Christmas Confusion

Christmas-and-pagans

Jesus is the Reason for the Season (in my house, at least)

I just finished helping my husband and daughter put up the Christmas tree, and I started thinking about what the holidays mean to me. I am a practicing Christian, and I believe that Jesus is my savior, but I also know that December wasn’t really the month of his birth. Sometimes I feel puzzled about those details, but then I read documentation that suggests different months might be the birth month of Christ and that makes me realize nobody is really 100% sure. This issue is a very controversial one in the Christian world, and it’s one I’ve pondered in recent times.

I grew up with Santa Claus and baby Jesus in the manager and other common Christmas traditions. Each year I was dazzled by the twinkling lights and caught up in the hustle and bustle of family and festivity. I looked forward to hanging out around the Christmas tree, and I eagerly anticipated opening presents with my family on Christmas morning. I never considered the true origins of the Christmas holidaydidn’t even know what they were other than Jesus’ birthday–and celebrated in honor of Him. It was always about Jesus in our home and never about anything bad or evil.

I reconnected last year with a friend from high-school, who is also Christian, but she doesn’t believe in celebrating Christmas. I’m fine with that, because people are entitled to their beliefs, but sometimes what she shares bothers me. She’s posted articles about Christmas, explaining their pagan origins and how we could be damaging our kids celebrating the holiday, and how we are all committing huge sins in doing so. I think, Is she really serious? MY Christmas has nothing to do with that stuff.

To be honest, I don’t know what the truth is, I don’t get into religious debates, and I do have questions of my own. I believe in the bible, but I wonder how much misinterpretation is possible over thousands of years and translation. I also know that people talked in code and that meaning changes over time and some words lose significance. I also consider the nature of the bible itself.

How many books of the bible are lost? Why do women play such a servile role in the bible, but marriage is supposed to bring a couple together as one? It’s so confusing, all of it, and there is no question of my Faith in God, but I do question the word of man. I stick to the parts of the bible that focus on God’s love, mercy, and infinite wisdom and believe the 10 Commandments to be a terrific moral compass, but the contradictory and unclear stuff in bible…not so much. If I’m wrong for that, so be it.

I have too many questions just to blindly believe everything.

Until someone gives me real evidence that I’m being a bad Christian by celebrating Christmas (it’s a shame Jesus didn’t have a birth certificate, and this means we’ll never really know), I’ll continue to allow my family to enjoy our traditions. In reality, I don’t see evil in a Christmas tree or a brightly-decorated house; I see people everywhere trying their best to be cheerful during an often-difficult time of year. I know this to be true of myself, and I’ve seen the struggle in others’.

I miss my loved ones who aren’t present at the Christmas dinner table, and I know there are so many who aren’t going to be spending the holidays in a nice place. Most people do have someone or something they miss, millions are homeless or suffering from some other terrible circumstances, and tragedy is an inescapable part of life.

My heart goes out to everyone who’s been a victim of loss, and I help where I can, but there is neverending need for healing and deliverance. I can’t even begin to make a dent in solving the world’s problems.

The only ammunition I have is prayer, and as a Christian, I send those prayers to the ears of God. Until I’m shown otherwise:

Jesus is the reason for the season (in my house, at least).

Happy holiday season, everyone! I’ll be back tomorrow with more adventures.

I’ll conclude Sacred Saturday with a bit of scripture:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV) 

If you’re Christian, what do you feel about the controversy? If you’re of another religion, are there any heavily debated interpretations in your holy books? Tell me in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to read the previous one: We Can All Write

36 Comments

  1. I'd say that it's really not important if you get the exactly correct birth date for Jesus … if you want to celebrate Christmas in honor of his birthday, then you should. Just because the date is fuzzy doesn't detract from the honor you're showing him. It really doesn't matter.

    As far as celebrating Christmas will do harm to your children … I don't think so. Christmas is a compilation of several meanings and traditions from across time and across many cultures. The festival of lights, being the pagan one, isn't going to do damage to your children since it's influence is in Christmas. How could it? That argument seems strange to me.

    Furthermore, Christmas is also a cultural tradition. When Christmas trees first began being used to celebrate Christmas in the 1500s in Germany, Jewish people celebrated it in wide numbers because it more of a cultural or nationalistic tradition.

