Why True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H.
Why True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H. Combs – Page 1
WHY TRUE CHURCHES SHOULD
NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
By Hollace H. Combs
Published in the Berea Baptist Banner December 5, 1990.
1. Christmas is of heathen origin; therefore did it not
originate under the leadership of the Holy Spirit of whom
God said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is
come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall
not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to
come” ( John 16:13). According to history, Christ’s birthday
was not celebrated until the fourth century after
Christ, and then by the Roman Catholic Church. The
following few brief excerpts from standard encyclopedias
will suffice to prove the origin of Christmas.
“Beffana. A coruption of the word “epinhania”
(Epiphany) is the name of an old female character in
Italian folk-lore who was so busily engaged in house
cleaning where three wise men of the East passed by on
the way to offer their treasures to the infant Saviour,
that she excused herself for not going out to see them,
thinking that she would have an opportunity of doing so
when they returned. Not knowing that they went home
by another road, she has been ever since watching for
them. She, like the Dutch Santa Claus, is supposed to
take a great interest in children, who in Italy, are put in
bed early on the “twelfth night,” a stocking of each being
hung up before the fire. Soon the cry “Ecco la
Beffana” is raised when the children jump up and seize
their stockings, each of which contains a present bearing
value in proportion to the conduct of the child during
the year. One whose behavior has been particularly bad
finds his stocking filled with ashes, in token of Beffana’s
“The custom of carrying an effigy called the Beffana’s
on ‘Twelfth Night,’ in procession through the streets is
probably a relic of one of the ‘mysteries of the middle
ages’” (New Americanized Encyclopedia Britannica. Edition
1899, Vol. XI, page 404).
“Saturn, an ancient Italian god. . . .”
“Saturnalis, this is the great ‘Festival of Saturn’ celebrated
on the 19th, the after Caesar’s reform of the calendar,
on the 17th of December.
“Augustus decreed that the 17th and 18th should be
sacred to Saturn, and the 19th and 20th to Ophelia, the
festival of Ops.
“Caligula added a fifth day. ‘The Day of Youth,’ December
25, lasted seven days. The time was one of general
joy and mirth. The woolen fetters were taken from
the feet of the Image of Saturn, and each man offered a
pig. During the festival schools were closed. . . .”
“Gambling with dice, at other times illegal, was now
practiced. All classes exchanged gifts, the commonest
being tapers and clay dolls. These dolls were especially
given to children. Varro thought that these dolls represented
original sacrifices of human beings—children to
the ‘Infernal God’” (New Americanized Encyclopedia
Britannica, 1900; Vol. IX, page 5236).
“Epiphany, a festival held on the 6th of January by
the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and Anglican churches in
commemoration of the manifestation of Christ. Three
different events are included in this celebration. As early
as the third century, at least, it was observed as The Commemoration
of the Baptism of Christ. . .Later in the East
it was taken to commemorate the manifestation of divine
power in Christ’s first miracle at Cana in Galilee. .
.In the fourth century the birth of Christ was also connected
with it by some writers. . . . Many special observances
are to have been connected with the day, which,
under the name of Twelfth Day, Twelfth Night, was a
time of special merrymaking in England, and closed the
Christmas festivities” (The New International Encyclopedia,
second edition, Vol. 3, page 27).
“Christmas. It was, according to many authorities, not
celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church,
as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the
death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.
A feast was established in memory of the birth of the
Saviour in the fourth century. In the fifth century the
Western Church (Roman Catholic) ordered it to be celebrated
forever on the day of the Old Roman Feast of
the birth of Sol.
“The Holly, the Mistletoe, the Yule Log and the Wassel
Bowl are of pre-Christian times.
“The Christmas Tree has been traced back to the Romans.
It went from Germany to Great Britain” (The Encyclopedia
Americana, 1942 edition, Vol. 6, page 623).
“Christmas. Christmas properly begins with the
evening of December 24. . .and continues until Epiphany,
January 6, the whole period called Christmas-tide. In
the Roman, Greek, Episcopal, and Lutheran churches,
Christmas is observed as a religious festival with special
services. Its celebration was formerly forbidden by the Puritans”
(The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, 1903, Vol.
II, page 987).
“Christmas Day. There is, however, a difficulty in accepting
this (December 25th) as the date of the Nativity,
December being the height of the rainy season in Judea,
when neither flocks nor shepherds could have been at
Why True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H. Combs – Page 2
night in the fields of Bethlehem.
