CultureWatch

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Christmas: Of Pagan Origins?

Nov 12, 2013

Well it is getting to be that time of year again, and sadly, far too many well-meaning but confused believers want to lay a guilt trip on other believers, and trap them in a new legalism by claiming that Christmas is a demonic, pagan event which Christians should avoid like the plague.

These folks usually have little historical and biblical knowledge about such matters, but are quite happy to condemn millions of believers worldwide for actually celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. They differ little from the Judaisers that Paul had to battle 2000 years ago in putting believers who are free in Christ under new burdens and laws.

christmas 3So just what is the story here? First let me state the obvious: the pure commercialisation and secularisation of Christmas is something all Christians should be concerned about. We have taken a sacred day on the church calendar and turned it into a money-making event where greed and avarice reign supreme.

I of course am not defending that here. But the claims of pagan origins need to be looked at more carefully. Very briefly, the claim is that Constantine in the fourth century used birth celebrations of the pagan gods and created Christmas, to help pagans out a bit with the new official Christian faith.

But there is much more to this of course. It is true that we cannot state with certainty what day Jesus was actually born; December 25 may or may not be it. But as David Withun puts it, “The earliest historical source that exists which places a pagan holiday on December 25 is the proclamation by Roman Emperor Aurelian of a celebration of Sol Invictus on that day in 274 CE. The earliest Christian reference to December 25 as the birth of Christ, however, dates from 202 CE.”

And as Hank Hanegraaff states: “The real question that must be addressed is, ‘What was the church’s intent in choosing December 25 for the celebration of Christmas in the first place?’ The answer may surprise you! The early church chose this date to point to the triumph that Christ’s birth represented over the pagan traditions of the Roman Empire. In other words, the church was not endorsing a pagan ceremony but establishing a rival celebration. Today the world has all but forgotten the pagan gods of Rome. But at least a billion people on planet Earth celebrate the Christ of Christmas.”

And very early on the Christian church was eagerly devoted to the birth account of Christ, which writings like the Infancy Gospel of James and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, (both middle of the second century documents) attest. So this was not just a later creation of Roman rulers.

Moreover, God himself does not seem to mind taking a pagan custom and using it for his own purposes. Greg Koukl elaborates: “Circumcision was practiced by the Egyptians before it was practiced by the Jews. It was a cultural practice which had some religious significance. God captured the practice, gave it to Abraham, reinvested it with new meaning and it became a religious rite for Abraham to worship his creator.

“We think of circumcision as this really holy thing in the Old Testament associated with the covenant, which it was. But it wasn’t that way originally. By golly, it seems to me that if God can do such a thing – take a practice that had heathen content to it, save the practice, reinvest new information to it – then it certainly is okay for the church to do it.

“We’ve done that many times. We’ve done that in other cultures and it served to offer a springboard for us into cultures using cultural forms and reinvesting them with new meaning. If you read Don Richardson’s books Eternity in Their Hearts or Peace Child, this is what he talks about. They captured cultural forms that had one meaning and reinvested it with a new meaning, and this became a springboard to reach into these cultures with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“And we’ve done the same thing with Christmas. Now there is nothing at all wrong with that. We’re not celebrating a pagan holiday because the pagan holiday was the saturnal and we’re not worshipping the god of Saturn, or whatever the content was. We are not doing that.”

OK, so what about Santa? Hanegraaff offers a helpful summary here: “There is no doubt that Santa Claus in its present form is a fairy tale or myth. However, there really was a Santa Claus. The name ‘Santa Claus’ is an Anglicized form of the Dutch Sinter Klaas, which in turn meant ‘Saint Nicholas.’

“Nicholas was a Christian bishop in the fourth century about whom we know little for sure. He apparently attended the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and a very strong tradition suggests that he did show unusual kindness toward children. While the red-suited old man in a sled pulled by flying reindeer is a myth, the story of a children-loving old man who brought them gifts probably is not — and in many countries, that is all there is to ‘Santa Claus.’

