Many people are aware that popular holidays such as Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc. are not in the Bible and are actually pagan in origin. To many, however, such facts, and what God thinks, do not really matter. After all, they believe, they do not celebrate the holiday like the ancient Pagans. As long as Jesus' birth is rejoiced over at Christmas, with a sprinkle of Santa Claus for the children, it is assumed God will understand.
Did anyone in the New Testament celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas? The Biblical record is silent in this regard. Yet, people reason that God must accept the holiday because we have such good feelings about it. We cherish fond memories of Christmas, so He must have fond memories as well. Or does he?
What if the memories of God, concerning Christmas, included the noise of pagans who rejoiced over their idol with chanting or of the screams from those, his spiritual children known as Christians, being put to death? The Bible says God hears the voices of those martyred for His name crying under a heavenly altar asking that their deaths be avenged (Revelation 6:10).
The following fictional story will help explain some of the issues involved with holidays such as Christmas that are not condoned by God.
Imagine it is Germany during the height of Nazism in 1937. Churches throughout the country are in trouble. Young people who go to church want to leave and join the Hitler Youth. Businesses that even seem to be Jewish because they observe a seventh-day Sabbath are failing.
Some ministers, however, believe that if they only make some minor changes here and there to how the church operates they will be able to survive what is happening in the country.
For example, on April 20th of each year is Hitler's birthday, which many joyously celebrate. Since it is unclear exactly when Christ was born, some religious leaders choose April 20th as the time to commemorate his birth. They also figure out that if they take the cross, and add just a few bends to it, that it looks surprisingly similar to a swastika.
With changes to the church comes growth in numbers. People soon find themselves holding their right arm ridged in front of them, at an upward angle, so that they can show they are giving God glory as they march around the cross. And, most people do not care that the commemoration of Jesus' resurrection has been moved to occur on the exact day when the glorious Third Reich was started.
Churches which adopt the new ways Germany operates thrive while others are persecuted or even killed. The new practices are so popular that even many years later many people are still found celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (Christmas) on the 20th of April.
One day, someone visits the church and does his best to try and inform the group about how their holidays originated. After hearing the explanation the people are not shocked. After all, in their minds terms like Hitler and Nazi are meaningless.
Who cares, they think, how people many years ago worshipped whatever they thought was the Eternal. What matters is that what they do today is for the worship and glory of Him. Their trips down memory lane are abruptly interrupted when the man asks what are the Christmas memories of God.
How do you think God would react if people decided to yearly commemorate His Son's birth on the birthday of Hitler? Wouldn't most want to study to find out how their customs "honoring" God and His Son got started? Our fictionalized tale of an April 20th Christmas seemed so wonderful and magical, filled with warm feelings and love. All such feelings, however, are based on lies (2Corinthians 11:14).
The Christmas spirit, to them, is the spirit of sharing and giving to others. Anyone who would even dare to be opposed to such widely acceptable practices must mean something is terribly wrong with them.
The allure and temptation to set aside Christmas on April 20th, with its lights and music and festivities enjoyed even by those who know nothing of the Creator, would be most powerful.
Blending truth and error
To the early New Testament church, the perfect will of God did not mean they could set up their own holidays like Christmas.
Many years later, however, the Catholics (and no doubt others) deceived the masses into believing they could hang on to their pagan traditions of worship but rename them. Jesus warned, in no uncertain terms, that there would be those who would worship him in vain (Mark 7:7 - 8).
People simply do not understand that to celebrate the holiday, with all its trappings, is a total lie and that Christ can never be put back in Christmas since he was never there! The memories God has do not allow him to celebrate the holiday crafted to "honor" him.