At times I’m reminded that we have no command in Scripture for us to remember/celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is taken as a reason to reject the Christmas holiday out of hand. I do recognize the right of anyone to take that position, even as I feel some sorrow for them. And I’ve not yet found the command anywhere in the Bible for anyone to praise God for the birth of Jesus or to choose a day and make it a holiday for such a remembrance.
But I was trying to think about this from God’s perspective. When Jesus was born did God COMMAND the angelic chorus to sing? Or were they simply unable to stop themselves? When Jesus was born did God COMMAND the shepherds to leave their flocks and go worship the newborn King on His birthday? I don’t find that command. God simply has the angel announce to them Jesus’ birth and then tell them where they could find Him. That was all they needed. Off they went…to behold Him…to worship Him. I don’t see anywhere in Scripture a COMMAND for wise men from the east to take such a long journey to find baby Jesus. But they went…just the same. I see no COMMAND for them to bring gifts for Him…but they did. Even in the absence of commands…I’m absolutely convinced God was pleased by the angelic singing, the shepherds praising and the wise men journeying and offering gifts to honor Christ. And if their responses flowed spontaneously from their hearts, laden as they were with deep gratitude and joy, wouldn’t this have been such an honor to God?! Actually, when I think of it, it seems to me that if we have to have a command to do such a good thing…like remembering Jesus’ birth and thanking and praising God for it…that there may well be something broken within us. (I’m not requiring that this be done on December 25th…but I am inquiring as to how there could by any real harm in doing so.)
As I think through the Scriptures, some of the most beautiful occasions are marked by the spontaneous outpouring of someone’s heart toward God. Who commanded David to dance before the ark of God as it was returned home? But the better question is…who was going to stop David from doing so? His heart was just so full of praise to God that he had to let it out. Who commanded David’s mighty men to risk their lives for a drink of Bethlehem water for their king? No one! Certainly not their king! And yet…how beautiful was their devotion…how inspiring. Who commanded those parents to bring their babies to Jesus? No one! In fact the apostles were forbidding them! But Jesus put a stop to the disciples’ interference and took those babies up into His arms and blessed them. Who commanded the poor widow to put ALL her living into the treasury of Jehovah’s temple? No one would have! But she did and left us such a legacy of faith! Who commanded Mary to break, by faith, that very expensive alabaster box of ointment upon her Lord to prepare Him for His burial? There was no such command. And yet…how honored was our Lord! She did a beautiful thing for which no command was needed…only her LOVE of Him.
So…again I say…MERRY CHRISTMAS! Whatever you can think to do in honor of Jesus Christ…if it doesn’t show disrespect of His revealed truth…do it…do it with a whole heart…do it without making laws about it…do it joyfully…sacrificially…spontaneously…lovingly…gratefully.
Merry CHRISTmas, beloved!