Is Christmas Pagan?
Is Christmas a pagan holiday?
No, it’s a Christian holiday – a celebration of the birth of Christ!
If that wasn’t what Christmas was about, our secular culture wouldn’t be so afraid of the name.
But didn’t Christmas start out as a pagan holiday?
There have been many pagan festivals around the Winter Solstice, including the Feast of Saturnalia. In 274, Emperor Aurelian chose December 25th as the birth date of Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god. Prior to that, Hippolytus of Rome tried to calculate the birth of Christ and mistakenly came up with December 25th. This was before the Roman empire was Christianized, or December 25 was associated with any pagan festival.
The Winter Solstice was once a celebration of darkness on the darkest day of the year. It has since become a celebration of light, when Jesus came into the world.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk into darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
But, aren’t all these Christmas traditions a rip-off of former pagan customs?
Some of them aren’t.
Christmas carols are rich with Biblical truth and have impacted the world over. Giving presents comes from the Magi bringing gifts to the Savior, and also the gift of the Savior, Himself, to mankind.
Going into the house, [the wise men] saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
The Christmas tree has roots in paganism (no pun intended). But, so what? Redefining pagan symbols is in the Bible.
In ancient Rome, Caesar rode on a white horse. In Revelation 19, Jesus returns on a white horse, because he’s greater than Caesar!
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11)
So, at Christmas, some formerly pagan symbols have been Christianized to celebrate that Jesus is greater than darkness. The Bible says nothing about Christmas, but it does say not to argue about days – don’t look down on the person who celebrates, or the person who doesn’t. Let us agree that the Advent of our Lord is worth celebrating every day! And that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners! (1 Timothy 1:15)
…when we understand the text.