Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. What Are Three More Sins?

Christmas has always been a time for festivities — a time to indulge in all the food you can possibly eat and relax with your loved ones, sitting around an open fire, and sipping a warm cup of hot-chocolate with tiny marshmallows floating on the top. The beloved holiday can be summed up into the little phrase, “Eat, drink, and be merry.” 

However, as a religious, Catholic person myself, I can’t help but feel like I have been lied to, or at least been a little bit misled, on how to properly celebrate Christmas. I always thought that being merry went hand in hand with devouring pounds of food and walking no more than the stairs that led from my bedroom to the kitchen. But as I started to understand my religion more thoroughly, the tightly-bound Bible that stared at me through the glass cupboard began to foster a guilt that ate away at my enjoyment every December. I suddenly felt like the words of the very religious figure that I was celebrating did not support my modern observation of Christmas at all.

Nowhere in the Bible is there reference to any form of “Christmas,” at least in the modern form of the word — thus, it is impossible to directly justify the current celebration of Christ’s birthday using the Bible. When Christ was born, “the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about… The Shepherds then returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 15-20). Though it is not mentioned specifically in the Bible, one can assume from the gathering of the Shepherds to praise Christ on the day of his birth, that it is natural to gather with family and friends and worship him on the day of Christ’s nativity. The problem lies in the fact that today, Christmas is celebrated in a rather demonstrative manner. While it is not chastised in the Scriptures to have a special occasion to praise Christ, one’s adoration is not measured in splurging on worldly pleasures — in fact, as we have seen, it is quite the opposite.

Furthermore, the Bible has forever told its readers to reject the pleasures of the flesh. The Galatians states that “those who do such things [as…] sensuality, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and things like these… will not inherit the kingdom of God,” and that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Romans also say that “if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” According to the Word of God, there is no place in his kingdom for those who give into the craving for that Pinot Noir that they have been saving in their wooden cabinet to consummate another long year of blood, sweat, and tears. These passages indicate that one must not live “according to the flesh,” which I consider to be focusing too much on serving oneself first and foremost. Unfortunately, Christmas is a prime example of this lifestyle for many people. When I ask someone what they enjoy most about Christmas, it is not the family reunions or the fact that the holiday is a perfect day to show appreciation for someone they cherish, but the gifts they will receive under the tree. In this way, Christmas, especially for younger generations, is a day to fulfill their desires — to gain, not to give. In my interpretation of the Bible, such people go against God’s words, as those who are in Christ cannot “live according to the flesh” by definition. 

In short, from my individual understanding of the Bible, there seems to be no place in God’s kingdom for those who observe the act of providing people around them with gifts. This act simply perpetuates materialistic and even selfish principles, since one often asks for something in return for their purchase. Therefore, such sensual ways of observing Christmas are unchristian, ungodly, and must be suppressed in favor of demonstrating selfless love for others and God.