Alright. Let’s just give up trying to reclaim Christmas, admit once and for all the culture has won, and officially “take Christ out of Christmas.” So argued Amy Sullivan in an editorial in USA Today in 2011. Not that Sullivan wants to eliminate a celebration of Christ’s birth. She simply wants to move the celebration to a different day. That way, culture can have its “happy holiday” – its Santa and elves and shopping bonanzas; and we Christians can have our religious holiday.
Sullivan’s idea actually has some merit. After all, as any biblical scholar will tell you, Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th, but likely in September. So, changing the date would actually honor historical accuracy. However, it would dishonor two-thousand years of church tradition.
It also wouldn’t eliminate the battle between God and culture. Often it’s said that Christians stole December 25th from the Romans who celebrated the date as a festival to their sun god. But, sufficient evidence suggests that the Romans stole the date from the Christians first! In fact, as early as the second century, Christians were postulating – though incorrectly – that Jesus was born on December 25th. So in the third century, when Emperor Aurelian established December 25th as a festival to the sun god, he actually was co-opting the date from Christians! Why? Because he hated Christianity and wanted to promote paganism.
Regardless of when we celebrate Christ’s birth, Satan will try to sabotage it. After all, he’s sabotaged all the other religious holidays. January 1st used to be a feast celebrating Christ’s circumcision; now it’s New Year’s. October 31st is Halloween instead of All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Eve. And now, Mardi Gras overshadows Ash Wednesday – the day we prepare for the Easter bunn . . . uh, I mean Christ’s resurrection.
You see, Satan hates religious holidays because he knows their power to re-focus our attention on his nemesis – Jesus Christ. He’ll always try to take the Christ out of Christmas. Rather than surrender December 25th, I suggest we Christians fight for it.