CHRISTIAN SNOBS ECHO SCROOGE
Christmas is disgusting. It’s all pagan worship. Even most Christians don’t realize that all their decorations and traditions come from ancient Babylon. Our family doesn’t cave in to all this stuff and I tell friends at church they shouldn’t either! Signed, Christian Grinch
By saying “all this stuff,” I assume we’re talking Christmas trees, mistletoe, hasty pudding, Yule logs, etc.? Granted, Christmas choices are a matter of personal conscience. I had a similar e-mail conversation with another Christian killjoy last month so I retrieve and relate to you my comments to him.
You are correct in information but somewhat rude in application. Many Christmas traditions and dates do harken back to pagan ritual, but rather than wax obnoxious about these pagan roots, think redemption. The Judaic/Christian experience has long been skilled at squeezing good out of evil and lovely out of ugly.
For example, the early Roman highway system was created for conquest and to knit the vast pagan empire together. But first-century believers handily traveled the Roman roads to spread the Gospel. What had been created for domination became avenues for evangelism.
Ritual gift-giving started in Babylon when the winter solstice was celebrated as the birthday of Tammuz, their god of vegetation. The god Nimrod supposedly left gifts on the evergreen trees. Later, gifts continued between friends and family during the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which also included feasting, candles and celebratory figurines.
But gift-giving has been flipped by believers to now represent the gifts to Christ from the Magi. My family went one step further to prevent the threatened Christmas budget bust. Early on, our kids received from Mom and Dad only three gifts to symbolize the Magi’s gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Use of the Christmas tree may seem to be axed by Scripture (“For the customs of the peoples are vain...for one cutteth a tree out of the forest…they deck it with silver and gold”). In reality, and when correctly translated, Jeremiah 10:1-5 condemns only the pagan practice of cutting and carving a tree into an idol’s form to be carted around and worshipped.
Some of my Jewish friends so love Christmas trees that they commandeered the concept, renamed theirs a Hanukkah bush and decorate it with dradles, Stars of David and mini-menorahs. So, if you still take issue with the tree, comfort yourself knowing that all Christmas trees point to Him.
Grinch, while much of the world celebrates Christmas with counterfeit joy, we believers are not to humbug the event. We are to reflect the Light toward those who fete a Truth they do not know.
By loving them in their blindness, God may create a pathway into their darkness - and thus provide us an opportunity to echo Acts 17:23, where the Apostle Paul said to the Athenians, “What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”
© 2007 - Ellen Makkai - All Rights Reserved
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From 1985 to 2002, Ellen Brewster (Makkai) wrote for several major metropolitan editorial pages, a well-known website, Creator's Syndicate and a national Christian publication. Her columns provided a counterpoint to the vast majority of secular writers who frequently discount or insult the faith community. The small feature, "Bible Byte," offset daily horoscopes in one local newspaper.
You are correct in information but somewhat rude in application. Many Christmas traditions and dates do harken back to pagan ritual, but rather than wax obnoxious about these pagan roots, think redemption.