“To Decorate or Not?” (Is it even a reasonable question?)

As most know, I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided. The question had to do with decorating for Christmas and while it has passed, I thought it important enough to at least get folks thinking about what constitutes a church.  Is it a building?  Or the people?  Thank you for reading and God bless you. 

Question:

Santa Clause and Christmas trees are displayed on the altar in our Baptist church during the Christmas season and pageant!!!  Are they desecrating the altar and sanctuary?

Response:

Thank you for writing to us.  Christmas decorations are just that, decorations.  If you are not bowing down to them, or worshiping them, or they aren’t being praised as God, then they are not desecrating anything.

It is important to remember that a church is nothing more than a building made up of bricks and mortar and concrete.  There is nothing special about the building and church can be had ANYWHERE there is worship of Christ and His word is studied and or preached.  For example, if the church burned down and your fellowship decided to meet in a different location, would it be LESS of a church then?  The answer is no.  The church is the Body of Believers who celebrate Christ, not the building itself.  Yes, the building should be respected and taken care of, but these are not false idols being treated as gods, merely items on display for your and others enjoyment.

What your church was doing was celebrating the holidays with familiar things that others recognize as having to do with Christmas, but no, there is no desecration going on in the church.  If it bothers you to see these items displayed then you should perhaps discuss it with your pastor in private, but my guess (as a fellow pastor) would be he would tell you the same thing.   God bless you.  – Rev TJ

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