Adiophora – To celebrate Christmas or not to celebrate Christmas? That is the question

Posted: November 25, 2008 in Theology and Doctrine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

jesus-sign

Its coming round to that time. Some Christians will be making the argument that we shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas and some will not see a problem with it. So should we or shouldn’t we?

Well there is a thing called adiophora. What this is basically is things which are not strictly forbidden or permitted in scripture. For example this may be a shock to many but I have tattoos on both of my arms (no I am not trying to be like Todd Bentley). One which has a cross with the words ‘He died for us’ and on the other arm the names of my children. Was it wrong for me to have a tattoo? Well the first place to go should always be scripture. Is there anywhere which explicitly forbids me to have a tattoo or explicitly permits me to have one? The answer for both questions is no if you look at all the biblical passages IN CONTEXT (in case anyone decides to use Lev 19:28). But then again, it could have been if my motives were wrong or if I had acted against my conscience.

Romans 14 and 1 Cor 8 talks about this in more detail. In 1 Cor 8, It talks about situations where a person eats meats sacrificed to idols which is a sinful act in itself (sacrificing to idols that is). For one person it is OK to eat it but for another person it is not. What is the difference? It is the sin of the conscience. There may be many factors. For example it says that if you know that a person may have a background of sacrificing to idols, then even though you know it is OK in and of itself, for you to eat with that person could be sin if you know that that persons conscience is weak but you eat it in front of them anyway. Romans 14 talks about many other situations e.g. one person’s conscience allows them to eat meat but another persons doesn’t. One person esteems one day above another. These are areas that are not worth arguing about and we should let our conscience be our guide.

So going back to the original question. Should a person celebrate Christmas? I would say yes and no. Does the bible explicitly forbids or permits it. The answer is no but if your conscience pricks you because you feel strongly against celebrating what you believe to be a pagan festival, then it would be wrong for you to just go against your conscience and celebrate it anyway because eventually your conscience will get hardened if you continue to go against it. However there are those who just use the season to remember and celebrate the coming into this world of the one who would save us from our sins and see no problem with it whatsoever and their conscience allows it

About these ads
Comments
  1. mulledvine says:

    I saw an amusing bumper sticker once: “Go to church. Beat the Christmas rush!”

    I love Christmas.

  2. LaVrai says:

    Well, my family has always celebrated Christmas and it has always been about acknowledging our SAVIOR and LORD Jesus Christ’s birth (even if HE wasn’t born in Winter). So there has never been a conflict for me. And I’ve never been the kind to lose sleep over receiving things. So, I don’t see the harm — I’m not celebrating materialism or bowing before a Christmas tree (or even setting one up).

    Do Christians feel convicted over Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve? And what’s Thanksgiving (in America) have to do with Jesus Christ… but we acknowledge it and bake that turkey anyway.

  3. Rachel says:

    Very interesting post . . . with Christmas comes all the symbolism and those are often pagan – like the Christmas trees and interesting in Jeremiah 10:3-5 – sounds like a Christmas tree to me – but it say it does neither good or evil . . .

    When I first started exploring this topic I came across pagan websites where they were laughing at Christians because they worshiped their God but had their “gods” in their home.

    We are to be a people set apart and when we do those things of pagan influences (mostly Christmas and Easter) . . . it doesn’t set right. God was very adament about not mingling in their customs.

    This one is still out to jury for me. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Rachel

  4. Laura says:

    Wow Alan

    We have had this discussion in our house this very week and are struggling with it since we have two young children. We don’t just want to be ‘luke warm’ Christians in anything we do but at the same time it would be hard to say to the kids ‘no Christmas this year peeps’!

    I personally think most of what Rachel said was right. God does tell us not to join in with pagan ‘festivities’ and since I’ve researched the real origins this month I’ve been even more put off.

    I’m happy to remember Christ’s birth but I don’t think I’ll have any tree or decorations this year now I know what they symbolically mean. Nor will ‘Santa Claus’ be making any sort of appearance.. after all aren’t we breaking one of the 10 Commandments knowingly by telling our children the ‘white lie’ that ‘Santa is real’!!

    I think we’re totally going to ‘down grade’ this year although I’m not going to cut out the gifts for my children just yet, they’re not really old enough to understand. My whole family have agreed that this year will be about spending time (rather than money) together!

    Lastly I agree with what Alan said about conscience too, but my conscience has been struck more than once on this issue so I can’t ignore it any longer.

  5. walter says:

    JESUS CHRIST never told us to do anything concerning his birth, however, he gave us specific instructions concerning his death and what we should do in remembrance of him to shew forth his death until he comes, but most disregard the significance of this celebration and choose to celebrate Christmas without any scriptural verification.

  6. Alan Higgins says:

    I hear you Walter but the bible doesn’t forbid us to celebrate his birth either. This is my whole point. Does the bible forbid us to celebrate our birthday? No but most of us do it anyway. It is a matter of your conscience

  7. walter says:

    It my desire to live by ” every word that proceedeth out of the mouth God”. He never said to celebrate the birth of Jesus on a day called Christmas nor did he tell me to celebrate my birthday, and I don’t. I realize it is a strong tradition and many do it but I don’t because to me it’s more than a matter of my conscience, it’s a matter of what God has spoken, and since I can’t validate nor verify this by the written word of God I don’t partake of the celebration but I realize it is a personal decision for each indivual.

