Christmas is coming! Quite so—but what is “Christmas?”


by A. W. Pink

“Thus says the Lord—Do not learn the way of the heathen…for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain.” Jeremiah 10:1-3

Christmas is coming! Quite so—but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote it’s source— “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. It is without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him—join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on it’s lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that Christ’s friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Truly, the customs of the people are VAIN! It is written, “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under the cloak of honoring the Savior’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little one with you—OUT of Egypt (Ex. 10:9-10) a type of the world—or is it not plainly a mingling with the present day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb. 11:25) Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go—and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little one a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask THE LORD’S blessing?

There are those who DO abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the “festive season,” yet are they nevertheless in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas”, namely that of exchanging “gifts.” We say “exchanging”, for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all—great care has been taken that the “gift” made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in RETURN for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

But what are we to do? If we fail to send out “gifts” our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them—by letter if at a distance—that from now on you do not propose to send out any more “Christmas gifts” as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that “Christmas merrymaking” is entirely a thing OF THE WORLD, devoid of any Scriptural warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and now that you see this—you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph. 5:11); that you are the Lord’s “free man” (1 Cor. 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in bondage to a costly custom imposed by the world.

What about sending out “Christmas cards” with a text of Scripture on them? That also is an abomination in the sight of God. Why? Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deut. 22:10-11 typified this. What do we mean by an “unholy mixture?” This—the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish “Christ-MASS.” By all means send cards (preferably at some other time of the year) to your ungodly friends, and Christians too, with a verse of Scripture—but NOT with “Christmas” on it. What would you think of a printed program of vaudeville, having Isaiah 53:5 at the foot of it? Why, that it was altogether OUT OF PLACE, and highly incongruous. But in the sight of God—the circus and the theater are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.” Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the holy name of Christ—the former are not.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is a growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He WAS, when on earth) with a “MERRY Christmas,” then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.

Beloved fellow-Christian, “The coming of the Lord draws near” (Jas. 5:8). Do we really believe this? Believe it not because the Papacy is regaining its lost temporal power, but because GOD says so—”for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). If so, what effects does such believing have on our walk? This may be your last Christmas on earth. During it, the Lord may descend from heaven with a shout to gather His own to Himself. Would you like to be summoned from a “Christmas party”—to meet Him in the air? The call for the moment is “Go you OUT to meet Him” (Matt. 25:6) out from a Godless Christendom, out from the horrible burlesque of “religion” which now masquerades under His name.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). If every “idle word” is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment seat of Christ before us. HIS “well done” will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from Christless souls.

Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived “too strictly” on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were “too extreme” in “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11)? We may gain the good will and good works of worldly religionists today, by our compromising on “little points,” but shall we receive His smile and approval on that day? Oh to be more concerned about what HE thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think.

“You shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do—to “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the Savior, “Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast to that which you have, that no man take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, “I have refrained my feet from EVERY evil way, that I might keep YOUR WORD” (Psalm 119:101).

Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is, “You should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Is it not true, that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?” Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?” Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and worldly customs!

 HL –

7 thoughts on “Christmas is coming! Quite so—but what is “Christmas?”

    • DW Wood

      I would say it is worse for believers, the date of 25 December has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, it was a pagan day instituted by the Romans to accommodate and lure pagans to the Roman Catholic church so one can say the RC made a pact with Satan when this happened. We are not told as believers in the Bible to celebrate 25 December or the Birth of Jesus, it was done by man and his tradition. Today sadly many celebrate this thinking they can impress God.


  1. I don’t celebrate Christmas thinking I can impress God. Don’t know anyone who does, to be honest.

    However, the Bible does say this in Rom 14:5:

    “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

    The Bible doesn’t tell us to celebrate our own birthdays or even our anniversaries or any day for that matter. I think it’s largely for someone to decide for themselves.


      • Ryan
        Thanks for commenting here again.

        We must be cautioned against the assumption that we simply have the right to decide too many things for ourselves, or to apply our own interpretation to Scripture. I’m certainly not saying that this is what you do, I’m just saying…

        Post-modern teachers love to promote the heresy that everyone has the right to their own particular understanding of Scripture. By doing so, they create the conditions which are conducive to their false doctrines, and eliminate to a large degree being questioned by their followers.

