The day of the year Christians use to celebrate the birth of Jesus may well not have been the actual date of His birth. The holiday, as it has evolved, has brought in elements of pagan worship.
* Druids instituted mistletoe
* The tree was apparently first introduced at Strasburg in 1605, and did not reach France and England until 1840.
* St. Nicholas
, was Bishop of Myra in the 4th century
* "Christmas was forbidden [in England] by Act of Parliament in 1644; the day was to be a fast and a market day; shops were compelled to be open; plum puddings and mince pies condemned as heathen."
* The gospels don't really provide any help in setting the date, since shepherds could have been out in the rainy season, and Rome was not necessarily considerate in setting the date of the census.
* The strongest connection of the celebratory date is to the solstice, and therefore possibly (probably) to worship of the Roman sun god and of Mithra.
For this reason, not to mention the corruption of the celebration by that false god of this age, Filthy Lucre, many Christians refuse to celebrate on this day.
I take my example from Jesus and the Publicans (one-time sinners, known in these days as re-
Publicans). He sat with them, shared dinner and conversation in full recognition of the human nature of His human incarnation, and rose from conversation untainted by their obsession with the material, full of the joy that eternal things give one.
And so, this day, if you do not celebrate Jesus, celebrate mercy, celebrate the spirit of peace, celebrate compassion for your brothers and sisters (even, nay, especially for the publicans and Republicans among them), celebrate the intelligence and wisdom that somehow, most mysteriously made that individual called you
instead of a twin sister for Britney, celebrate your community with all humankind and with all creatures, animal and plant....
Do these things, and you will be a better Christian than many.
(And if you do celebrate the birth of Jesus, Merry Christmas!)