Who Cares About Christmas?

December 8, 2005 — 57 Comments

I wanted to address a very interesting comment I received from two readers. Now, we really do need to look at what they’re saying. It’s very interesting, and I commend her for bringing it up, and also adding that she did not want to start an argument. That is not what this post is about. It is to bring about some good discussion about Christmas.

At first I was going to address this personally and in my own words, but I found the words of Elliot Miller . I believe that his article addresses these concerns, expressed in these comments:

Annalise
I think it is so good to hear that there are people in this ungodly world who care so deeply for God and his son. I’m glad that people are upset that some churches won’t be having services on Christmas. It says a lot about you when you care.

Have you ever done a search on Christmas? The origins? It’s very informative. And I am not trying to make anyone mad or to argue but, although it’s true that Jesus birth is important because without it he woudn’t have come here and died for us, and also that, like you said, his death is much more important, we need to think about what the bible says. Is there any evidence that Jesus celebrated his birthday? Is there any evidence that he celebrated his death? Did he ever tell his followers to celebrate his birthday? Did he tell them to memorialize his death?

What was the weather like in Bethlehem during December? Was it cold? Would the shepherds be outside with their sheep in the cold if it was cold in December in Bethlehem?

Carol
Howdy! I just happened upon your blog, the window was left open on the computer screen. Someone in my family must have found you.

I’m not sure if y’all are coming from a Christian perspective but as a Christian I find Christmas unappealing. The roots of celebrating on the 25th of December is a pagan tradition and has to do with the winter solstice. The Bible does not state the time of Christ’s birth but we can almost be sure it wasn’t that exact day. Even if it was, the Bible has no mandate for celebrating the birth of Christ, it only commands us to remember His death until he comes. I really don’t have a problem people de-Christing (is that a word?) Christmas. It’s roots are pagan, why pretend differently?

I hope I haven’t ruffled too many feathers! Please feel free not to respond, this is just my two cents, but it might be worth looking into.

I can assure you, Carol, that you haven’t ruffled my feathers, but you may ruffle some others. And yes, I am a Christian, saved by grace not by works but through faith. But I digress.

Mainly, I have never said that Christmas was the exact date of Christ’s birth. I don’t think anyone has. Annalise also stated something similar when she said “What was the weather like in Bethlehem during December? Was it cold? Would the shepherds be outside with their sheep in the cold if it was cold in December in Bethlehem?”

The fact is, Christmas is celebrated around the world, and really, if you think about it, Florida usually isn’t that cold during the Christmas season. Or Brazil. Or the Sahara Desert. But that is beside the point.

We need to take a look at some of the harder questions they asked.

Here’s what Elliot Miller says:

As a young Roman Catholic, Christmas was my favorite time of year — filled with magic and meaning. The birth of Christ played a role in this festal feeling, but so did Santa Claus and all the more temporal pleasures of the season. As I grew older, I not only lost faith in Santa Claus but in Christ as well. The residual sentiment I retained for Christmas was hard to justify.

After I became a born-again Christian, I welcomed the opportunity not only to recapture the spirit of the season, but also truly to appreciate, for the first time, its spiritual significance. I did enjoy a couple of meaningful Christmases. Then I started witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses [Please note, I am not calling Annalise a Jehovah's Witness].

Time and again the Witnesses would cite the Trinity and Christmas as clear proof that “Christendom” had lapsed into paganism. The Trinity I could answer for biblically, but Christmas was harder to defend. It was certainly not a holy day instituted in the Bible. And pre-Christian, pagan Rome had indeed observed the Day of the Invincible Sun on December 25. In fact, in many ancient cultures, customs and festivities later associated with Christmas (e.g., Yule logs, mistletoe, and even the giving of gifts) were observed in honor of the sun god’s resurgence at the winter solstice.

I never totally abandoned Christmas — it’s not easy for a Christian to reject a holiday that celebrates the birth of his Lord. But the pagan connections troubled me, and my observance of the day became halfhearted.

Eventually, however, I came to the conclusion that just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them (those that are not inherently immoral or idolatrous). The critical issue is: What significance do we currently attach to previously pagan practices? (See 1 Cor. 8:4–7; 10:25–31.)

Since Christmas is not legislated in the Bible, it should not be considered essential to Christian practice. Christians do not need to defend it to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cultists with the same zeal with which they would defend the doctrines of the Trinity or eternal punishment. In fact, it would even be acceptable if a sincere Christian told a Jehovah’s Witness, “If you don’t want to observe Christmas, that’s fine. I myself do not observe it.” But that same Christian would have no business judging those Christians who do partake in the holiday.

Christmas is a good example of what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord….You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Rom. 14:5-6, 10; NIV).

I am not saying Annalise or Carol is judging anyone in any way, but want to point out an interesting fact: it is not neccesary to observe Christmas. But, as Elliot Miller stated, “I came to the conclusion that just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them.” It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas either.

I look at the present, and not at the past. I don’t usually live in the past. What bothers me is when today we see people attempting to make Christmas what it was in ancient times: pagan.

Now, of course, this is to be expected of our society, which is plagued with obvious inherent sin.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I really don’t care one way or the other.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a 22-year-old writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

57 responses to Who Cares About Christmas?

  1. Hmm. Interesting thoughts! I never thought about it that way before. :) For us, Christmas has never been about Santa Clause or getting cool new ‘stuff’- we’ve always celebrated the birth of Christ on that day. I love Christmas time! :D I always will; it’s what I’ve grown up with, and I don’t really see any need to change the tradition. :) (just my thoughts and opinions!)

