I know there are Christians out there who insist that Christmas can only be about the birth of Christ. They wear "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" buttons, get upset when they hear "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," lament the commercialism, and often deny the existence of the historical pagan roots of the holiday.
In response to that sort of person, there are those who make it their calling to inform everyone of those said pagan roots for Christmas. As in - Jesus is not the reason for the season, some other god of light is. The season is about the solstice and the mass of christ was placed in that season. Many of the solstice celebrations were then apprpriated as Christmas celebrations.
Other Christians refuse to even celebrate Christmas because of those pagan roots. In rejection of all things non-christian they choose not to be conformed to the world of christmas.
And of course all of those are very broad stereotypes I just painted. What are your thoughts? Where do you stand on these issues/ideas? Have your opinions changed over time?
Here is a paragraph I wrote in a recent blog post on decorating our tree -
So for a cultural tradition, we go all the way. The tree, the ornaments, the music, the TV shows (the Sesame Street Gift of the Magi with Bert, Ernie, and Mr. Hooper was on today - I had the record of that - fun memories) ... Are we a product of our culture, sure. Do I think it cheapen or takes the meaning out of Christmas? Not at all. I embrace Christmas with all its cultural, pagan, and religious roots. It just adds to the richness of the celebration. To celebrate the return of the light, to give gifts, to tell cultural folk tales, to get to decorate with my favorite colors, to listen to happy music, to see family, to remember the birth of Jesus - it is all meaningful in its own way. So Merry Christmas all.
I have come to apply Augustine's Egyptian gold principle to most of culture - I like to take what is good, and fun, and meaningful and appropiate and redeem it. There are of course issues with that, but to me it is the most joy affirming. So that's why I'd like to hear what others think on this whole issue.