In addition to a balking media, Christmas has long been under attack among Protestants as it has not been since the Puritans outlawed its observance in both England and America in the 17th century. Religious radicals as well as a growing number of responsible church leaders have advocated dropping Christmas from the Christian calendar.
One of the most frequently made charges against Christmas is that it is “pagan,” or that it arose from pagan sources. This charge cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Christmas is not pagan, nor did it arise from pagan sources. The Christmas festival originated in the early fourth century from a need to emphasize the physical birth of Christ as the focal point of divine incarnation.
Admittedly much of the folklore and many of the customs that surround Christmas are of pre-Christian origin. But this does not mean they are necessarily anti-Christian. Let us be careful not to confuse Christmas with the tinsel that surrounds its observance. Christmas, properly understood and observed, is distinctly Christian.
There are many good reasons for retaining Christmas. The chief of which is that at Christmas the minds of millions are turned, if only briefly and imperfectly, to a focal point of the Christian faith. And for a few days we all feel the spirit of the Savior who came to bring “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” We should be thankful for this. At least for a little while our world is a better place.