“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
There are questions occasionally as to whether a Christian should have Easter eggs, Christmas trees, Halloween costumes, and other such things because they may have been adopted from historically pagan rituals. While there is some evidence to show that we have inherited some things from summer and winter festivals, for instance, we need to look at what they represent now.
For starters, the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians all believed the world began from an enormous egg. That’s how they thought of life back then; eggs equaled life. We Christians adopted such metaphors as a simple to understand symbol for the life and rebirth of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas tree has a bit more shrouded origin, in that it may or may not have been used for a winter festival. In fact, the traditional celebration for the date of Christ’s birth was right around the same timeframe as the winter solstice. Pagan celebrations abounded around such times.
These kinds of things are historical, although maybe a bit cynical, to point out about some of the Christian celebrations we hold dear. However, the Christian shouldn’t shy away when a non-Christian brings these ideas up. These ideas are things to be embraced for multiple reasons.
First off, early Christians had a soft spot in their hearts for pagans. After all, the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Himself says to make disciples. It’s hard to make a disciple when you only hang out with other Christians. That holds just as true today. No Christian church or group should be a members only club! You are not trying to smuggle Jesus into Heaven or keep Him for yourself. There’s plenty of Jesus Christ for everybody. Go forth into the world, and as you are going, you’d better be sharing the Gospel.
Another thing to keep in mind about supposedly pagan celebrations is that God loves to turn evil on its back. The Bible is replete with bad things happening, only to have God, in His infinite wisdom and in His perfect timing, turn it into a time of joy. Just like Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Or perhaps an even better example of this is the cross itself. Horrible torture and punishment, but through which God redeemed the world.
What the devil means for evil, Christ will turn it around and make it into a cause for real celebration.
So don’t worry and think too deeply on if you should let your kids put up the Christmas tree or go to an Easter egg hunt. Holidays are a time for fun and happiness with family. Focus on Jesus and the blessings He has given you and not the evil that this world sometimes fosters. Even the best of us Christians can say that, although we were once blind and lost, we are now a new creation through the finished works of Jesus Christ.
God’s blessings to you.