My friend, author Mary Lou Cheatham, Mary-Cooke.com, posted this on her blog this week. I appreciated it and asked if I could share it here.
Whether you're having fruitcake, chitterlings, or tamales, make it a Christmas to remember!
Mary Lou Cheatham
Explore the Unforgettable
Have you heard arguments that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas—or at least avoid secular trappings—because it’s a pagan holiday? I’m not sure whether people who say such things are following the example Scrooge before his reformation or of the Grinch.
Such Christmas naysayers argue that Christmas trees are proof that Christmas is a pagan celebration. This idea makes no sense because many Christians have celebrated Christmas without cutting trees and taking them into their houses.
Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, an Orthodox Christian archbishop and author, points out that pagans do not own all the trees. Neither do they own all the mistletoe. If we Christians delight in remembering the birth of our Savior by decorating our homes with whatever greenery we choose, we have no reason to feel guilty.
In a recent blog, <”Christmas is Not Pagan. Just Stop.” December 5, 2018> Fr. Andrew discusses other symbols considered pagan. Some actually believe that burning a log in the fireplace is a pagan custom because early Germanic tribes practiced pagan rituals involving Yule logs and bonfires.
If we use a fire to keep us warm or if our south Louisiana friends build bonfires on the levee, we need not concern ourselves by thinking we are inappropriately celebrating Christ’s birth.
Whatever a person has in his heart is not for the rest of us to judge. It’s okay to give presents—even though as Fr. Andrew points out—exchanging gifts can be considered a heathen practice. Also it is possible to celebrate Christmas without exchanging gifts.
The point is that we worship Jesus, who came to the earth in the form of a man, although he is and always has been God. Enjoy your Christmas celebrations as you wish and let God’s love shine through you.
Merry Christmas, y’all.
Mary Cooke writing as Mary Lou Cheatham