It doesn’t matter when Christ was actually born.
It doesn’t matter if the origins of Christmas began as a pagan holiday or commemorated a pagan practice.
It doesn’t matter if we open gifts, drink egg nog (the real kind) or decorate a tree.
The reason none of that matters is because of two things:
REDEMPTION & REMEMBRANCE.
That is the whole essence of Christmas.
God is all about remembering. He commanded us to tell our children about His marvelous deeds and to establish times of remembrances, to erect Ebenezers (originally a “stone of help”, raised by Samuel celebrate a victory over the Philistines.) for the important events that demonstrate His power and glory.
Is there anything worth remembering, celebrating and hailing as a victory in the Christian’s life more than God in the flesh, coming to redeem the lost world?
The minute Christ was born, the whole world began the process of redemption. Hope flooded a sin-sick place, and His Kingdom came to earth and He began, and continues, to reconcile the world to Himself.
And it is because of this very redemption that Christians have been given the freedom and opportunity to redeem such things even as pagan holidays. For He has redeemed us, brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light–how beautiful that we can demonstrate that redemptive power to a lost world!
I like how Jeremy Meyers put it (Disclaimer: that I’m quoting someone may or may not indicate that I agree with every word he’s ever spoken. I don’t know. I haven’t read anything else he’s written.):
“But more than that, and here is the best part, and also the part that explains why I revel in pagan holidays, through the grace of Jesus, if He can redeem me from my slavery to sin, why cannot He also redeem stories? Why cannot He also redeem holidays? Which is harder? To redeem a person, or to redeem a day? To redeem a rebellious sinner, or to redeem an imaginative story?
But so that you may know that the Son of Man has power to redeem both stories and days, just look at yourself. If you have risen from your mat of pagan sin and death, then the core of paganism (you and me) has already been redeemed! If Jesus Christ can redeem us, then certainly He can redeem our past, our present, our future, our mistakes, our holidays, and our stories.”
It kind of reminds me of the way the Pharisees were always saying to Jesus, “But, but you’re breaking the rules and traditions of our fathers.” And Jesus constantly reminds them that things have changed now, and though the moral law has not been done away with, His redeeming love has changed things.
It is our job to mirror Christ to the world. To live out the Gospel. REDEMPTION. We, of all people, should celebrate the loudest, feast the heartiest, embrace life the fullest and live a redeeming life, bringing everything under the authority of Him who makes all things new.
And for those unfamiliar, Christmas is the Advent season and our joyous anticipation of Christ’s return, which is most certainly a Christian celebration.
“Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth!”