False Threats & Real Threats to Christmas

There are some things we should consider about our Christmas celebrations and others we should ignore. A Biblical perspective.

If your neighbor celebrated Satan in December, would you be wrong to celebrate Jesus in December? 

If you adopted a child whose birthdate was unknown, would you be wrong to choose a date to celebrate his birth? 

If your pagan aunt decorated pine branches to honor her god, would you be wrong to decorate pine branches to honor Jesus? 

Everything can be used for good or evil. 

If you’re knowingly copying pagan practices, you must stop. But Satan doesn’t own dates on the calendar, trees, or holidays with Christian names ... unless we give him ownership.(1)

So why are a growing number of people claiming that Christmas is pagan when most Christians don't even know the names of the ancient pagan holidays they are supposed to be mimicking? 

Christmas isn’t threatened by ancient pagan origins. It’s threatened by commercialization and secularization. Instead of giving Satan ownership, we should be considering ways we can make our Christmas more Christ-centered. 

If you’re uncomfortable celebrating Christmas, don’t do it. See Respecting our Differences.

As for the rest of us, let’s follow God's example in Luke 2:13-20 and celebrate the birth of His son, honoring Christ in our décor, our gatherings, our gifts, and our thoughts.

There are some things we should consider about our Christmas celebrations and others we should ignore. A Biblical perspective.

To help you add meaning to your Christmas holidays, check out these resources

5 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas

6 Things to Believe in at Christmas

Gifts with Purpose

8 Steps to a More Meaningful Christmas

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree Connection 

Don't Forget

Children's Play Nativity 

To clear up some of the false claims against Christmas, I recommend these resources. 

I’ve included excerpts from each, but I encourage you to click the links and read the full articles. 

The Anti-Christmas Spirit .

People who oppose Christmas and Christmas trees usually claim the practice originated in the pagan festival of Saturnalia. However, if you study that festival carefully, you will find that they decorated trees outside with symbols of the sun god and only brought branches and greenery into their homes...Other people claim that Christmas mimics the holiday of Winter Solstice, which was called “the Yule” in Germanic countries. It’s true that they felt the evergreen tree was a symbol of life in the winter, but they didn’t cut trees down and bring them inside to decorate.

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? 

“The pagan origins of Christmas are far from certain. The winter solstice, often tied with Christmas, never falls on December 25. Likewise, Saturnalia, which has also been proposed an origin of Christmas, was never celebrated on December 25. Other Christmas symbols, such as trees and candles, may have had some pagan connotations, but these are so common in human experience that it can hardly be claimed that their use was ever exclusive to paganism… If what we know as Christmas originally started out as a pagan celebration, then it has been so successfully co-opted by Christians that any self-respecting pagan would be distressed at what Christians have done to it. Christmas celebrations are so completely the opposite of paganism that any suggested link between the two can be disregarded.”

Even though I didn't tell my children that Santa Claus was real, there is a Christian foundation to this legend that is well worth sharing:

What about Santa Claus? 

There are some things we should consider about our Christmas celebrations and others we should ignore. A Biblical perspective.
Although Santa Claus is a mythical figure, his creation is based in part on a great Christian man named Saint Nicholas of Myra, who lived in the 4th century. Nicholas was born to Christian parents who left him an inheritance when they died, which he distributed to the poor. He became a priest at a young age and was well-known for his compassion and generosity. He had a reputation for giving gifts anonymously, and he would throw bags of money into people’s homes (and sometimes down their chimneys) under the cover of night to avoid being spotted.

Is calling Christmas “Xmas” an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas? 

In Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the word for 'Christ' is Χριστός, which begins with the Greek letter that is essentially the same letter as the English letter X. So, originally, Xmas was simply an abbreviation of Christmas. No grand conspiracy to take Christ out of Christmas. Just an abbreviation.

Was Jesus born on December 25th? 

The truth is we simply don’t know the exact date of our Savior’s birth. In fact, we don’t even know for sure the year in which He was born. Scholars believe it was somewhere between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. One thing is clear: if God felt it was important for us to know the exact date of the Savior’s birth, He certainly would have told us in His Word. The Gospel of Luke gives very specific details about the event, even down to what the baby was wearing – 'swaddling clothes'—and where he slept—'in a manger' (Luke 2:12). These details are important because they speak of His nature and character, meek and lowly. But the exact date of His birth has no significance whatsoever, which may be why God chose not to mention it. 

