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.”
BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Regardless of your background, it is possible to understand God’s message in the Holy Scriptures.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many people celebrate Christmas despite knowing its origins. Find out why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t.