  2. Glad to hear that Lindsey! I still celebrate Christmas (as I’m sure you well know from reading my other posts!) I just found these comments especially interesting and wanted to address them. It’s wonderful to set aside a day to celebrate a great day for Christians: the day Christ was born. If he wasn’t born, he would’ve never died!

  3. I care about Christmas!! Hey, I think that sometime I’m going to do a post on the origins of Santa Clause. Just to show that it has nothing to do with anything about Christ’s birth and it is a silly little hobby horse for little children(I have a story to tell about that!!) and causes all non-believers to get roused up on what Christmas really is! I still don’t get this politically correct thing though.

  4. Thanks for being open minded.

    Now about cults……

  5. “Now about cults…”

    Care to expound? :D

  6. In response to Elliot Miller, he said: The critical issue is: What significance do we currently attach to previously pagan practices? (See 1 Cor. 8:4–7; 10:25–31.)

    1 Cor 10:25-31, in reference to verse 27 and 28, 27 says “making no inquiry on account of your conscience.” So, don’t ask and just eat. But verse 28 is different, “But if anyone should say to you: “This is something offered in sacrifice,” do not eat on account of conscience.” So let’s say that someone offered you a gift of an antique necklace. You take it, but you don’t realize that at one time in its history it was used as a demonic tool. Since you don’t know, you aren’t at fault. However, verse 28 shows that if the person that gave you the gift told you that it was demonic, then you would not accept it and would want to have nothing to do with it. I realize this seems extreme, but it really isn’t much different that Christmas. Pagan means false worship to false gods, which are Satans means to get us off track. By celebrating something with pagan origin, knowingly, we are in effect, worshipping Satan. Not exactly on purpose, but in a round about way. Not to mention Santa Clause, who is make believe and magic. Now he has nothing to do with Jesus’ birthday and nothing to do with God, so where does he get his magic?

    It’s a nice idea to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, but if it has anything to do with demons, or false gods or dumbing down Jesus with Santa Clause, then why do it? Because it is instilled in us and we like it too much to give it up. We enjoy the spirit of Christmas too much. We do a lot of things in the name of God so we don’t have to feel bad about it. Some people think it’s ok to have gay sex because Jesus was love and he would be ok with two men or two women loving each other like that. We can’t keep doing what we want and decieving ourselves into believing that it’s ok just so we can keep doing it. At some point we have to stand up for righteousness.

  7. There are other things to consider about Christmas. Elliot Miller said above that “just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them.”

    But we should ask ourselves whether or not all of the pagan beliefs and practices have really been taken out. Do people still practice pagan superstitions associated with things like Mistletoe?

    Would a Christian event promote worldly things like greed and revelry? Is it proper to celebrate Jesus, who spoke nothing but truth, by telling kids about a magical Santa Claus bringing them presents?

    Even if we don’t personally do any of these things, can we really say Christmas is seperate from the world, considering how closely these things are connected with it?

    It’s not good to judge others on this and I try not to. But we should keep in mind that following Jesus’ example would be the tough choice, not the easy one, forcing us to sacrifice things we may enjoy and even hold dear.

    TJ

  8. My husband and I discussed this very same issue. We can make everyday about JEsus! We can take back December 25 (as well as everyday) and celebrate JESUS! What a gift Jesus is! All the debating just clouds that. We choose to leave out those symbols that may dishonor Jesus. As for me and my house we are going to serve the LORD! all year every day… Have a great day
    Tammy

  9. Very nicely put, TJ.

    Cults…well, what is a cult?

  10. Hi Tammy,

    It’s great to “make everyday about Jesus” and be grateful towards him daily. But this begs the question, why then would you need a particular day to do this?

    Can you really ‘take back’ December 25, when it wasn’t a Christian holiday to begin with? Check the history on the holiday and you’ll find that it has always been more about revelry and excess than it has ever been about Christ. In fact, sincere Christians in the past, like the puritans, actually outlawed Christmas because of this inherent badness.

    I’m not trying to argue with you, but rather present another side of this issue. Has Christmas as a whole, with “Christ” in its name, been a tribute to Jesus or has it been more of a dishonor? Do we celebrate it because it is in line with the Bible’s standards or because it’s something we are fond of and its a good time for family to get together?

    TJ

  11. Now I may be wrong, but I thought that the celebration of the Day of the Invicible Sun was instuted after Christians had decided to celebrate Christ’s birth on the 25th of December. I also thought that the early church had chosen December 25th because they belived that Christ was concieved on March 25th and 9 months later was in December. Could anyone tell me if I’m right?

  12. I agree with Tim when he said that “people are trying to make Christmas what is was: Paigen.”
    But I would like to add something on to the fact that Christmas was paigen: Since it was paigen I think it is entirely appropriate to celebrate Cristmas; to celebrate it because it is no longer a paigen holyday. It paints a picture of the triumph over those paigen traitions.

  13. Actually World magazine just did an article on the origins of Christmas. You can read it here:
    http://www.worldmag.com/displayarticle.cfm?id=11344
    By the way, World Magazine is a Christian news magazine that tries to give world news with a biblical perspective.

  14. Okay, I’ve been googling for “the origins of Christmas”. I haven’t finished, but the first page is all full of people saying how it had pagan origins but not alot of referring to historical documents – just blanket statements (I couldn’t go through them all – this was my quick summary). On the second page I found a Wikipedia article (Wikipedia is a site kept up by people all over the world. They try to keep things accurate.). Through the links on that, I found other articles all basically saying there were lots of theories and little facts. I’m still looking this up.

  15. Tim? If I may…

    One thing I think most of the commenters missed, was that Christmas is not essential to the Christian faith. Whereas Jesus’ death and Resurrection are. It is not something mandated in the Bible, so it’s not essential. So we have to make sure we’re talking about the same thing.

