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"Is the celebration of Christmas a pagan ritual?"



That question comes up every year at Christmastime. In the first place, there’s no direct biblical commandment to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. There’s nothing in the Bible that would even indicate that Jesus was born on December 25. In fact, there’s much in the New Testament narratives that would indicate that it didn’t occur during that time of year. It just so happens that on the twenty-fifth of December in the Roman Empire there was a pagan holiday that was linked to mystery religions; the pagans celebrated their festival on December 25. The Christians didn’t want to participate in that, and so they said, “While everybody else is celebrating this pagan thing, we’re going to have our own celebration. We’re going to celebrate the thing that’s most important in our lives, the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. So this is going to be a time of joyous festivities, of celebration and worship of our God and King.”

I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating his birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, for example, there were times when God emphatically commanded the people to remember certain events with annual celebrations. While the New Testament doesn’t require that we celebrate Christmas every year, I certainly see nothing wrong with the church’s entering into this joyous time of celebrating the Incarnation, which is the dividing point of all human history. Originally, it was intended to honor, not Mithras or any of the other mystery religion cults, but the birth of our King.

Incidentally, Easter can be traced to Ishtar in the ancient world. But the Christian church coming together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is hardly something I think would provoke the wrath of God. I wish we had more annual festivals. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, celebrates with great joy the Feast of the Ascension every year. Some Protestant bodies do, but most do not. I wish we would celebrate that great event in the life of Christ when he was raised up into heaven to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. We celebrate his birth; we celebrate his death. I wish we would also celebrate his coronation.


Asked by -Eilish- at 3:02 PM on Dec. 3, 2010 in Religious Debate

Level 28 (33,578 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (33)
  • giftchristmas treereindeer 2drinking beerAlmost every aspect of Christmas traditions come from Pagan origins. I think true Christians wouldn't celebrate Christmas because of this much like the Puritans and Jehovah's Witnesses. But, I say "Let the drunken revelry begin."


    Answer by onethentwins at 3:21 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • We Christians hijacked many Pagan holidays and rituals and incorporated them into our own celebrations. There is nothing wrong with that and that doesn't mean that we should not celebrate them.

    Do we not take bits and pieces of family traditions and incorporate them into our own family traditions when we marry or mate??

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 3:25 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • The origins of Christmas all have Pagan roots. It's that simple, and there is simply no getting around it. But that doesn't mean that TODAY Christmas isn't Christian. Personally, I don't understand why it's celebrated as Christian, but since it is, enjoy it. That said, denying the roots doesn't in any way change them...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 4:27 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • Is the celebration of Christmas a pagan ritual?

    Christmas no, Yule yes.  It's all in what you decide to focus on.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 3:04 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • most Christmas tradition does come from the Pagan traditions. . .

    Answer by Kirs at 3:06 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • But the means of celebration (trees, lights, holly, etc) mostly have Pagan roots. IMO, though that does not make Christmas inherently pagan.

    Answer by Groovyflor1 at 3:22 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • when do we celebrate his death? We do celebrate His resurrection..that's what Easter is about :). I agree that it's a great time of year with many religious holidays to learn about and different people to celebrate with. For me it's not "us" vs. "them" but instead everyone celebrating together. We could learn a lot about each other and the different beliefs if we could get past all the hate, Rejoicing in someone else's tradition doesn't make mine less valid as I'm secure in my faith.

    Answer by kittieashy at 3:26 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • The way I see it is this ... God created trees, holly, light (not light bulbs obviously), etc. so pagans don't have ownership of that stuff either.

    With this argument, believing that God is the creator of everything we see, every holiday would be a Christian one. God created the people who created fireworks (and all the ingredients that go in to those beautiful booms) so would 4th of July and Chinese New Year be Christian holidays too?

    Answer by Groovyflor1 at 3:49 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • No rules nowadays and Christians did not steal "Christ"mas from Pagans, that would be stupid. :)

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 4:58 PM on Dec. 3, 2010

  • Even if some of the traditions come from Paganism, the holiday Christmas (celebrating the birth of Jesus) is a Christian holiday.

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 8:07 PM on Dec. 3, 2010