Was Jesus born on December 25th? No, probably sometime in September.
"That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay." ~ Luke 2:8-12
Was Jesus visited in a manger by three wise men? No; the Bible tells us they visited sometime after his birth, and that Herod had reason to believe he might be as old as two years.
"When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, "Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, "Where will the Messiah be born?" They told him, "He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote, 'Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your town will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.' " Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too." The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road. After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him." That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, "I called my son out of Egypt." When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men." ~ Matthew 2:1-16
Does exchanging gifts honor Jesus? I think He would be more honored by giving the money we spend on the season to the poor and to those in need.
Do the trees, garlands, bright colors, tinsel, etc., have anything at all to do with the birth of our Lord? No; these are just trappings of the tradition of the holiday; some even curse the Christmas holiday because of the pagan origin of all these things.
Should a Christian participate in all these traditions "in the name of Jesus"? Not in His name, in my opinion, but I have no problem with the holiday tradition, the exchanging of gifts, Santa Claus, the tree and all the rest either. I'm just not going to do it as a false tribute to Jesus. I'm going to do it because it's fun!
So is it really a crime to say "Seasons Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas"? That's up to you. I'm going to say "Merry Christmas" because it's fun, it's tradition and because December 25th is "Christmas", not "Season".
Is there any real Jesus in the holiday at all? I think that all believers and followers of Jesus' teachings should take every opportunity to proclaim the name of our Lord whenever and wherever possible. I think we can come together as fellow believers and join in song, praise and worship and celebrate His birth with a sincere heart and honor Him in this way. I think that it's wonderful that so many come together on this one time of the year and that we have an opportunity to share Jesus with those who remain in the dark. Let us shine in our smile, in our greeting at the church door, in the warmth of our homes (decorated or not) and in the generosity of our giving. I think we can take this annual opportunity to promote Him to the world as best we can.
So, let's make room in the pew for the "once a year church-goers" and greet them with a warm and inviting smile! Let's drop those coins in the Salvation Army buckets! Take a picture of your children with Santa and be as goofy as you can during this holiday! Give richly and with a cheerful heart, forgetting NOT those outside the walls of your home!
And let's all enjoy a giddy and merry Christmas season and holiday!