How does the Bible tell us to celebrate Christmas? Well, it doesn’t. You won’t find a Bible verse saying “you are to have a Christmas Day church service” or “you shall have a Christmas cantata” or even “thou shalt have an elf on the shelf.” As long as something isn’t sinful, we are free in Christ to do it. We see in Colossians 2:16 that the Word of God says,
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.”
Christmas is a festival, so you can celebrate by going to Waffle House or by going to grandmas. You can have 84 Christmas trees or none at all. You can have an elf or decorate your house or even do Santa if you believe it is not sin to do so. Different Christians will come to different conclusions when Scripture doesn’t speak. When Scripture is silent, be like Jiminy Cricket, “let your conscience be your guide.” When Scripture speaks, it overrides your conscience. Scripture is our supreme authority.
In the Christian church, Scripture does speak on certainly holidays. We have 52 (53 in 2023) special days on the church calendar each year. It’s called THE LORD’S DAY. Often, we can put the Lord’s Day on the backburner during hectic times. Christmas fell on the Lord’s Day in 2022. Christmas doesn’t trump the Lord’s Day. Christmas Eve falls on the Lord’s Day in 2023. Christmas Eve doesn’t trump the Lord’s Day.
“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.” ~Exodus 20:8 ESV
Our confession explains that the Sabbath was transferred to the Lord’s Day after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. “From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ the appointed day was the last day of the week. After the resurrection of Christ it was changed to the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s Day.” ~2LBC 22.7. We see it was the habit of the early church to gather on the first day of the week.
“On the first day of the week, each of you put something aside….” ~1 Corinthians 16:2 ESV
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break break….” ~Acts 20:7 ESV
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day….” ~Revelation 1:10 ESV
Why was this the case?
“Now on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb….” ~Luke 24:1 ESV
Why? Because the tomb was empty. Praise the Lord, the tomb was empty. Without the empty tomb there is no Christianity, there is no forgiveness of sins, there is no reason to celebrate anything. That is why they (the early church), and we, gather on the first day of the week. This is the only holy day on the Christian calendar. Many who don’t regularly gather for worship will gather on what day? Easter, right? Remind those folks that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ every single Sunday as commanded in Scripture. It’s Resurrection Sunday whether it is in April, October, December, or any other month. We have one holy day, and we celebrate it every single Sunday.
Yes, the Christmas season is hectic, often with family obligations and travel, but remember that we celebrate the risen Lord Jesus according to his command each Lord’s Day. If you have guests this Christmas Eve, let them know you’ll be going to church to worship with the saints. If you’ll be traveling this Christmas Eve, plan ahead to find a solid, Gospel-preaching church wherever you might be. We spend months researching hotels and restaurants and everything we want to do and see when we are visiting family for Christmas. Take 5 minutes and find a Christ-centered church before you travel this year. Gather with the saints because Christ is worthy.
This Christmas Eve, decorate a tree, or don’t. Go look at Christmas lights, or don’t. Watch a Christmas movie, or don’t. You are free in these things. But, this Christmas Eve, if you are born again, go to church. No matter who is visiting, no matter whom you might be visiting, no matter your plans, plan them around the command of our Savior to gather with His saints to worship Him. Christ has given us true freedom. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not us your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh….” ~Galatians 5:13 ESV