“By the fifth century, however, whether from influence
or some tradition, or from the desire to supplant
heathen festivals of that period of the year, such
Saturnalia, the 25th day of December had been generally
agreed upon” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th edition,
Vol. 5, page 611).
2. We have shown you what encyclopedias say about
Christmas and its origin, now let us look into the Scriptures.
We believe, according to history that Christmas is
a heathen custom and God said to His people, “Learn
not the way of the heathen, . . .for the customs of
the people are vain. . .” ( Jer. 10:2-4). This means that
God’s people were not to let vain customs of heathen
people become a part of them and their worship. Christmas
celebrations are definitely of vain heathen customs.
3. The name “Christmas” is an abomination to the
Lord. “Christmas” is a combination of two words,
“Christ” and “Mass.” Christ is the Divine title of our Lord.
“Mass” is from the Roman Catholic mass. We believe
that church to be a harlot church and the ‘mother of
harlots.’ Nothing will stir a man to anger more quickly
than for someone to connect his mother’s name with a
harlot. What about blending the title of our blessed Lord
with a harlot church (not His bride)—”Christmass?”
4. The Christmas tree, Mistletoe, Yule log, Wassel bowl,
Holly wreath, Santa Claus, etc., are of heathen origin,
therefore they are not of the Spirit of God and should
not become a part of worship.
5. Christmas is not stated, nor implied, in the Scriptures,
yet Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-
6. The example of Nadab and Abihu in regard to religious
matters teaches the seriousness of corrupting the
worship of the true and living God. “And Nadab and
Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his
censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon,
and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He
commanded them not. And there went out fire from
the Lord and devoured them, and they died before
the Lord” (Lev. 10:1-2). It is a serious matter to tamper
with God’s ordained plan or order of worship. These
men went beyond God’s commandment.
ERROR OF GOOD INTENTIONS
7. The example of David and Uzzah was one of substituting
God’s plan. God had told David how the Ark
should be transported. David found a more beautiful way.
David let the people choose the Philistines’ beautiful and
sensible method of moving the Ark rather than God’s
method, I Chronicles 13:1-14. Verse 4 reads: “. . .for the
thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” But
we read again: “There is a way which seemeth right
unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of
death” (Prov. 14:12). God had told the Levites to walk
and bear the Ark, and others not to touch it. It seemed
right to David and the people to build a nice new cart to
move the Ark. “And when they came unto the threshing
floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to
hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger
of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote
him, because he put his hand to the ark; and there
he died before God” (I Chron. 13:9-10).
No doubt but that Uzza’s intentions were good. He
only tried to save the cart from overturning and to preserve
the Ark, but God had said: “To obey is better
than to sacrifice.”
Dr. Scofield says, “The story of David’s new cart and
its results is a striking illustration of the spiritual truth
that blessings do not follow the best intentions in the
service of God except as that service is rendered in God’s
Three months after David’s blunder, he had the Ark
moved God’s way (I Chron. 15:1-3). Verse 13 reads: “For
because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God
made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not
after the due order.”
ERROR OF THE HEART
8. The example of Ananias and Sapphira in regard to
religious matters is another lesson to those who would
dare to pollute the house of God. God had not commanded
the church members to sell all of their property
and donate it to the church, but since they had promised
to, they should not have lied.
ERROR OF IGNORANCE
9. Ignorance will not excuse one in religious errors.
Read I Sam. 6:1-19. Because the people of Bethshemesh
merely looked (ignorantly) into the Ark when the oxen
and cart had stalled, God killed 50,070 of them.
So God has expressed His disapproval, and inflicted
the death penalty, where worship is corrupted by (1)
going beyond His command, (2) by substituting His plan,
(3) by willful disobedience and (4) by ignorantly violating
10. Most Christmas activities, decorations, feasts, gifts,
etc., appeal to the natural man, who “receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God.” (I Cor. 2:14). Any
activity which can be enjoyed equally by both the
unregenerated and the regenerated, definitely feeds the
natural man, for the Adamic nature is the only nature
they have in common. The unregenerate cannot enjoy
the things of the Spirit. The natural man does not worship
God (Rom. 8:5-8), yet the worldly minded do heartily
Why True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H. Combs – Page 3
11. The churches should not follow the world. “Love
not the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the
lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”
(I John 2:15-16).
Paul said to the Galatians, “Ye observe days, and
months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you,
lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Gal.