“Telling children that Santa can see them at all times and that he knows if they have been bad or good, etc., is wrong. Parents should not tell their children the Santa Claus story as if it were literal truth. However, children under seven or eight years of age can play ‘let’s pretend’ and derive just as much fun from it as if they thought it was real. Indeed, at that age they are learning the difference between make-believe and reality.

“Much younger children will be fascinated by presents that are discovered Christmas morning under the tree that they are told are from ‘Santa,’ but they will not draw any conclusions about the reality of Santa Claus from those discoveries.”

And what about things like Christmas trees? Jeremiah 10:2-4 is often – and foolishly – cited as proving we cannot have such ‘diabolical’ things in our homes. But of course this passage was written 500 years before the birth of Christ, and has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas trees.

One of the most common ways of making idols to worship back then was to chop down a tree and carve out of it your favourite god. What in the world does that have to do with decorations at Christmas time? Nothing whatsoever of course. Pagan idolatry was what Jeremiah had in mind – not Christmas trees.

The same can be said about the giving of gifts. Whether or not gifts were given in honour of ancient gods is immaterial here. The early church saw this as a perfectly fitting way to demonstrate and illustrate the greatest gift of all: the giving of God’s son on our behalf. So our gift giving is to serve as a reminder of this great truth.

To conclude, I have no problem at all with Christians celebrating Christmas. It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Whether you have a tree or not is up to you. Whether you run with the Santa stuff for your very young children is up to you.

Certainly the Christmas period should not just be another exercise in materialism, commercialism and consumerism. Jesus is indeed the reason for the season, and we should be proud to proclaim and celebrate that fact. Let me conclude with the words of one Reformed Christian pastor. He concludes his lengthy article this way:

“So folks, lighten up, rejoice in your liberty of conscience in Christ. If you choose not to celebrate Christmas, then the Lord bless you – take advantage of having the day off and read a good book or something. But grant your brother the same liberty of conscience – and literally, for God’s sake, do not create a law where He Himself has not done so. But as for me and my house, we intend to feast and celebrate and rejoice that the Lord has come into the world with a cheerful heart and a good conscience.”

www.piousfabrications.com/2010/12/pagan-origins-of-christmas.html
www.equip.org/articles/should-christians-celebrate-christmas
www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5172
networkedblogs.com/AArtS

BTW, my companion piece on Easter can be found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/03/29/easter-of-pagan-origins/

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36 Responses to Christmas: Of Pagan Origins?

  • I pretty much agree with you and have found it most ironic that the people making Christmas the BIGGEST DEAL ever are all atheists that I know!

    I hate Halloween though and we never celebrate it.

    Jo Deller

  • Food for thought: Jesus tabernacled amongst us, full of Grace and Truth. Some believe that this means He was born at the Feast of Tabernacles (roughly the last 2 weeks of September on our calendar). Now, a little thinking. How long is the human gestation period? Nine months. So, then, if Jesus were born in September, nine months earlier would be? December. So then, if we celebrate his CONCEPTION rather than his birth, so what? Is it not written: “That which is conceived within you is of the Holy Spirit?” We’re pro-life, don’t we believe that a child’s life begins at conception rather than birth? So then, what’s the gripe? Was Dec 25 originally a pagan holiday? Most likely, Saturnalia if I recall. BUT…If in a war, I capture an enemy’s position and use it against him, is it STILL the enemy’s position? NO! It’s MINE now and I can use that position for the advantage of MY side.
    Ed Sumner

  • Ed, my understanding is that Jesus’ birth would have been in about October ‘when shepherds watched their flocks by night’ as December would have been too cold for this. Interesting about the conception – which is a crucial part of the gospel message. I liken it to the Queen’s birthday, which isn’t celebrated on her actual day. But I do believe it was based on a pagan day and there was a compromise made, which irks me. However any gospel message is an outreach for our Lord to expound on. I’d like to see more nativity scenes and Christian carols this year, not letting politically correctness rule!

