For new converts to the Primitive Baptist Church it can be quite surprising to find out that the church itself does not celebrate Christmas. For those coming from modern Christian customs and beliefs this is a key piece of church life. However, there are many reasons why the true church should not bring Christmas into the church.
Isn’t It the Celebration of the Birth of Christ
First of all, a careful study of scripture and history reveals that Christmas was not the period of time in which Christ was born. There had to have been a clear reason for all of the “rooms in the Inn” to have been full placing Joseph and Mary in the manger. The reasons for that had to do with tax collection and census counting. Those times most likely happened in the Autumn season of the year placing the birth of Christ closer to September or October rather than December. Therefore, Christmas is clearly not the birth of Christ and as such is not a reason to bring Christmas into the church.
I know it isn’t the actual day . . .
Often the information above is responded to with, I know it isn’t the actual day it is just the day we choose to celebrate the birth of Christ. First of all, one should understand that this was not the case until the 4th century when Catholics decided to counter upstart cult religions by having their own celebration or holiday (Holy Day) on December 25. Second of all, the scriptures never tell us that we are to celebrate the birth of Christ. We should remember that when Christ was born he was put into the flesh of man and removed himself from his rightful place. The birth of Christ, while wonderful for our salvation, was really the beginning of a life of ridicule and torment for our Lord. We are instructed to remember what Christ has done for us but we are to do so in the communion service, not with a Christmas celebration.
But Christ is the reason for the season . . .
Christmas should be marked by love for one another and expressions of those love. Without a doubt it is true that real love only can happen when Christ is in our lives and as such there is truth in the idea that Christ is the reason for the season, but not because it is his birthday. However, Christmas is also highly secularized and not included in scripture. As such it does not belong within the church. Let us always look to scripture as to what should be in the church.
Can I celebrate at home?
Celebrating Christmas is largely a matter in my mind of Christian liberty in regards to many aspects. Should you claim it as Christ’s birthday and use nativity scenes around your home? I would hope you would not. However, when it comes to exchanging gifts, decorating, and enjoying other festivities that is a personal decision. Just remember, the season is about love for one another which is a gift of God. Whatever your choice this year, I hope you will enjoy the time with family and friends as much as I do.
May the Lord bless you,