Certain denominations, sects, cults and individual practitioners related to the Christian religion have argued that the vast majority of Christian holiday celebrations are contaminated with pagan tradition, symbols, and practices.
Some will even point to specific scripture that they belive prohibits the use of some symbols commonly found in devout Christian homes during the holiday season.
Christmas Trees and wreaths
“Jeremiah 10:2-4 (New International Version, ©2010)
“This is what the LORD says:
Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.”
The mandate here, is not to learn the “ways of the nations”, followed by an example of the futility of one of the things those nations did as a ritual. The tree cutting, carving, and adornment may well have been referring to the creation of idols and their subsequent worship. Mainstream theologians do not believe this to be the pagan roots of the Christmas tree, but there ARE other examples showing how ancients brought evergreen trees into their homes to remind them of their crops that would be rising in the spring.
There are plenty of accounts regarding the druids and their worship of evergreen trees as well.
Lights and candles
Possibly stemming from celebrations of both the Persian sun god Mithra and Roman god Saturn, among others, the tradition of adorning homes inside and out with lights and candles arose with a simple desire for warmth and light during dark winter nights, and tributes to the various pagan gods that were believed to be responsible for keeping that big yellow orb floating in the sky.
Candles, of course, have long been a typical item in Wiccan rituals, and certainly have been used in the Catholic tradition for centuries on end. There are fringe groups in Christianity who believe that candles attract demons, and that their presence (as well as the presence of any religious symbol such as crucifixes, crosses, or even paintings of Jesus or the saints) will attract demons to your dwelling.
There are thousands of objects and symbols used across the wide scape of Christian and pseudo-Christian religious tradition, and the vast majority of them have some origin in pagan tradition and mysticism due to the efforts of various ruling powers over the last two-thousand years to more easily convert pagans to Christianity, or at least establish Christianity as the religion of the state.
The important thing to remember is that these traditions and symbols are not the true elements of Christmas, and not to be worshiped. They are time-honored symbols of human history and a common thread showing that all people have had some glimpse of the spiritual world, whether good or evil, and that our God and Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate, rule over all.
Adorn your house and yourself in honor of Him, regardless of ancient pagan source of the practice. It is your intent and focus and why you do it now that matters when you decorate a tree, not the intent and focus of those that have done it before you.
Merry Christmas, dear reader; may our King and Father bless you and yours as we celebrate His greatest gift to mankind.