    Next, commenter TJ said,

    “Would a Christian event promote worldly things like greed and revelry? Is it proper to celebrate Jesus, who spoke nothing but truth, by telling kids about a magical Santa Claus bringing them presents?”

    Absolutely not! And if I understood correctly, that is exactly Tim’s point. Christmas was not originally designed or intended for that. I know you said,

    “In fact, sincere Christians in the past, like the puritans, actually outlawed Christmas because of this inherent badness.”

    However you cannot base your decisions from today, based off of what Puritans did many years ago. Sincere though they may be, that doesn’t mean they never made mistakes. It’s been said, “If a million people say a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing.” There is a balance, and I’m not saying that we should never listen to historical precedent. But what the Puritans did cannot be our sole reason for saying Christmas is bad. And as has been pointed out, Christmas does not have it’s roots in paganism. WORLD Magazine did an awesome article on it. I don’t have time to do all that research, but read that article. It’s packed with solid evidence and sound logic.

    Anyway, thanks Tim, for bringing up the discussion, and keep up the good work.

    Your fellow servant,

    Marshall
    >

  16. Hi Kirk,

    Thanks for the link. As far as I can tell, the only source listed for that theory is a single historian. While I wouldn’t discount his statements without further investigation, the far majority of historians certainly disagree with him.

    He said, “Christianity swallowed up that season of depression with the opposite message of joy.” If you look into it further, you should find that the winter festival has always been a time for extreme revelry, Christmas really made no significant change as to the people’s “joy.”

    At one point church officials had actually said that Christmas was a time for the people to get their sins out of them, kind of like Mardi Gras, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing. They declared this only because they coldn’t stop the people from the revelry. So to avoid showing weakness, they ‘authorized’ it.

    If you have the History Channel, I recommend you watch a program called “Christmas Unwrapped,” which they run every year arond this time. That goes into the background of some of these things pretty well.

    TJ

  17. Hi Marshall,

    You said, “Christmas was not originally designed or intended for [revelry and greed],” yet I contend that that has always been a big part of it. Why are you so quick to accept what one historian says is true in the face of the majority of historians? Is it based on sound research you have done on the subject or because you want it to be true?

    Please don’t take this as an attack, it isn’t meant as one.

    Even if you believe that Christmas was originally a totally Christian event, with no paganism at all, isn’t it still true that it now promotes greed and revelry?

    I posed the question earlier, “even if we don’t personally do any of these things, can we really say Christmas is seperate from the world, considering how closely these things are connected with it?”

    As I am sure you agree, as Christians, we are to be no part of the world. And like you said, “Christmas is not essential to the Christian faith;” so why is it held onto so dearly despite its flagrant worldliness?

    TJ

  18. TJ,
    A few questions….

    Do you object to my statement, “It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas either?”

    You said, “Is it proper to celebrate Jesus, who spoke nothing but truth, by telling kids about a magical Santa Claus bringing them presents?” Are you against any and all fiction?

    You also stated, “isn’t it still true that it [Christmas] now promotes greed and revelry?”

    Well, I’d encourage you to my other writings on Christmas. I’m working to change that. I really believe it is possible. People do take things too far. But the true reason for the season is to give gifts to symbolize the greatest gift of all. There is nothing wrong with it unless you take it to extremes or sin in the process.

  19. Hi Tim,

    Do you object to my statement, “It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas either?”

    You had quoted Elliot Miller as a premise to that conclusion, where he said, “just as pagans and pagan temples can be converted and sanctified to Christian service, so too can pagan holidays and even some of the traditions associated with them.”

    Personally, I object to that statement as it pertains to Christmas. I don’t think all of the pagan traditions and behavior have been ‘converted’ to Christianity, things like the superstition associated with Mistletoe and the festive revelry.

    My general qestions were meant to get people thinking about these things, so as to follow the advise fond at 2 Cor. 13:5, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”

    You said, “Is it proper to celebrate Jesus, who spoke nothing but truth, by telling kids about a magical Santa Claus bringing them presents?” Are you against any and all fiction?

    Fiction is fine when it is acknowledged as fiction and it is does not damage anyone’s relationship with God. But don’t parents usually try to make Santa as real to their children as they make God? Do you think that is wise? Would Jesus have done this? These are things I’m asking people to consider.

    I’m working to change that. I really believe it is possible. People do take things too far.

    Well it’s certainly a commendable goal to try to change things to be more in line with the scriptures. But at what point are you willing to let go of Christmas if people refuse to change? If Christmas can generally be described as a worldly holiday, even though it may be dear to us, at what point are we failing to heed the words of 1 John 2:15, “do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

    I hope I answered your questions satisfactorily.

    Sincerely,
    TJ

  20. By the way, my “u” button is working properly, so I may be missing a few in my posts. :)

    TJ

  21. Sorry, I meant to say, my “u” button is not working properly. lol

    TJ

  22. Interesting fact:
    The Santa Claus portrayed most often now a days was popularized by the Coca Cola company fairly recently.

  23. Recently meaning in past century.

  24. And by the way, the historian mentioned in the World article is not the only one to propound this theory. I’m still looking this up, but I found this same theory and others like it on Wikipedia.

  25. Hi Kirk,

    That History Channel program, “Christmas Unwrapped; The History of Christmas” will be aired:
    Dec. 16 @ 6am ET
    Dec. 19 @ 11pm ET
    Dec. 20 @ 3am ET
    Dec. 22 @ 12pm ET
    Dec. 22 @ 6pm ET

    I am wondering though, where do you think Mistletoe and Yule logs came into play if there are no pagan connections; are they christian traditions?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  26. Hey TJ!

