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  • Writer's pictureRandall Ricker

How do you tell family that you're not celebrating Christmas?

So, you’ve decided not to celebrate Christmas anymore! Like so many other people who have dug a little deeper on this subject, you have learned that celebrating Christmas is not in keeping with what God commands of us. In fact, in Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus Christ said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Now what do you do?

We have to remember we are not here to “call” someone to the Lord. He does the calling. We are not here to browbeat people into submission. Rather, we’re told to humbly work on ourselves to achieve that wonderful relationship with our Creator that we yearn for. So, how in the world do we navigate the Christmas season with our dear family and friends who do celebrate this holiday that originated with sun worship, among other things?

When breaking the news to loved ones, planning ahead averts much stress and disaster! Proverbs 29:20 says, “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Ouch!

First, give your family and friends many months’ notice if you can that you won’t be celebrating the holiday with them. This way they are not caught off guard. Secondly, refrain from telling them what they are doing wrong, and don’t use the word “pagan.” Respectfully, tell them that you won’t be keeping non-biblical holy days (holidays) anymore. If they ask, share with them that you wish to only celebrate those holy days that Christ and the Apostles kept in the early church that are listed in Leviticus 23. Be careful to do so humbly, not with a self-righteous attitude.

Getting very specific, think about what would be best working within the parameters of your own family dynamics. Find out what time on Christmas day the traditions you object to would take place. Arrive after those festivities are done. Or, for long-distance relatives, think about which holiday is best to plan a visit. For example, our family had one set of grandparents to whom Christmas traditions were very important, and another grandparent who could take or leave celebrating Christmas. We visited those family members on Thanksgiving who thought Christmas was very important and visited the family members on Christmas who treated the holiday just like another day. Gifts can be given to a loved one on any day of the year. For our young children, this did not cause confusion, and there were no awkward situations.

Some forethought can go a long way. A Christian strategy can make a big difference in getting along. Be patient, because no doubt you were in their shoes at some point. And “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city” (Proverbs 18:19). Your quiet, meek, and steadfast example over the years can be a formidable example for God’s way.

When you are moving about in public and you are wished a “merry Christmas,” a simple “thank you” goes a long way. If you provide a diatribe against the evil, pagan holiday, you’ve lost your audience to any light you might have provided as a Christian example. Indeed, God is the one who does the calling. We’re just here to provide the example with humility.


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