        I, for one, was also mistaken in my interpretation of Romans 14:5 and understood it to include days such as Christmas, Easter, etc.

        Please vote in our poll on Christmas, if you haven’t done so yet.


  2. Thanks Grant 🙂

    I totally agree. For me I’m just trying not to go further than or less than the Scripture, as I’m sure we all are here.

    Given the context of Romans 14 I still read it to have a broader application than just Jewish holy days, by its wording and its content (talking also of vegetarians vs meat eaters, the Romans themselves being Gentiles more than Jewish, the encouragement to let each person given an account of himself to God, etc.)

    For the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (vs 17)

    I also raise an eyebrow at the method of narrowing it down to just Jewish holy days / law because if I carry that method over to other books (say, Galatians) then I could open up the door to other forms of legalism. While Galatians does deal with the Judaizers etc., the principle should surely be applied that we are not under ANY religious law, be it Pagan or Jewish or whatever else – we are free in Christ.

    For me Christmas isn’t really a sacred time, more just a useful time. I’m not bound to celebrate it or not celebrate it. Not in my heart or my church or my family. But it’s useful because we’re bound to get a whole lot of people, like we do every year, doing their ‘religious duty’ and coming to church and a Carols evening. It’s a perfect opportunity to preach the Gospel to them as they may never hear it any other time in the year. I’ve seen that approach to be rather fruitful.

    I certainly pass no judgement on those who don’t want to celebrate Christmas. My concern is when that becomes its own form of legalism. Celebrating Christmas is certainly not on the same level as cheating, injustice, sexual sin and the like. I mean, how far do we take it? Should we celebrate our anniversaries? Our own birthdays? Father’s day? Does it matter?

    Anyway, in following Rom 14 there is also the little gem that encourages us not to ‘quarrel over opinions’. 🙂 So, not quarreling, just saying as well 😛

    Voted in the poll 🙂


  3. Great comment Ryan, I share your sentiments and viewpoints expressed here. I agree entirely on not arguing about non-essentials in accordance with Rom 14:1. I also agree wholeheartedly with your warning against legalism, a condition with many forms and variants which often affects true Christians. It can be a self-justifying, effective and deceptive trap and a distraction from the Truth. We should certainly guard against trying to create for ourselves new and additional commandments based on our own opinions, interpretations or even pronunciations by the church(es). It is all part of our inherited fallibility, I guess.

    Irrespective of the origins, Christmas is certainly a very useful time for the exact reasons you have mentioned. I agree with you that “celebrating Christmas is not on the same level as cheating, injustice, sexual sin and the like”, unless of course it is celebrated for the wrong reasons, with a worldly focus, insincere heart or becomes idolatry. A fine line again between biblical compliance and legalistic attitude. Our true freedom in Christ should always be at the forefront of our decisions. True freedom, that is, not assumed freedom.

    Here is a link to an article which eloquently and effectively addresses, what I think, is our mutual take on this subject. . Please let me know what you thought of it.

    Here is an excerpt from the article:

    The twenty-fifth of December as just another day, and is of no religious significance. There is nothing “holy” about it, and it despite the efforts of the Fathers to calculate the right date, probably was not the day Jesus was actually born. However If the angels of heaven could publicly proclaim His birth, what possible problem can there be for us to likewise commemorate that wondrous event? How can it be wrong to sing those wonderful, postmillennial hymns which celebrate the birth of Christ during the month of December? And since the incarnation is so central to human history, then where is the problem with preaching a special series of sermons exploring the implications of the advent of the Lord Jesus?

    And though most of what we think of as “traditional” Christmas customs are less than 100 years old, how is anyone violating God’s law by putting up a Christmas tree or giving kids some special presents on December 25th?” Where does Scripture say that God is offended if wives make some special foods for dinner that day? Where does He forbid us to invite friends, neighbors or members of the church over to laugh and joke and play silly games and rejoice in all the blessings that He gave this past year?

    So folks, lighten up, rejoice in your liberty of conscience in Christ. If you choose not to celebrate Christmas, then Lord bless you-take advantage of having the day off and read a good book or something. But grant your brother the same liberty of conscience-and literally, for God’s sake, do not create a law where He Himself has not done so.

    Thanks for voting!


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