Over the years, Christians worldwide have diligently kept the tradition of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ every 25th day of December.
This tradition which is almost as old as the world has become a legacy handed down from one generation to the other such that no one can really tell who instituted it, why it was instituted and its essence of celebration.
So, the season is usually accompanied by series of shopping, travelling, exchange of gifts, visit to tourist centres and a lot of fun-catching exercises.
The streets are littered with funny images of Santa Claus, an assumed Mary, feeding an assumed baby Jesus as well as Christmas lights and other pictures portraying the celebration of the birth of the greatest man on earth.
Similarly, music points add spice to the season by playing carols and songs insinuating the birth of Christ; offices and corporate outfits wear new looks of green and red decorations and the entire town comes aglow with coats of many colours.
One place Christmas is felt in all its entirety is the home. From the first week of December, the budget is already drawn and purchases for the D-day commences immediately. Items ranging from wears to wares are purchased, possessions like lands, cars and houses are acquired, old items are replaced with new ones, strained relationships are made up, the house and its surroundings is given a massive refurbishment thus, an old forsaken house comes alive at Christmas.
Before Christmas day, the home is already lit with jostle of anxious kids who cannot wait to put on their new wears the next day; the sitting room is well decorated with a Christmas tree standing close to Mr. Santa Claus in a strategic position; all is set for the event!
Indeed, the joy and happiness experienced at Christmas is one superseding other celebrations; an activity worthy of the grand birth of the world’s savior, if you ask.
However, there are two significance of Christmas; the religious significance and the given significance. While the former originates from the scripture, the latter originates from mortal commandment, an assumption by men.
The religious significance holds that there is no scriptural command directing Christians to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ but His death which Christ Himself instituted and commanded in Luke 22:19.
The given significance holds that Christmas is derived from a catholic word, “CHRIST” and “MAS” meaning, a crowd of people following Christ. It also holds that though Christmas is not found in the bible, one can observe it as a normal remembrance of a person’s birthday (which everybody does).
Those of the religious significance have however argued that the given significance is inconsequential and contrary to Collosians 2:16: “Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon or of the Sabbath days”, adding that church leaders should not impose opinions and ideas on their followers but should allow them use their discretion in making choices when it comes to issues with no scriptural directives.
Scholars of this School also caution Christians to be wary of imposed worship as seen in Colossians 2:20-22: “therefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (touch not, taste not, handle not; which all are to perish with using) the commandments and doctrines of men?”
This argument between the religious and given significance has existed from time immemorial and the stronger party has often prevailed with the other holding on to its belief.
The truth that Christmas is not biblical also presents itself in the choice of the date.
A thorough search of the scriptures by bible scholars reveals that only the 31st verse of Jeremiah 52 has a record of the 25th day of December. The king of Babylon, Evil-Merodach brought out Jehoiachin, King of Judah from prison for the first time in 73 years of captivity, spoke kindly to him, set his throne above that of other kings, changed his prison garments and fed him with an equal ration to his own daily until Jehoiachin’s death.
In the light of the above, celebrating Christmas implies celebrating the freedom of the mighty King of Judah who fell from grace to grass and was promoted again after 73 years in captivity and of course, nobody does this.
The truth about Christmas is that it has no religious affinity and should not be seen as one. The reason for the frenzy is perhaps, because of the prominence of Christ and that is undisputable.
However, should such lowly birth condition warrant much noise? Agreed, He was a great man but has anyone wondered why Christ Himself did not celebrate his birthday for once in his more than 30 years on earth? Or why He instructed the remembrance of his death and not his birth?
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he advised them to prove all things and hold on to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). He also urged them to think on things that are true, honest and of good report in Philippians 4:8.
Since the Bible is the bedrock of Christians’ conducts and behaviours; its precepts should be followed accordingly.
Christmas is, and should be seen as a social event which should be observed with all amount of decency. Laws should not be made where there are none and Christians should endeavour to investigate their actions to avoid vain worship.