The battle for Christmas: Is it Christian, Pagan or Secular?
By Jonathan Clark
In a society where Christmas has become secularised and commercialised Christians are struggling to maintain the Christian aspect of the festival.
But this isn’t the only threat to a Christian view of Christmas. In recent years there’s been a resurgence in people claiming Christmas is entirely pagan in origin. This has coincided with the actions of the current generation of pagans and druids who are re-establishing their cycle of festivals in the calendar.
So where does the truth lie?
The celebration of Christmas was actually banned in 1647 during the Puritan Commonwealth period in England. It was seen as pagan, popish, wasteful, and immoral. Even in America, the melting pot of many of the current secular aspects of Christmas, the feast was frowned upon in the early years of the colony.
Each cultural group across the ages has had its own series of festivals and feasts bringing people together. These have been based on beliefs, specific calendars, understanding of the seasons and the astronomical cycle, combined with special events and anniversaries. Initially, these were localised to their tribes, regions or ethnic groups and over time spread to wider faith groups, nations and empires.
Some of the symbols of these separate festivities will inevitably coincide with each other – the use of fire in the winter months for light and heat, or evergreen plants following the autumnal leaf fall for colour and reminder of life returning in the spring.
The people of Israel were given feasts at different times of the year to bring them together to remember the consistency of God and what he had done for them, and many of these coincide with or developed into Christian feasts…
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