Those Pagan Christmas Symbols

I’m reading a book about making Christmas count, (25 Days, 26 Ways to Make this Your Best Christmas Ever). It’s an advent book that tackles a different aspect of the Christmas season on each day from December 1 through December 25.

The reading for today addresses Christmas trees. The author, Ace Collins, made an interesting point. A caller to a radio program on which Mr. Collins was being interviewed pointed out that Christmas trees, along with most of the other decorations we associate with Christmas, have pagan roots. The caller felt that Christians, and especially churches, should eschew all of those things that did not have “Christian roots.” Mr. Collins asked the caller if he had been a Christian all his life. The caller said he became a Christian at 16; he was now in his 30s. Mr. Collins pointed out that, using this same thinking, both he and the caller should be kicked out of the church. After all, they both have some pagan roots.

I love Mr. Collins’ answer. I occasionally encounter people with the same opinion as the caller in Mr. Collins’ story. I have pointed out that the origin of the tradition doesn’t take away from what it has come to mean today, but I’ve never thought of it in quite the way Mr. Collins approached it.

So, I will embrace my family traditions of the Christmas tree, the wreath, gift-giving, and the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 (even though that is almost certainly not the actual anniversary of the birth of the Christ child), taking solace in the knowledge that they have been redeemed from their pagan roots in much the same way as I have been.

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