The Bible’s answer
The Bible does not give the date of Jesus’ birth, nor does it say that we should celebrate his birthday. As McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “
The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of NT [New Testament] origin.”
Instead, an examination of the history of Christmas exposes its roots in pagan religious rites. The Bible shows that we offend God if we try to worship him in a way that he does not approve of.—Exodus 32:5-7.
History of Christmas customs
Celebrating Jesus’ birthday: “
The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”—The World Book Encyclopedia.
December 25: There is no proof that Jesus was born on that date. Church leaders likely chose this date to coincide with pagan festivals held on or around the winter solstice.
Gift-giving, feasting, partying: The Encyclopedia Americana says: “
Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.” The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that “
all work and business were suspended” during Saturnalia.
Christmas lights: According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, Europeans decorated their homes “
with lights and evergreens of all kinds” to celebrate the winter solstice and to combat evil spirits.
Mistletoe, holly: “
The Druids ascribed magical properties to the mistletoe in particular. The evergreen holly was worshiped as a promise of the sun’s return.”—The Encyclopedia Americana.
Christmas tree: “
Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity.” One of the ways in which tree worship survived is in the custom of “
placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house in the midwinter holidays.”