A survey shows a noticeable decline in Americans linking Christmas to the birth of Jesus, and a Christian apologist predicts that number will keep dropping.
According to Lifeway Research, 65 percent of Americans say Christmas should be more about Jesus.
While that may figure may seem full of Christmas cheer, LifeWay found 79 percent of Americans felt that way just four years ago.
"We are in a rapid decline of connecting Jesus to the holiday altogether," warns J. Warner Wallace, a former cold-case detective, and former atheist, who now writes and speaks about Christianity.
Speaking on American Family Radio, Wallace said Christianity's claims --- including the birth of a Messiah --- are not a matter of "personal opinion" but a debate over facts and truths.
"It's either objectively true or objectively false," he said.
It's not in dispute that remembering Christ's birth came before Santa Claus and Rudolph, with some historians tracing the first recorded Christmas to 336 A.D.
There is dispute among church historians --- no surprise --- over when and why the Church began celebrating Christ's birth. One view is that the early Church wanted to steer believers from raucous pagan festivals, such as Saturnalia, a late-December party that was celebrated by the Romans.
While the New Testament is the first source many people read to study Christ's coming, said Wallace, the Old Testament prophecies should be studied, too.
"There's great prophecy that doesn't just describe the birth of the Messiah, but the life of the Messiah, (and) the death of the Messiah," he said. "There's so much in biblical prophecy that we could point to."
There is also a persistent argument that the early Church simply crafted a story to fit the prophecies made hundreds of years earlier, and Wallace told the radio program that is a claim he made as an atheist.
"But as I examined the New Testament to discover if, in fact, the writings of the New Testament were historically reliable," he explained, "you're going to have a hard time denying that they were written early, denying that they aren't corroborated by several forms of internal and external evidence."
There is also the question of truth: what is the motive for lying?
The detective said he naturally wrestled with that issue --- motive --- as a seasoned detective, eventually concluding there is no evidence of lying by the authors.
"So I think what you have," he says, "is good prophecy that points to something, and a reliable record that says it happened."
Editor's Note: American Family Radio is a division of the American Family Association, the parent organization of American Family News, which operates OneNewsNow.com.