Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paganism and redemption

I know it's a little premature to be talking about Christmas, but today I was reminded by my dad that there are some people in the world (who are, possibly, mad), who think that Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas because Christmas replaces something that was, at its root, a pagan festival. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I know people like this. They're nice, friendly, well-meaning, and (of course) utterly wrong. 

The thing to remember about all pagan practices, from tattooing to fertility cults, is that they are inextricably tied to the fall of humankind (which, I'm told, has something to do with a snake and a tree in a garden with a couple of poor, misguided people). And if people fall, which they do, then surely they can be picked up again? 

Christmas – the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, not the celebration of mindless capitalism – is a beautiful thing, especially if it replaces some odd pagan festival, because it symbolises the possibility that all things, even grossly ungodly festivals, may be redeemable. Christmas means that even people like me – people who lose their way occasionally, make mistakes, upset other people but generally do their best not to be walking disasters – are not beyond redemption. That sounds like really good news to me. The abolishment of Christmas, on the other hand, sounds like a crime against humanity.

1 comment:

  1. By the way, if you want to read more about the relationship between paganism and Christianity, check out GK Chesterton's amazing work, "The everlasting man" – one of the finest books ever written.