With all this talk of “war on Christmas” and fighting over nativity displays, it’s refreshing to read a rational discussion about the origins of this holiday published on a Christian site, ChristianPost.com. What I took away from the article is that “Christmas” does not belong just to Christians, it belongs to human beings.
The season is partly Christian and partly Pagan. One person thought the emphasis on lights and color has a Pagan origin, the celebration of solstice. Pagan life was filled with festivities and celebrations.
The defeat of darkness and victory for light was cause for celebration. Candles also symbolized the defeat of darkness.
In secular literature, there is doubt about the birth story. The Biblical writers closest to the time of Jesus did not discuss where he came from. The birth story came up later.
If the birth story was meant to be inspirational fiction, it is easy to see how a new birth would be an attractive metephor for new light. To the extent that is what happened, the substitution of new birth for new light was very successful indeed.
Historically speaking, then, “Happy Holidays” is just as legitimate a greeting as “Merry Christmas”. I think there are folks who just need something to grouse about until the days get longer and they cheer up. The “war of Christimas” fits the bill.
Perhaps, lighting a few pagan candles will cheer everyone up.