On Paltalk,” I frequently open a chat-room titled “Jews for Jesus.” I do this under the category of Christianity so that no one will think that we’re flying under false colors. After all, we are Christians. But from time to time, I go to other chat-rooms that deal with Messianic topics, with the thought that I can contribute or encourage.
I was shocked and chagrined to hear a person in charge of one such chat- room claim that Christmas and Easter are entirely pagan, and that anyone who celebrated those holidays was worshipping the Babylonian god Tammuz. (He said that the solstice honored Tammuz.) No one in that chat-room challenged the statement.
Now I don’t particularly think that Jesus was born on December 25, but at least we stand one chance in 365 of getting it right, whereas those who say that December 25 is the date of the winter solstice have it wrong. The solstice comes the same time every year, and it’s on December 21 or 22. But even if the 25th were the solstice and represented a feast day to pagan gods, that does not mean that Christians who celebrate Christmas are trafficking with idols.
No one ever worshipped a Babylonian god inadvertently.
In Romans 14, Paul tells us how people should relate, whether or not they are picky about what they eat and whether or not they make much of one day or another.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant?…One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. (Romans14:1-6)
God does not require dietary restrictions of His people today. Nor does God require that the redeemed in Christ regard certain days as being holy or unholy. God told the Jewish people that their diet should be a certain way. It was a matter of obedience. Likewise, certain holidays were to be kept under the Old Covenant and this, too, was an issue of obedience for Israel—but the Church is not Israel. The redeemed in Christ are free to restrict their diet or celebrate biblical holidays. Nevertheless, the Lord who created those holidays and the way He says to regard one another is more important than the days.
Likewise, there is no food that can defile a person. “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man” (Mark 7:15).
Why do some people try to prevent others from celebrating Christmas? (I’m not talking about those who themselves choose not to celebrate, but rather those who insist it is wrong for others.) Well, we can’t say what motivates all people, but I can suggest a few possibilities.
1) If one wants to recruit people to a new religion or religious outlook, one might want to destroy confidence in traditional religion.
2) In some cases, those who persuade themselves that they are eating the right food and worshipping on the right days become prideful and judgmental, and practice “spiritual one-up-manship.”
3) I’ve noticed that some people are, well, to put it politely, killjoys. If you mention that you enjoy the scent of a certain flower, they might tell you that it makes them sneeze. There are troublers who find innocent people and try to kill the joy that they have in worshipping the Lord on Christmas and Easter.
I don’t think Jesus is so choosy about when we draw special attention to His Incarnation or Resurrection. I think He likes it that we remember and rejoice, whatever the day may be. And if our joy is truly in the Lord, we should not forsake or abandon it. So if you want to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, or even Kwanzaa, and can do it in a way that brings honor and glory to Yeshua and joy to your household, go ahead and do it. Rejoice in the Lord always!!