Just a warning here in the beginning, I will be on a soapbox for a portion of this article. Now, here goes . . .
I am sure that you have a Facebook activist or two who has already shared a post about hoping that “Christians lose the war on Christmas” because “Christmas” has its roots in a pagan holiday and zealous Christian missionaries just replaced the pagan holidays with a more “Christianized” version. What is implied in ideas like this is that we celebrate the birth of Christ at the wrong time of the year and that our modern idea of the Christmas holiday really has nothing to do with Christ because Christ’s birth has nothing to do with winter holidays. If that is the way that you think, you are missing the point of the Christmas celebration to begin with.
I. Celebrate Christ’s birth
The Christmas celebration is about remembering and honoring the birth of Christ. The indisputable fact that we all know is that Christ was born. This birth was foretold all throughout the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 3:15. I have written on the prophecies of the Old Testament that foretell the birth of the Messiah. You can read it here. This is what we celebrate, the fact that He was born. The time of year that we celebrate is not that important. The reason that we celebrate is the key.
II. The symbols are useful
Some want to protest that the Christmas tree is simply a pagan tradition that has been adopted into Christianity. While there are pagan religions that worship the evergreen tree, the tree itself is neither good nor evil. Yes, if we worship the tree then we are practicing a pagan religion. If we use the tree to remind us of the eternal life that God has promised to all who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, then it is simply a tool (neither good nor evil) that ends up being used for good.
Secondly, others want to protest Santa Clause, that speaking of Santa involved pagan elements. There was an actual man named Nickolaus, a follower of Jesus Christ and upon reading Matthew 2 and seeing the example of the wise men bringing gifts to celebrate the birth of Christ, decided to use the celebration to bless the children around him and share the Good News of the Gospel with them. This is a beautiful picture of what it means to worship Christ during Christmas. My wife and I have taught our kids that Santa Clause is a real person who is a follower of Christ and enjoys giving great gifts to celebrate the birth of Christ because on Christmas, God gave the greatest Gift of all time to all people. It angers me when people try to hijack a Christian holiday by claiming that it has pagan roots. The roots of celebrating the birth of Christ predate all pagan religions. Eve thought she was celebrating the birth of the Messiah when her first male child was born. There were no pagan religions at the time yet the first attempt at celebrating the birth of the Messiah was established.
III. The apostles used nonChristian holidays
If you are familiar with the book of Acts and the history of the people of Israel, you will know that the church was born on the day of Pentecost. This great day was actually a Jewish holiday. The apostles did not sit around arguing if they should celebrate the birth of the church on a nonChristian holiday. They used the nonChristian holiday to fulfill the great commission that they were given by the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that we should do the same. During the Christmas holidays, people are in a celebratory mood and are usually more open to talking about spiritual things. As people entrusted with the great commission, we should seek to use this time to explain to people how to celebrate Christmas correctly.
I pray for those who want Christians to lose the war on Christmas because they do not understand the importance of Christmas and how to use Christmas to make disciples. I plan on using this Christmas, like the previous 15 since I have been a believer, to make disciples. I pray that you will do the same.