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COMMUNITY VOICES: Is Christmas a pagan holiday?

Some have concerns about Christmas and equate it to paganism. Those who believe Christmas is a pagan holiday should be consistent in their rational.

Allow me to create a scenario.

The next time someone attempts to convince you that celebrating Christmas has pagan origins, use the following illustration to prove you are not associating Christmas with paganism.

Ask them: “Do you use a calendar?” Their answer would obviously be, “Yes.” Then ask: “Do you think it honors God for you to use or carry something like that?”

They will probably wonder what you are talking about. Inform them of the following and say: ”You have just criticized me because I celebrate the Savior’s birth since you associate Christmas with pagan festival days. But have you ever taken a close look at the calendar you use? Did you know the names for the days of the week come from pagan origins, possibly concerning the worship of gods and goddesses associated with the heavenly bodies (astrology) of our solar system?

“Sunday was named for the sun’s day; Monday for the moon’s day; Tuesday for Mars (Tues in Norse) day; Wednesday for Mercury (Woden’s day, Teutonic god Wotan); Thursday for Thor’s (Jupiter’s) day (god of thunder); Friday for Venus (Frigga) the Scandinavian goddess of love; and Saturday for Saturn’s day (god of time).”

There is pagan origin in our calendar.

However, we don’t refuse to acknowledge the days of the week or months of the year because the names of days and months have its origin in pagan rituals. Now that you have their attention, go a bit further and say, “And what about some of the months of the year on that calendar you use?”

“January was named in honor of the Roman god Janus who was the deity of the gates or doorway. He has two faces, looking in opposite directions. February for the Sabine festival of purification called februa; March for Mars the Roman god of war; April for the goddess Venus (known among the Greeks as the goddess Aphrodite); May for Maia, an Italian goddess; June for the Roman god Juno, wife of Jupiter and queen of the heavens and gods; July for Julius Caesar, noted Roman warrior and politician.

“Were you aware your calendar at home contained the names of these pagan deities, festivals and politicians written on it several times? Do you really think it honors God for you owning or using the calendar?

They will probably answer, “Well, I don’t even think about those things when I use my calendar.” You can then answer: “You’ll have to now, because I’ve just made you aware of them. And besides, I don’t associate Christmas with paganism either. So let me celebrate whatever days I choose unto God (as Paul the Apostle tells me I am free to do so in Romans 14) and I won’t bother you about your pagan calendar.”

If celebrating the Lord’s birth bothers some individuals that much, they have every right not to celebrate it. However, they should refrain from condemning others who choose to celebrate our Lord’s birth at Christmastime. We are aware Christ was not born on Dec. 25. Celebrating Christmas is not celebrating paganism. Enjoy the festivities during this time of the year and have a wonderful Christmas.

David Vivas Jr. is the pastor at World Harvest International Church in Delano. The views expressed are his own.

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