  8. Isaiah says:

    This issue arises every year in my household, not because it’s a contentious one, but because my wife and I have decided that we will not celebrate Christmas because we feel it’s not quite right to adopt a pagan festival to celebrate the birth of Christ.

    I realize it’s a contentious issue, but I’d agree with you that it’s not expressly forbidden in the Bible and folks should be left to follow their convictions on this issue.

    As the season draws near, I might share some new insights on this when time permits. :)

    I hope all’s been well with you, bro. Alan. :)

    God bless!

  9. John says:

    The tradition of a “Christmas Tree” (whether or not pagans used the symbol, it was not “Christ mass”), was started by none other than the great reformer, Martin Luther. It struck him that the symbol of “evergreen” represented eternal life, pointing to heaven, and lit with the candles of “stars’ helped him to continually remember the birth of our Lord. We are commanded to worship our Lord in scripture, and Paul extols us to pray without ceasing. It would seem that any symbol, regardless of the origin that helps us to remember both of those commands, are a good thing. The origin of the “cross” symbol is from the Babylonian “Sun god”. But, to me, the cross reminds me that the tomb was empty. Praise God, for that miracle, and sign of his enduring love for his people. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, and worship his birth, at this time of year!

  10. Susan says:

    I celebrated Christmas until my eyes were opened! It was the 1st wk of Dec. 1992, I felt a need to attend a revival, so I called a bunch of churches in the Metro D.C. Area. To my surprise, I was told that I had to wait until the Spring! That the month of Dec. is the ‘Christmas’ season. Churches plan their programs by ‘seasons’. I had always just accepted all churches were following God’s plan–I hadn’t before seen just how they follow the ‘seasons’! This lead me to one old preacher who said that, in fact, Christmas is an affront to the Cross of Christ–that we are bringing him no glory by remembering his birth. The whole ‘church’ thing around Christ being glorified at Christmas is all myth and completely from a carnal mind! I was so happy to get rid of all my collections of Christmas bulbs! But though I was scorned as being ‘extremist’, I found such joy flooding my soul! The real joy is when you’ve overcome the wiles of the devil and can shout the victory cry! Great is the power of the Resurrection from the Dead!! Great is our God–for He has delivered me from snares of Christmas!!!!

  11. Alan Higgins says:

    So where in the bible does the bible prohibits celebrating Christmas? If that is what you want to do, then fair enough but you cannot say that it is wrong for others to celebrate it

    • david sampson says:

      The xmas story bothers me.First of all we are singing hyms and other songs stating that “Mary`s boychild Jesus Christ was born on Xmas day”.That is a lie and scripture states that all liars will have a part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstome,along with adulterers and fornicatore etc.Then there is the matter of “not following the traditions of men”but instead the teachings of God-YHWH.tHESE STATEMENTS SEEM TO INDICATE THAT WE OUGHT TO ONLY FOLLOW FESTIVALS THAT THE APOSTLES/JESUS COMMISSIONED US TO FOLLOW.DRINKING HIS BLOOD AND EATING HIS BODY-COMMUNION-IS ONE OF THEM.PAUL STATED THAT WE SHOULD ONLY FOLLOW THOSE TRADITIONS HANDED DOWN BY THE APOSTLES AND HIM AS THEY FOLLOW CHRIST.SO WHILE THE BIBLE DOES NOT CLEARLY ADDRESS EVERY SINGLE ISSUE IT DOES BY INFERENCE LET US KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO.IT IS CALLED HAVING THE MIND OF CHRIST.I THINK WE SHOULD INFORM CHURCH MEMBERS WHAT THE FACTS ARE AND THEN LET THEM DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO CONTINUE THE XMAS ,EASTER, AND OTHER OBSERVANCES.WE SHOULD PREACH WITH THE SAME VIGOUR THAT CHRIST WAS NOT BORN ON XMAS DAY,SHOW THE PAGAN ASSOCIATIONS WITH XMAS CELEBRATIONS,SHOW THE BIBLICAL TEACHING THAT WHAT IS OF IMPORTANCE IS THE FACT THAT CHRIST WAS RESURRECTED THUS GIVING US VICTORY OVER GEATH AND THE GRAVE AND HOPE FOR OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION.fEEL FREE TO JOIN MY GOOGLE BLOG UNDER THE TITLE “QUEST FOR TRUTH”

      • Alan Higgins says:

        But if you look at the scripture in context, Paul actually permits people to eat meat which has been sacrificed to idols depending on a persons conscience so you cannot say there just because the origins may not be godly, that gives a blanket ‘nobody should celebrate Christmas. Yes there are some things which people do with wring motives etc but not everybody does. Some people just simply use it as a reminder that Christ came in human flesh to save us from our sins.

        • derek says:

          Yes,but we can have a reminder from reading the word instead of falsely creating our own day and then trying to put some religious significance to it.We should not use the name of Christ to perpetrate a lie-saying that Christ was born on that day-.Remember that scripture says that “no lie is of the truth “.

          • Alan Higgins says:

            But having idols ate also sinful, yet Paul permitted eating meat sacrificed to them. If your conscience will not allow it, then fair enough

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s