To Celebrate or not to Celebrate

Every year as Christmas rolls around, many people complain that the 25th of December is not the birthday of Jesus. But why is this a problem to them?  Since the date of His birth is unknown what is so wrong with choosing a date to celebrate?  The monarchs of England officially celebrate their birthdays on a day different from that on which they were born. Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, but the official celebration is in the summer. This year the celebration was on June 11.  This is something we all accept and no one quarrels about it.

The anti-Christmas lobby claims that those who celebrate the birthday of Christ are in fact celebrating a pagan festival.  They say that the celebration of birthdays is pagan and that the 25th of December was once a celebration to the sun god and thus pagan. I have kept Christmas from childhood.  I have participated in Christmas activities at church, home, school, and work and I have never heard or seen anyone celebrating to this “sun god”.  What I experience is people joyously celebrating the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. At our Christmas services we do not shout “Lo Saturnalia!” or “Sol Invictus” as the people who are trying to put a pagan label on our celebration may be imagining. We sing,” Christians Awake the Happy Morn”, “While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks by Night”, “Joy to the World the Lord is Come”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”,  “The Hallelujah Chorus”, “For Unto Us a Child is Born”.  Most of these are carols that take their lyrics directly from the Bible. We worship Jesus who is highly exalted. We read, meditate on, and recount the story of the birth of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.

We celebrate His coming because the angel told His mother Mary that He (Jesus) would save us from our sins. Had he not come we would be lost and without hope. Our celebration is appropriate because the angels celebrated and the shepherds celebrated. Mary was elated to be pregnant with the Christ child.  Simeon and Anna were excited to see the child when he came to be circumcised.  They knew what His coming meant. The only one who was upset and jealous was wicked King Herod.

This year, as long as I have life I will celebrate with all my being because I know whom I’ve believed. Jesus has come in the flesh, there is no denying.  He is worthy of glory, honour and praise. He is the light of the world so my lights will shine.  He has come to set the captives free so I am free to celebrate day, night, holiday, or holyday.

If you are celebrating the birth of Jesus this year, do so with dignity, reverence, temperance, and Christian love.  Remember the poor, pray for the sick and for the persecuted church.  As children of God, give no occasion for those who criticise our celebration to speak evil of our testimony. Merry Christmas.

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