WHOEVER heard of a birthday party where everyone got gifts but the one for whom the party was being celebrated? Christendom celebrates just such a party in what is called “Christ’s mass,” or Christmas. At this season people exchange gifts, but Christ is sadly neglected. True, the people parrot Christ’s words that there is greater happiness in giving than there is in receiving. (Acts 20:35) But this applies only when the giving motive is that of love. Think! Are Christmas givers really prompted to give because of Christ’s words, because they love Christ and their fellow man, or is selfishness the motive?
Giving presents has become a social necessity during Christmas time. To curry the favor of politicians and influential men Christmas giving is ideal, because it is legal and not frowned upon as are the out-of-season “mink coats.” Self-seeking givers are not the exception but the rule. If John, having given a gift to Bill, fails to receive one in return, he will probably not give Bill any further gifts, unless they be cheap ones, until Bill gets into this giving game. So Christmas is selfish because the givers give to be repaid. Such giving is condemned by Christ.—Luke 14:12-14.
But cannot Christmas selfishness be justified on the ground that it is a time when the poor benefit? To this we ask, How many of the poor really benefit? And those who give to the destitute, do they do it out of love or is there a selfish motive, such as a little limelight? A selfish motive prevails. This is why Christendom’s Christmas charity is condemned by Christ. (Matt. 6:2) And who ever thinks of the poor the other 364 days of the year? Or is one food basket supposed to last all year? Millions of dollars are spent on Christmas seals, but how few tuberculosis sufferers ever receive financial help! On the streets collection cups jingle in the hands of self-seekers, and bell-ringing Santa Claus beggars scoop in the coins. But, again, how few of the poor receive help!
The self-seeking motive appears in the mad rush to send out Christmas cards. Why, even Jews and agnostics and atheists zestfully mail them out; for everyone knows that Christmas cards build up good will for a business, help keep customers and enhance prestige. Does not the vast number of cards sent out and received by a person measure more accurately that one’s influence and wealth than his Christlike qualities?
Christmas is selfish because it is a time to gratify fleshly desires. It is a time to condone moral misbehavior. It is a time for revelries, a time when the belly becomes a god and when drunks and gluttons abound. And yet it is Christ’s apostle who shows that those practicing such things will not inherit God’s kingdom! (Gal. 5:19, 21; Phil. 3:19) Christmas is selfish because it is a farce. For the real, living Christ does not receive any more attention than he does the rest of the year. When Jehovah’s witnesses visit the people, which they do every day of the year, they find them too busy to listen to the good news of Christ’s kingdom. Even on Christmas, when Jehovah’s witnesses call, people are too busy with gala festivities to listen to the message of Christ’s kingdom. How farcical, this claiming to have a party for Christ! Do the celebrators view Christ as he is, as God’s king of the new world, the One having all power in heaven and earth, who soon will smash all governments to pieces with a rod of iron? (Rev. 12:5) No! They view Christ as a babe, think of him as a babe!
Commercialized Christmas is selfish. People are pommeled by big business to buy everything under the sun. Commerce never fails to tell the people how many shopping days are left before Christmas. Shop! Shop! Shop! the people are told. So a heavy burden is placed on the mind of man and on his pocketbook, already battle-scarred from inflation’s relentless attacks. Families must buy gifts when often they cannot afford butter for the dinner table! And how benevolent are the stores? Do prices come down out of regard for the poor? No! Prices go up. They come down only after Christmas.
Churches commercialize Christmas, as they do the Word of God. There are special prayers, masses and sermons. And special collections too! Christmas is selfish because it creates ill will. Employees feel hurt if the boss fails to give a “bonus” of some kind. Other workers, such as milkmen, newspaper boys and delivery men expect a Christmas handout. If no handout materializes, the worker feels insulted or much like a New York city taxi driver whose fare failed to tip. Christmas is selfish because it wastes time. Endless hours are spent trimming trees, wrapping parcels and pushing pathways through thick-pressed crowds. All this time could have been spent in studying God’s Word, learning about Christ’s kingdom.
Why is Christmas so selfish? Because it is pagan, not Christian. Jesus was not born in cold December. (Luke 2:8, 12) His birth was in early October. But even if we knew the exact day, there is no command to celebrate it. Christ commanded his followers to celebrate his death, not his birth. (Luke 22:15-20) Christmas comes direct from the pagan Saturnalia, celebrated December 17 to 23. Of this pagan holiday, the New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia says (page 10,790): “During the Saturnalia the courts and schools were closed and military operations were suspended so that the army might celebrate. It was a period of good will and jollity, devoted to banquets, the exchange of visits, and the giving of presents.” How can the merrymaking of a pagan holiday honor Christ? Indeed it does not! Even Christmas’ “St. Nick,” as the Century Dictionary states, is none other than Christ’s opposer, Satan the Devil!
Assuredly; the early Christians did not celebrate Christmas. Neither did the early Americans. Today true Christians do not celebrate either pagan or antiquated holidays. (Gal. 4:9-11) For the truth is that Christmas is not anchored in the Bible and is not celebrated because of love. Rather, Christmas is rooted in paganism and is celebrated because of selfishness. Free yourself, then, from pagan shackles! Practice true Christianity by worshiping Jehovah in spirit and in truth. Give to others what Christ wants you to give: the good news of his kingdom. (Matt. 24:14) Do this now, for soon, at Armageddon, Christ the King will forever put an end to the pagan party of Christmas and its self-seeking celebrators.