I wanted to respond to a question I received in case anyone else had a similar thought. Whit asked if we should even focus on Christmas. He wrote, “As C.H. Spurgeon (one of my spiritual heroes) said about Christmas in his sermon on 24/Dec/1871, “We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First because we do not believe in any mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English: Secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.”
I’m a huge Charles Spurgeon fan, and hesitate to disagree with a man I regard as a spiritual hero as well. However, there are a few reasons I think God allows us to focus on Christmas, although we could never require that someone do so. First, celebrating a day to honor the Lord is a matter of individual conscience. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.” (Rom. 14:1-6a ESV) Second, focusing on the Incarnation at one time of year doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t do it at other times. Third, it is common grace that a significant number of people are open to talking about Jesus Christ at this time of year, simply because it’s Christmas. Perhaps as they hear of us sing about a Savior who transcends all earthly joys, God will open their hearts to repent and receive the greatest gift of all – eternal life.
So let’s sing Christmas songs that proclaim who Jesus was and why He entered our world – to live a life of perfect obedience, and to endure His Father’s wrath so that we might know the Father’s joy forever.
How can we not celebrate?
Spurgeon had much more to say about Christmas than the one quote above. It might be more accurate to say he was certainly not opposed to celebrating it, and actually saw some value in it. See
Good point. Although most seasons and celebrations of the church (Christmas, advent, lent, pentecost, etc.) are not Biblically mandated, I think that God set the precedent for these celebrations and seasons of rememberance in His commands to Israel to celebrate feasts like Passover. God made us as people who need seasons and celebrations to help us remember His goodness. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate and remember His goodness to us all the time, but I think seasons of remembering different things help us to keep a balance and remember to remember aspects of His goodness that are more easily forgotten. I pray that we can use the church seasons as a tool to serve us in our worship of our Living God! May our preparations for Christmas this advent remind us to prepare for Christ’s great and glorious second coming!
bob you don’t need to post this, i just wanted to say thanks for a great blog–biblical and not political is a relief when it comes to christmas
Tom Ascol, a Reformed Baptist and president of Founders Ministries, has a blog where he discusses this very issue. If you’d like to read more from Charles Spurgeon, go to http://www.founders.org/blog/2005/12/spurgeon-on-christmas.html.
I’ve been swaying for years over wether Christmas should be celebrated, eventually deciding not to because it was in essence instigated by the Roman church, and outlawed because of this in Calvin’s Switzerland and Knox’s Scotland. I am, however, willing to be swayed on this matter if anyone can convince me otherwise