For December 25, 2018
Observing Jesus Christ’s birthday on the 25th day of December is a controversial matter for some. Although critics cannot prove that our Lord was not born on this day, some of the more vocal critics tend to create an atmosphere that can ruin the celebration of many who embrace this occasion, as did the heavenly host of angels and shepherds some two thousand years ago as recorded in Luke 2:10-14 (KJV):
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
Ultimately, the Enemy is responsible for the warfare against Jesus Christ. He will stop at nothing to discourage or distract us from honoring the Lord because there is no other name under Heaven given among men or women whereby we must be saved as Acts 4:12 declares. (Incidentally, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, the Virgin Birth, Jesus’ Resurrection, and His Second Coming are similarly scrutinized as well.)
To explain why the Bible is silent about a specific day when Jesus was born, some scholars suggest it was far more important for Bible authors to authenticate His birth—as the moment in history when God became human—than to record a specific day or time in history. In other words, it is more important to establish the fact that Jesus was born than to record its specific day of occurrence.
Everyone is entitled to express his or her opinion regarding the celebration of Christmas. Yet, I believe it is both permissible and proper to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (vis-à-vis Christmas) on December 25th because:
a) It is reasonable to expect climate and temperature variations during the winter months that would permit the outdoor pasturing mentioned in the Luke Chapter 2 Christmas Narrative, and
b) Both pagan and religious observances occur almost every day; we cannot rescind a person’s birthday because it falls on a specific observance. 1
In addition, observing Jesus’ birthday at Christmas continues to serve as a practical expression of our personal, sincere faith in God. Moreover, I believe we can and should reserve one day out of the year to observe the Lord’s birth. Why not Christmas Day?
I have chosen to honor our Lord by celebrating His birthday at Christmas, and as a result, this remains my favorite time of the year.
I am not alone. For I share the sentiments untold numbers of people around the world, who are grateful to God for His unspeakable gift to us as foretold in Isaiah 9:6 (KJV), some seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
- For further discussion, see: Albert Barnes, “The Gospel According to Luke,” in the Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical: Luke and John, ed. Robert Frew, 15th printing, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972), 18-19, Everett F. Harrison, A Short Life of Christ, reprint, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001), 36-40, J. J. Van Oosterzee, “The Gospel According to Luke,” in the Lange’s Commentary of the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical, trans., Philip Schaff and Charles C. Starbuck, 7th ed., vol. 8, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 35-36, and Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Apostolic Christianity, 3rd ed., vol. 1, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 127-129.