I did not really like this book. In fairness though, I don’t think it was written for the serious scholar.
This book is intended to drive home one single point; “No Christ, no Christmas.” In so doing this book is extremely repetitive, to the point of making it difficult to read through the 144 pages of text and illustrations.
A variety of issues contained within the Christmas stable are addressed: Christmas star, Wise Men, and Christmas tree. The thread of the argument is that these things are not essential to Christ, but are part of the Christmas celebration. I was interested to see the unusual opinion that the Magi were most likely not believers, but rather astrologers who had seen signs and portents in the sky.
The one serious bone I have to pick is the explanation of pagan religion’s development in Chapter 4. While the explanation is somewhat possible, it seems to me to be largely untenable. It is certainly true that some pagan religion is based on ancestor worship, but there is little evidence to indicate that such practice is the root of all pagan religion and practice. Helen of Troy is connected to Elishah, and regional syntax is given as the reason. The idea that all the personages of pagan religion are descended from the children and grandchildren of Noah is a little far-fetched.
In conclusion, there is certainly a war of thought in play today. Christmas is part of that war. A good deal of this book seems to be well researched and its message is certainly laudable. However, I would be careful whom one recommends this book to. It functions as a decent overview of the salient issues. It does get preachy at times, and sometimes the claims are simply the stuff of fantasy. Even for that the core message is the same; No Christ, No Christmas.
Disclaimer: This review was written as a member of the War on Christmas launch team.