6 Ways to Determine if a Scripture is Used Correctly

This article addresses the false teaching that Jeremiah 10:2-5 condemns the use of Christmas trees.

Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?

There is no prohibition against a Christian celebrating birthdays in Scripture, nor is there anything to indicate we are required to celebrate them. Scripturally speaking, a Christian’s celebrating a birthday is a non-issue. The Bible does mention two individuals celebrating birthdays: the Egyptian Pharaoh in Joseph’s time (Genesis 40:20) and King Herod in Jesus’ time (Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:21). Some point to these references as evidence that celebrating birthdays is wrong; since both men were non-believing individuals, their birthday celebrations are seen as some form of pagan ritual. However, that conclusion is not readily drawn from either passage. The Bible does not even hint that it was wrong for Pharaoh or Herod to celebrate his birthday. Neither does Scripture anywhere discourage a Christian from celebrating a birthday.

My Note on this subject: All things can be used for good or evil depending on the intent of the heart: eating, sexual intimacy, friendships, etc. If we forbid things that have bad examples in Scripture, we are going to have a very long list of things to avoid. And we definitely have positive New Testament examples for celebrating special events: The father celebrated the return of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Levi the tax collector threw a banquet for Jesus, and Jesus attended (Luke 5:29).

Additional Note: Can we only do things specifically mentioned in Scripture?

A reader wrote telling me that we should not celebrate Christmas because the early church did not celebrate it. However, Scripture doesn't record all that Christ did, so we can be sure it does not record everything the early church did (John 21:25). If we are supposed to limit ourselves to things specifically mentioned in Scripture, churches must meet in private homes, they must only take up collections for missionaries and member needs, they cannot have youth programs, church secretaries, hymnals, a church nursery, devotional books, children's Sunday school classes, etc. In addition, if we follow this belief, we cannot be sure if Christians should be using modern inventions like air travel, the internet, and computers. The bottom line: No where in Scripture are we told that we must only do things specifically mentioned in Scripture.

See also:

4 Misconceptions About Christmas

Christmas Confusion

Why Celebrate Christmas?

(1) God created all things, including evergreen trees (Romans 11:36). Just because something is used by pagans, it doesn't mean it cannot be used for God. Pagans pray and sing but we don’t call singing and praying pagan practices. However, there are some pagan practices that Christians must avoid. See 3 Ways of Looking at Popular Pagan Practices.

I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word. To find out more see 10 Reasons Why You'll Love Wisdom for Life

I also encourage you to sign up for a free subscription to Bible Love Notes and get a free e-booklet offering quiet time encouragement. Find out more HERE.

There are some things we should consider about our Christmas celebrations and others we should ignore. A Biblical perspective.

There are some things we should consider about our Christmas celebrations and others we should ignore. A Biblical perspective.

Bible Love Notes


  1. Thank you for this great post, you've covered it all, I do believe! This question came to me this year for some reason and I actually considered dumping Christmas because I don't want anything to cause me to stumble and if it isn't something God would want me to do, even though it would be hard I would stop celebrating. Through all this "studying" about Pagan this and that and all the ridiculous reasons I heard (Like putting presents under the tree is worshipping the tree because you are bowing down to put them under there!) I asked myself this question, as I do with a lot of hard questions: What would Satan gain by this? If all Christians dumped Christmas and Easter (because you know Easter is Pagan too!) what would that do for Satan's cause? He would effectively remove any Christian holidays and no one would celebrate any holiday that has to do with God (except the Jewish ones which he doesn't seem to care about, does he?). And Satan would just LOVE that! Imagine, no one going around saying the name of Merry CHRISTmas to each other. He just can't stand it and the fact that it is under such attack is a big clue that we should keep celebrating it and keep Christ the main focus. Satan does NOT want us celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and he definitely doesn't want us to be reminded of the fact that He sacrificed Himself to save us. Yes we should keep these in mind all year but these two holidays are great times to recharge our faith, and remind us of the special gift God has given us. Great post!