Whose holiday is Christmas?

“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas
Or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree
But if you believe in love
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me”

–John Denver, “The Christmas Wish”

Amazing that Christmas has grown to the closest thing we have to a universal holiday, and people are pouting about it. Jesus’ message is ultimately love. If you come together in love, you’ve taken Jesus’ message to heart, whatever your religion. If you hate people for marking it with guys in red suits and animated snowmen, you’ve missed the message, even if you say every prayer and go to church every day.

Yet we’ve got some Christians arguing that we shouldn’t even call it “Christmas,” because it’s so commercialized. As if they even invented the holiday.

Reality check for you Christians: Very educated guesses say that Jesus Christ was born in spring. So why do we celebrate at the end of December?

Christ’s birthday wasn’t very important in the beginning, the emphasis was on the Resurrection at Easter. But as Christianity began to spread, one of the methods Christians used to stamp out the older pagan religions was to deliberately schedule Christian holidays on dates that were significant to the religion of the people they were trying to convert, and reinterpret other religions’ symbols in a Christian context.

Decorated trees, holly boughs, Yule logs? That’s all pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. So from the very beginning of Christmas celebrations, it was already a multi-religion holiday.

But if you really want to be Christian about it, remember that little tune about a true love’s gifts? Well, December 25 is the first day of Christmas, and traditionally, the best celebrations were on the twelfth day of Christmas (January 5). So stop throwing your trees out on December 26, already.

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