Almost everyone in our culture celebrates Christmas as a joyful time of the year. It's so easy to get caught up in the festivities, and what better event to celebrate than the birth of our Lord Jesus?
While we are merrily exchanging gifts, it is worth considering just what we are doing and why. The Catholic Church has set the liturgical celebration of Christ's Mass on December 25. We confidently celebrate this Christian feast day, as we do with other feast days during the liturgical year, on the date set by the Church. These help us to dwell upon the great mysteries of salvation and to learn our faith better each year, growing closer to God, while doing so in harmony with the whole Catholic community reaching across the world and deep into history.
Protestants face a dilemma, however. The Bible never exhorts Christians to celebrate Christmas or even to have such a holiday!
Celebrating Christmas, as Protestants do, sure sounds like a tradition to me. Although it is based on a story in the Bible, celebrating it on December 25, or at all, is not found in the Bible. So, why would Protestants celebrate this particular tradition?
Protestants may claim that it does not conflict with Biblical faith and therefore it is okay to celebrate it. But, this does not erase the fact that celebrating it on December 25 or at all is because of their Christian culture (which ultimately is derived from the Catholic Church). This is one example of a Catholic tradition that Protestants accept wholeheartedly and joyfully!
We should charitably challenge our Protestant friends to clearly explain why they celebrate Christmas, a holiday that is not found in the Scriptures. Perhaps there is more to Christian faith than what was written down by the apostles. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
Arnold Scott is a joyful convert to the Catholic Church from evangelical protestant communities. He is a financial professional residing with his family in the New England area. He welcomes any feedback at arnoldscott (at) lycos.com.