On the Topic of "x-mas"
Some X-mas Correspondence
By request... Some X-mas correspondence and thoughts from over the years, various christian and pagan sources, compiled in AZ.
Often unbelievers have “justified” their refusal to accept the message of modern “christianity”—because “it is mostly superstition, embraced by hypocrites one day a week, who don’t even desire to live what Jesus taught when it interferes with their desires and lives. Why should I join THAT?”
They often have a point, don’t they?
God’s People can live and reflect His Life and Love and Holiness by His Spirit far more effectively when we stop “conforming to the patterns of the world.” (Rom.12:1-2)
The following is a compilation of articles (by both Believers and unBelievers) and dialogue on the topic of “X-mas.”
IN SEARCH OF CHRISTMAS BY JEFFERY L. SHELER
(Is it a “Christian” holiday, or manufactured out of Paganism and superstition?)
(US News and World Report Lead Article)
Imagine a purer, less commercial, more spiritual Christmas. But don’t call it history. The yearning begins with the first shimmer of tinsel on a streetlamp downtown, the first tree glimpsed through a frosty window, the first familiar notes filtering into consciousness at the grocery store or at the mall. It is a longing impervious to the assaults of the season: to the car salesmen dressed up as reindeer, the 1,652nd reprise of “White Christmas” on the radio, the 14th marital spat that ends with “She’s your relative!” And as the season ripens, it grows, displacing a year’s worth of weariness, cynicism and general, late-20th-century anxiety. You can see it in the eyes of a child dragging a Christmas tree across the snow in Maine, in the faces of carolers at New York City’s South Street Seaport, in the Santa hat atop a “cattle crossing” sign near Blanco, Texas.
Christmas is an American passion—96 percent of Americans say they celebrate it in some form, according to a recent U.S. News/Bozell poll. Yet for most people, the holiday triggers an intense search for some dimly remembered Christmas past, a nostalgia for a time when yuletide was more pious and more peaceful, when it was free of gaudy commercialism and focused more on the birth of the Savior than on the 20 percent-off sale at the local department store. The only problem is that, as historians are increasingly discovering, this purer, simpler, more spiritual past is more a product of our cultural imagination than of historical fact. A series of new studies suggests that the observance of Christmas was never an entirely religious affair, that many of the most popular seasonal traditions are relatively modern inventions and that complaints of crass overindulgence and gross commercialism are nearly as old as the holiday itself.
An affront unto God. Through most of its history, the Christmas season has been a time of raucous revelry and bacchanalian indulgence more akin to Mardi Gras or New Year’s Eve than to a silent, holy night. So tarnished, in fact, was its reputation in colonial America that celebrating Christmas was banned in Puritan New England, where the noted minister Cotton Mather described yuletide merrymaking as “an affront unto the grace of God.” In a new book, The Battle for Christmas, University of Massachusetts history professor Stephen Nissenbaum describes the annual birthday celebration of the Prince of Peace as a perennial battleground for competing cultural, religious and economic forces. “There never was a time when Christmas existed as an unsullied domestic idyll, immune to the taint of commercialism,” Nissenbaum.
The earliest celebrations of the Nativity were surprisingly late. There is no record of official observance of Christ’s birth until the fourth century, when Constantine, a Christian convert, was emperor of Rome. The absence of a Nativity celebration before then, scholars say, reflects at least in part the fact that no one knew for sure when Jesus was born. While some church traditions place his birth between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C.—near the end of the reign of Herod the Great—the gospels are silent on the year, let alone the exact month or day. Lacking any scriptural pointers to Jesus’s birthday, early Christian teachers suggested dates all over the calendar. Clement, a bishop of Alexandria who died circa A.D. 215, picked November 18. Hippolytus, a Roman theologian in the early third century, figured Christ must have been born on a Wednesday—the same day God created the sun. The De Pascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around A.D. 243, placed Jesus’s birth on March 28, four days after the first day of spring. But even if they had known the date, says University of Texas historian Penne Restad, the earliest Christians simply weren’t interested in celebrating the Nativity. “They expected the Second Coming any day,” writes Restad in her 1995 book, Christmas in America: A History. To celebrate Christ’s birth would have seemed to them pointless. Moreover, she says, they “viewed birthday celebrations as heathen.” The third-century church father Origen had declared it a sin to even think of keeping Christ’s birthday “as though he were a king pharaoh.”