4:10-11). Paul was not speaking of Christmas here, for
there was no Christmas at that time, but the principle
would apply to Christmas. Read I Peter 2:9.
CHURCH VS. WORLD
12. The fact that the world joins in the celebration of
Christmas proves that it is not according to the will of
God. The world does not desire to obey any precept of
God. “The natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God.”
England does not celebrate the Fourth of July, for it
means nothing to them. If Christmas were really a celebration
of the birth of Jesus, the world which rejects
Christ would not have anything to do with it. The world
does enjoy Christmas, therefore it is not of God.
13. It is wrong to try to seek out what God has purposely
hidden from us. The Bible was truly written by
inspiration. Everything recorded in the Scriptures was
purposely recorded. Everything that was omitted from
the Scriptures was purposely omitted. God knew the birth
date of Jesus, the central figure of the Scriptures, and He
omitted any record of His birth date. Therefore, God
purposely omitted the record of Jesus’ birth date.
JOSEPHUS OR STONE CARVERS
14. Why did not the great historian, Josephus, record
His birth date? Providence prevented him. Why was not
the date carved upon a stone, to be discovered later by
the archeologists? Providence of God! If man had found
the date of the birth of Jesus to be the 25th of December,
after God had hidden it, then God would not be an all
MERRY MAKING AND GIFTS
15. The only record in the Bible of “Merry making
and sending gifts to one another” is found in Revelation
11:10. Those referred to as participating are evil people
celebrating the slaying of God’s two faithful witnesses.
This does not mean that it is sin to give gifts. It is not. Yet
God purposely breathed this record into the Holy Scriptures
for our learning; to mould our thinking.
16. God purposely recorded two and only two birthday
celebrations in the Scriptures. Each of them is connected
with murder. One was recorded in the Scriptures
before Jesus was born. It was the feast of Pharaoh’s birthday
celebration where the chief baker was hanged and
then beheaded. The other was Herod’s birthday celebration
where John the Baptist was murdered. So it would
be embarrassing to try to justify the celebration of the
birthday of Jesus, and the giving of gifts to one another,
by Bible examples.
SONGS AND LITERATURE
17. Christmas literature and songs almost unanimously
teach falsely concerning the birth of Jesus. Books, plays,
pageants, and Christmas music constantly picture three
wise men of the East visiting the infant Jesus on the day
of His birth along with the shepherds, in the stable in
The Scriptures do not say how many wise men there
were. There may have been three, but could have been
more. According to the Scriptures, Jesus was born in
Bethlehem (Matt. 2:6). The shepherds went immediately
to the infant Jesus and found Him in a manger (Luke
2:8-16). When Jesus was born, evidently the “star” appeared
to the wise men of the East announcing His birth
(Matt. 2:2), but the star did not lead the wise men to
Jerusalem, according to the Scriptures. If they were wise
men, they knew that the Messiah would be born in
Bethlehem, and they knew how to get to Jerusalem without
the leadership of a star. There is nothing in Scripture
to indicate that the wise men went immediately, or soon,
to seek the infant Jesus.
When Jesus was 41 days old, Joseph and Mary carried
Him into the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-38;
Lev. 12:2-6). Then they immediately returned to their home
in Nazareth of Galilee (Luke 2:39), not to Egypt, as most
writers say. Since Joseph and Mary with Jesus fled to
Egypt immediately after the wise men left (Matt. 2:13),
the wise men could not possibly have visited Jesus before
He was 41 days old, and at this age Jesus was taken to
Nazareth. So the wise men must have visited the child in
the “house” in Nazareth, (Matt. 2:11).
The wise men came to Jerusalem possibly more than
a year and a half after Jesus was born, inquiring for the
“young child” not the infant babe. Herod naturally
thought that the child was in Bethlehem, Matt. 2:16, but
He was in Nazareth (Luke 2:39). No one in Jerusalem
knew where the child was, so the “star” reappeared
(Matt. 2:9), to the wise men as they were leaving Herod’s
palace, to lead them where the child Jesus was in Nazareth
(Luke 2:39). God, through the wise men, supplied Joseph
and Mary with gifts sufficient to care for them on
their trip into Egypt, which they made immediately after
the wise men presented their gifts and left (Matt. 2:13).
Matthew 2:16 indicates the age of Jesus when the wise
men visited Him, for Herod “slew all the children that
were in Bethlemen, and in all the coasts thereof,
from two years old and under, according to the
time when he had diligently enquired of the wise
men” (verse 7).