    I think this is the way it is for some people today. I know for me and my family, this is why we celebrate it. We are atheists, and we'll teach our children the numerous meanings and history of the day; but we celebrate it as part of our American culture.

    • Rachel, I like the point you make in regards to culture, and I will continue asking questions and embracing my unique American culture while tending to my Christian beliefs. It felt good to put this post out there. Thanks for adding to the mix. ;-)

    • I totally agree with you, Rachel. I grew up as a Buddhist and always celebrated Christmas because we always thought it was an American tradition. As a bonus, the Christmas holidays always meant that there was time off from school and more time spent with our family and friends.

  2. Well said, Amberr. I, too, am a Christian, and the thing I really don't like about Christmastime is the debate that is sparked over it. it is a time when people come together, help others, express their love and appreciation (through gifts, or deeds or just a happy card). What could be more Christian than that? Celebrate life, celebrate your friends, your family and your belief (no matter what it is) and be kind to others. Merry Christmas.

    • Kelly, I can't think of much that is more Christian. Thank you for this amazing comment. Merry Christmas to you, too.

  3. I so agree with Rachel. I am not a Christian and I always have a tree up with colourful lights. I have a Jewish friend who has a tree up every year herself.

    • Eileen, great point. I love the pretty lights in Christmas trees. Makes winter far more festive.

  4. This is controversial? You should see my old posts. Epic flame wars that could bring down the Vatican.

    I suspect the date itself has pagan origins, but consider even the tradition of birthday cakes has pagan origins, so should we abstain from that as well? I think Paul addresses this, that even the food sacrificed to idols can be eaten freely as long as the act does not result in a stumblingblock to those who are weak in the faith.

    I used to think there were verses condemning the decorations of trees, but after a careful read these verses were about cutting down trees and carving the wood into idols, not about tree decorations. In fact one urban legend that explains the use of lights go back not to paganism but a midnight stroll Martin Luther once took. Who knows.

    I think ultimately, we are so far removed from many of the pagan customs of old that hardly anyone today could truthfully be considered engaging in idol worship just because they hang a mistletoe or eat an easter egg.

    You know where the real idol/pagan worship can be seen though? You find it in the midst of the unhinged obsession over Twilight or in deifying a football coach in Pennsylvania. These are the things I believe that are truly anti-Christian and smacks of true idolatry.

    • Lincoln, you make some very good points. I'd love to see some of these posts that would bring down the Vatican. I can only imagine. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. ;-)

  5. I am a Pagan. While there are more of us out there than you might think (we often act like non-practising Christians to avoid getting beaten up and otherwise persecuted), it's true we form a small group. And let's get this out of the way up front: Paganism is not Satanism. Not only are the two types of religions not related, but the Pagans are very, very tired of being called Satan worshippers. In fact, a lot of Pagans admire the teachings of Jesus very much, although granted we don't see them the same way Christians do.

    There are two things in your post that inspired me to respond. The first is the remarks of your high school friend that equated paganism with evil. I have to wonder if she also believes Buddhism, Hinduism, or Judaism are evil. Try switching the sentences so that Pagan is replaced with Christian and vice versa to get an idea of the real level of ignorance and hatred encapsulated in such statements.

    The second is this idea that all Paganism lies in the distant past, irrelevant to our world today. Just as most Christians today don't walk around in robes and sandals, flagellating themselves, Paganism has grown and changed with the world.

    Peace and bright blessings in this Yule season.

    • I think you seem to have gotten your wires a little muddled up here, Amberr hasn't said that paganism and satanism are the same thing, she hasn't even implied it, not in the post, not ever that I've been reading her blog.

      The etymology of the word pagan, is from the latin paganus, meaning country dweller, used around the time of the rise of Christianity across the greco-roman applied to all people of non-Abrahamic faith. The term Pagan is like saying I'm a Gentile, or I'm an Infidel. This isn't that I'm discrediting non-Abrahamic religions, I'm not, just that if you study the language enough pagan is a poor word choice.

