Pagan Yule was around long before “Christmastime” and was centered around the winter solstice… So I really wish everyone would stop trying to bully other people into saying “Merry Christmas,” if they don’t want to. If you celebrate Christmas and wanna say “Merry Christmas”, more power to you, but trying to force others to “put Christ back in Christmas” is just as bad as others forcing trying to force you to say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas. As for Jesus being the “reason for the season,” no; the reason for the season is a physical, seasonal change in the position of the Earth relative to the Sun. There is nothing in the bible that says Jesus was born in December, or more specifically, December 25th. In fact, there is speculation because of some astronomical and cultural references, that he was born in the summer.
History convincingly shows that Dec. 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the sun. (source)
A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly indicates that Dec. 25 is an unlikely date for Christ’s birth. Here are two primary reasons:
First, we know that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8)
The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night.
Second, Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4)
Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.
Given the difficulties and the desire to bring pagans into Christianity, “the important fact then . . . to get clearly into your head is that the fixing of the date as December 25th was a compromise with paganism.” (source)
Not everyone is Christian, but we all deserve a “happy holiday.” That is all.