Christmas was not celebrated by the apostolic church. It was not celebrated during the first few centuries of the church. As late as A.D. 245, Origen (Hom. 8 on Leviticus) repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ, "as if he were a king Pharaoh." By the middle of the 4th century, many churches in the Latin west were celebrating Christmas. During the 5th century, Christmas became an official Roman Catholic holy day. In A.D. 534, Christmas was recognized as an official holy day by the Roman state.
The reason that Christmas became a church holy day has nothing to do with the Bible. The Bible does not give the date of Christ's birth. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to celebrate Christmas. Christmas (as well as many other pagan practices) was adopted by the Roman church as a missionary strategy.
This book is must reading if you are a Christian [especially if you are a Calvinist, as this book deals with the sovereignty of God over worship] and you are studying Christmass or any of the worship issues! Schwertley also makes the application of Sola Scriptura to worship in this important work. FREE in MP3 format: The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas by Brian Schwertley
+ George Gillespie (Scottish Commissioner to the Westminster Assembly) on Christ-mass Keeping and More
George Gillespie writes,
"by communicating with idolaters in their rites and ceremonies, we ourselves become guilty of idolatry; even as Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:10, was an idolater, eo ipso, that he took the pattern of an altar from idolaters. Forasmuch, then, as kneeling before the consecrated bread, the sign of the cross, surplice, festival days (like Christmas-ed.), bishopping, bowing down to the altar, administration of the sacraments in private places, etc., are the wares of Rome, the baggage of Babylon, the trinkets of the whore, the badges of Popery, the ensigns of Christ's enemies, and the very trophies of antichrist, -- we cannot conform, communicate and symbolise with the idolatrous Papists in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation. Shall the chaste spouse of Christ take upon her the ornaments of the whore? Shall the Israel of God symbolise with her who is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? Shall the Lord's redeemed people wear the ensigns of their captivity? Shall the saints be seen with the mark of the beast? Shall the Christian church be like the antichristian, the holy like the profane, religion like superstition, the temple of God like the synagogue of Satan?" (A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, in Gillespie's Works volume one, p. 80, SWRB reprint http://www.swrb.com/catalog/g.htm, emphases added).
1. In the pure Apostolical times there was no Christ-mass-day observed in the Church of God. We ought to keep to the primitive Pattern. That Book of Scripture which is called, The Acts of the Apostles, saith nothing of their keeping Christ’s Nativity as an Holy-day. The [Cent. 2.] Centuriators, and many others take notice that in the first Ages of the New-Testament Church, there were no stated Anniversary Holy-days among Christians. Easter was kept a long time before the Feast of the Nativity, and yet the Apostles never ordained that, as [Lib. 5. c. cap. 22.] Socrates (the most excellent of the Ancient Ecclesiastical Historians) does truly observe. Had there been the least hint of any such day observed in the primitive times, learned Vossius would have told the world of it. One [Voetius in Disput. de Nativ. Christi. p. 22.] saith of him, Si pergama dextra defendi possunt etiam hac defensa fuissent. But he acknowledges that the Feast of Christ’s Nativity was not kept in the first nor yet in the second Century. After Prelatical writers have said all they can say, Chemnitius [Contra Conc. Trial. part. 4 de Festis. p. 262.] his words will be found true. Anniversarium diem Natalis Christi celebratum fuisse, apud vetustissimos nunquam legitur. The most Ancient writers speak not the least word concerning the celebration of Christ’s Birth-day.
2. The word Christ-mass is enough to cause such as are studious of reformation to dislike what shall be known by a name so superstitious. Why should Protestants own any thing which has the name of Mass in it? How unsuitable is it to join Christ and Mass together? i.e., Christ and Antichrist. But what Communion has light with Darkness, and what concord hath Christ with Belial? 2 Cor. 6:15. some of the Jesuits [So the Rhemists.] have advised that endeavours should be used to keep up their old terms and names, such as Priest, Altar, Christ-mass, Candlemass, and the like, hoping that by means thereof in time the things would follow the Names whereby their memory is preserved.
SET SUMMARY: Greg Price shows how the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ directly condemns all man-invented holy days. It is also noted that Scripture never commands the celebration of this day and that there is no evidence that Christ and the Apostles ever celebrated this day -- in fact, this sycretism of paganism and "Babylonian" Christianity was not first celebrated until 354 A.D. (when December 25 was chosen, in accord with the Pagan feast of Saturnalia, as the day of "celebration").
Price also clearly shows that to call yourself Reformed while you hold on to this Roman Catholic/Pagan monument of idolatry makes for a serious contradiction in your testimony -- as the best Reformed churches have always disciplined those (in accord with Scriptural teaching) who broke the second and fourth commandments by keeping antichristian festival days like Christ-mass, Easter, etc.
Citations from Martin Luther, John Calvin and the company of Geneva Pastors, the Church of Scotland's First Book of Discipline, 1620 Dutch Synod, the Civil Government of Holland (1625), the British Colonies in the U.S. and the Westminster Assembly all speak with one voice against this Romish corruption.
Common objections against the classic Reformed position are also answered.
The crowning sermon of this fine series on little heard Bible truth related to removing Antichrist's holy days, removing the monuments to idolatry of the Papal Antichrist, the duty of the civil magistrate [rulers] in these matters, errors of Dispensationalism, the egalitarian American amendments to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Jonathan Edwards on Antichrist and his holy days, David Steele on separation, etc.