Although I am Christian and celebrate Christmas, I differ with Dave Ricker’s view, expressed in his Dec. 7 letter, that there can be no Christmas without Christ.

True, the holiday was re-named after Emperor Constantine declared the then-Pagan Roman Empire to be Christian, and the 12-day festival from winter solstice to the new year was “baptized” as the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

But the festival and many of its symbols and customs, having little or nothing to do with Jesus, were adopted wholesale, with festivities quite similar to ours – lights and parties and special treats and release from work and even attention to the plight of the poor – well before Jesus was born or declared to be the promised Messiah.

Christ taught loving neighbor as oneself, and I encourage those of us who follow his teachings and celebrate his birth at Christmas to be generous regarding the celebrations of others, however they are understood or celebrated and whatever they are called.

Andrea Thompson McCall

South Portland