The Scriptural Instruction
The passage at 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says
This passage makes it clear that we are not to allow the influence of false worship or idolatry to come into our worship of God, a.k.a. Yahweh. It also makes it clear that we must not "match" ourselves to unbelievers in our worship.
Unfortunately, though, purity of worship has been stained over time with the ungodly influences mentioned in the above scriptural passage. Although many people are unaware of this, there are many who actually do know, but choose to accept those stains regardless/anyway/in spite of it. They may feel the influences are so ancient, and from so long ago, that they are rendered extinct now.
Are they correct in their assessments?
No, they are not.
Ancient gods vs. The True God
Today, there are several pagan groups that continue to worship the ancient gods and goddesses of old. These groups include Wiccans who worship nature deities, Nova Romans who worship ancient Roman deities, Druids who worship Celtic deities, and followers of Asatru/Heathens who worship Norse deities, just to name a few. The ancient gods and goddesses are not rendered extinct any more than those of the modern Hindu pantheon. Continuing to use traditions based on false deities means continuing to honour them as gods and goddesses in opposition to Jehovah/Yahweh, the only True God.
Consider this: Let's say a group of Christians want to commemorate the day of Christ's resurrection. They happen to live among a large population of Hindus and therefore they want to draw the Hindu community into the Christian faith too. In order to do so, they attempt to make their Christian celebration more "friendly" towards Hindu culture. As a result, they continue to decorate with crosses and palm leaves and read biblical devotions, but they also add the lotus flowers of Vishnu (a primary Hindu god), play games incorporating conch shells (another Vishnu symbol) and name the day "Vishnu," so that the Hindus would more easily accept the celebration. Is this an acceptable way to commemorate the day of the Messiah's resurrection? Of course not! Hindu elements do not belong in a Christian celebration! Christians simply don't ruin their worship in such a manner, right?
The harsh reality is, Christians have done exactly those things with the commemoration of the Messiah's resurrection. Throughout history, in an effort to draw the pagans into Christianity, misguided leaders included elements of paganism into the Christian church. Much like the hypothetical Hindu situation mentioned above, Christians bestowed the name of a pagan goddess on the holiday ("Easter", a.k.a.Eastre/Ostara), decorate with the symbols of that goddess (bunnies, chicks), add in a few crosses, palm leaves and devotions for Yeshua Messiah and proceed to call it holy. Just as Vishnu is not a forgotten god in the modern world, neither is Eastre/Ostara a forgotten goddess in the modern world: The neo-pagan religion of Wicca honours her quite readily. Our real life traditions with Easter and the hypothetical Hindu situation described above are one and the same. If we won't put the Hindu god Vishnu into our Christianity, then we shouldn't put the pagan goddess Eastre/Ostara into it either.
The Bible itself sets a precedent for us on this matter, as early as the book of Exodus. The passage at Exodus 32:1-8 states:
God punished the people for this action, as you can see in the further reading:
Clearly, the people were introducing a false god to blend into true worship, and this was very displeasing to the True God, Jehovah/Yahweh. This parallels the passage at the start of this essay: Plain and simply do not compromise true worship by combining elements of false worship into it.
Modern Day Dilemma
Unfortunately, this is where it becomes difficult for many people. Too many elements of false worship have become so entrenched into modern Christian events that the average Joe doesn't want to part with those traditions. People want to have the fun of an Easter Egg hunt, the decor of Christmas greenery, or a Valentine's card with a picture of the false god Cupid. They rationalize that it is harmless fun since they don't really believe in those gods anyway. Well, they might as well bring out the Vishnu statues and lotus flowers while they're at it, because what they are doing is no different.
Cleaning It Up
We aren't saying that it's wrong to celebrate Christian events in general. We are simply saying that God tells His people to worship without the inclusion of pagan traditions. The above mentioned Bible passages leave no wiggle room for exceptions.
We realize that this can be an issue in some homes, as some family members don't want to relinquish their beloved traditions. In these cases it's helpful to remember that we are to be peaceable with others as much as we can (Romans 12:18). This means we must continue to show respect, kindness, and patience towards them (Galatians 5:22-23) despite our misgivings. Just as Yahweh doesn't force His will on us, we shouldn't force our will on others. Continue to teach your children the truth about such traditions, and continue to pray for others in your household that they see the truth as well.
Simply keep everything centered on God and the Messiah, while disposing of the traditions that are not centered on God and the Messiah. We realize this will take much prayer, much consideration, and even a dose of self education on each individual's part. However, we can each work on our individual selves to clean up our Christian worship so we can benefit from the promise Yahweh gives: