The internet seems to be increasingly filled with posts, articles, and even whole websites dedicated to challenging the historical authenticity of the New Testament, and the historical beliefs and practices of Christians who celebrate the times and seasons of the life of Christ that the Gospels record, especially the two most important observances of all Christendom, Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and Easter and the celebration of the death and resurrection. We are instructed to “return” to the feasts and festival observances that are commanded in the Old Testament and to reject the “paganized” Christmas and Easter traditions that have “replaced them.”
And the posts and articles can be very convincing, offering reasoned arguments and even citing Scripture and “facts” to support the claims that Christmas and Easter observances, and all their customs and traditions, derive from ancient pagan holidays. But it is true that Christmas and Easter and the many customs associated with them are in fact pagan in origin? What actual evidence is used to support the charge, and does it really even matter? For some, perhaps it doesn’t matter. But for others, it does, and it matters greatly.
The Judeo/Christian faith is not based on myths or legends or grand philosophical theories. It is a faith that is rooted squarely in actual historical events, intimately drawn in the lives of real people, etched in the ancient stones of past civilizations, and forever engraved in the words of those who laid down their lives to bear witness to the things they saw and heard.
The Bible then, unlike other religious texts, is a record of history, and of the hand of God at work in the world, from the creation to the revelation. And that record can be tested, against other ancient manuscripts and histories, and in modern times by digging up the past and reading in the remains and relics of civilizations of long ago the evidence that time and time again proves the truth of the Bible.
For Christianity … history matters.