    Mardi Muirson

  • Totally agree that anything non-believers have used previously Christians can use for a good reason later! Just because something has been used as a symbol (or day) for something unrighteous does not mean we can no longer use that symbol (or day) for something righteous later on. Those items, be it a tree, star, gift, egg etc were God’s first! And take the rainbow as an example. It is now often used as a symbol by the homosexual groups to identify themselves. That does not mean that Christians can no longer use it as a symbol of hope and faith in Christ or of His love and faithfulness towards us just because another group has taken it on board and uses it! It was God’s first! And Christians can keep on using it for a righteous reason and in a godly manner! Because non-believers use it does not mean it is not for Christians to have and use! But we can and should use it just as God intended the rainbow to be used to symbolize His love! So an egg can symbolize new faith and birth, or a star God’s shinning light and glory, or a tree and gift giving His precious gift of His son, or the Christmas season His love for His creation. It depends what you use those symbols and days for.
    God bless you Bill!
    Thea Oly

  • Very interesting. I had always bought into the “originally a pagan festival” concept, but argued, as Bill has, that we have given it a new meaning. But happy to hear the argument that the Christian-Christmas predates the “pagan origins of Christmas” and particularly that it was a celebration of triumph of Christianity over paganism. If this is true, then it annoys me to think that we have been “apologising for the pagan origins of Christmas” for so many years.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Being myself of Dutch origine I would like to stress that Sinterklaas celebrations are totally unconnected with Christmas except that both occur in the month of December. The big day is 5 December and well the evening of that day, thus the eve of the 6th of December which is supposed to be the Saint’s birthday. His outfit is like that of a Roman Catholic Bishop, complete with miter and staff, thus totally different from Santa Claus. The tradition was that he came from Spain and had a black servant called “Zwarte Piet” (Black Peter), who carried a big bag with the presents for the children. In my childhood days it was exclusively for children put up by grown-ups and great fun, but again, no connection with Christmas. In my days Christmas was a rather subdued, almost exclusively religious, non-commercial celebration.

    Joost Gemeren

  • Some interesting data presented from before the time of Emperor Constantine: The scandal of the Nativity is of the Word incarnate, the Creator coming to His own world and being rejected by His own, so that God now says of those whom He once called “not My people”, “My people”!

    John Wigg

  • A side point, Bill.

    Don Richardson’s thesis is that every culture has some buried elements of the Truth. A point which actually holds them accountable (thus dealing with the question “what about the ‘heathen’ who never knew the truth?” Ans: there are no cultures without that knowledge of the truth).

    So taking a pagan event and “christianising” it, actually helps restore the lost truth. It’s actually more than ‘investing it with new meaning’ as if that came from somewhere out of the wild blue yonder.

    John Angelico

  • Mardi,

    The Feast of Tabernacles was in Sept/Oct on the modern calendar, the calendars aren’t exactly day to day reconcilable. As for the Church’s use of a pagan day, it’s my understanding that was done because the pagans were already using it and they would associate the day as a Holy day after coming to faith. (Not a fan of the word ‘conversion’ here).

    St. Nicholas was a Turkish bishop who served sailors in a place called Myra. Quite a fellow, old St Nick. A big burly man and as the story goes, afraid of little. His most interesting claim to fame? He punched out the heretic Arius (who didn’t believe Jesus was God in the flesh), right in front of the Emperor, and God vindicated him. I like the guy. Too bad there aren’t more like him. We might have less heretics, LOL.

    Ed Sumner

  • I don’t like putting presents under Christmas trees. Because, how to do you take them?  – on your knees in front of the tree, which could be viewed as an act of worship.

    Christmas is a very unique time, when many non-Christians sing Christmas carols, which are praises to God for sending his son Jesus.