    You said, “Christmas was not originally designed or intended for [revelry and greed],” yet I contend that that has always been a big part of it.

    Well that’s great, and that would be a wonderful contention, however, you have provided no support or evidence for it.

    Why are you so quick to accept what one historian says is true in the face of the majority of historians? Is it based on sound research you have done on the subject or because you want it to be true?

    TJ, it’s not what one historian says in the face of a majority of them. Re-read the article. It’s backed by many historians, as Kirk pointed out. And yes, it is based on sound research that has been done, although, I also want it to be true. I don’t see how those two things (sound research, and my desire for it to be true) are mutually exclusive. Just because I want it to be true doesn’t mean that no sound research has been done.

    Please don’t take this as an attack, it isn’t meant as one.

    not taken as such ;)

    Even if you believe that Christmas was originally a totally Christian event, with no paganism at all, isn’t it still true that it now promotes greed and revelry?

    To some extent yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

    I posed the question earlier, “even if we don’t personally do any of these things, can we really say Christmas is seperate from the world, considering how closely these things are connected with it?”

    Christmas is no longer seperate from the world…

    As I am sure you agree, as Christians, we are to be no part of the world.

    Unfortunately, I’m going to disagree with you there. We are to be IN the world but not OF the world. If you live IN the world, your are going to be some part of the world. You have to look at that scripture in context, or in light of what is meant. That scripture is telling us not to do things the world does. Now I think we need to see something, for everything God makes or does, Satan has a counterfeit. Satan will attack all that he can. Christmas, as has been proven with sound research and good evidence, was not a pagan holiday. BUT, has been attacked by Satan, most of the time using the tool of the flesh, to mean something else. Just because the world has infiltrated the holiday, doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and say “darn it!”. I think that’s what Tim’s point is, we need to take back Christmas.

    And like you said, “Christmas is not essential to the Christian faith;” so why is it held onto so dearly despite its flagrant worldliness?

    Again, that’s the point. It’s been turned into something that is worldly. We need to change that.

    Listen, I think there are two sides here. You are talking about that fact that Christmas is a pagan holiday. We are saying, “Yes. Christmas has become a pagan holiday. We need to change that.” You are stating the facts, we are saying that those facts need to change, and we all have the power to change them.

    Just my thoughts Tim.

  27. Hi Marshall,

    Thanks for your response. I have some comments.

    Well that’s great, and that would be a wonderful contention, however, you have provided no support or evidence for it.

    I have given some already, but it shouldn’t be difficult to find if you are investigating the matter. Do you see greed and revelry in Christmas today? For the historical account, see “Christmas Unwrapped; The History of Christmas” on the History Channel. It may be surprising.

    TJ, it’s not what one historian says in the face of a majority of them. Re-read the article. It’s backed by many historians

    I guess I’m missing it. The only person arguing that Christmas does not have pagan roots in that article is William J. Tighe, that I can see. Furthermore he says the Easter has no pagan ties, yet it is actually named after a pagan god of fertility, Eastre! But that is another discussion.

    not taken as such ;)

    And I do appreciate everyone’s patience!

    We are to be IN the world but not OF the world.

    That is how I meant it, ‘Christians are to be no part OF the world.’ My point is that if Christmas is a worldly event, 1 John 2:15 should be something to consider, “do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

    Christmas, as has been proven with sound research and good evidence, was not a pagan holiday.

    In the original post above, it seems to have been conceded that Christmas had pagan beginnings, right? That is why my focus was not been on proving that it was pagan to begin with.

    Quite honestly, I find it astounding that anyone would argue that Christmas has no pagan ties whatsoever. Right now, I don’t think there’s nearly enough evidence to ‘prove’ that paganism was not originally tied to Christmas, despite all the evidence that it was a BIG part.

    It’s been turned into something that is worldly. We need to change that…You are talking about that fact that Christmas is a pagan holiday. We are saying, “Yes. Christmas has become a pagan holiday. We need to change that.”

    And like I told Tim, that’s a commendable goal. For argument’s sake, though, let’s imagine that Christmas is a person. Right now, he is a pagan and you are trying to convert him (back) to Christianity. What if you can’t convert him? Will you continue to keep him as company?

    “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Cor. 15:33)

    Honestly, it does not matter to me, beyond my usual concern and love for all people, who here decides to celebrate Christmas. I have no stock in this other than wanting people who have a love for the truth to steer clear of pagan-influenced events.

    Take care,
    TJ

  28. I just wrote an article about Christmas on my blog. The argument that Christmas’ roots were based on pagan festivals is false. The pagan festivals were formed AFTER Christian, as like a alternative to the Christian holiday. The World Magazine article is very good and explains Christmas’ origins very well.

  29. Some believe that Christmas does have pagan roots, others now do not. Personally, I see problems with the theory that it does not have pagan roots and I think it ignores the bulk of evidence. But this is really beside the point.

    Even more important than the roots of Christmas is how it is now celebrated. That’s what I encourage people to examine and to compare with the Bible more than where it came from.
    -Is it Christian now or not?
    -If it isn’t should we celebrate it or not?
    -Do we celebrate it because it furthers God’s purpose or because it’s something we love?
    -If it continues to be worldly or pagan, despite our best efforts to change it, should we just accept it or abandon it?

    I don’t know if there’s really anything more I can say regarding this.

    Take care,
    TJ

  30. To all,

    TJ said: And like I told Tim, that’s a commendable goal. For argument’s sake, though, let’s imagine that Christmas is a person. Right now, he is a pagan and you are trying to convert him (back) to Christianity. What if you can’t convert him? Will you continue to keep him as company?

