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Why Celebrate Christmas Since It Originated from Pagan Traditions?

By Hugh Ross - December 25, 2020
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Question of the week: The Bible doesn’t mention anything about early believers celebrating any event other than baptism and communion. Therefore, shouldn’t Christians refrain from celebrating Christmas especially since it originated from pagan traditions? 

My answer: While the Bible mentions nothing about early Christians celebrating Christmas or Easter, to me, it seems only natural that Christians would want to celebrate the incarnation (God becoming human and dwelling among us) and the resurrection. That the dates for Christmas and Easter approximately coincide with pagan celebrations of the winter solstice and the spring equinox I see as Christians co-opting the unrighteous for the righteous as a means of encouraging non-Christians to consider becoming Christians. This co-option is similar to Christian musicians transforming drinking songs into beautiful hymns with lyrics that teach sound biblical doctrine. Some of the most doctrinally accurate and uplifting hymns are Christmas carols.

Having said all this, I believe we need to be on guard against reverse co-option. For example, it bothers me a great deal that today images of Santa, snowmen, elves, and reindeer far outnumber images of Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and angels on peoples’ lawns and in store displays. I also am bothered by how small a percentage of “Christmas music” actually celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ and what the coming means for human beings. One reason why Kathy and I wrote our book, Always Be Ready,1 was to counter reverse co-option by encouraging Christians to be more active in sharing their faith.

Endnote

Hugh Ross with Kathy Ross, Always Be Ready (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/always-be-ready.


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