As with other holidays, Christmas has had it share of controversy this year. First, with all the politically-correct, "separation of church and state" folks not wanting people to say "Merry Christmas" or to display Nativity scenes. Then there was all the uproar over the decision of many churches this year to be closed on Christmas day, which this year happened to fall on a Sunday. For many, these closings were an indication of wrong priorities-- they thought that churches should remain open because we must not allow the celebration of the holiday to override our celebration of Jesus.
Within the Christian community, the old debate over whether to even celebrate Christmas was again revived. In his usual pointed way, Steve Camp brought out the issues in his post Is Christ Jesus the Reason for the Season? Read The History of Christmas to find out
Camp's article quotes an article by Jim McCutchan that argues that the pagan and Roman Catholic roots of the Christmas holiday prevent us from celebrating modern day Christmas in a way that rightly celebrates the birth of our Savior.
Yet others say that we have the history wrong, and that the notion that Christmas has strictly pagan roots is a myth. Gene Edward Veith, in Why December 25?, argues that the origin of Christmas had nothing to do with paganism. His article is based on the conclusions of historian William J. Tighe, in his 2003 Touchstone magazine article Calculating Christmas.
The always eloquent Albert Mohler, Jr. offers his positive take on celebrating Christmas in The People Who Walk in Darkness Will See a Great Light.
I particularly liked Jim Eliff's presentation of good reasons for celebrating Christmas, Christmas: Bah Humbug or Gloria in Excelsis. Though the holiday may not really celebrate the actual birth date of our Lord, and does have some "Romish" history, Mr. Eliff argues that Christmas can be celebrated in a God-honoring way if done in the right spirit.
Jollyblogger offers a nice wrap-up of the debate in his article The Ol' Origins of Christmas Debate.
Finally, I think Diane at Crossroads offers a challenging message to the Church with the post Satan's Meeting. In our busyness, just who are we really following after? This article prompts us to sharpen our spiritual awareness, and is espcecially appropriate as we enter into the new year.
Blessings to you all in New Year 2006!