    “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Cor. 15:33)

    I say this:

    And if we knew this person we wouldn’t want to be socializing with them, like as a buddy, or a pal. That would make them think that we were ok with what they are doing. But we could talk with them as a true friend, by helping them see the wrong and do right. We have to be extremely careful not to be influenced into doing something bad, maybe unknowingly. With the pagan things in Christmas, what if we are just slightly doing them. Say the mistletoe thing? What if we are at a relatives house who has a mistletoe up and you and a person of the opposite sex happen to be standing under it and your irritating aunt brings attention to it and says now you two have to kiss? What would you do? Would you stand up for God? For two reasons. First because it’s pagan and a luck thing and second, because should you really be kissing someone who you aren’t considering a marriage mate, and they you?

    To go along with the scripture TJ pointed out and his example, 2 Thes 3:13-15 is very good. We could try to change something, but if it were a person we would admonish the person and try to correct them , but at the same time marking them, and stop associating with them. Also, Jude 23 has a good principle. It is that we want to save people but we should do it with fear, while hating the bad they do and I think not getting caught up in their badness.

  31. I think this is a bit silly…

    Christmas comes from the Old English word for Christ’s Mass. If there were pagan roots in a late December holiday, so what? Christians in the 4th or 5th century- can’t remember- started to celebrate the birth of Christ around this time. The Roman holiday Saturnalia involved gift giving and caroling, so what? We give gifts in memory of the greatest gift, and we sing carols as the praises of our newborn King. All we need to do is celebrate the Christian aspects of the holiday and we’ll be fine.

  32. We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. That’s all I have to say! Ah, Jonathan, The Roman holiday Saturnalia was for the Roman god-Saturn, not Christ.

  33. Hi Jonathan,

    Is it the scriptural principles that you find silly? That is all Annalise and I have offered.

    TJ

  34. Jonathan said:

    Christians in the 4th or 5th century- can’t remember- started to celebrate the birth of Christ around this time.

    I say:

    The 1st century christians killed Jesus. Just because they were christians doesn’t mean that we should follow their example. Most of the christian back in the bible were very unchristian. That’s why God had to use people to straighten these ones out. The christians in Jesus’ day were mostly bad. It stands to reason that it was the same in the 4th or 5th century. And still today. Christian today think it’s ok to live a homosexual lifestyle. Christians today think it’s ok to go to war and murder people. Christian today think it’s ok to beat God into their children. They think it’s ok to have sex with people they aren’t married to. Or to mock and beat up gay people. They think it’s ok to gossip. To neglect their parents in their old age. Or to be haughty. To hurt other people who aren’t christians. These are the things that christians think are ok. Does that make them ok just because the majority of christian do them?

    Christmas is a lie. Can you honestly take out Santa Clause? Do you honestly in you heart feel like each gift you give is in honor of Jesus’ blood? Seriously, if you want to show Jesus how appreciative you are, stay away from these thing mentioned above. Don’t be mean spirited. Don’t kill people or support those that do. Don’t think that God only cares about our country during wars. Don’t get involved in politics. Don’t watch Medium and Ghost Whisperer and other spiritistic shows and movies. Don’t be happy when Iraqi people get killed. If you claim to be a christian, be one. All the way. Show love to all. Pray for your enemies. That’s how. Do we do that? Or are we happy when a “bad” person dies? Do we say they deserved it?

    This is not intended specifically at you Jonothan. I’m not saying you are doing any of these bad things. But it is what I observe by almost all who say they are christians.

  35. Now I’m pretty sure it was the pagan Romans who killed Jesus… I mean no disrespect to you, but who are you to say that most all of the Christians back then needed straightening out? Now I don’t think that most of the things you mentioned above are in line with a true Christian lifestyle, as they are against the very teachings of the Bible and the Church! Though I bet we disagree on politics and war. That’s another story. All those other things are to a varying degree prevalent in ‘Christian’ society, as in all society. We live in a messed up world. But to imply that all Christians think that way when you say “These are the things that Christians think are okay to do” is just wrong. I really don’t need to worry about taking out Santa Claus, because he never was a part of our Christmas celebration. And yes, on Christmas Eve after my whole family acts out the Christmas story from Luke 2, I give out presents to my little cousins and watch them smile when they open it up. That is a reflection of the love and joy of Christ. I’m not for the overly materialistic view of Christmas, but to do away with Christmas entirely? No, we just need to remember Our Savior who came as a baby. And this Christmas, I will remember you in my prayers.

  36. Kaitlin,

    Yes, I know. :) That’s the holiday that Christmas supposedly took some practices from. That’s why we now have Christ-mas, to honor Christ.

    TJ,

    Don’t try it with me. The Scripture you’ve offered doesn’t disagree with me and I don’t disagree with it. You argue that Christmas is pagan. Let’s see what’s pagan about the Christmas I know. I sing Silent Night: Christ is born in a manger. Joy to the World: Christ has come, Christ is King. Adeste Fideles: Come faithful, let us worship Him. Anything pagan yet? I give gifts. God gave us His Son. The Magi gave their gifts. I read the story of Christ’s birth while my family acts out the parts. So we have a tree. Do we acknowledge any connection to ancient pagan practices? No. It’s a fir tree, big whoop. An angel sits on top of it. There were pagan religions, Christianity squashed them for the most part. There might be a revival of some pagan religions, well that’s they’re business and we’ll pray for them. But a millenium has passed and we’re celebrating Christ. Period.

  37. Hi Jonathan,

    Is that the Christmas spirit you’re displaying now?

