I celebrate Christmas because Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.
I'll be honest, I have really struggled for awhile to celebrate Xmas. Why? Because it's not in the Bible. Nowhere do we see Jesus celebrate his own birthday. Nowhere do we see the early church celebrate the birth of Jesus. Nowhere are we commanded to celebrate the birth of Jesus anywhere. It was made into a "holy day" around 300 ad by the newly formed Catholic church. In Genesis, God said that he made night and day to mark the seasons and "holy days." So, let me get one thing out of the way, Christmas is NOT a holy day in the Biblical sense. It is special to a lot of people, but it is not a Biblical holiday. It's a man made tradition that used to be the winter solstice pagan celebration. As you can tell, I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to today. Especially in light of the fact that Jesus often times implores his followers to follow after the ways of God and not the traditions of the elders and teachers of his day. Seemed to me, that making Christmas a holy day would fall into the latter and therefore is theologically insignificant.
Which then brings me to John 10:22-23,
So what does this have to do with me and Christmas?
Jesus gives us a picture here. It shows us that it is OK to engage the culture around you and partake in fun things. He was involved in the celebration of the day even though it wasn't a Biblical holy day. He was with the people, celebrating, answering questions, walking around in the temple. I firmly believe if he were alive today in the physical sense, he would be hanging up lights, buying presents, decorating a tree, and throwing a killer party (remember, his first miracle was turning the party out!).
Therefore, I will surrender my grinchiness this Christmas once and for all. I will celebrate it as a cultural celebration and use any opportunity to talk about Jesus that comes up. I will not engage in the greed, drunkenness, and gluttony that comes with this celebration. I will celebrate with my family. I will challenge people to think more about this day and the WHY's and HOW's that are behind it. We are free to celebrate Jesus everyday. Whatever we do (whether we eat or drink or celebrate Christmas) we will do it all for the Glory of God.
Merry Christmas everyone.