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Origin Of Holidays

Origins Of Christmas - Christian Movement To Ban Christmas

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17 NIV

When Christianity spread, it encountered pagan religions. Rather than entirely eradicating the symbols and holidays of these religions, Christians incorporated and redefined them. There is a threat, some believed, that this could make the pure, original Christian faith watered-down or unclean. They believed it was better to gain true converts as opposed to filling up Church membership. After all, the path of Christianity was supposed to be a narrow road. [Matthew 7:13-14]

As the Protestant movement was sweeping across Europe, many wanted as little to do with the Catholic Church as possible. They believed this Church to be corrupt and not what Jesus had in mind. They wanted to kick out some of the symbolism within the Church that had any roots in pagan origins in accordance to the above scripture.

Holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween and others came under attack for being the root of all evil within the Church and in order to go back to the purity of Christianity, it was necessary to eliminate them or minimize them.

Some of the purist went for a mild cleansing which meant to eliminate only the pagan symbolism and make it only about the observance of Christ. Other extreme purists wanted to completely distance themselves from the holiday altogether, without finding a replacement for the days. Needless to say, this was not exactly a popular concept.

Even in the Protestant movement, many chose to keep the holiday they have come to know and love in tact. When some of the purists came into the New World to form colonies to keep them free from the evils of pagans, they really hoped to rope themselves off from paganism. They even made celebration of such holidays illegal punishable by banishment, torture or death, depending on how extreme they felt in a particular year.

As the spreading of the holiday they so hated was surrounding them, most either blended back in with the mainstream and demanded Christmas be only about Christ while others were made to feel like outcasts as they refused anything to do with the day.

Other Christians, who have become critics of those who refuse to celebrate Christmas on such grounds site the fact that Paul himself did not tear down the altar "To the Unknown God" nor claim that it was meaningless; instead, he gave it a new Christian symbolism, and used it to reveal God to the pagans in terms that they could understand. Paul did not tear down the alter to the unknown god, but instead told the men of Athens "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." [Acts 17:21-23]

It is not unbiblical to incorporate and redefine pagan symbols for the purpose of spreading the gospel. Other scriptures in Acts point out to how many necessary Laws of the old ways before Christ were expanded to include the Gentiles, including things that were important such as circumcision.

No matter where you stand on the issue if you are a Christian, what matters is following your faith, your conscience and your beliefs. After all, doesn't the Bible also say, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it wil be measured to you." [Matthew 7:1-2 NIV]