    Sid Avery

  • Thank you for this article Bill and we are aware that there has been much debate over the last 2000 years concerning whether or not Christians should celebrate ‘Christmas’. The debate continues today, as you have mentioned above. In order to provide a ‘balance’, could we be permitted to present the ‘other side’ of the argument through the following (3) links please, as having researched the matter biblically and historically ourselves, we could not have said it as well or better than the two teachers below.

    The 1st link is a very short three minute presentation by David Pawson of the UK entitled “Sabbath, Christmas, Easter” wherein he is teaching on the book of Colossians. A Google search will tell readers more about David Pawson, a prominent and well-known Bible expositor today.

    The 2nd link provides a more indepth study and here D.P. presents a sensitive, compassionate and courageous
    look at Christmas which we believe should greatly bless your readers. Some of the insights he presents in “What is the truth about Christmas” are compelling; in this talk David is now in his senior years and the series is numbered 1/10 thence follows 2/10, 3/10, 4/10 etc. We pray you will also want to watch the series Bill.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIFmHqhw1MQ

    The 3rd link hereunder is a message by Jim Staley of Passion for Truth Ministries; it is a historical presentation and fairly confronting, some of the information quite shocking.

    http://www.wisereaction.org/truth_or_tradition.htm

    We believe the first thing that Christians should do about Christmas is to find out the Lord’s will. We should ask what is the Lord’s will for Christmas – what does God think about Christmas and therefore what should we be doing about it, yet how many Christians do ask Him that question? D.P. makes that point in the 2nd talk and in the 3rd message J.S. also reiterates, ‘it doesn’t matter what it means to you, but it matters what God thinks’.

    It has been surprising to us in recent years to come across other believers who have indeed sought the Lord about Christmas and Easter, having asked the above question, whom the Holy Spirit has led to study/research the issue for themselves. We do not believe that we, or they, are confused or trapped in a new legalism but simply being obedient to what God has revealed to us, nor have we been happy to condemn others should they choose to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmastime.

    To close Bill, if a believer should happen to ask us why we don’t celebrate Christmas, we simply say “for the same reason we don’t celebrate Halloween” and leave it at that.

    Shalom, love and blessings from Ron and Barbara Pirie

  • I still remember the legacy of being told about the common story of Santa Claus and when I learnt the real story I was rather disappointed with my parents for not telling the truth about the story. Even young children do appreciate being told the truth about things. This is by far the most disappointing thing about my parents.

    Ian Nairn

  • Hi Bill,
    Have you heard about the National Day of Climate Action?
    Sadly, I have just done so through my child’s Christian school newsletter.
    I am so gutted that Christians have joined this Green party band wagon and are being encouraged to preach climate change as if it is a Christian issue.
    They have presented this as if Christians are all on one side of this.
    Where is the mobilisation against abortion?

    Read under ‘Community news”
    http://www.wycliffe.nsw.edu.au/imagesDB/news/SchoolTalk08112013rev.pdf

    Sorry-I know its not on this current topic, but I felt it was important to pass on to others to be warned they may be hearing it from their pulpits this weekend.

    Kind Regards,
    Roseanne Masters

  • Further, well meaning and gullible Christians will probably not realize that signing such petitions will be used as a show of support for the carbon tax and support to GetUp!

    http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-action-now/national-day-of-climate-action/

    Roseanne Masters

  • Glad to hear the truth about Christmas trees. I have been in conversations before and have not known how to respond to the interpretation of passage in Jeremiah. Very interesting website to browse http://www.bethlehemstar.net/
    Alison Stanley

