The American Family Association (AFA) is well-known for various boycotts and such that attempt to make companies act at least reasonably family friendly. Their efforts have included such things as boycotting companies that sponsor gay pride parades and such. Many of those efforts have had mixed results, but some have met with a reasonable amount of success.
One area that seems to be a big win for the AFA, though, is their attempt to rid the Christmas season of such politically correct things as wishing people “Happy Holidays” or having a “Holiday tree” instead of the recognition that the holiday is Christmas. The AFA calls the politicizing of Christmas “the war on Christmas”, and MSNBC.com reported in its business news section that “‘Christmas’ is winning ‘The War on Christmas’".
Merchants have been surprised in past years about the push back on taking Christmas out of the season and trying to somehow make it religious neutral. The economy may be a factor as well, as the article points out that stores are reluctant to “alienate customers” during a time when they make the most money.
The problem, of course, is that neither side in that debate really gets it.
Christmas and most of its customs are of pagan origin. Type “christmas pagan” into Google, and you get about 2,270,000 results. The information is out there for anyone who cares to know it.
However, even many of the nonpagan traditions are wrong, and all of them are at the wrong time of the year. Many of them are exposed on the mainstream ChristianAnswers.Net in the article “What are some of the most common misconceptions about Jesus Christ’s birth?” About December 25th, it says:
Was Jesus born on December 25, or in December at all? Although it’s not impossible, it seems unlikely. The Bible does not specify a date or month. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field" at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles).
The article even goes on to suggest the Feast of Tabernacles, which is much more likely seeing as that would explain the lack of rooms available. Of course, it could have appropriately been the Feast of Trumpets, which would also have been observed in Jerusalem and caused quite a crowd.
And further, they state:
Why do many Christians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, if that is not when he was born?
The date was chosen by the Roman Catholic Church. Because Rome dominated most of the “Christian” world for centuries, the date became tradition throughout most of Christendom.
The original significance of December 25 is that it was a well-known festival day celebrating the annual return of the sun. December 21 is the winter solstice (shortest day of the year and thus a key date on the calendar), and December 25 is the first day that ancients could clearly note that the days were definitely getting longer and the sunlight was returning.
So, why was December 25 chosen to remember Jesus Christ’s birth with a mass (or Communion supper)? Since no one knows the day of his birth, the Roman Catholic Church felt free to chose this date. The Church wished to replace the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). The psychology was that is easier to take away an unholy (but traditional) festival from the population, when you can replace it with a good one. Otherwise, the Church would have left a void where there was a long-standing tradition, and risked producing a discontented population and a rapid return to the old ways.
Of course, they could have simply replaced all those celebrations with the original, Biblical, “Jewish” festivals that God commanded in Leviticus 23.
Christmas is no more Christian than the pentagram.
The original version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" has the words: "In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea."
That's because another school of thought is that Jesus was born during spring.
P.S. Why don't the "War on Christmas" activists also challenge the common renaming of Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day"?
@Richard: I did not know that! Wikipedia seems to be on your side, however, and they don't even mention "autumn".
That's also a good ending question.