    TJ

  38. I guess I feel that from many people I have talked to on a day to day basis, not about religion, they are hypocritical, unloving, minorly violent, are ok with sex outside of marriage, are ok with abortion, are gossipers, and yes this is the majority of them. Of course, they aren’t true christians, but they think they are and I could never make them believe different.

    Jonathan, you said:

    Though I bet we disagree on politics and war. That’s another story. All those other things are to a varying degree prevalent in ‘Christian’ society, as in all society.

    Says who? God? All we are supposed to do politically is pay caesars things to caeser. So basically follow the rules unless they go against God’s word. Murder goes against God’s word. I know you couldn’t possibly disagree with that. In the new testament Jesus had a chance to be a king on earth. He chose not to. He stayed nuetral. He didn’t get involved. Why should we be any different?

    Jesus very own hand picked apostle betrayed Jesus. Jesus own apostles ran away the night he was arrested. Jesus was sent to earth in the 1st century , to who, perfect christians? Paul was sent to help who, perfect christians?

    I’m glad, Jonathan, that you care so much about Jesus that you put on a play to pay respect to baby Jesus. He didn’t even receive the Holy Spirit until he was baptized. Maybe we should be honoring his baptism day. What? No? You don’t think it’s important? Well, surely it’s more important to honor the day he baptized himself to God? Why not figure out what day that was and celebrate it. It’s much more important that the day he was born, don’t you think? How about we make up a day when he might have been baptized and celebrate it. I know the bible isn’t against it, so let’s do it. How about we make it the day of holloween? That way we can try to make a demonic day into a godly day. Oh wait.

  39. TJ,

    You would have to be specific for me to answer that question.

    Annalise,
    This is another topic, but we have a duty to vote people who would represent our values. There’s nothing in the Bible against that. Jesus was not into politics because that wasn’t His mission. His mission was to get people to heaven.

    Again, no disrespect towards you, but I don’t think you’re a perfect Christian. We are supposed to edify the other members of the body of Christ. That’s why we’re a body. We help each other out.

    As for the baptism of Jesus, it wasn’t the same baptism we receive. John’s baptism wasn’t the same as the apostle’s baptism (see Acts). Jesus is God and always had His divinity. And I’m glad you mentioned His baptism, which we celebrate on January 9, by the way. His birth is extremely important because it was His coming into this world, taking on the flesh, so that He could redeem us with His sacrifice.

  40. Hi, I read with much interest the entire comments with regards to Christmas and its association with pagan rituals/conenctions. I realise that its probably in connection with the holiday season that this topic was first conceived. But if I might jest, if we need to divide the “holy” and the “pagan” all the time then wouldn’t it be consistent to be asking questions like, “The Egyptians discovered the use of writng tools, we are using them, are we using things of pagan ancestory?” and the whole lists goes on. So the point is that because soemthing is related to the “world” at large, we are to avoid it? Food for thought.

  41. Agent Tim,
    I find it interesting that you have a discussion about Christmas on your blog. Until very recently, I thought my family was the only family to even consider not practicing this holiday. I also thought we were the only ones to start homeschooling,etc, so I have been wrong before. :)
    It is good to have it discussed, if as Christians we seek the truth.
    When I was about 13, my parents decided not to have a christmas tree in the home anymore. (or a tv or any of the music my friends at school listened to, etc.)A lot changed at that time in my life. I had to obey my parents, since I, uh, lived with them and they took more and more christmas away each year. I hated that, and though they explained to me why, I didn’t understand it until the Lord started to work on my HEART. By the time I was 16, we did not celebrate “christmas” in any form for the most part, and I was in full agreement with my family as to why. I had once said that it was no big deal to celebrate it or not. The Lord impressed upon my heart that if it was not such a big deal, than why couldn’t I give it up for one year for him? Than I knew that if there was something I could not give to the Lord, I was putting it before God, and that was an Idol. To me.

    Ever since that time, it is as though I have been “liberated” from the meaningless (to me) celebration of the “traditions of the seasons”, the smells and the songs, and the culture we were brought up in.
    Yes, I enjoy not celebrating it and all the stress associated with the times. But when you are not “into” christmas, the holiday season seems soooo long. I am also in sales, and sales go down in my field this time of year so it is really a bummer time. :)
    Anyway, my point is that, I gave it up, big deal, but there are reasons for it.

    Biblically, read Jeremiah
    10:1-5. Or the whole chapter for that matter. In verse 5 When it says “they (an idol, evergreen tree, whatever) can do no harm”, It can do no harm on it’s own, but it can wreek havoc in our lives if we let it. Just like with any sin.

    Historically, yes, it was brought in on the 25th of december( jesus was born about the end of september) because that is when the celts celebrated the winter solstice and the romans, the sun god holiday. It was brought in around A.D. 360 by Constantine when he founded the roman Catholic Church, or “Christianity” as the world would have it. (The early church did not celebrate christ’s birth, but the only “holy day” given to us by the Lord, which is communion.) The Catholic Church historically allows other religious practices to be used in conjunction with catholocism in order not to offend people or make them change. But christianity is all about change and LEAVING, not integrating, the pagan ways.

    Look up our American History. That is right, our FOUNDING FATHERS did not celebrate christmas! I could not beleive that when I read it. I was so suprised it was not a better-known fact. It was not celebrated widely here, at least not by the christian population, until the
    1850′s when an illinois paster told his congregation it was know ok. I the early colonies, especially plymouth, there was a punishment for cutting down a tree and in early america, business did not take time off for Christmas, and if an employee was absent on december 25, he could be fined or fired.

    Interesting perspective. I wonder why so many did not celebrate it? They had to have some kind of conviction, and although I don’t celebrate it either, I don’t know which reason convicted the ancients not to do so.