The wise men gave their gifts to Jesus: not to one another,
and even this did not happen on the birthday of
Jesus. So there is no connection between Christmas and
the birthday of Jesus in this respect.
Why True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H. Combs – Page 4
18. Vain worship is promoted by Christmas programs,
which are doctrines of men. Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their
heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship
me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of
men” (Matt. 15:8-9). This statement was true when the
Lord uttered it in Isaiah’s time (Isa. 29:13); true when
Jesus repeated it during His ministry; and it is true in a
large measure today concerning Christmas programs.
Proof: People will sing in Christmas and Easter programs
who cannot be depended upon at any other time, and
many who do not attend church regularly, will go to
swell the crowds at these programs. The largest crowds
in the church for the year will be at these two programs.
Be not deceived; the class of people who go to make up
this supplementary crowd are not usually attracted by
things of a spiritual nature. These statements are not made
to reflect upon true Christians, but merely to identify the
true type of program it is that will attract the carnally
minded; and the Christmas programs do attract such.
Remember that “he that is joined unto the Lord is
one spirit” (I Cor. 6:17), not one flesh, or carnal mind.
Paul said: “Beware lest any man spoil you through
philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of
men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after
Christ” (Col. 2:8).
19. The commandment of God is rejected in Christmas
celebrations. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “. . .Full
well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye
may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). “Making
the word of God of none effect through your tradition,
which ye have delivered: and many such like
things do ye” (Mark 7:13). “And many such like
things” certainly would include the traditions of Christmas.
Proof: (1) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, . . .” Hebrews 10:25 is made of “none
effect” by Christmas, according to the almost universal
low attendance on the Lord’s day nearest Christmas day
(except for the Christmas program). Some say that the
low attencance is due to the business of holidays when
people visit their families and friends. This is no worthy
excuse, for this visiting is reciprocal between the cities,
and there are churches at both ends of the line. (2) The
Word of God is made of “none effect” in the point of
financial support at this season. Churches as a whole
will show a record of low finance nearest Christmas.
Christmas is a time of low spirituality and high carnality,
for three days. Three days in the Scriptures speak of
death, burial, and resurrection to a new life.
20. Those who make the most of Christmas celebrations,
pretending to honor the birthday of Jesus, usually
are those who make the least of His Resurrection Memorial—-
the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s day is desecrated by
secular work, open business houses, worldly amusements,
and sports. The Lord did not want His birth memorialized,
yet some men will not observe the Lord’s day, but
will close their places of business, or refrain from working
on Christmas day.
TRADITIONS VS. SCRIPTURE
21. Christmas traditions are not in harmony with the
(1) Old man “Santa Claus” (a Catholic monk) is the
central character of Christmas, and has no Scriptural connection
with the child Jesus.
(2) The gifts of the wise men were gifts of gratitude
and worship, but best of their substance, given to Jesus,
not to one another.
(3) The traditional winter scene—evergreen trees and
artificial snow—does not harmonize with the shepherds
being in the fields with their flocks.
(4) All manner of fireworks and miniature implements
of war can have no connection with the birth of the “King
(5) Most all Christmas cards are centered around wishing
one “A Merry Christmas.” The word “merry” occurs
more than twenty-five times in the Scriptures, and almost,
if not every time it is used, it has reference to the
natural man. The natural man does not rejoice in the
Saviour. Wishing one a “sacred Christmas” would be
more becoming than wishing one a “merry Christmas.”
Is “merry making” a Christian attitude according to the
22. Christmas time is a time of social enjoyment and
merry making, rather than that of spiritual gratitude and
joy in the Saviour. Can one really and truthfully say
that his actual motive for observing Christmas celebrations
is, that the Saviour was born in Bethlehem nearly
two thousand years ago?
23. The source of Christmas equipment will condemn
the tradition. Up to the time of the second World War,
most Christmas goods bore the stamp, “Made in Germany,”
“Made in Japan,” or “Made in Italy.” It is significant
to note that the very nations from whom the
United States and England have purchased most of their
Christmas goods, which have been used in reveling and
polluting the worship of God, have been the instruments
of providential judgment against us. How did these congested
nations of so limited supply of raw materials finance
the great war? By exports of the fruits of their cheap
labor. Among these exports, Christmas goods played a
major role. England and the United States has literally
poured billions of dollars into these nations in the past
fifty years for Christmas goods. In time, a nation will
reap whatsoever she sows. “Because sentence against
an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore
the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to
do evil” (Eccl. 8:11).
