Anyone who has studied history knows that Christianity has its roots in Paganism. The Romans converted to Christianity with Constantine, and spread Christianity with them as they conquered the world. They found that the best way to get the conquered people to accept Christ was to merge Christianity with the indigenous religions.
In this way, some goddesses became famous nuns or even saints (Brigid). Some gods became demonized (Pan, Cerrunnos). Some holidays became blended (Ostara and Easter – this is why there are bunnies and eggs; Ostara was a fertility ritual!) And some traditions crossed over. There was no tradition of decorating trees in the Middle East. Mistletoe does not grow in Jerusalem. And SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING, and other things as well. I have a head cold.
I was raised in a Christian household, but even by the age of eleven, I knew something wasn’t right for me. I refused to be confirmed in the church, and by sixteen, had read the bible cover to cover, and (having gone to the source of the religion) made my case and began refusing to go to church services.
I found my path and my peace in Paganism, which I discovered in college. I worship a benevolent Goddess, and her consort God. I connect deeply with the Celtic pantheon, particularly with Cerridwen. But in my years of study, one truth I have learned is that all gods are one god, and all goddesses are one goddess.
There are many paths up the mountain. The only person who’s not getting anywhere is the one running around the mountain telling everyone else they’re on the wrong path.
So flash forward to today. I mark the passing of Yule with my coven, but still keep Christmas with my family. I have a Christmas tree in my living room (and call it that, though I have friends who call it a Yule tree). And I play the Christmas songs in the few weeks leading up to the day to try and instill the holiday spirit for the season. I used to think it was ironic that some of my most favorite Christmas carols are the ones that are the most deeply Christian. The ones like ‘O Holy Night’ where they say “fall on your knees and hear the angel voices” or ‘God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen’ “For Jesus Christ our Savior, was born on Christmas Day”. At first, I found this deeply conflicting. But then I embraced the adage that “all Gods are one God and all Goddesses are one Goddess”. To me it doesn’t matter if we’re celebrating the birth of the Sun God or the Son of God. Call him Jesus or not. Some pagans will call me a bad pagan; some Christians would call it heresy. But I’m just me celebrating the season with the love and the light it was meant to be celebrated with. There’s too much of Yule in it to say “Keep Christ in Christmas”. But keep the love in your heart and it’s all the same to God.