      Another point I'd like to point out, is that you said that there had been two comments that you had to respond to, the first being of Amberr's highschool friends comment, the second, and I quote, "is this idea that all Paganism lies in the distant past, irrelevant to our world today." Amberr hasn't actually said this either. She would never say anything as judgemental as that. However, I would like to take the time to point out, that whilst the pagan religions, and by those, I exclude the new age, and look at the religions of the germanic tribes which have their roots steeped in shamanistic ways, an awful lot of that does lie in the distant past, you have a few practitioners of Traditional English Witchcraft, who claim to have kept the old ways going, then you have others who have taken up the shamanistic religions, in a revival method, who again try to keep to the old ways as best as they can, but have to draw the line when it comes to the occasional sacrifice. The new age movement of wicca might not have any history pre 1960, however, the other "pagan" religions, their ways are of the distant past, yes there are elements of them that still exist they are genuinely practised still today, however, they are a far cry from the religions of the germanic people.

    • Kat, I don't agree with anyone being persecuted and judged and never assumed that paganism was rooted in satanism. It's my belief, as a Christian, that it is not for me to judge others. I take the stance of live and let live, and worship and let worship. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate you and wish you peace and blessings in return.

  6. I also agree that some people make too big a deal of the "Christmas" thing and all that surrounds it. To me it is a representation of Jesus' birth and the date is only significant that I get time off from work during the winter. I would be just as happy with it being in the summer if I got time off of it. True believers must learn that nothing in the Bible is usable unless it is viewed through the prism of the Holy Spirit which is the guide in every believer's (and non-believer's as God rules all creation) life and it is through learning to be obedient to His lead will a brother or sister be able to accomplish the plans and live as God intends him/her to. All of the "other" stuff is choice and free will that God allows us to have and He like a patient and expecting Father delights to see what choices we will make as we do our own kids while being there to help us, guide us, and if need be correct us. Thank you for this thought provoking article and I believe that you have a more realistic realization of what Christmas means than those that are weighed down by the rule of "religion" and all of it's trappings.

    Be blessed dear sister!
    Ron "Big Black" Garrett

    • Ron, I love this: "True believers must learn that nothing in the Bible is usable unless it is viewed through the prism of the Holy Spirit…" and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Beautifully said.

  7. Its hard, but our family has always focused on Christ during the holidays. Our traditions have changed over the years and now we celebrate Christmas along with the Epiphany, though both days everyone only gets three gifts, just as Christ did. The gifts received on the Epiphany are all symbolic though.

  8. It's true that Christmas has pagan origins (Christmas trees anyone?), but I don't think that should stop you from celebrating. It's all about what meaning you get from it. I think commercialism is the biggest threat to a Christian understanding of Christmas.

    • Joe, I think you're right about the commercialism. I, for one, am not going to break my bank account buying obnoxious amounts of gifts. I'm going to have my family celebrate Christmas with the right intent. Thank you for your comment. ;-)

  9. Thanks Amber! I read the same post and article that you did and have been contemplating how to express my feelings about it. Just read your blog and it states it perfectly. The only other thing I would add is Christmas is also an opportunity to share the story of Jesus' birth to so many people that won't listen other times of the year.

    • Monica, yes! I should have included this, and it's important to remember. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.

  10. This line in your blog is very powerful and true… "I see people everywhere trying their best to be cheerful during an often-difficult time of year." It's a great experience to witness when people do their best to help each other or just spread a little cheer during the holiday season, no matter how or why we celebrate the holidays. It's great to share this positive attitude with our children because that's what will stick with them! :)

    • Tara, you're right, and I'm going to impress love, acceptance, and positivity upon my daughter and the other future child who hasn't happened yet. Thank you for your amazing comment!

  11. I'm an atheist so I guess I don't really see any controversy. For me, it's a practical matter that to gain more converts, Christianity 'stole' or 'appropriated' pagan holidays. It's a pretty smart tactic really and when you're the underdog (which Christianity used to be) you need to find ways to win.

    I celebrate Christamas though and it's ironic (in light of the above) that people tell me off for celebrating it when I don't believe. Sure Christmas for me isn't about religion. I regard it as more of a secular holiday (for me) though I know that for others it has religious significance. But it IS a season of good cheer, I believe. Should someone be excluded from that on a religious basis? It would seem preposterous should anyone answer 'Yes'.

