Our Not Celebrating Christmas
NCW 19, May 1995
Q. I understand from reading your publications that your Church does not celebrate Christmas in any way but that you celebrate the birth of Christ in April. You associate the Christmas tree with the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian mystery cult of Nimrod and quote one passage from the Old Testament (Jer.10:3-4, NCCW 14:51). Firstly, I don't see any comparison with the pagan shrine Jeremiah describes and the Christmas tree, and secondly, I don't see what harm there is in decorating a tree with pretty lights and decorations when children derive hours of pleasure from them without getting spiritually harmed in any way.
You are absolutely right when you say there is no harm in decorating a felled tree. If you want to go and decorate a tree with lights and glitter, that's entirely up to you. You are mistaken if you think that we condemn people for doing such things. We do not. I personally think that Christmas trees look very pretty, especially outside when covered with lights. It is a cheering site on cold winter nights in high latitudes in the northern hemisphere. But the question here is not aesthetic beauty but whether or not God is honoured and what He Himself thinks about such matters, and not our personal opinions.
The City of Babylon was a beautiful city, famed for its hanging gardens. Some of the most beautiful classical music ever written was composed by sexual perverts. This same beautiful music can be used to honour God or to provide background music for immorality in films. For example, I think some of Tchaikovsky's music is supremely beautiful and I sometimes listen to it and praise God with it. I have also heard it used in what I would call semi-pornographic films and seen it abused. Whilst I sustain the music (in this case) I do not sustain the author's lifestyle which was homosexual. Similarly I find some of Oscar Wilde's writings very lovely though I absolutely detest the man's homosexual and paedophilic practices.
Life is not so simple as many people would have us believe. God created pine trees and inspired men to invent lights. God is a God of beauty. But like it or not the Christmas tree is pagan in origin and although past associations are all but gone, it is used now in a new form of idolatry and paganism, namely, the worship of money. Like it or not, the Christmas tree today belongs to the world, however pretty it may look. And a true Christian, acquainted with scripture and the traditions of men ought to obey God: "Never learn to live like pagans" (Jer.10:2, Moffat).
For further study:
1. Christ and Christmas: The Truth and the Lie, a Detailed Study
2. How Did Christmas Become Part of Our Western Tradition?
3. Does God Care Whether or Not We Observe Christmas?
This page was created on 2 May 1998
Last updated on 2 May 1998
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