Of Christmas and Paganism

Birth of Jesus Nativity Scene, Unsplash / Walter Chávez

It is that time of year again where people are busy buying presents, playing Christmas music, getting stressed, and being judged for using pagan elements.

Wait, what?

Near as I can figure it, there are three sources for accusations of Christmas having a pagan origin or incorporating those elements: atheists, sanctimonious Christians, and pagans themselves. If a pagan had accused me of using elements of their religious activities, I didn’t know it. Normally, it’s the other two groups of tinhorns.

Professing atheists frequently exhibit both ignorance and bigotry when making accusations — which is both annoying and amusing when they do so on an article they refused to read that debunks their claims. Ironic, huh?

Self-righteous Christians also show ignorance, often acting like atheists in their caustic remarks. They, too, refuse to read/watch material that has a proper historical perspective, preferring instead erroneous traditions. Then they show that they have the “right” beliefs by bashing Christians who do celebrate, violating Colossians 2:16-17 and others. Pastor Sourjowels would be pleased.

What we do not experience is scorn from people who have some historical knowledge.

There are many myths about Christmas, such as Joseph and Mary being turned away from a hotel, the Magi showing up at the time of Jesus’ birth, and others. A few minor errors that most folks don’t know about are not reasons to reject celebrating Christmas.

We also give each other gifts to celebrate the ultimate gift of God, the incarnation of God the Son, the Creator, as Jesus. Also, because the real Nicholas was a gift-giver.

Some Christians say that we shouldn’t celebrate because we’re not commanded to. So? God gave us holidays (holy days), and people have instituted holidays and observances as well. Indeed, Hanukkah was not one of the original holidays that God commanded the Jews to keep, but Jesus participated (Christians can do it as well). There are a couple of Black Cat Appreciation days. Governments set up holidays. This child has set up Question Evolution Day on 12 February. Holidays and observances happen.

The early church was arguing about when to celebrate Easter back in the 2nd century, not if it should be observed. Similarly, Christmas was celebrated in secret (because of Roman persecution) at about the same time as Easter, and has also been celebrated ever since. Naysayers don’t have church history in support of their views.

25 December for the birth of Jesus has supporters and detractors, and unfortunately some get dogmatic about it. A popular belief is that this date was established to Christianize a pagan festival. Studying the Roman calendar, Saturnalia was over by the 25th. Another candidate was Sol Invictus for sun god worship, but that was established long after Christians were celebrating Christmas.

If y’all choose to not celebrate, great. But don’t pass judgment on those of us who do. In the same way, those of us who do celebrate should not look down on those who give it a hard pass. Both groups have freedom of Christian liberty. You savvy that, pilgrim?

The article linked below covers much of what I’ve touched on in detail, and some other items as well. The history is enlightening, to say the least.

Every year I get “love letters”—can I call them that? You know, those letters blasting me with the same old claims that “Christmas was pagan.” For some reason, I’m supposed to repent of not believing the pagans when they insist that their “holiday” is the true one. I’m chastised for not giving Christmas back to the pagans and locking myself in my house from the four Advent Sundays to the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing or poking fun at people for not celebrating Christmas, the resurrection, or their own birthdays. But I think it is wise to refute these claims from time to time as a reminder that pagans usually don’t get it right. Polytheistic and pantheistic pagans—including believers in evolution, Roman and Greek mythology, ancestor worship, Wicca, etc.—attack Christianity with fervor.

I hope you’ll see fit to read the rest and learn, just click on “Was Christmas Pagan? — And Other Attacks on Christmas.” You may also be interested in “The War on Christmas — Book Review.”

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