Guest Author - Preena Deepak
Christmas is associated with several traditions, most of them with no Biblical basis. Sadly even Churches and staunch Christians have been following these traditions with no clue about their origins. As a result, many Churches and Christians are subtly adhering to pagan customs, hurting a God who loved them enough to send His precious Son to die for their sins.
Here are some popular Christmas traditions and customs that Christians must beware of.
Several myths and legends keep circulating about Santa Claus or Father Christmas as he is sometimes called. Santa’s elves, his reindeer, his wife and a whole load of imaginary beings have started to dominate Christmas festivities. Though it is not wrong to have fun with a dressed up Santa Claus in a Christmas party, making these legends seem real and over emphasizing them as part of Christmas especially to children or new believers steals away the joy of Christ’s birth with a cheap substitution. When Christ alone is the focus of Christmas celebrations, Santa can afford to stay in the backstage.
Whether you settle for a real or an artificial one, Christmas trees are entirely pagan in their origin and significance. As part of the Yule festival which also happens to fall on 25th December, druids who adhered to pagan customs decorate pine, fir or evergreen trees with images. These trees were revered by druids and believed to be eternal. Evergreen trees began to dominate Christmas celebrations since many argue that it is a symbolic representation of eternal life in Christ. When Christians already have the seal of the Holy Spirit and assurance of Heaven stamped on their souls, is that not enough? Why do we need any physical manifestations of our hope, especially borrowed from pagan customs? Think it over; is it at all necessary for us to put up a Christmas tree, knowing its affiliations?
Angels and Stars
One of the Ten Commandments says You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above of on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Exodus 20:4 (NIV). After having such a clear instruction from God, why do we make or buy figures of angels and stars to decorate our homes for Christmas? It might be true that you don’t worship any of this, but knowing God forbids graven images, why entertain them at all?
Christmas Wreaths decorated with mistletoes, bells, stars and glitters sure look great on your walls and doors. Did you know that these wreaths are used to represent the wheel of the year, a pagan practice?
Mistletoe is the main ingredient used by druids to cast spells and charms. It is believed that a woman can be mesmerized and abused when mistletoe is held over her head. This is the reason for hanging mistletoes on doors. Why do Christians need to decorate their homes, Churches, greeting cards and gift tags with a leaf considered sacred to pagans?
The twelve days of Christmas or Yuletide
The twelve days of Christmas is counted from Christmas till Epiphany. But this is derived from yuletide which refers to twelve daily sacrifices offered on the Yule log in honor of a pagan god of fertility. Each day a different sacrifice was made on a single, large log that represents a pagan idol. Yule log or yuletide is in no way associated with Christ’s birth. By conveying ‘Yuletide Greetings’, Christian believers are unknowingly acknowledging a custom from the pagan world.
Though we now see cute images of elves and hear fancy stories of the elf world, these are nothing but tree demons. Elves are referred to by other names as well and are portrayed in a positive light especially during Christmas season. That does not change the nature of these spirits and there is no reason whether Biblical or otherwise for Christians to bring in figures, stories or any other depictions of such creatures into Christmas celebrations.
Christmas customs and traditions have piled up over time. Pagans accuse Christians of having stolen a whole lot of their customs. They may not be entirely wrong either because Christmas festivities now focus more attention on fancy fads rather than on ‘Christ’ who is the reason for the season. Before planning this year’s Christmas Holiday, take a moment to wait in prayer and with the Spirit to guide you, celebrate this holiday meaningfully.
Here are two useful books you might want to buy from Amazon.com for further reading.
Buy 'Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent' by Richard Rohr from Amazon.com
Buy 'Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas' by various authors from Amazon.com