    I understand the arguments TO celebrate christmas….I of ANYONE wanted to hold on to it and really did my homework on the origins, as you can see. If you want to know how we can mathematically figure out through scripture when Jesus was born, I can dig that up for everyone. I don’t think it is all that important, but it is very fun to figure out!
    Thanks for the great discussion.

  42. A great discussion indeed. Now for a verse for us all to keep in mind as we continue:

    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

    9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

  43. Hey Jonathan,

    You said:
    Jesus was not into politics because that wasn’t His mission. His mission was to get people to heaven.

    I say: Isn’t it our mission to get people to heaven as well? I thought so. To teach people about God’s kingdom. Being no part of the world could involve not being politically involved. You are swayed by worldy society to think it’s our responsibilty to vote and get involved. It takes away from our servive to God. The president thinks that if he throws the word god out there in his speeches every once in a while, he is a christian. Notice I didn’t capitalize the word god in that sentence. That was intentional. People worship false gods.

    Also you said:
    And I’m glad you mentioned His baptism, which we celebrate on January 9, by the way.

    I say:
    Seriously, I’ve never heard of a day when Jesus was baptized. I guess it really wouldn’t be too hard to figure out if he died around March/April.

    Me, a perfect christian? I wish. Someday. I hope.

  44. Dear Katrina,Just a question.

    You said: “Ever since that time, it is as though I have been “liberated” from the meaningless (to me) celebration of the “traditions of the seasons””

    Do we celebrate our birthdays? Meanless traditions? Pagan traditions?

  45. Hi Tim,

    You bring up Romans 14:5-10. First, let me clarify, I am not judging anyone here, rather I am pointing out scriptural things to consider, so there’s no reason for anyone to get defensive (not that you are). If anyone doesn’t agree, then that’s fine. :)

    Anyways, at first glance it may look like those verses are allowing a celebration of Christmas, possibly even encouraging it. But let’s look at the context Paul was writing in.

    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

    Paul was writing concerning Jewish converts to Christianity “whose faith is weak”. (Rom. 14:1) These ones evidently were having trouble accepting their new-found freedom from Moses’ Law covenant. The Law had commanded them to abstain from eating certain foods and to observe “one day [as] more sacred than another”. (Rom. 14:5)

    For those who had strong faith, their conscience allowed them freedom from that Law. (Gal. 4:4,5) They could “eat everything” and ‘consider every day alike’. (Rom. 14:2,5) Neither one, the one strong in faith nor the one weak in faith, should judge the other.

    Obviously, Paul wanted those ‘weak in faith’ to grow stronger spiritually so that they could put away these unnecessary constraints. He wrote the Galatians who were showing great weakness of faith saying, “now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” (Gal. 4:9-11)

    So certainly it was nothing to be proud of if you were still observing the “special days” of the Law covenant. There was nothing ‘bad’ about it either, since these “special days” were originally instituted by God, but it showed spiritual weakness to continue on observing them after having been set free from them.

    Now let’s take a look at Christmas. It’s certainly not something we are commanded to observe by Scripture, nor is it even recommended or mentioned (as an annual observance) for that matter. Why didn’t the Christians of the first few centuries celebrate it? Surely they didn’t want to enslave themselves to observe “special days” anymore. Does anyone here, after honest self-examination, feel enslaved to Christmas? Would you be given a hard time by others if you chose to skip it one year?

    Several ones here have advocated the argument that Christmas was purely a Christian invention, with no pagan ties whatsoever. It was quite convenient then that Christmas first started to be celebrated around the fourth century, when Christianity was made the official state religion of the Roman Empire. All at once, thousands and thousands of pagans ‘converted’ to Christianity.

    Would anyone seriously argue that all of these pagans suddenly became full-fledged Christians? Surely they retained many of their former practices and beliefs. The time of the winter solstice, in particular the date of December 25, had always had religious significance to the pagans. That was always a festive time of year for them, the ‘rebirth of the sun’. By ‘coincidence’ this date was then chosen as the date of birth for Jesus. Might there just be the slightest possibility that the now political church was trying to make the pagan festival ‘Christian’, rather than trying to convince each and every pagan-’convert’ not to observe their pagan “special days”?

    Like I’ve said though, the more important thing to consider is how Christmas is practiced today. It’s not something that we are commanded to observe, it is widely recognized as a dominantly worldly holiday, and it promotes bad desires and behavior. These things are so pervasive, even the straightest of arrows would have a hard time not getting involved in this ugly side of Christmas.

    Though we have freedom as Christians, this does not mean we can take part in anything we want to. “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?….Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Cor. 6:14-17)

    Everyone should test themselves as to why they celebrate Christmas, considering the above. Is it because they truly believe it is something Jesus would approve of today and encourage or because it would be more difficult not to celebrate it, ‘so we might as well try our best to make it as Christian as possible’.

    Sincerely,
    TJ

  46. Hi Katrina,

    Concerning the early Christmass-less American era, you said:

    Interesting perspective. I wonder why so many did not celebrate it? They had to have some kind of conviction, and although I don’t celebrate it either, I don’t know which reason convicted the ancients not to do so.

    America was still heavily influenced by its Puritan background. When the Puritans (like the Pilgrims) came here, they were escaping a British society that they considered to be excessively worldly. The Christmas season in England was pure revelry; there was nothing Christian about it.

    So the Puritans made Christmas illegal. Protestants, for the most part, followed the spirit of this precedent well into the 19th century. Around this time, however, the Catholic churches in America were holding special Christmas services, and the Protestant laity started attending. So eventually the Protestant churches began embracing Christmas to stop their flock from going to Catholic churches! America’s commercial industry then picked up on the holiday and made it bigger and bigger (for profit’s sake) until we have the Christmas of today.

