Apologetics · Christian Responsibilities

PAGAN HOLIDAYS?

Christmas, Easter, Halloween…..every year around these holidays I see the same old things going around on Facebook and Twitter; that these holidays are filled with PAGANISM.  Christians and atheists alike share these posts – one to say that we are “sinning” by celebrating these holidays, and the latter to say “see? look how much Jesus is like ancient pagan gods, therefore, He is made up!”  It disturbs me that Christians are partaking in a similar tactic as atheists, just with a slightly different message.  This should disturb EVERYONE.

I fear what this is doing in the minds and hearts of those who view these posts and writings from Christians.  I fear what this type of “bible thumping” per say is doing to those seeking information about God.  I fear how this makes seekers and non-believers view Christians.  So I’m writing about it from a biblical aspect, to hopefully offer some sound insight to this subject of “Pagan” holidays.  My hope is that it gives greater understanding to this information being shared out there.

WHAT IS IT
First of all, let me say, YES!  God hates idolatry.  Idolatry is creating other gods for ourselves to worship instead of Him.  The reason He hates this is because He IS the creator of all things, and DESERVES our worship.  The idols people make/made up to worship didn’t create all things.  They honestly don’t even exist.  So yes, idolatry is a terrible sin in the eyes of God.

Now we can discuss the real definitions of paganism and polytheism so people can understand that Christians aren’t pagan OR polytheistic:
The English definition of pagan is:
1:  heathen 1; especially :  a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

2:  one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods :  an irreligious or hedonistic person.

Polytheism
is the worship or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals.Paganism and polytheism are bad things for a Christian.  They ARE things we should stay away from.  It IS, according to the Bible, IDOLATRY.  And as we all know, the first NEW commandment (given by Jesus) says:

Matthew 22:

The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

WHY IT’S TAUGHT
I understand the reasoning behind people talking about paganism within our celebrated holidays.  Halloween is easy.  With Christmas, it’s the Christmas tree, and the wreaths, and the gifts, etc.  (I’m not going to go into Jesus’ birth date  and the background of pagan practices because that’s not the point of this blog, and chances are, you’ve already heard all about them anyway.)

 Christians who focus a lot of their energy on pagan things have been duped by Satan INTO pagan practices prior to their Christian walk, falling into that lair, thus why they try to teach about it.  For example – if someone had previously been involved in witchcraft or something similar, and then became a new creature in Christ, this will be the area they are most passionate about because this was Satan’s biggest deception in their own personal lives.  It happens to all of us – that which we were deceived most with becomes our passion later on once we are cleansed of it.

Me personally?  I was not deceived with this aspect of sin, thus why I can see the other side of it.  I do not disagree about these pagan practices and Christians teaching about them.  What I disagree with is how they go about it.  It APPEARS to others as BIBLE THUMPING.  And I truly don’t believe Jesus wanted us viewed that way.

THE PROBLEM WITH LIVING ANTI-PAGAN LIVES

I have heard and witnessed Christians hiding themselves and their families away on Halloween – completely avoiding and ignoring innocent trick-or-treaters following this nation’s traditions.  I have heard of Christian families NOT celebrating Christmas or Easter for fear of this form of idolatry they think they are practicing if they do celebrate these days with the rest of the nation.  I see an issue with this – ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN.

You see, when we raise children to feel DIFFERENT from the rest of society in such a fashion (causing them to feel – negatively – left out, odd, etc), often times they turn from the faith when they grow up BECAUSE of the oppression they felt as children.  We see this with millions of Catholics in all generations.  Statistics show most homosexuals come from a Catholic based family.  Statistics show that many atheists also come from Catholic based families.  WHY is this?  It’s because of hypocrisy…plain and simply.  It’s the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, and kids eventually see right through that as they grow.  Is it a good thing for a Christian parent to put their child in a potential place of unbelief as they grow?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Let’s face facts – EVERYTHING in this nation is pretty much from SOMETHING pagan in the past.  From our flags, to our monuments, to our pictures and images of Jesus, to our family photos, to our worship of self and money, etc.  Even our very calendar is pagan! Should we stop using our calendars and use the Jewish calendar? How would that work?

We simply can’t escape every bit of it; it’s just not possible, unless we become a hermit living off the land in a mountain cave somewhere – or move to Israel and adopt their ways and customs.

To preach paganism about our national holidays oftentimes appears to others who either aren’t believers, or are new believers, as Christians are bigoted, radical, and hypocritical.  One preaching this anti-pagan message may also appear as a religious fanatic….and I HIGHLY doubt that’s the message Jesus wants us to send out there to the world.

