A Messianic Jew Reflects on Christmas
by Michael Brown
Is Christmas a holiday with pagan origins? Is it wrong to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th? And what about putting up a Christmas tree? Is that a direct violation of Jeremiah 10?
As a Jewish follower of Jesus (a “Messianic Jew”), I do not relate to the Christmas season the way many Christians do. Especially those who were raised in a home where Christmas was celebrated. Yet I do not have a problem with the Christian celebration of Christmas, as long as the spirit of the celebration is right. If Jesus is being adored and his birth is being commemorated, the date of that commemoration is not a concern to me.
What’s in a Day?
It is true that there is no biblical holiday that marks the birth of Jesus. Nor is there a command given to celebrate it at a later time. But that doesn’t mean it was wrong for the later Church to develop the Christmas tradition.
To be sure, some traditions are negative and destructive, going against the Scriptures and even making void what the Bible teaches. And Jesus actively opposed such traditions. But other traditions are neutral. Still others can be positive. If, over time, Christians felt it important to remember the birth of the Messiah along with his death and resurrection, what harm is there in doing so?
It is true that the evidence appears against Jesus being born on December 25th. Though, there were early Church leaders who did believe he was born at that time.
More importantly, December 25th was a pagan holiday. And many believe that the Church adopted this day to celebrate Christmas as a capitulation to paganism. While this is certainly possible (as a Messianic Jew, I don’t relate to Church history the way many Christians do), it’s also possible that this was not the case at all…
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