About this time of year, there is a phrase that is heard throughout the season. It often sounds like this "Keep Christ in Christmas", or Christmas is nothing without Christ, but everything with Him". Unfortunately, there is much "Christmas Fiction" today, fables that ring as if they are good and true, but (upon closer investigation) are found to be falsehoods.
One cannot "keep Christ in Christmas", because Christ was never in Christmas to begin with. This may often come across as shocking to most people, but it is no doubt the truth. While we read of the "what" of Jesus' birth in the Bible, we nowhere read of the "when" and certainly not of Christmas. What, then, of Christmas? The answer is simple: it originated with men, not God. The Bible doesn't identify either the year, the month, or the day that Jesus was born, yet droves of people commemorate December 25th. The choosing of this date was probably influenced by the pre-existing celebration of pagan festivals from such carnal and depraved behavior to something more palatable to moral goodness.
However, even if we did know the birthday of Christ, there is no authority in the Bible - the Word of God - for commemorating it as a religious holiday. It is His death, burial, and resurrection that the Lord stresses His followers to memorialize (Matthew 26:26-30; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29). For the first-century Christian, this was a regular and weekly practice (Acts 20:7). How can we "keep Christ is Christmas" when Christmas was created four centuries after He was born? We have as much authority to keep Christ in Christmas as we do the Fourth of July.
Other fables and myths are publicly preached in "nativity scenes" that show three wise men gathering around a manger to see baby Jesus. Where does the Bible show that there were only three wise men? It is very assumptive to presume that there were only three wise men, simply because Jesus received three "kinds" of gifts. If one should say today that he received clothes, music CDs, and computer software at his birthday, it is ludicrous to assume that he must have only had three people at his party!
We don't know how many wise men were present to see and worship the sinless Son of God, but we definitely know that they did not see Him in a manger. When Jesus was visited by the wise men, they did not see Him in a manger. When Jesus was visited by the wise men, they "had come into the house" (Matthew 2:11), not into a barn. Incidentally, the wise men were no the same as the shepherds given in Luke's account, but distinctively different. The wise men were from the "East" (Matthew 2:1), which is more than likely Persia. On the other hand, the shepherds were living in the fields of the "same country" (Luke 2:8) in which Jesus was born. The shepherds saw Jesus right after He was born (thus in a manger), but the Scripture implies that the wise men were expecting to see a child who was up to two years old, from Herod's deplorable action (compare Matthew 2:7 and 2:16), thus it was a while after Jesus' birth.
As for what time of year Jesus was born, please consider that more likely, Jesus was born between March and November. Scholars tell us that this is the time frame when shepherds would drive their sheep out to the deserts and mountainous regions, bringing them back by October or early November.
Here is a chronology that presents the facts better than these half-truth dramatizations that are given today:
Having said all that, we should be careful that we teach Biblical events in a truthful way. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement" (James 3:1). Christmas is a time to spend time with family, exchange gifts, and eat good food, but there is no Biblical authority for observing it as a religious holiday. To those who want salvation of the soul, we must not look to the manger, but to the cross in humble obedience (Colossians 1:19-23).
-Steven J. Wallace (Grandview, WA); Truth Magazine Vol. 44, #24, December 21, 2000, p.8 www.truthmagazine.com