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12.16.2005    |    Nice try...
...but no cigar. Gene Edward Veith, writing in World Magazine, attempts to convince us that "the origin of Christmas had nothing to do with paganism." By which he means not the birth of the Lord, but the date on the calendar on which it is celebrated.

Veith cites an epistle by "Calculating Christmas," published in the December 2003 Touchstone Magazine by William Tighe, and then goes on and on about how the date could have been calculated by assuming March 25 as the date for Jesus' conception. And so on. It's all very convoluted, and, as .

The entire effect is that Mr. Veith is trying far too hard to deny the obvious: that the celebration of Christmas within three days of the Winter Solstice was instituted to evangelize pagan peoples. To claim it had nothing to do with this purpose is to ignore the evidence. And, if it wasn't to coincide with the solstice, doesn't it ever occur that the arbitrary selection of March 25 for Jesus' conception (nine months to the day, even though human gestation isn't exactly nine months) is a bit too much of a coincidence?

The point is that Christmas as we now celebrate it has been encrusted with many pagan trappings. We are often told, not by World Magazine, to be certain, but by many others, that Christianity should "adapt itself" to cultural norms around the world. Well, yule logs, holly, dead pine trees in the living room certainly do that. Thereby, to a certain extent, violating the injunction, "Do not be conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2).

In the end, as Veith points out, the actual calendar date on which we celebrate the first coming of our Lord is not important. What is important is that He did come. Call it a rescue mission.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.