Guys, I love it when atheists tell us Christians that the origin of Christmas actually came from ancient pagan holidays. It’s like they’re trying to drop some bombshell news to shatter our feeble religious minds.
Well, hang on to your fedoras, atheists. I got bombshell news for you. We Christians already learned about the pagan origins of Christmas… at church!
Consider the Gospel of Luke, which tells us the most about the birth of Jesus Christ. We read it every single Christmas. Every single one, okay? Aloud! Including this part:
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. – Luke 2:7–8
When the pastor gets to that last verse, he takes off his reading glasses, looks up, and says matter-of-factly, “You know, in the winter it’s too cold for shepherds to sleep outside with their sheep. So it’s likely that Jesus was not actually born in winter.”
Not only do we hear that factoid every single Christmas, but every single time we read the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It’s common knowledge. It’s Bible 101.
But Mr. Atheist here doesn’t go to church. So he was totally ignorant of this fact until two minutes ago, when he read some listacle with a clickbait title like, “5 facts about Christmas that will put you on Santa’s naughty list.”
The gist of it is that medieval monks took pagan winter solstice festivities, Christianized it, and made up Christmas out of that. Naughty fact number 2 is that Jesus wasn’t even born in the winter.
Since this is news to Mr. Atheist, it must be news to everyone else!
So at the bottom of that page, it says Share: and he clicks on the Facebook icon. And a grin creeps onto his face like the Grinch about to steal roast beast when it asks, “Add a comment?”
He gleefully types, “Merry Christmas. You better sacrifice a virgin to your Santa God or winter won’t end. Oh and by the way, Jesus wasn’t even born on Christmas.”
When he clicks on the Post Now button he imagines an intellectual dagger plunging into the hearts of his religious aunt, that religious chick from high school, and that pesky guy from work who’s a part time youth pastor.
So do we Christians clutch our chest like we’re about to die? No. We just roll our eyes. It’s most of the same stuff we hear in the sermons at church.
Preachers use anecdotes in their sermons to make a connection with the congregation, to draw them in, and to illustrate their points. So around Christmas-time, their anecdotes are Christmas themed. And I’ve observed two main categories.
First pastors debunk common misconceptions about the birth of Jesus. For example, the Bible doesn’t give the number of Wisemen. There was no drummer boy (or donkey.) It doesn’t say Jesus was born in a stable, just that he was laid in a manger.
Pastors like these kinds of anecdotes because they provide an opportunity to better explain Scripture.
The second kind of anecdotes are factoids about the pagan origins of Christmas traditions. You know, like how Druids regarded mistletoe as a fertility symbol, why we give gifts, light candles, or wear red.
So is the Pastor blaspheming the Christian faith?
How stupid do you atheists think we are? Do you think that we think that we decorate a giant indoors tree as a sacrament of solemn obedience to our faith?
Our faith doesn’t hinge on the pure Christian origins of our Christmas traditions. In fact, Christmas isn’t even a holiday stipulated by Scripture. It was made up some time later.
Hey, we had to celebrate the birth of Jesus at some time, so why not when everyone was celebrating a holiday anyways?
At the darkest time of the year, why not celebrate the light of the world, Jesus Christ? The world becomes bleak and lifeless in winter. That’s a good time to celebrate the evergreen life of Jesus.
You can say that the traditional festivities of the winter solstice were redeemed by Christianity. The good aspects were drawn out. It’s no secret conspiracy. We’re quite frank about it at church if you ever wanted to visit.
But are there bad aspects to our holiday traditions? Yes. Look at the Black Friday fights at Walmart. We Christians denounce that kind of greed and materialism.
So here’s the thing, atheists. If you take Christ out of Christmas, you don’t go back to the halcyon days of pre-Christian Europe’s revelries. Your left with a meaningless, crass, commercial contest of spending money.
You can’t have the good things without the God things.