I’ve had various people mention that certain Christian holidays are “pagan,” and if we celebrate them at all, we are not honoring Christ but instead are insulting Him. Halloween, Easter (yes, Easter), Christmas… And I’ve always been on the fence, not sure what to celebrate or how. But my feelings were never about pleasing the Lord, per se, but more about pleasing those ultra-Christians or pleasing my own conscience.
On the way home from my OB yesterday, I heard a brief message by Ravi Zecharias, a message I was meant to hear. He was answering questions, and someone brought up paganism in Christianity. His answer was something like this: You have to be careful what you label “pagan” because even the name God has pagan roots (i.e., you can go crazy with your labeling). He said any label is useless unless you look at the contents. He compared it to calling an empty bottle “pagan.” The bottle isn’t pagan, it’s what you put into it. So for example, the holiday or the tree or the dressing up isn’t necessarily pagan or Christian, it’s the heart-matter that is pagan or Christian, the why of the matter.
Now I know this brief explanation would never please those who are quick to point out the “paganism” in Christianity. But it was a blessing to me because God has been teaching me about freedom for a while now. Being a Christian is FREEING!!! It’s not about not being able to do this or not being able to eat this or feeling guilty about thinking this. And it’s especially not those things as compared to what some other Christian is doing or eating or thinking.
Just look at what Paul says in Galatians 5 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
So embrace your inner pagan and continue to love and worship Jesus, who paid the price to make us FREE.