  • Yes, John, I agree, I think the idea is restore the true meaning to that which only remained as a fragment in pagan cultures. I believe the 25 Dec is close to the shortest day of the year in Europe, so putting Christmas day on that day could fill out the true meaning of the light returning, Jesus being the light of the world.
    While we try to stay away from silly bonbons and things and concentrate are on the simples that represent the true message of Christmas such as candy canes, stars and bells etc. with the nativity in a prominent position. I think it is counter productive to throw the baby out with the bath water. If that argument came from non believers, I could understand them wanting to expose christian hypocrisy, but for Christians to say that is just sad. Sure, get rid of Christmas trees if that bothers you, but to not celebrate Christmas altogether is playing more into the hands of the enemy than furthering the cause of Christ. I actually like to tell my children and anyone else who wants to listen that we celebrate Christmas every day.
    Interesting information about circumcision, haven’t heard that one.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thanks Bill.
    I seem to be the spoiler (again!), but I cannot let this article pass without challenging some of its tendentious spin, and even what can be shown to be outright falsehoods – not so much in your own statements, but in the excerpts you quote with approval. I cannot go into every detail, as that would become encyclopaedic in length, but let me highlight two of the more egregious issues.
    1. Greg Koukl and circumcision. This claim that the Egyptians came up with it first, and then “God captured it, and gave it to Abraham” is often made in the commentaries on Genesis, but it is a matter of both chronology, and of the interpretation of certain inscriptions. On the latter, in regard to a mural in the tomb of Ankh-ma-Hor at Saqqarah and dated to the Sixth Dynasty it is highly questionable whether that depicts circumcision at all, or whether it is castration as preliminary to induction into the priesthood. In another reference, in a stele of the First Intermediate Period a survivor of the rite of “sab” (often alleged to be circumcision, but translation uncertain) relates how he was part of a company of 120 men who received it, and how painful it was. I along with other interpreters seriously doubt that this was circumcision, and even if it was it is clear it was done to boys in their early teens, not to 8-day old babies.
    The other point concerns chronology: the evidence is mounting that Egyptian chronology needs to be “squeezed” considerably from what is conventionally held. Certainly if we hold to a strict view of the genealogy of Gen.11:10-26 (as exegetically we must) there is a much shorter time-span involved than the many centuries from the foundation of Egypt to the Middle Kingdom which conventional chronology espouses. This means that Abraham should be placed much earlier than these two inscriptions.
    In short, the glib assertions of Greg Koukl and others must be treated with the utmost skepticism and challenged. God did not “capture” a pagan rite and “re-invest it with new meaning”. He ordained the rite de novo, as a straightforward reading of Gen.17 would indicate.

    2. The assertion that the celebration of the Nativity of Christ was attached to the 25th December was to proclaim “the triumph that Christ’s birth represented over the pagan traditions of the Roman Empire” is not quite the story, but rather more in the vein of Catholic “spin”. It is part of the paganisation of the Church in the wake of the transition from persecution to privilege and the union of Church and State which took place under Constantine and his successors. Pagan festivals were “Christianised” (including Christmas), pastors became priests and wore the trappings and garb of the old Roman priests (one hold-out here was the famous Athanasius of anti-Arian fame), worship changed from the simplicity of the upper room to the pomp and ceremonial of the Roman temples. And we could go on.
    In regard to Christianising the pagan festivals, this became the official missionary policy of Rome in the early Middle Ages. Stephen Neill in his “A History of Christian Missions” records how e.g. Pope Gregory I instructed Augustine of Canterbury not to destroy their temples but only take away the idols…to kill their oxen in honour of God rather than in the service of devils. (p.68). Then in the wake of the missionary activities of Boniface in Germany in the early to mid C8th Neill comments further:
    “Instead of attempting to destroy or uproot all the (peasants’) beliefs, they (the monks) set to work to transform them by bringing sacred spots and seasons and festivals into relationship to the liturgy and the Christian year. There was danger in this: old superstition could, and did, and does, linger on under the mask of new piety.” (p.77)
    Talking about “danger”, while indeed an understatement, is certainly true. an already paganised church became even more so in European lands as a result of this policy. It was a far cry from the apostolic policy of “Turn to God from idols”, which resulted e.g. in the burning of all the magical books at Ephesus (1 Thess.1:9; Acts 19:19). Under the Mediaeval approach the problem of “food offered to idols” (1 Cor.*) would not even arise. It all led to a very superficial and synthetic kind of “Christianity”.

    Where then does this leave the celebration of Christmas. Let me make two points:
    1. The Church for the best part of 300 years did not observe a festival of the Nativity at all, and yet this was its heroic period of battle with a hostile Roman state. Observing such a festival is a tradition, and I am agreeable to keeping good traditions where they serve a good and useful purpose, but Christmas as it is now is not one of them.
    2. The festival of the Nativity (Christmas) has become so thoroughly paganised in our modern world that it has nothing at all to do with Christ’s birth. It always was the property of the pagans moreover, it does not now proclaim the triumph of Christianity over the pagan world – rather the reverse, so I say, let them have it. We don’t need it to maintain a true Christian piety.
    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • Sid wrote “I don’t like putting presents under Christmas trees. … on your knees in front of the tree, which could be viewed as an act of worship.”

    Respectfully but thoroughly disagree. An external action without an appropriate heart response is not an act of worship. I get down on my knees to look under the sink, but I’m not worshipping anything.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Christmas Day is for some people the only day of the year they get to experience love. Let them be
    It’s always been about Jesus and if you and your family continue with this viewpoint – the fleeting and empty promises of a “material” Christmas won’t affect you.
    Have a lovely Christmas all.
    Dameon McManus

  • Christ said, “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Christmas is not a command of God—it is a tradition of men. Christ continued, “Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). Every year, throughout the world, on December 25th, hundreds of millions do just that!

    Celebrating during Feast of Tabernacles is totally focused on Him, no commmercial anything, just rejoicing in the 1st and 2nd comings of our Glorious Messiah! Scripture also tell us we will celebrate this holiday in eternity.

    This will be the first time I do not participate in the christmas celebration. I admit that I am struggling with this decision, and my wife and kids are truly not on board. Even before I came to the knowledge of God’s appointed times, I was still very disturbed how commercialism had taken over, and that athiests celebrate it as well.
    Jay Fletcher

  • Thanks guys. As I already said, if you hate Christmas, fine – then don’t celebrate it. But please allow the hundreds of millions of believers who love worshipping and adoring the Lord Jesus Christ, including on this day, the freedom to do so, without being put under new burdens of legalism. They have liberty in Christ, and should be allowed to do so thanks.

    Merry Christmas.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yes, I agree Jay & Ron & Barbara. We try to celebrate as many of the appointed Feasts of the Lord as we can. They are rich and joyous occasions, and our children always learn so much about Christ through them. Haven’t celebrated Christmas or easter for about 9 yrs now!
    Liz Gee

  • For me, I see a strong theme in biblical history where God’s people were encouraged to celebrate with thanksgiving (usually involving some traditions) certain wondrous events that God had done. Read Esther 9 for one example. A new tradition was started here because they were so happy at what God had done for them. It was not part of the mosaic law.

    Our family celebrates each year in November the date that God opened a door for the healing of my health and dramatically changed things around for me. I was within a month of being dead. We formally celebrate that before God. For he did a wondrous thing in my life. It was a miracle. I for one, will continue to celebrate ALL the wondrous things God has done. Christ’s birth and Christ’s resurrection are up there at the top of things that fill me with JOY! 🙂

    Sharon Stay

  • Thanks for your comments Graeme, I appreciate your understanding.
    Sid Avery

  • Dear Bill,
    I was surprised to see the letters CE used in your article.
    As far as I know this stands for Common Era, and is the atheist’s tactic for undermining the Christian calendar which has always been referred to with the abbreviation
    BC before Christ, AD year of our Lord. The British Govt has introduced it into the education system by stealth, so as not to upset the followers of mohammad.
    I find it strange that as a staunch Christian advocate as you present your website, that you would adopt this non-acknowledgment of Christ.
    What is your stance in regard to the abbreviation Bill?
    Gerald Hunter Garwood

  • Thanks Gerald. Of course it was not I who used that term, but someone I quoted. Whenever I am discussing such things, I always use BC and AD.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Mr. Garwood, BCE could also be construed as Before Christ’s Epiphany, just to make the God haters angry. They’re SO cute when they’re angry. Elijah knew it. “Where’s your god, relieving himself?” ROFL.