    “Christmas Unwrapped; The History of Christmas” on the History Channel covers all of this. I posted the times it will air above; I think you’d really enjoy it!

    TJ

  47. Annalise,

    Our mission as Christians is not merely to get people to heaven; but to apply the Christian worldview to all walks of life. Working in the government is in no way inferior in God’s eyes to working as a pastor, and both can be done to the glory of God.

  48. Gabriel,

    It would be nice if we could be in politics and not get involved in lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving, murdering, embezzelling, planting false evidence, terrorizing prisoners, making other countries look bad, and all the many other things that are what make politics politics. It would be nice.

  49. Though government is a bit off-topic, I’ll throw my 2 cents in. Jesus came preaching “the good news of the kingdom”. So the kingdom was a main feature of his ministry.

    When well meaning people tried to “make [Jesus] king by force, [he] withdrew again to a mountain by himself”. (John 6:15) Why did he do this? Jesus himself answers, “My kingdom is not of this world….my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36) That place is heaven.

    Daniel 2:44 describes what this kingdom of the heavens is set to do to all earthly governments. “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

    So why would this kingdom destroy all earthly governments? For the same reason Jesus refused to get involved with them. They are all under the direct control of Satan the Devil. Jesus decribed Satan as “the prince of this world”. (John 14:30) He is further called “the god of this age” (or world). (2 Cor. 4:4) And remember, when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, he offered him “all the kingdoms of the world”; could that have really have been a temptation if he didn’t possess them? (Mat. 4:8,9)

    This is not to say that everyone in government is evil, many may have good intentions. But as “ambassadors” of Christ and his kingdom, Christians should stay away from becoming a part of these governments that are prophecied to be ‘crushed and brought to an end’. (2 Cor. 5:20) Do ambassadors from foreign countries who come to live here take up posts in our government? No, they don’t.

    Early Christians are known to have refused involving themselves in the earthly governments and politics of their day. We should follow that example.

    TJ

  50. “It was brought in around A.D. 360 by Constantine when he founded the roman Catholic Church, or “Christianity” as the world would have it … But christianity is all about change and LEAVING, not integrating, the pagan ways.”

    Well, someone dropped the Catholic bomb, so here goes.
    Constantine did not invent the Catholic Church… When Constantine ALLOWED Christianity to be practiced without persecution, the Christian bishops that were around could trace back their predecessors to the earliest times of the Church. These people were already around, and the writings of St. Irenaeus, St. Polycarp, St. Clement, Origen, and Tertullian can be found dating from pre-Nicaea. It was not until the end of the 4th century under Emperor Theodosius that Christianity (yes, Christianity in a hierarchal form with the Bishop of Rome having prominence) was made the state religion. In bringing other people into Christianity, the Church does allow things which aren’t evil in themselves (Pierre’s excellent analogy works here) that are part of the people’s culture into the practices of Christianity. The fact is that a tree is not intrinsically evil. I would have a problem with having a tree that has been used in some pagan celebration in my house. (Consider the food in the O.T. Food sacrificed to idols was definitely off limits, but was the food in itself bad? No.)

    Annalise, yes, I know of many special days that celebrate Christ. We like to take every chance we get to celebrate Him in a special way. It’s not about a certain day. Remember that enumeration of days and the like is an invention of man. Calendar reforms, multiple calendars, and daylight savings time and the show how time can be relative.

    I’m sure the early Christians did not get involved in politics because they probably would have been killed if they had used Christianity as a ‘platform’.

  51. Hey everyone,

    I just discovered that most of you here are in your mid-teens. Don’t laugh, I came in on a search engine. :) I just turned 23, so I’m not thaaaat much older.

    It’s surprising because I’ve had this same discussion with much older persons, and they haven’t been nearly as able to discuss these issues as thoroughly as we have here!

    So I’d just like to tell you all how impressed I am with your thinking abilities. I guess it’s that homeschooling, huh?

    TJ

  52. hey there tim!well i would just like to say i loved this article. i think this whole christmas thing is really getting to alot of people.. i wrote about it a while ago on my blog and got a couple comments about the issue i was talking about. you should check it out. well Merry Chrismas and God Bless!!!

  53. Christmas is not a pagan holiday taken over by Christians – please see:

    The Christians didn’t borrow from a pagan festival. Rather, it was the other way around–the pagans imitated the Christians. Further, the ancient Roman cults didn’t even have a winter solstice festival!
    Here’s how it happened: (1) there was an ancient Jewish belief that the great prophets were to have an “integral age” (where you die on the same day as either your birth or your conception); (2) there arose a consensus that Christ was conceived on March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel appeared to Mary); (3) therefore, it was figured that Christ was born 9 months later on December 25.
    Thus, December 25th as the date of the Christ’s birth appears to owe nothing whatsoever to pagan influences upon the practice of the Church during or after Constantine’s time. It is wholly unlikely to have been the actual date of Christ’s birth, but it arose entirely from the efforts of early Latin Christians to determine the historical date of Christ’s death.

    And the pagan feast which the Emperor Aurelian instituted on that date in the year 274 was not only an effort to use the winter solstice to make a political statement, but also almost certainly an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Christians.
    For more info see – http://cranach.worldmagblog.com/cranach/archives/2005/12/why_december_25.html

  54. Well that’s interesting. Hadn’t heard of that before.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Agent Tim Online » Blog Archive » Your Checklist: Vote or Buy - December 13, 2005

    [...] With the extremely interesting interesting discussion going on in the Christmas post, I’ve been busy keeping up with that and working on some not so top-secret projects. I wanted to let you know of a couple of things that you needed to do today. [...]

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