Should we regard it as a purely pagan festival?
The celebration of Christmas on December 25th as a Christian commemoration of the birth of Christ comes under the teaching:
Mark 7:7 ...in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 9 ... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The observing of the Jewish feasts in the Law of Moses was optional for the Jewish Christian believers until the destruction of the Temple. Nothing was added for Christians to observe in the first century.
From the British Encyclopedia
CHRISTMAS (Cristes Maesse in late O.E.), the festival of the Christian Church observed annually on 25th Dec. in memory ofthe birth of Christ, and celebrated by a special church service. The time when the festival was first observed is not known with certainty; but it is spoken of in the beginning of the third century by Clement of Alexandria, and in the latter part of the fourth century Chrysostom speaks of it as of great antiquity.
As to the day on which it was celebrated, there was long considerable diversity, but by the time of Chrysostom the Western Church had fixed on the 25th of Dec, though no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed. The Eastern Church, which previously had generally favoured the 6th of Jan., gradually adopted the same date. Many believe that the existence of heathen festivals celebrated on or about this day had great influence on its being selected; and the Brumalia, a Roman festival held at the winter solstice, when the sunis as it were born anew, has often been instanced as Having a strong bearing on the question.
In the Roman Catholic, Greek, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches' there is a special religious service for Christmas Day; and, contrary tothe general rule, a Roman Catholic priest can celebrate three masses on this day. Most other Churches hold no special service, but almost everywhere throughout Christendom it is kept as a holiday and occasion of social enjoyment.
Most of the Christian customs, however, now prevailing in Europe are not genuinely Christian, but heathen customs, absorbed or tolerated by the Church. These customs are inherited chiefly from two sources: from Roman and from Teutonic paganism. The cradle of Christ, the object of reverence in the Roman Catholic Church, is borrowed from the cult of Adonis, and Christmas games from the Roman Saturnalia. The use of evergreen and of the fir tree, a German custom which is first mentioned in the seventeenth century (1605), and was introduced into France and England in 1810, was adopted at first through analogy with the Maienbaum.—-Bibliography : L. Duohesne,Origines du culte chretien ; A. Tille, Yule and Christmas; C. A. Miles, Christmas in Ritual and Tradition.
There is a lot of information on the pagan origins of Christmas on the internet so I will not labour it further. We will continue on the assumption that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ other than the co-opting of his name.
The following questions arise:
· Is it OK to have family round to dinner with turkey and all the trimmings?
· Is it OK to buy people presents?
· Is it OK to send cards?
· Is it OK to drink a glass of sherry and eat mince pies and enjoy other delicacies of the season?
· Is it OK to have a Christmas tree?
· Is it OK to maintain the myth of Santa Claus to entertain our children?
The answers to all these questions are a matter for the individual’s conscience. None are of themselves wrong if we attach no religious or idolatrous beliefs to them and they are done in moderation. Activities which have their roots in idolatry fall into the same category as the eating of food offered to idols. Our understanding that an idol is nothing makes the food clean for us.
Romans 14:22-23 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
I hope you have found this helpful.