Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spurgeon and Christmas Part 1

Some have wondered about Spurgeon's view of Christmas. A fellow blogger once said, “I like Spurgeon on this subject because he does not fit easily into either of the simple pre-cut molds that tend to dominate those with strong opinions on whether Christians should even acknowledge, much less celebrate Christmas. In one corner you have those who give a resounding "NO" to this question. After all, the Bible does not even hint at celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ annually. Furthermore, Christmas is an adaptation of a pagan festival and "what hath light to do with darkness?" In the other corner are those who seem to think that anything less than an all-out celebration of Christmas--even by those who are not Christians--is an assault on our faith and one more indication of how godless our culture has become.”


Spurgeon was very clear on the subject of Christmas. He was clear that Christmas is not a biblical holiday and so minces no words in criticizing the attempt to equate it with vital Christianity. He sometimes ridicules and chides the observance of Christmas as a "popish festival." Here is an example from the opening words of his sermon On Sunday morning, December 24, 1871, entitled, "Joy Born at Bethlehem,"

Spurgeon began his sermon with these words:

"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. ... 

It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. ... Probably the fact is that the "holy" days were arranged to fit in with the heathen
festivals. 

We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. Nevertheless since, the current of men's thoughts is led this way just now, and I see no evil in the current itself, I shall launch the bark of our discourse upon that stream, and make use of the fact, which I shall neither justify nor condemn, by endeavoring to lead your thoughts in the same direction. 

Since it is lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men's superstitions to render such a meditation improper for to-day. Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son."

2 comments:

Larri said...

Amen.

NASHVILLECATS said...

This was excellent to read Gregg, I too say Amen.

Yvonne.