Winter holiday has always had pagan elements
PHILIP O'Neill (Write Back, December 26) makes the important point that Christmas is not just a Christian festival. Indeed, it would seem that many atheists, agnostics and humanists are more comfortable with the celebration of Christmas than many Christians are.
Those who espouse beliefs in the goodness of nature reflect on ancient pagan practices and symbols as something positive and therefore emulated at the winter solstice on December 21. Christians, on the other hand, are often found trying to promote and defend the holiday in what they deem to be a struggle against its secularisation.
The truth is that the winter solstice has always had pagan elements and the Church has tried to merge some of these elements in order to blend in to the surrounding celebrations, rather than to ban them. Whatever our position on "Christmas", we need to remember it is only a man-made tradition and nowhere commanded in the Bible, or by God, or Jesus, to observe it.
Bangor, Co Down