Christmas is a Pagan holiday. Santa is a sign of the Anti-Christ. The manger scene was a total hoax, and angels are a product of an overly-paranormal-focused culture. At least that is what the YouTube videos claim during the holidays, and those claims can be quite intriguing as you can see from the number of views they receive. Though the statements may be inflammatory and not well-founded, asking these questions can serve to stretch us in new ways as Christians.
What if there were pagan roots to Christmas? How would that alter our perception of the holiday? What about the wise men? Was there anything in the sky to see? If so, does it help us believe? And, what does any of this matter when we wake up tomorrow morning?
That is the impetus behind my new ebook Investigating Christmas. For those who, like me, are interested in the history, archaeology and science behind things, why not turn those critical eyes on this most-famous holiday? Why not see what the background tells us about who we are as Christians and what Christmas is really about?
This book is written to be able to finish in check out lines and process with friends in small groups, Sunday School classes, and over the occasional egg nog in the office.
It begins by diving into the Biblical text about angels and tries to untangle the christmas light-level mess that is most people’s understanding gathered from postcards and movies. It seeks to find the good strands and leave all the passages that may blink out once they are on the tree in the box.
At that point it asks the question: Can Jesus and Santa be on the same team? Here I explore the beautiful and powerful message in the life of Saint Nicholas. It is a life that truly challenges the practice of gift-giving at Christmas to be something more than a sleigh and reindeer.
The fourth topic tackled is those pesky pagan roots to the season. From the dating of Jesus birthday to the Christmas Tree, the roots go deep, but turn out to be a wonderful part of the holiday. These roots transform Christmas into something of a missionary adventure.
Finally, Investigating Christmas turns its gaze on the manger scene employing computer-driven astronomy and the archaeological record to discover exactly what the wise men saw and the surprise of the appearance of the room where Jesus was born.
Its four-topic structure is perfect for an advent study and its interesting topics are something that I hope make this Christmas even brighter for you as you investigate this holy season.
*This was a guest post from author Jeremy Steele and I was not reimbursed in any way.