Health & Spirit

Do you have to believe in God or in Jesus to enjoy Christmas?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Some of my friends laugh at me, because I thoroughly enjoy celebrating Christmas -- although I'm an atheist. But why shouldn't I? You don't have to believe in God or in Jesus to enjoy Christmas. -- T.B.

A: You're right, up to a point; most people do enjoy Christmas -- the gift-giving, the decorations, the family get-togethers, etc. Many, however, give little thought to the real reason we celebrate Christmas -- or if they do, they (like you) dismiss it from their minds. It's somewhat like going to a birthday party and ignoring the person who's having the birthday!

You see, if Jesus had never been born, we wouldn't be celebrating Christmas. But Jesus was born -- and that makes all the difference, because He was different from anyone else who would ever be born. He was different first of all because of who He was: God in human flesh. As the angel declared to his mother Mary, "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32).

But Jesus was unique also because of what He did: He gave His life for our salvation. We are separated from God, and no matter how hard we try, we can't erase the barrier of sin that separates us from God. But Jesus came into the world to tear down that barrier, and He did this by taking upon Himself the judgment we deserve.

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What I've just written probably caused you to smile and dismiss it from your mind. But I pray you won't, but will look honestly at Jesus Christ as you never have before. When you do, you'll not only realize that God exists, but He loves you and wants you to become part of His family forever. Then you'll truly have a reason to celebrate Christmas!


(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:



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