    • Ciara, it was a brilliant tactic, and in regards to cheer, nobody should be excluded. Preposterous indeed. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. ;-)

  12. How come I wasn't notified of this post! I hate when that happens!!
    Anyway…..everyone has a right to their own beliefs about Christmas. Don't ever stop wondering. Keep asking the questions. Seek the answers.
    When you get someone who's pushing their beliefs onto others, that's when I have a problem. Don't call me a heathen if I don't believe what you believe in. Don't tell me I'm being blind to the real issues behind the holiday.
    A pagan holiday? What on earth is that chick smoking?
    There are SO many questions behind the Christmas holiday and it's origins. Only you can only pick out what you want to believe in and go with it.

    • Irene, I think I'm going with it, and I agree with all the judgmental attitudes being ridiculous. We are all entitled to believe as we wish, regardless of whether others agree with it. Thanks for the fantastic comment!

  13. (((((Amberr))))

    There is NOTHING wrong with celebrating with a tree and gifts,
    He came to give life and give it abundantly, we have FREEDOM, not freedom to sin but freedom to live.

    I remember thinking the exact same things you have posted and I made it a point to speak with my Pastor about this same issue.

    Jesus was probably not born in December, but we are celebrating his coming to save us!!!

    • Helen, you are so right. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate it!

  14. Our family tries to focus on God dwelling with us: bringing his Peace & Restoration to earth. How can we do the same, in celebration of his birth? How does our family bring peace with the time we spend & the conversations we have? How do we bring restoration to our family, friends, community – healing relationships, helping our friend in need, serving our neighbor? I think these questions are so much more important than: was Jesus really born in December? are Christmas trees a sin?

    Thanks for the post & the "like" ;)

    • Lindsey, I agree in the importance of the questions you pose. You are most welcome on the like, and I'll be visiting more, to be certain.

  15. As is my understanding; the dates are wrong, and the 25th was picked because what Christmas represents fitted in with a Pagan holiday held at the solstice. However, that certainly doesn't make Christmas bad or evil, your friend is wrong.

    Regardless of whether or not Jesus was born on the 25th, or even at all, matters not, what matters is the messages that the day sends out. It's about family coming together, all being under one roof, celebrating, having a good time. The date, and how or why it came to be on the 25th matters not, what matters is the message of peace and love. That can't be evil in any sense.

    • Gregory, I agree with your observations completely. Thank you for your amazing comments (and replies). Much appreciated.

  16. Interesting, I see some fightin words here (lol), just playin. Although I'm following Buddha's teachings, I have always associated Christmas with the birth of Christ from church and Santa from school. Are there really any "right" or "wrong" here??? People just need to lighten up, holidays are a time for family and friends, sharing and caring and joy and laughter. That's my personnal meaning of any holiday…just to celebrate and be happy with loved ones.
    As for religion itself, that's a whole new ball game. Perhaps another blog for
    you Amberr but I just wanna say one thing about it. I put my faith in God and not man. Therefore I do not believe everything I read or hear. I believe through my personally life experiences.
    Hope you, KP and family have a most joyful holiday. Be happy, God and Buddha bless…less stress :)

    • Sai, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you and your family have a blessed and peaceful holiday, too. ;-)

  17. I got what you intend, thanks for putting up. Woh I am happy to uncovering this website finished google. Thanks For Share Christmas Confusion | Like a Bump on a Blog.

Your thoughtful comments are love to me. Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT

  • rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • google
  • pinterest
  • instagram
  • amazon
  • goodreads
  • tumblr
  • youtube
  • email
  • bloglovin

AMBERR MEADOWS

WHO I AM

I’m an Atlanta, GA Social Media Manager, blogger, writer, and brand ambassador. My passions are books, travel, social media, blogging, and creativity. My hobbies are product reviews and photography. I'm a deep thinker, dreamer, lover, and compassionate soul. Expect humor and occasional sarcasm. Welcome!

CLICK PIC FOR OUR HOLIDAY GUIDE

Subscribing has been proven to increase happiness. Enter your email address to subscribe to new posts.

2014 GOODREADS CHALLENGE

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Amberr has read 38 books toward her goal of 115 books.
hide

ARCHIVES