DRUNKENNESS AND GLUTTONY
24. Christmas time is a time of drunkenness and glutWhy
True Churches Should Not Celebrate Christmas by Hollace H. Combs – Page 5
tony. The Holy Scriptures place gluttony in the same class
with drunkenness, and several times in the same verse
of Scripture (Deut. 21:20; Prov. 23:20, 21; I Cor. 11:21).
Many people who would never think of getting drunk,
will commit the sin of gluttony (which is the cousin of
drunkenness) in their Christmas feasts, and call it Godhonoring.
The term “eat, drink and be merry,” is associated
with evil in the Scriptures (Isa. 22:12,13; Luke
12:19). Jesus said to His disciples: “Take heed to yourselves,
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged
with surfeiting, and drunkenness” (Luke 21:34). The
overeating at Christmas feasts is definitely included in
the word “surfeiting,” and is therefore contrary to the
teaching of Jesus in this verse. Gluttonous feasts are inconsistent
with saints, according to I Peter 4:1-4. Also
read Proverbs 23:2,3; Num. 11:33,34; Psalm 78:29-31.
There is always a wave of illness and death as a
postlude to Christmas feasts and activities.
Remember that fasting and prayer are associated together
throughout the Bible, and are opposite to feasting
25. Christmas time is a time of great reveling and the
gratifying of the flesh. We are told in Romans 13:14:
“Make not provision for the flesh,” yet much provision
is made for the flesh in the Christmas season. “And
they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with
the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24). Peter said: “Abstain
from fleshly lusts” (I Peter 2:11). “Abstain from
all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22).
26. Jesus Christ, the supposed central figure of Christmas,
is forgotten in the celebrations. It is significant to
note that when Jesus was twelve years of age and about
His Father’s business, He attended the Passover, where
many thousands of Jews were gathered for the feast which
spoke of Him ( Jesus), while He, the true Passover Lamb,
was lost amid the celebrations, and was not found. Let
Christmas crucify affections for heathen customs, bury
them, and arise to walk after the Spirit, thus finding Jesus
the “third day.”
27. Christmas is boosted by the commercial world. It
is the greatest money-making season of the year. Professed
Christian business men look forward to the Christmas
season, not for the sake of Christ, but for the sake of
Quoting from the press of November, 1948, “Americans
are going on the biggest buying spree in history this
Christmas season, surveys throughout the nation reveal.
Storekeepers the land over are looking forward to the
greatest Yuletide business they ever had.”
BIRTH OR DEATH
28. We are not to remember Jesus Christ after the flesh
now, except as historically; not memorially. “Wherefore
henceforth know we no man after the flesh:
yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh,
yet now henceforth know we him no more” (II Cor.
5:16). “But God forbid that I should glory, save in
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .” (Gal. 6:14).
We are not to glory in His flesh: “For I determined not
to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ,
and him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2) (Not born).
29. Christmas is an abomination in the sight of the
Lord. “And he ( Jesus) said unto them (the Pharisees),
Ye are they which justify yourselves before men;
but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is
highly esteemed among men is abomination in the
sight of God” (Luke 16:15). This latter statement is true
regardless of who is being addressed. Just what did Christ
name in this verse as being “abomination?” “That
which” means, “Anything which.” Then anything which
men highly esteem is abomination. Men esteem Christmas
more highly than almost anything else. It is the only
thing requiring a two-week holiday in schools over the
nation. Business houses that never close any other time
of the year, close for Christmas. It is the only time of the
year that some people will give a gift; the only time some
people get drunk; the only time many firms will give
employees a bonus. Many large stores have a “Christmas
Saving Fund” for customers. Immediately after
Christmas, customers begin depositing money into these
saving accounts, to assure them, not of grocery or doctor
bills, but to assure them of spending money for the
next Christmas. Preparations are made further in advance
for Christmas than for any other large event. Christmas
is so highly esteemed among men that, according to the
press of November 13, 1948, “Last December retail sales
reached a staggering total of $12,641,000,000,” and “they
expect sales to reach about $14,000,000,000” in 1949.”
Since Christmas is so highly esteemed among men, it
is definitely included in the abomination spoken of by
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and
doeth it not, to him it is sin” ( James 4:17).