Preaching paganism is about works over faith, not faith over works.  It’s just a different form of “religion”.  It’s just what the Pharisee’s used to do that Jesus condemned greatly.

SOME ALTERNATIVES
Since I’ve given an example of this dilemma in a Christian life, I must offer an alternative, right?  The best I can do is tell you what my “Jesus-following-and-adoring-family” does during these holidays because to me, we aren’t to HIDE from the darkness, but be LIGHT to SCATTER the darkness; living as an example of Christ as best we can in a world decaying under the weight of it’s own sin, without becoming SO scary and “off” to others as to offend and scare them away.  We see this plenty with the radical Westboro Baptist Church members – holding their signs that say “God hates Fags”, etc.Especially with little kids around – whether it be grandkids or your own children – this is probably the BEST way to handle this situation here in America….at least until Jesus returns and cleanses ALL things of evil.  🙂

HALLOWEEN – my husband and I decided to make Halloween about God.  Every year I purchase SOMETHING Christian to hand out….whether it be optical illusion tract cards, bible verse wrapped candy, or even silicone bracelets with a Godly message on them; these are what we hand out on Halloween.  Believe it or not – the kids LOVE this.   I have NEVER met a child in my entire life that didn’t find wonderment, joy, and comfort in the love of Jesus Christ.  Just this last year I handed out optical illusion cards to the kids with a great message on the back about sin and the love of Christ and the kids (and even many parents) LOVED these.  Our mission is to spread the gospel, not be ashamed of it.

CHRISTMAS – We have done away with MOST of our holiday decorations.  Yes we still put up a (pagan) tree and decorate it because it’s PRETTY.  The reason I know we can do this is because we aren’t praying to another god with this tree, we aren’t placing gifts for a different god under this tree, and we aren’t  bowing down and worshiping this tree.  We know what it is, and it means little to us, other than a pretty decoration to add to the already wonderful feeling we get during the Christmas season.  Could we do without it?  Sure.  But for my daughter’s sake (so she doesn’t have to awkwardly and embarrassingly explain why we don’t have a tree), we put it up.

Every Christmas we have a tradition of watching a movie about Jesus.  We do away with Santa Claus and tell my daughter the TRUTH about the holiday.  Sometimes we even sing happy birthday to Jesus as a reminder.  I will never fill any child’s head with that lie again because the holiday has nothing to do with Santa or about getting our favorite toys or material things.   The holiday itself has EVERYTHING to do with the GREATEST gift God could have EVER given us; a savior.  THAT’S what we need to be teaching our children!  No matter what day He was ACTUALLY born on.

We also try to stay away from Christmas music that sings about Santa, toys, reindeer, and material things of this world.  Telling the TRUTH about these things to our children helps them to become strong leaders and advocates for Jesus later in life.  It helps them understand the REAL meaning of Christmas….and that is to be loving toward one another and giving.  Truth be told, this should happen EVERY day – but Christmas is an EXCELLENT start!  🙂

EASTER – Easter at our house is similar to Christmas.  We do away with the Easter Bunny but still give a little (pagan) basket (without Prayers and Cries to the Goddess Esther).  We then GREATLY reflect on the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior and every year, we watch The Passion of the Christ.  Every year, it moves and humbles every one of us to understand and reflect on that awesome sacrifice, and WHY He had to do it.

You see, without Easter and Christmas being celebrated in this nation, would the unsaved here in this nation EVER think about God or Jesus or what He was sent here for?  Maybe, but these days certainly help.

Not to mention, I would like everyone who reads this to consider the amazing feelings we get around days like Easter and Christmas.  Consider the warmth and generosity, and the loving spirit we get filled with around Easter and Christmas.  There’s a reason why these two holidays alone carry that feeling and spirit.  Ponder that for a bit.

Yet somehow, I get the feeling that these Christians who are opposing these holidays based on “pagan” traditions somehow wish to do away with our celebrating these special days – because of fear of retribution by our loving Savior.  Is that “right” in your mind?  And when does “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.” come into play?  (Jesus’ own words, not mine.)

Please share this with an anti-pagan “preacher” if you run into one.  Teach them to share the love of Christ, instead of a god that they feel is going to punish everyone for putting up a tree or giving a basket of goodies. In order to BE pagan, one must perform pagan rituals WITH prayers and cries out to a pagan god. I don’t believe Christians are praying to any other god but Jesus on Christmas and Easter.

Matthew 11: Jesus Gives True Rest

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

PEACE to you all, today and every day.  🙂

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