Earlier this month I started a post on my feelings and beliefs on Christmas, but as usual I got too wordy and bogged down. I also decided that no one really wanted to hear all of that anyway. People just want to have fun.
Today I read Dale’s post and then I saw this Discovery video and decided to go ahead and post my views. The Discovery video is very interesting, but nothing new to me. It basically tells that Christmas had its origins in Pagan rituals. Duh, don’t most holidays?! In the video the thought is that Christians decided to combine their religious holiday with already existing Pagan holidays to get more people interested in Christianity. I think this is pretty much true. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to become a Christian. Can’t you just see all the pagan soothsayers and magicians and such suddenly scrambling to be what the Emperor wanted? Christianity was in and Pagan worship was out. So you have Pagan holy men trying to be Christian and Christian holy men trying to please and entice the crowd. Together they were able to corrupt and please the world with holy days to fit their purposes making it possible for the people to party uncontrollably, but do so with a good conscience.
From the time Aaron made a golden calf for the people to dance around, celebrate, and worship to Simon the Sorcerer in the early days of the Christian church, men have been distorting the Christian religion to suit themselves. Churches still do this today, but you can see this happen through the ages with all sorts of holidays like Easter and Halloween, and even some smaller holidays.
Ex: Years ago in Taos, I attended St. Geronimo Day at the Taos Pueblo. At first I wondered why the Taos Indians would celebrate an Apache, but then I learned that they were actually celebrating St. Jerome. There were vendors of all sorts lining the Pueblo area selling their trinkets – it was great fun. Then the Kachari Spirit Men came out and reeked havoc on the people, being silly, throwing kids in the creek, taking offerings from the vendors, etc – all as sort of blessings upon the people. Eventually, the Kachari made their way to a maypole. On top of the pole were all sorts of goodies – vegetables, a dead goat, etc, and several ropes hanging down the pole. The Kachari began to play and swing on the ropes with one Kachari climbing to the top – all to ensure a good harvest. Basically a pagan ritual was combined with a celebration of a Catholic saint.
So should we give up our Santa, our evergreen tree in the house, our egg hunt, our dressing up like goblins, our wearing of the green, etc? It depends. Knowledge sets you free. If you know who and what you are celebrating there is freedom in the celebration. Knowing that Christ never said to throw a big party for His birthday certainly made things easier on me. I don’t have to set up a tree. I don’t have to buy gifts and go in debt. I don’t have to pretend there is a Santa, but I can if I want. I know that those things are just fun, but they are nothing to Christ. I can give gifts if I want. I can have a big meal with my family. I can love my God and serve Him and love my neighbor as myself without the parties and rituals. I can celebrate with my loved ones knowing that it is not a requirement of the Law. That is freedom.