The Bible does not directly refer to the celebration of Christmas and whether it is a sin to acknowledge it or not, but it does give wisdom and insight concerning the celebration of “special days.”
Traditionally, Christmas has been a celebration of the birth of Christ by Christendom, but in recent years the significance of Christ’s birth has been suppressed on this day, and it has become commercialized and known as the “Holiday Season,” which also includes Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Our modern Christmas holiday came down through history via the Roman Empire. Prior to the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire. Emperor Constantine I converted to Christianity, which eventually became the official religion of Rome. The Romans held many pagan holidays, and over time many were Christianized and given new names. At the time of Constantine’s conversion, Romans worshipped a sun god called “Sol Invictus”, and each year at the winter solstice (a time when the day light hours began to increase), there was a celebration of the sun’s rebirth. This would correspond to late December on our Gregorian calendar. Over time, this special holiday became what Christians recognized as the birth of the “son” of God, Jesus Christ, even though the actual time of Christ’s birth was most likely in the Jewish month of Tishri (around our September). All the other things associated with our modern form of Christmas—like Santa, elves, trees, and lights—came from cultural tradition and folklore.
Celebration of a holiday called “Christmas” is not mentioned in the Bible, but Romans 14 lays out the proper Christian perspective in regard to food, drink, and “special days.” It says, starting in verse 5, that “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord” (Rom. 14:5-6 NIV).
Under the Mosaic Law, there were many feasts and Sabbath days that the Jews were required to observe. After some of the Jews converted to Christianity, they continued to observe the Sabbaths in light of the teachings of the Apostle Paul: they were now free from observing those days through the accomplishments of Christ, because he fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Mosaic Law through his death and resurrection. Still, some of the Jewish converts continued to observe the Sabbath as a special day in light of their history and the sacrifice of Christ. Nowhere in the Bible does Paul teach the Gentile converts to observe the Sabbath, but he is instructing them not to judge a brother or sister in Christ because they are now regarding the Sabbath as a special day “to the Lord” (Rom 14:10). When we acknowledge Christmas as special because of the birth of Christ, and are doing so “to honor the Lord”, then that is in accordance with Scripture.
To learn more about Christmas and other holidays, see the links below: