To celebrate or not to celebrate? That is the question I noticed many Christians ask over the last few years. When I saw these debates, arguments and knockdown drag out keyboard fights on social media, I kept eating my Christmas cookies and scrolled on.
Ain’t nobody got time for grinches and scrooges when your girl loves her some Christmas!
However, the messages and posts are back on my newsfeed. And it’s not just the Grinch that’s shouting them from the rooftops. It’s Christians who want to bring up history about the winter solstice, the Christmas tree being a pagan tradition and Santa being evil.
I had a choice to make: do I address this issue or stay out of the debate while decking the halls in the privacy of my own home?
During October and leading up to Halloween, I saw feuds going on between Christians over the evil of Halloween, the opportunity for evangelism and if they should dress up or not. Is it okay for churches to host a trunk or treat and what if you let your kids say, “Trick or treat”? Are you inviting the devil and his angels into your halloween candy counting party?
Christians were divided on the topic.
Some sided with the dress up party. They saw it as an opportunity for outreach and family fun. The others sided with the satanic ritual party. I quietly scrolled on by while secretly watching Halloween Wars with my boys. It’s fun to watch the chocolate artists make ghosts out of food. But don’t tell the “Just say NO to Halloween” side. Out of respect for their opinions, I don’t usually share what my opinion on these non-salvation issues are.
I choose not to engage in issues where God has not drawn a hard line in His word; especially on social media.
Why? Because it only causes division. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my opinions. I do. But it means I won’t address the issues unless I also make clear that it’s just my opinion. I won’t insta-stalk anyone and call them out when they post their cute family pics of mom as Snow White, dad as the Prince and the kids as the Seven Dwarfs. If you get all of your kids to willingly participate in family dress-up, you deserve first prize in the costume contest just for pulling it off!
So, why can’t I stay quiet now?
Christmas is an entirely different topic than Halloween. And while that seems obvious, it doesn’t keep Christians from telling others not to celebrate it. For that reason, I can’t succumb to a silent night on this one.
Here are three reasons Christmas is not a pagan holiday.
The first reason is going to be pretty simple. Let’s face it, I’m a simple woman who likes to give it to people straight. There are plenty of historical examples others have shared, and I will list those resources for you at the end of this article, but for now, let’s leave it at simple.
Christ’s name is in Christmas.
I know. It seems too obvious and a no-brainer, but there you go. Christmas is the literal celebration of the brith of Christ. Even though we don’t exactly know the date of Christ’s birth (theologians and historians have differing opinions) we do know that’s what we’re celebrating.
The life of Christ is a real event in history, with prophecy throughout the Old Testament, and fulfilled in the New Testament. We also have mounting evidence for New Testament reliability and since the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Law, we can ensure the Old Testament is also true with this evidence.
Christmas belongs to Christians.
Why do some say it’s a pagan holiday?
The enemy is an imitator and will take what is holy and twist it. Why? To take our focus off of Christ.
The Christmas tree, candy, Santa Clause, lights, and the creepy elf on the shelf named Clyde (okay, that’s ours) has been infiltrated into the Christmas holiday for years. But does that mean Christmas was founded on paganism? Not at all.
Those things have nothing to do with Christ’s birth, and Christians can choose to acknowledge them this season or not. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. Many people who put Christmas trees in their homes do not think of pagan worship when they do.
Of course there are many people who celebrate Christmas and think nothing of the birth of Christ. Or maybe some go to Christmas Eve service and don’t come back again until Easter. Does that mean Christmas was founded on paganism because some don’t acknowledge Christ? Does it mean Christmas is pagan because some acknowledge Santa and gift giving?
No. It doesn’t.
The question is how, do we have conversations about the meaning of Christmas with others?
Do you remain silent like I did and decorate your tree behind closed doors? Because no one in my real life is asking these questions. It’s the social media missionaries who have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else they shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas because it’s rooted in paganism.
First, let me begin by making a statement that may be hard to swallow: if a simple post by other Christians telling you not to celebrate Christmas because it’s rooted in paganism causes you to question your beliefs, you need deeper roots in WHY you celebrate Christmas.
I know that may seem harsh, but hear me out.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us. That means we are the ones who should know what we believe and why we believe it. When someone poses a question, we should know how to address it.
The problem is that too many Christians can’t answer the questions so the questions turn on them and cause them to doubt. That’s what happens when we don’t have the answers. That’s why I’m leaving you some helpful resources at the end of this post.
Second, I’m not only talking about Christmas and paganism. We must stand firm in our knowledge of who God is and what He’s done for us. The declaration of Christ’s birth was met with an angels cry of, “Immanuel, God with us.” When we know why Jesus came to this earth and why He had to come, we are more confident in why we celebrate His birth.
Christmas belongs to Christians.
And finally, Christmas is not pagan because Christianity is the only religion where God came to man. In every other religion, man tries to earn his way to a god who cannot empathize with his weakness.
So when someone says Christmas is a pagan holiday and they want to give you all kinds of historical information about the winter solstice, remember that Christ’s name is the very fabric of what Christmas is all about.
Christmas belongs to Christians. And for that reason I say, deck the halls, girl. Deck. The. Halls.
Is Christmas Pagan by Got Questions:
Mike Winger’s Defense of Christmas:
Melissa Daugherty’s Interview with a Historian about the Origins of Christmas:
CANA Article with *many* Resources about the Origins of Christmas: