Billy Graham warns against celebrating Christmas in a secular way

Christians ought not to celebrate Christmas like they would a secular holiday, according to renowned evangelist Billy Graham.

(Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)A man carries a figure of Homer Simpson in front of a Christmas tree at the main square of Santiago, December 12, 2014.

In a question-and-answer column on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website, a newcomer to the United States asked the evangelist which holiday is more important between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In response to the query, Rev. Graham explained the roots of the two holidays and why they are equally important.

Graham said most Americans would probably consider Christmas more important than Thanksgiving because it "occupies more of their time and attention." Although the occasion commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, he said Americans nowadays celebrate the day by shopping for gifts and decorating for the season.

In reality, both Thanksgiving and Christmas should be treated with equal importance because both of them remind people of God's goodness. The two occasions serve as a reminder of God's provision for daily needs and His gift of salvation for mankind, Graham explains.

Moreover, Graham warns against treating Thanksgiving and Christmas as secular holidays. He urges people to use Thanksgiving period to thank God for His goodness and recommit their lives to Him. During Christmas, he encourages people to remember that God gave His son Jesus Christ as His biggest gift to mankind. With this in mind, Jesus Christ should become the center of one's life each day, Graham added.

Echoing Graham's thoughts, Christian financial ministry Crown's CEO Chuck Bentley wrote in a question-and-answer column for The Christian Post about the tragic transition of Christmas from a celebration of Christ's birth to a season of shopping and extravaganza. He answered a reader's question on how to make Christmas season less expensive.

Aside from dishing out tips on how to save dollars during Christmas season, Bentley also advised the reader to make an eternal investment. He suggested serving others to remember that Jesus Christ is the real reason why people celebrate Christmas.