Raised from the dead. What interested the early Christians more, historians say, was proclaiming the central message of their faith: that the crucified Christ had been raised from the dead. So important was the Resurrection to church life that the Apostle Paul, writing in about A.D. 56 to the church in Corinth, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.” The early focus on the Resurrection explains why the Pascha, the Easter festival commemorating the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus during the Jewish Passover, was the only annual celebration known to the early church, says Brian Daley, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame. Today, Easter remains the most important event on the Christian calendar, even though 70 percent of Americans—including 62 percent of those who attend church regularly—told U.S. News/Bozell pollsters that they consider Christmas the most significant Christian holiday. The fact that the earliest gospel—St. Mark’s, written about A.D. 50—begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus at the start of his public ministry is yet another indication that the earliest Christians lacked interest in the Nativity, scholars say. Only St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s gospels, written two to four decades later, include stories about Christ’s birth. By that time, says Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, “Christians, believing in both the divinity and humanity of Jesus, were curious to know how he came to be.” Even so, there is no mention in the New Testament of Christians gathering to commemorate the birth of Jesus. It was conflict that eventually propelled the church toward celebrating the Nativity, some scholars contend, as it attempted to counter heresies growing within its ranks. Among the most contentious of the heresies was Docetism, the belief that Christ was a spirit and did not possess a human body. “This had momentous significance for the Christian view of salvation,” says Paula Fredriksen, professor of ancient Christianity at Boston University. “If Christ had no body, then there was no bodily Crucifixion or Resurrection.” But by the fourth century, the official stand of the church in Rome was that Christ was raised in both body and spirit and, consequently, both the believer’s body and soul are redeemed in salvation. Celebrating the birth of Jesus then, says Fredriksen, “was one way of emphasizing that Christ had a real human body.”
Matter of conjecture. Exactly when the church began celebrating Christmas, however, is unclear. The first mention of a Nativity feast, scholars say, appears in the Philocalian calendar, a Roman document from A.D. 354, which lists December 25 as the day of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem of Judea. How the church arrived at December 25, when the actual date of Christ’s birth was unknown, is a matter of conjecture. Most widely held is the view that the holiday was an intentional “Christianization” of Saturnalia and other pagan festivals. In the third and fourth centuries, the church in Rome found itself in fierce competition with popular pagan religions and mystery cults, most of them involving sun worship. From the middle of December through the first of January, Romans would engage in feasts and drunken revelry, paying homage to their gods and marking the winter solstice, when days began to lengthen. In A.D. 274, Emperor Aurelian decreed December 25—the solstice on the Julian calendar—as natalis solis invicti (“birth of the invincible sun”), a festival honoring the sun god Mithras. In designating December 25 as the date for their Nativity feast, says Restad of the University of Texas, Rome’s Christians “challenged paganism directly.” They also were able to invoke rich biblical symbolism that described Jesus as the “Sun of Righteousness” and God’s “true light,” sent to dispel darkness in the world. A second view suggests that church leaders arrived at the December 25 date based on the belief, inherited from ancient Judaism, that significant religious figures are born and die on the same day of the month. One prominent church tradition of the time held that Jesus died on March 25—the same date as his conception, according to the tradition. Were that the case, he would have been born nine months later, on December 25. Whatever their reasons, by assigning Christmas to late December, when people already were accustomed to celebrating, church leaders ensured widespread observance of the Savior’s birth. But in doing so, says Nissenbaum, the church also “tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” As one historian put it: “The pagan Romans became Christians—but the Saturnalia remained.”
Not surprisingly, the combination of the sacred and the profane made some church leaders uncomfortable. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, a fourth-century theologian and bishop of Constantinople, cautioned against “feasting to excess, dancing and crowning the doors” and urged celebration of the Nativity “after an heavenly and not after an earthly manner.” But while there were always people for whom Christmas was a time of reverence rather than revelry, says Nissenbaum, “such people were in the minority.” Christmas, he says, “has always been an extremely difficult holiday to Christianize.” The custom of honoring Jesus’s birth on December 25 quickly spread to the Eastern Church, which at one time observed Epiphany, January 6, as a joint feast of the Nativity and the baptism of Jesus. Over the next 1,000 years, Christmas observance followed the expanding church from Egypt to northern Europe. In Scandinavia, it became entwined with a pagan midwinter feast known as yule. And by 1050, the words Christes maesse (“festival of Christ”) had entered the English language. “From the 13th century on,” notes Restad, “nearly all Europe kept Jesus’s birth.”
