From Where I Stand: Christmas

By Jeff S. Smith

The history of Christmas begins at the intersection of pagan idolatry and Christian evangelism. In an apparent attempt to make conversion to the faith more palatable, some who held to a form of Christianity were willing to mix it with stubborn elements of paganism, including a winter solstice celebration of the sun-god. It probably seemed logical to keep the holiday and dedicate it to the son of God instead, but a number of assumptions are necessary to add Christmas to a sparse biblical calendar. The Bible does not record the date, month, or even exact year of Christ's birth, nor does it even hint at the institution of an annual observance of it. The danger, then, is in going beyond what the New Testament does say, but also in minimizing the significance of the one ritual that really is on the church's calendar. The first day of the week, without regard to season, is designated for assembling for worship and special reflection upon the savior (Acts 20:7, First Corinthians 11:22-26). If anything, it is his death and resurrection which are set aside for commemoration, and that in the regular participation in the Lord's Supper, rather than an annual holiday.


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