Q: where in the Bible does it say to celebrate Christmas?  —Ronald

A: As a devout Jew, Jesus would have faithfully kept the 7 major annual sacred feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Weeks or Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles), for these were clearly stipulated in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:5-44, Deuteronomy 16:1-16). In addition, Jesus would have also faithfully observed the weekly Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 23:1-4) and the Sabbath Year (Leviticus 25:1-7).

Beyond these stipulated feasts and days, the Jews kept other religious and special days which were not commanded by God, but were a part of their traditions and customs.

For example: 1) At the beginning of each month, the Jews kept their “New Moons feasts” (Numbers 10:10, 1 Samuel 20:5, 1 Chronicles 23:31, Ezra 3:5, Nehemiah 10:33); 2) They celebrated Purim as a reminder of their national deliverance in the time of Esther (Esther 9:18-32). As a devout Jew, Jesus too would have celebrated Purim yearly; 3) In John 10:22, Jesus attended the Hanukah, the Festival of Dedication or the Festival of Lights, commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem during the time of the Macabees (165/4 BC, described in 1 Maccabee 4:52-59 and 2 Maccabee 10:6-8). Jesus had no issues with keeping this Jewish religious feast even though it was not instituted by God.

These few examples illustrate that some observances of religious days have developed and were kept even without a specific command in Scripture. In fact, Jesus attended the synagogue regularly even though there was no reference to the synagogue in the Old Testament.

Although the Bible doesn’t legislate it, it’s the practice for Christians to worship on a Sunday (although in some countries, Christians worship on Fridays). In the beginning, the early Christians met everyday for worship (Acts 2:46). Eventually, they settled on gathering on a Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10), likely because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1). The early Church met every week to remember Christ’s death and resurrection without a specific command from God. And today, we continue to keep the Lord’s Day, even though there’s no Scripture commanding this.

Yes, the Bible does not tell us to celebrate Christmas. The Bible also doesn’t tell us to observe other special days in the Christian calendar like the Lord’s Day, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday, Pentecost Sunday or Whitsunday, or your church anniversary.

Where the Bible gives no specific command, I believe that each person is to be “fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5) about celebrating such Christian special days (Romans 14:1-10): “In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him” (Romans 14:5-6).

We must not judge or look down on others who don’t hold the same convictions as we do (Romans 14:3-4, 13). For “God has accepted them” (Romans 14:3), and “those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him” (Romans 14:6).  —K.T. Sim

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