Legalism has a way of taking joy out of things. All of us – even those of us who claim, “I’m not legalistic, I’m just right!” – have to be careful of it creeping up on us. One area where legalism does not come close to being a problem for me is in celebrating Christmas.
I am very well aware of the fact that the celebration of Christmas is not discussed in the New Testament. The fact is, only some Christians began celebrating the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th in the fourth century. And it wasn’t widely practiced until the time of Constantine in the fourth century. There was an earlier celebration of the baptism of Jesus called Epiphany which was held on January 6th. And Christians began to celebrate His birth on this date too. But in the Latin west, a date of December 25th was chosen (12 days earlier). And this is the reason people began singing about the 12 Days of Christmas.
As Cindy and I watched The Nativity Story the other night, and I saw the woman portraying Mary, holding her baby in her arms, I was thinking of how amazing that must have been for them to think (if they thought it), “I am holding the creator of the universe in my arms.” The joy of the incarnation is something legalism can rob from people. It may not – but it can.
Remember, just as the New Testament doesn’t talk about the use of instruments in worship, it does not prohibit such usage. And even though the New Testament does not talk about the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus, it does not prohibit such a celebration. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father , full of grace and truth.” So enjoy celebrating Jesus our Immanuel (God with us).