Christmas, Pagans, & Comfort

What Do Santa and Trees Have to Do With the Christ of the Bible?


There was an interesting item in the news yesterday concerning comfort, pagan practices, and Christmas:

Church attendance rises as recession deepens
… Nigel Farndale reports on how the revival of religious beliefs and community spirit is helping a recession-hit population to find new comfort and joy .
Telegraph, London – Dec 7, 2008…

Apart from services and nativity plays, most of the rituals associated with the festivities are pagan: the tree, the mistletoe, the Yule log and so on. Even the date of Christ’s birth was chosen arbitrarily in the middle of the 4th century by Pope Julius I as a way of settling arguments about it once and for all. No one was even certain about the year. As the census took place every 14 years, Christ would have had to have been born in either AD6 or 8BC.

Nevertheless, in the pagan calendar the winter solstice was a time for feasting, drinking and dancing. By placing Christ’s birthday in the middle of it, the Christian church hoped to absorb the pagans and convert them at the same time. It became Christ’s Mass…

Outside the churches, in the chilly recessionary air, there seems to be a feeling that there is safety in numbers…

There is a perhaps an element of stock-taking going on; a belated recognition of how decadent and greedy we have been in Christmases past…This realisation that materialism isn’t enough to satisfy the human spirit might be a good thing.

Pagans have long attained comfort from their practices.  Yet, the Bible never endorses the celebration of birthdays (see Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?), the December 25th concept of “Christ’s Mass” (see What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?), using pagan practices to honor God (cf. Jeremiah 10:2), decorated trees (cf. Jeremiah 10:3-5, see also Christmas Trees: A Symbol of the Trinity?), Santa, nor any such things.  In the Bible, Jesus had nothing to do with any of them.

Yet, many who profess Christ derive “comfort” from such material things that we see all around us, especially at this time of year.

We are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Notice what the Apostle John wrote:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16).

3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 3-4).

Since Christmas is not based upon truth and is at least partially intended to appeal to the “lust of the eyes” those who are serious about living “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4) should study and pray on whether they wish to obtain comfort from God, or paganized traditions of men.

Notice that our comfort is supposed to come from SCRIPTURES and God the Father:

4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:4-6).

Do you really think that the Father is pleased with those who prefer to honor pagan customs in the name of His Son than to gain comfort from following the teachings of the scriptures?

Some articles of related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?

Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.

Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?

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