus and materialism? Have our authentic celebrations of the Saviour been swallowed by empty secular sentimentality? Is it time we established differentiation from the world by moving our festivities to coincide with the real date? Similarly, should we move our celebration of Jesus' resurrection to coincide with Passover? Will it help us focus better on Christ if we differentiate our celebrations from chocolate eggs and bunnies? In other words, do we need new holidays? Would that be our 'best'? Or is there still a benefit to maintaining the current setup?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic so if you have any, please leave your comments below! (If you want to catch up on what we're talking about here, here are the latest two episode of Stay Free:)