I first posted this in 2010. May this Christmas Day truly bless you and those you love.

Even though I’m a Christian, I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year.

The home in which I was raised followed no particular faith. My parents acknowledged the God the Bible described, but their devotion went no further. For us, Christmas was a big family holiday where we got to see all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I have loads of warm memories from those gatherings. Many of my friends talked of the baby Jesus (after, of course, talking excitedly of the presents they anticipated). Many of my classmates were Jews and several were Serbs; they had their own celebrations at different times. And so I have always has this sense that the holidays are what you make of them.

Lit Up at Night

My mother said more than once that Christ couldn’t possibly have been born in December — his birth was more likely sometime in autumn. She also said that the whole reason the Christian church celebrated Christ’s birth on December 25th was because in the church’s early days, non-believers already celebrated a winter festival at about that time, and it was easier to convert them if the church had a celebration then, too. Christianity should be a faith of truth, she reasoned, and she couldn’t reconcile how Christmas was predicated on a falsehood. It sounded good to me, and when I grew up I looked into it and found that there was plenty of evidence to support Mom’s claims. That didn’t stop her from playing her records of traditional Christmas hymns every December, though!

None of this was enough to deter me from seeking God as an adult. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when I got serious about God I did it in the Church of Christ, a branch of Christianity that celebrates Christmas only as a secular holiday. Most Church of Christ congregations hold a restrictive view of Biblical authority that leads them to celebrate in the name of Christ only the celebrations God commands in the Bible. The Bible tells us to celebrate Christ’s death, but never once to celebrate his birth. So they take communion (the Lord’s Supper, they call it) every week, but during December their mostly a cappella congregations sing no Christmas songs and their preachers avoid talking about Christ’s birth.

Eventually I left the Church of Christ’s narrow interpretations in search of greater love from God. Of course, I landed in a church that celebrates Christ’s birth all December; it was nearly impossible to avoid it. Until we fell on hard times, we always held a big Christmas production with a chorus singing traditional Christmas songs and a telling of the nativity story.

What's the Reason for the Season?

I never said this to anyone at church, but this was very hard for me to accept for a long time.

I’m unlikely ever to fully personally embrace Christmas as a celebration of Christ’s birth. Not only were the wrong seeds planted in me as a boy, they were well cultivated when I became an adult.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I love the Lord deeply and don’t feel like I’m missing out on one iota of his love for me. But let me tell you why I have come to think that celebrating Christ’s birth at Christmas is not just all right, but just wonderful:

Because his birth is so openly and joyfully celebrated each December 25, who in the western world has not heard of Jesus Christ?

I know, I know, the holiday has been tainted with commercialism, and because of political correctness we now say “Happy Holidays” to each other rather than “Merry Christmas.” Still, I don’t think the holiday’s connections to Christ and his promise for us have been lost. And when I consider all that celebrating Christmas has done to introduce people to Jesus, my mind boggles. Who cares about the celebration’s origins? God has certainly used it for good.

May God use this Christmas season for good in your life.


10 responses to “The real value of Christmas”

  1. davisr66 Avatar

    A wonderful perspective. Thanks for sharing. I have come to expect no less from you. You and your family have a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Dick – I do try to take balanced perspectives. Happy Christmas!

      1. Edward Marchesi Avatar
        Edward Marchesi

        I don’t comment on this thread much if at all, but I’m compelled to today. I respect your values, to me they make sense. Wether right or wrong. It is a new perspective for me. Thank you for a new enlightenment and Merry Christmas. Ed

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Thank you for delurking and I’m pleased that you appreciate my perspective! Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Greg Clawson Avatar
    Greg Clawson

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Same to you Greg!

  3. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    My family also did not celebrate Christmas when I was young. Now, it is my favorite holiday.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a lovely holiday! A great shared common experience.

  4. Peter Paar Avatar

    For me the meaning of Christmas is embodied in a prayer I heard almost seventy years ago.
    May you know
    The Spirit of Christmas which is Joy;
    The Hope of Christmas which is Peace
    The Heart of Christmas which is Love.
    A Blessed Christmas to all.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you for sharing that, Peter! I hope your Christmas was happy.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: