Origins of Christmas – Part 2

Yesterday, we started looking at the origin of some of the traditions of Christmas.  Here’s a few more.

Tree worship was also associated with the winter solstice festivals and these were well known to use trees adorned with decorations and figurines long before the Christianisation of this practice.  Even the Old Testament contains a reference to this practice (see Jeremiah 10:3-5).  

But going overboard on analysing Christmas, usually leads some people to an abandonment of it as a celebration of Jesus’ birth.  Why? The paganism predates Christianity, sure, but Christmas itself only has meaning because it is a celebration of Christ coming as God’s gift to us.  Yet we have to unwrap Him for ourselves, so to speak, if we are to receive God’s gift of eternal life.

As for the pagan customs that have infiltrated Christmas, it’s all about what they now mean to us.  If we get into the spirit of Saturnalia and just see it as a holiday period of feasting and drunkenness, then it discredits what God has done for us anyway.  But if we appreciate the celebration as a commemoration of God’s work, then what’s the problem.  My Christmas tree, tinsel and nativity scene aren’t idols to me and Santa doesn’t have to be a commercial invention, or Saint Nick or even Old Nick!  (Having said that, though, I don’t perpetuate the Santa lie to my kids).

So maybe we could chill out and just enjoy Christmas for what it is.  And maybe we could give a little thought to the fact that, at the end of all the fuss over tradition, Jesus really is the reason for the season!


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