Why we don't celebrate Christmas
It probably seems odd that we believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Son of God and yet we don't celebrate Christmas. Below are some of the reasons why we choose not to observe Christmas in our home.
1. Yeshua (Jesus) was not born on December 25th. While the information on this topic is scant, no primary evidence or early sources point to December 25th. To the contrary, a number of points from the Gospels themselves make a December date extremely unlikely. Winters in Israel are very cold, so much so that shepherds would have had their flocks in shelters at night. Yet the Gospels record the shepherds living in the fields at night tending their flocks (Luke 2:8). Likewise the census (Luke 2:1-7) would have likely occurred after harvest time (September-October) when "revenue" was the highest and the weather and road conditions were still good. December would have been a highly unpopular time for a census. Finally, the priestly courses of Zecharias indicate Yeshua was likely born in either the spring or fall, not winter. John's Gospel possibly narrows the timeframe more when he wrote, "And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us" (John 1:14, YLT). This may be a hint that he was possibly born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which occurs in the fall.
Conjecture aside, we cannot say with absolute certainty when he was born, but we can safely say no substantial evidence points toward December, let alone December 25th. The birth of the Son of God is a significant prophetic event (e.g. Isa 7:14, 9:6f; Micah 5:1ff; Gen 3:15; etc), yet the authors of the inspired Scriptures thought it best not only to gloss over "when" he was born, but likewise to make no indication that his birth was to be remembered and celebrated as an annual event. This seems to be in contrast to Pentecost, Passover/The Lord's Supper, and so forth. Which leads us to...
2. The Bible contains a number of celebrations, festivals, and fasts to commemorate the saving graces--past, present and future--of Yahweh. These include Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (Feast of Weeks), the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Feast of Tabernacles, and Purim.
The festivals begin in the spring and proceed throughout the year, revealing a beautiful picture of salvation and the constant provision Yahweh has given to his people. The commanded festivals were so important that the sun and moon were set in motion to mark the festivals ("seasons"; Gen 1:14). There is much to be learned, and reminded of, in the annual festival cycle.
For example, we see how Israel was redeemed from Egypt at Passover and brought into freedom from the bondage of slavery; yet we see how Yahweh used Passover again as a means to free from slavery, but this time from the bondage of sin through the blood of the Lamb of God.
Similarly, in Biblical times the fall festival of Tabernacles was when his people came up to his holy mountain and dwelled in temporary dwellings as a reminder of when Yahweh dwelled among Israel in the wilderness. This language is re-used when Yeshua "tabernacled among us" during his lifetime; and more importantly, the day will come when Yahweh tabernacles (dwells) with his people for eternity. This is all in fulfillment of the promise to Noah and Shem when Yahweh said, "...and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem" (Gen 9:27). The feast of Tabernacles is a reminder of the fulfillment of the good promises Yahweh has given his people.
These are just scant examples of how the festival cycle has many lessons to teach us about God's plan, both past and present, for not only for his people but for us as individuals. Christmas, in our meager experience, is "out of place" in our home.
3. Many of the events, practices, and subtleties of the modern Christmas tradition were absorbed from or influenced by non-Biblical religions.
4. Christmas, in America, is extremely commercial and secular. The November-to-December retailer blitz has no redeeming purpose other than to get consumer money into their coffers. What do Christmas trees, stockings, Santa Claus, Yule logs, mistletoe, and the 12 Days of Christmas have to do with... Christ's birth?
While not all Christians are guilty of over indulging in the season, there is no question that the season itself is very commercialized and that the traditions Christians have invested into Christmas are drowned by mainstream commercialism and secularism. Christmas is commercialism at its best/worst.
5. We are very frank and honest with our children, which conflicts with the myth of Santa Claus. Saint Nick is not seen, is all knowing, and brings rewards and punishments accordingly. Many children are led to believe this myth, only to discover many years later that Santa was a hoax -- sprung upon them by their loving parents. This can cause innocent young children to question the integrity of their parents.
Yahweh has made us role models and authorities for our children and we believe we should act and speak in integrity at all times. Willfully sowing seeds of doubt while bearing false witness to our children may cause skepticism about Yahweh, who, like Mr. Claus, is not seen, is all-knowing, and judges and rewards fairly. The truth that Yahweh lives is too important to jeopardize by tricking our children into believing fables in the name of good natured fun and seasonal festivity.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things" (Phil 4:8).
These are some of the major reasons why we, as a family, have decided to abstain from celebrating Christmas. I (Joshua) have not observed Christmas for over a decade and have not seen any compelling reasons why I, personally, would want to practice this tradition.
For our home we believe it is a good example for our children to abstain from Christmas and instead focus our attention to the festive gatherings found in the Bible. This allows us to focus more time, energy, and thought into the Biblical feasts which we find more edifying and wholesome for our lifestyle and faith. It has also made us mindful to give and bless others year 'round (not just once a year) and to try to find the meaning of our Savior's life and work as a matter of daily practice, not season. :)