Pagan pleasures. Indeed, they kept it much as the Romans had—in gluttonous feasts and raucous public revelry. Leading clergy, from time to time, tried to rein in abuses of Christmas merriment but usually to little avail. In England, Restad notes, “celebrants devoted much of the season to pagan pleasures . . . discouraged the remainder of the year.” Writing in 1725, Anglican minister Henry Bourne said the way most people behaved at Christmas was “a scandal to religion and an encouraging of wickedness.” For many, he said, Christmas was “a pretense for drunkenness and rioting and wantonness.” England’s Puritans inveighed against keeping the holiday at all and succeeded for a while in having it banned. The Puritans, says Nissenbaum, “were correct when they pointed out—and they pointed it out often—that Christmas was nothing but a pagan festival covered with a Christian veneer.” When Christmas landed on American shores, it fared little better. In colonial times, Christ’s birth was celebrated as a wildly social event—if it was celebrated at all. Virginians hunted and danced and feasted, while poor city dwellers partied and thronged the streets in boisterous demonstrations, often begging food and drink at the homes of the well-to-do. Puritans in New England flatly refused to observe the holiday. In some cities, says Nissenbaum, the rather benign English tradition of wassailing took on an increasingly menacing edge. In New York City and Philadelphia, bands of young men would march into houses of the wealthy, who were expected to proffer gifts of food and drink, sometimes in exchange for a song or an expression of goodwill. Often, says Nissenbaum, exchanges included “an explicit threat” as contained in one surviving wassail song: “We’ve come here to claim our right.… And if you don’t open up your door.… We will lay you flat upon the floor.” Variations on the practice were common. In some cities, Christmas revelers would cross-dress or wear blackface as they went noisily from door to door. But in each case, says Nissenbaum, Christmas exchanges amounted to a passing of goods from master to servant, patron to apprentice and wealthy to poor. It was a time, the historian says, “when the social hierarchy itself was symbolically turned upside down.” Into the early 19th century, quiet family celebrations and gift exchanges among family members were largely unknown. But Christmas in America was about to change. And when the changes came, they came quickly and quite deliberately. By the early 1820s, cities had mushroomed with industrialization and their Christmas celebrations had turned increasingly boisterous and sometimes violent. In 1828, according to Nissenbaum, New York City organized its first professional police force in response to a violent Christmas riot. A concerned group of New York patricians that included Washington Irving and Clement Clarke Moore, author of A Visit From St. Nicholas, began a campaign to bring Christmas off the streets into the family circle.
Invented tradition. Moore’s classic poem, written in 1822, provided the new mythology for this Christmas makeover. Moore’s St. Nick—far from being the creature of ancient Dutch folklore—was an “invented tradition,” says Nissenbaum, “made up with the precise purpose of appearing old-fashioned.” To Moore’s patrician audience, the midnight visitor who “looked like a peddler” would have evoked plebeian wassailers. But rather than demanding food and drink, this “jolly” and unthreatening visitor bore gifts for the children who, until then, had played a rather insignificant role in Christmas celebrations. The poem quickly caught on, and newspapers soon began to editorialize about the “domestic enjoyments” of Christmas. Giving gifts to children and loved ones eventually supplanted the wassail as the mainstay of holiday celebration. And by the mid-19th century, what began in New York had spread throughout the country. Even some New England Presbyterians and Congregationalists, heirs to the Puritan legacy, became open celebrants of the Nativity. Christmas, says Nissenbaum, had been taken from the streets and domesticated. Not surprisingly, the nation’s merchants were favorably disposed to this turn of events. The new tradition of Christmas gift giving created an instant retail bonanza, and merchants and advertisers soon began to promote the season nearly as much as they promoted their wares. By the 1870s, one historian observes, “department stores often outdid the churches in religious adornment and symbolism, with pipe organs, choirs, and statues of saints and angels” in a manner that bathed “consumption in the reflected glory of Christianity.” Indeed, the holiday was on its way to becoming what Princeton University professor of religion Leigh Eric Schmidt called in his 1995 book, Consumer Rites, a “grand festival of consumption.” By the early 20th century, stores had largely abandoned overtly religious motifs, says Restad. But they “continued to undergo marvelous alteration at holiday time, becoming strikingly `other’ places.” As competition for the attention of holiday shoppers escalated, so did the Christmas displays. During the 1940s, Chicago’s Marshall Field & Co. began to turn its huge department store into “a glittering fairyland” at Christmastime and each year came up with a secret new theme for its decorations.
