Thursday, December 22, 2016

Celebrating Christmas The Biblical Way

            Decorating homes, distributing goodies, get-together with friends and family, and getting drunk are some of our favorite means to celebrate Christmas. Over the years we have been habituated to practice these celebration routines. But are we celebrating Christmas the right way – the Biblical way? Is there a biblical way to celebrate Christmas?

            The Bible reveals the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So it is plausible that the Bible also reveals the manner in which we should celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Unbelief to Belief

            The gospel of Matthew reveals Joseph’s transformation from unbelief to belief. Prior to the revelation of Christ’s birth, Joseph planned to divorce Mary. But after Christ’s birth was revealed to him, he believed the message of Christ’s birth and took Mary as his wife, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”…When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” (Matthew 1: 18 - 24, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as your God and Savior is the most appropriate way to celebrate Christmas.

Bless God: Praise & Glorify HIM

            The sight of the child Jesus in the temple invoked Simeon to bless God, but what does it mean to bless God? Pastor John Piper expounds the meaning of blessing God, “My thesis is that in the Scripture when God "blesses" men they are thereby helped and strengthened and made better off than they were before, but when men "bless" God he is not helped or strengthened or made better off. Rather (with C. A. Keller in THAT, I, 361) man's blessing God is an "expression of praising Thankfulness" (ein lobendes Danksagen), when the OT speaks of blessing God it does not "designate a pro­cess that aims at the increase of God's strength" (THAT, I, 361). It is an "exclamation of gratitude and admiration" (THAT, I, 357)…They do not mean that we make God larger or higher. So to bless God means to recognize his great richness, strength, and gracious bounty and to express our gratitude and delight in seeing and experiencing it.”1

            J.I Packer in his most famous work, “Knowing God,” explains that to bless God is to praise, exalt and worship HIM. When we praise, adore, thank and love God, we are in fact blessing God.

            The shepherds, after having seen the birth of the Lord, praised and glorified God, for what they saw was what was told to them, “The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” (Luke 2: 20, NASB).

            Similarly, every aspect of our Christmas celebration ought to praise and glorify God. In other words, drunkenness as a means of celebrating Christmas is not an option for Christians.

            Significantly, we cannot bless God if we do not know HIM. Simeon knew God well; HE was able to recognize the precious Holy Spirit’s voice in HIM that directed him to the child Jesus. Likewise, this Christmas, let us desire to grow in our knowledge of God. One lifetime is not enough to know God. So let us make the best use of our life by knowing God.

Go Tell It

            The gospel of Luke includes the narrative of the angels revealing the birth of our Lord to the shepherds. The shepherds responded to the birth of our Lord Jesus by spreading the news of Christ’s birth, “When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.” (Luke 2: 17, NASB).

            Similarly, we are to spread the word of Christ’s birth to all in our domain. Caroling is a wonderful means to spread the news of Christ’s birth to unbelievers. Moreover, the Christmas season offers us a grand opportunity to invite our non-Christian friends into our homes to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Fulfillment of Hope

            The narrative of Simeon’s encounter with child Jesus emphasizes another interesting phenomenon. For Simeon, the sight of child Jesus was the fulfillment of his hope in God, “Now, according to your word, Sovereign Lord, permit your servant to depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: a light, for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32, NET).

            Hope is the only lifeline for many around us. They hope for a better life – spiritually and materially. This Christmas, may we be the channels of blessing for them to realize their hope.

            God will certainly fulfill our hope in HIM. The greatest hope we have in God is for us to spend our life with HIM unto all eternity. God will most certainly fulfill this hope when we believe and remain in Christ always. May our celebrations reflect our hope in God.


            If our Christmas is all about decorating our homes, distributing goodies and meeting family and friends without blessing God, sharing HIM with others, praising and glorifying HIM, and being a channel of blessing those who are deprived, then our Christmas celebrations cannot be biblically appropriate.

            This Christmas
            Believe in Christ
            Bless HIM
            Share HIM
            Grow in HIM
            Fulfill the hope of the deprived
            And know that HE will fulfill our hope in HIM.

            I pray that you and your family enjoy a blessed Christmas.


1 (last accessed on 22nd December 2016.)  

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