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Why do We Celebrate?/Why Celebrate Christmas?
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Written by Paul Race for Family Christmas OnlineTM

Why do We Celebrate?/Why Celebrate Christmas?

Everyone celebrates something. Many cultures celebrate the same things, such as weddings, birthdays and new years (although we don’t all celebrate the New Year on the same day).

What do we celebrate?

  • Our national identity, such as July 4th, Bastille Day, and Purim
  • Our spiritual identity, such as Passover and Easter
  • Life transitions, including births, graduations, and weddings

We also celebrate some things that we solemnly commemorate. For instance we show sober appreciation for the sacrifices of our veterans while rejoicing the freedom that those sacrifices brought about.

Why do we celebrate?

  • Celebrations bring a break from the routine and give us “milestones” for noting our progress through the year.
  • Celebration allows us to get “back in touch” with our personal, spiritual, and cultural heritage, while we try to build memories for the next generation.
  • Celebration reminds us that we belong to a larger community, be it a family, a nation, or anything in between.
  • Even celebrations of “personal” events like graduations and weddings recognize our new relationships to our family and community.

What does God think of celebrations?

  • He must approve—He established several in the Old Testament, including three times a year when all heads of households were to travel to attend festivals.
  • Even God’s angels celebrate—they celebrated the night that Jesus was born, and they celebrate every time a new person comes into the Kingdom of God.
  • He doesn’t approve of feasts (or fasts) that dishonor His name, however.

Is it “right” to celebrate Christmas?

Although the early church did not celebrate Christmas, that doesn’t mean that the medieval church was wrong when they assigned a date to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Consider that:

  • Christmas celebrates an important event in the “national identity” of the believing church, which Peter calls a “royal priesthood, a holy nation.” (1 Peter 2:9)
  • Christmas helps us to “get back in touch” with deep spiritual truths that influenced our childhood, as well as past experiences of hope and faith that all too often seem distant in our “grown-up” lives.
  • When Christmas is shared with other believers, it reiterates and reinforces our joint commitment to the King who came to Earth.
  • Christmas is also a good time to commemorate, not only the birth of God’s greatest Gift to mankind, but also the new birth of “as many as received Him,” who received the “power to become the children of God.”
  • Perhaps most importantly, Christmas reminds us that we serve a God who “so loved . . . [us] that He gave His only begotten Son.” The season offers us unique opportunities for reflection, reverence, and sharing of God’s great love with others.

Should Christmas celebrations be a “private matter”?

As our culture becomes more cynical, and the Christmas season becomes more commercialized, people who love Christmas for spiritual reasons are tempted to downplay their appreciation of the holiday, lest they be seen as part of the problem.

But for many caught in between happy memories and hard realities, Christmas is their last connection to hope, the only time of year they can still imagine that “someone out there” might love them, and that good things may yet come their way, even if they aren’t deserved.

What better time of year is there to celebrate our own Hope, and to mirror God’s grace in all we say and do? In an age of increasing hopelessness, let's honor the One in Whom hope will never be disappointed. Light a candle. Sing a carol. Give a helping hand to someone in need. In other words, be a special blessing this time of year. If those who have “received Him” can’t celebrate His coming, who will?

May God bless you and yours this Christmas season and give you an especially blessed New Year!

P.S.: If you have any corrections, comments, or additions you would like to make about this article, please contact Paul Race [the editor], and he'll get your comments to me. God bless.

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