What Are the Facts About Christmas?
Millions of people worldwide celebrate Christmas for various reasons. Some enjoy festive times with friends and family. Others think about God or devote time to helping the poor or needy. By themselves, these are undoubtedly worthy deeds. However, they are clouded by the dark side of this holiday.
First, many celebrants believe that Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus. However, historians widely concur that the date of his birth is unknown. The Christian Book of Why notes that “the early Christians refused to set aside a date marking Jesus’ birth” because they wanted “to divorce themselves from all pagan practices.” Interestingly, the Bible gives no indication that Jesus ever celebrated his own birthday or anyone else’s. In contrast, he did command his followers to commemorate his death.—Luke 22:19.
Second, many scholars agree that most Christmas traditions have their roots in non-Christian and pagan customs. These include Santa Claus, as well as using mistletoe and the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, burning candles and Yule logs, hanging decorative wreaths, and caroling. Regarding some of these customs, the book The Externals of the Catholic Church observed: “When we give or receive Christmas gifts, and hang green wreaths in our homes and churches, how many of us know that we are probably observing pagan customs?”