If Jesus returned to the earth today, what would he think about the money making side of Christmas? 2,000 years ago, Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem. He was angry and offended by the money changers and vendors who were taking advantage of a Jewish religious festival to make money. “Take these things away from here!” he demanded. “Stop making the house of my Father a house of merchandise!” (John 2:13-16) Clearly, Jesus did not approve of mixing retail and religion.
How did selling become such a big part of Christmas? The customs of many winter festivals were slowly added to the Roman holiday of Saturnalia where the people worshipped the false god Saturn: they had parties, they ate tons of food, they gave gifts, and they decorated their homes with green trees and plants. Doesn’t that sound just like Christmas? As the 20th century rolled around, salesmen were happy to promote any custom that would make them money. What has been the result? The celebration instead of the meaning of Christ’s birth has taken the main importance.
In most cases, even the mention of Christ has practically disappeared from the traditional Christmas. “[Christmas] is a world festival, of a family nature, and everyone celebrates what he or she sees in it,” observes the Spanish newspaper El País. This comment reflects a growing movement throughout the world: while Christmas celebrations become more fancy, knowledge of Christ disappears. In spirit, Christmas festivities have largely slipped back to what they originally were in Roman times—partying, eating, and the exchanging of presents.
If traditional Christmas has little to do with Christ, how should true Christians remember the life of Christ? Jesus said that the first step is to learn about God and Christ. “This means everlasting life,” Jesus said, “their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3. Once we know Jesus well, we no longer need to wonder how he would like us to remember him. Would it be by eating, drinking, and exchanging presents on the same date as an ancient pagan festival?
MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION:
Read Exodus 20:2,3 and you decide: Would a worshiper of Jehovah have ANY part in a celebration that is actually an ancient pagan festival to false gods?