Thu | Apr 26, 2018

Taking Christ out of Christmas

Published:Tuesday | January 1, 2013 | 12:00 AM
The Nativity scene never looked as good as when the tots from Sts Peter and Paul Prep re-enacted it at their carol service earlier this week. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer


I READ Ian Boyne's article titled 'Take Christ out of Christmas' in The Sunday Gleaner of December 23, 2012 and wondered why he decided to use up so much space to present an argument that really doesn't have much traction with the masses and does not carry much relevance with respect to the meaning and importance of Christmas. It seems to me that it was an exercise in futility for such a noble journalist to be engaged in. How does he propose to get rid of Christ from Christmas after over 1,500 years of the existence of Christmas? What would Christmas be without reference to the Christ? There are some implications that Mr Boyne has apparently not considered.

Beyond that issue is the matter of Boyne's quibbling and ranting remarks about Christmas having pagan origins and December 25 being a bogus date with respect to Jesus' birthday. This is really much ado about nothing. It is like trying to hit the wind. Most, if not all, Christians these days agree that Jesus was not born on December 25. This is not really disputed anymore. We also acknowledge that Christmas has pagan origins. However, we do not make that an issue because what is important is not the origins of Christmas but the meaning and significance of it.

It is unfair to hit out at the Roman Catholic Church for its role in the emergence of Christmas as the time when we remember the birth of Jesus. Yes, the Roman Church baptised a pagan holiday or festival and made it Christian, but what is inherently wrong with that? Didn't the Jews about whom Boyne writes so fondly also christen days and festivals of the nations around them? It is appropriate to take the things of the world, which have been distorted by sinful humans and by the powers of darkness, and dedicate them to the Lord.

continued relevance

At the end of the day, whether or not Jesus was born on December 25 or April 13 does not matter. Neither does it matter whether Christmas emanated from pagan origins. What is more significant is that Christianity as a religion is able to demonstrate its continued relevance and importance at times of the year like Christmas and Easter. What lies behind Christmas, the message of God's incarnation for our salvation, is more crucial than the pagan background of this wonderful season.