The Naked Green

2004.12.22 Wednesday

Jesus and Christmas

Filed under: Following Christ — Mr. Green @ 2.52 pm

I have long been of the opinion that Christmas originated as a pagan holiday [or maybe not] and have wondered whether I should celebrate it due to its origins and the fact that Christ was almost definitely not born on the 25th of December. I have decided to celebrate it because it has obviously changed in meaning over the years (in fact, today it’s largely secular again) and it’s a great time for family and showing love. I think it depends more on “how” we celebrate a holiday than “when”.

Adam Ellis wrote an article (Mars Hill Christianity) that really made a good point and touched my heart:

Christmas always makes me think of Paul on Mars Hill. You may find that odd, but it goes back to my Dad. Dad was (and is) a preacher for a fairly traditional Church of Christ. Many of these churches frown on celebrating the birth of Christ on Dec. 25 b/c it probably wasn’t the actual date (if you don’t understand this “logic”, just thank God and move on). Dad would always preach on the birth of Christ anyway, and when questioned about it would explain it by saying he was following the pattern of Paul on Mars Hill. Paul used a pagan idol and pagan poets and philosophers to teach the Greeks about the true God, or stated differently he used what they knew to tell them about what they didn’t know. Dad would always talk about how silly it would be at a time when almost everyone turned their attention to Jesus for us to talk about something else. I thought it was brilliant then and I still do today. –more–
[Emphasis mine]

That is brilliant and I will have to keep it in mind as all the “hustle” distracts me from my Lord. We should be focused on Jesus at all times, but why not be especially sensitive to and thankful for His incarnation upon this earth during this season that has been set aside just for that a long time ago. I plan to be a better witness of Christ’s love this season. Thanks for sharing, Adam!

Side Note: If you want to take Christ out of Christmas, an X is not the way to do it. The origins of the term “x-mas” is certainly Christian. In fact, even trying is kind of pointless as the word Christmas literally means Christ Mass (as I learned from Stephen Lawhead) and was instituted by the Roman Catholic Church. Taking the Christ out of “Christmas” is impossible semantically, just call it something else if that’s what you want the 25th of December to be.

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