    Ed Sumner

  • Apologies Bill. It was a direct quote from David Withun.

    I have encountered several Christians using this term- and find the term CE BCE coined by the world unthinking and insulting.

    I am glad you do not use this term, and hope that others who visit your site do not use it either.

    P.S. When I date my cheques I always acknowledge Jesus by including AD after the date.

    Gerald Hunter Garwood

  • I found “Pagan Christianity” by Viola and Barna an interesting read. It’s very helpful to bring people back to Biblical Christianity, and away from modern encumbrances of dead tradition that add nothing, and often cause harm.

    Certainly the book supports your broad view, as best I can see.

    Alister Cameron, Melbourne.

  • Thanks Alister. Actually you need to read this excellent review of their book by NT scholar Ben Witherington. It is a great critique of an often very faulty book:

    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com.au/2008/06/pagan-christianty-by-george-barna-and.html

    His closing paragraph is this:

    “My point in the above critique is simply this – calling more high church worship ‘pagan’ is not only a tragedy which impoverishes the soul. It’s a travesty. And saying over and over again that there is not a shred of Biblical evidence for sacred buildings, particularly church buildings reflects both historical myopia and bad theological analysis of a theology of holiness and worship. Such a view is narrow where the Bible is not narrow, and it fails to grasp the great breadth of ways in which God can be truly, and Biblically worshipped and served, and is indeed worshipped and served around the world every single week. We do not need to be liberated from holy worship—we need to be liberated in and by it, in whatever form it may legitimately take. And that’s the Biblical truth.”

  • So where do Christmas carols fit in? I posted this on my facebook as I do know of some who are against celebrating Christmas, and they threw in about carols being pagan, but the Christians changed the words?

  • Thanks Cheryl. Forget your Scrooge Pharisee friends. Songs in praise to God have been around for millennia. Nothing wrong whatsoever in singing songs of praise in honour of the Incarnation and all that it means.

  • Hi Bill
    My sister just asked what your background is and I had to admit that I have no idea. So I thought I’d just ask?
    Regards,
    Anne
    (Pauline’s sister)

  • Thanks Anne. But given that I could answer your question in a 100 different ways, I am afraid you might have to be a tad more specific here as to just what you mean by my background!

  • Our Church doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas but I appreciate ones who use it to evangelize 4 wheel and/or Christmas and Easter believers. And we use Colin Buchanan’s “King of Christmas” songs for an end to Sunday School year. He takes all the commercialized bits and gives them a message. Candy cane Red the blood of Jesus as He suffered in our place,white the full forgiveness..I wish we had more singing of his songs and less about Santa Clause but if Thailand even he was used to tell real meaning.

  • Reading all the views and reviews, makes me wonder if they actually think, by celebrating the Lord Jesus and his first coming, that we are pagans, unbelievers, not as Christian as they are, not as faithful, or obedient to the word, or even as righteous as them. Let me explain, I celebrate Christmas, with joy with my little seven year twin granddaughters, and my adult children, and adult Grandkids, together as a family. I also celebrate Easter too. There is joy that we as a family are together. The word tells, some hold one day as sacred, some another, some hold all days sacred, but let no man judge you, celebrate or not to celebrate it. My God and Saviour is Jesus Christ, I stand in the liberty in him alone, to live my life without fear, or condemnation from him if I celebrate his coming or not. God knows our motives for celebrating it, my righteousness is not dependant on it, for my righteousness is imputed to me by God the Father. So to all who don’t celebrate his coming, let us who do, do so with joy and grace we have in Him, enjoy whatever you do on that day, you will not be loved anymore or anyless by the Father, if we do or don’t. Thank you Father for the first coming of the Lord Jesus, as we await your second coming. A Holy and Happy Christmas to my fellow beloved in the Lord. Dave Connor.

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