Santa on parade. To expand holiday profits, many stores made Thanksgiving the official springboard for Christmas sales; others started as early as Halloween. In 1920, Gimbels in Philadelphia organized the first Thanksgiving Day parade and featured Santa Claus as the main attraction. And in 1924, both Hudson’s in Detroit and Macy’s in New York followed suit. So vital was Thanksgiving in launching the Christmas season, says Restad, that commercial interests “conspired in resetting its date.” In 1939, after years of Depression-deflated sales, the head of Ohio’s Federated Department Stores argued that by advancing the date of Thanksgiving one week, six days of shopping would be added. Convinced by his logic, says Restad, President Franklin Roosevelt moved the feast from November 30 to November 23. And in 1941, Congress set the annual date of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November—ensuring a four-week shopping season each year. The nation’s recognition of Christmas as a powerful economic force had reached its highest levels. In the years since, the reinvented traditions of this modern American Christmas have permeated the culture through a potent combination of commerce and new communications media. Annual reruns of holiday television specials and films like Miracle on 34th Street have become rituals in themselves, homogenizing the Christmas experience for many Americans. And retailers have come to count on yuletide sales for up to 50 percent of their annual profits. The shopping season now pumps an estimated $37 billion into the nation’s economy—making the American Christmas larger than the gross national product of Ireland. What many historians find most fascinating about the reinvention of Christmas is that its commercialization, now so frequently denounced, is what spawned the transformation in the first place.
The “commercial forms” associated with Christmas and other holidays, says Schmidt of Princeton, “have become integral to their survival.” The consumer culture “shapes our holidays,” Schmidt says, “by taking in diverse, local traditions and creating relatively common ones.” To turn Christmas into a purely religious celebration now might cheer those who want to “take back Christmas,” he says. But such an observance “would lack the cultural resonance and impact of a holiday deeply rooted in the marketplace.” If Christmas came to that, adds Restad, “we probably wouldn’t keep it as a society.”
Piety or profit. Yet there seems little danger of that happening. Christmas has far too powerful a grip on American culture: It is no more the church’s sole possession today than it was in ancient Rome. But given its long history of controversy and the unremitting tension between piety and profit in its observance, the “battle for Christmas” is all but certain to persist. No matter how people choose to keep it—in the quiet of their homes or churches, or in the noisy cathedrals of suburban shopping malls—the arrival of Christmas, says Restad, prods celebrants once again to “confront our ideals” and to “examine our relationships with our families, our communities and our faith.” Adds Nissenbaum: Christmas rituals, whether old or new, sacred or secular, will serve as they always have to “transfigure our ordinary behavior” in ways that reveal “something of what we would like to be, what we once were or what we are becoming despite ourselves.” As thoughts return to a Bethlehem manger, the search begins again. And, at least for a season, it seems “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men” might be possible after all.
Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial
By Leonard Peikoff
(While the man who wrote this is an unBeliever, no doubt, he touches some issues in a way that shows more honesty than most religious sentimentalists display. Perhaps someday all Christians will be so honest that pagans don’t have to point out our silliness just so we can see it!)—jn
Christmas should be more commercial. Contrary to lore, this holiday was established by Americans to celebrate worldly goods and happiness. It was taken over by Christianity. Christmas in America is an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life. Yet all of these are castigated as “materialistic”; the real meaning of the holiday, we are told, is assorted Nativity tales and altruist injunctions (e.g., love thy neighbor) that almost no one really takes seriously and lives out day to day. In fact, Christmas as we celebrate it today is a 19th-century American invention. The freedom and prosperity of post-Civil War America created the happiest nation in history. The result was the desire to celebrate, to revel in the goods and pleasures of life on earth. Christmas (which was not a federal holiday until 1870) became the leading American outlet for this feeling.
Historically, people have always celebrated the winter solstice as the time when the days begin to lengthen, indicating the earth’s return to life. Ancient Romans feasted and reveled during the festival of Saturnalia. Early Christians condemned these Roman celebrations—they were waiting for the end of the world and had only scorn for earthly pleasures. By the fourth century, the pagans were worshipping the god of the sun on December 25, and the Christians came to a decision: if you can’t stop ‘em, join ‘em. They claimed (contrary to known fact) that the date was Jesus’ birthday, and usurped the solstice holiday for their Church. Even after the Christians stole Christmas, they were ambivalent about it. The holiday was inherently a pro-life festival of earthly renewal, but the Christians preached renunciation, sacrifice, and concern for the next world, not this one. As Cotton Mather, an 18th-century clergyman, put it: “Can you in your consciences think that our Holy Savior is honored by mirth?… Shall it be said that at the birth of our Savior…we take time…to do actions that have much more of hell than of heaven in them?” Then came the major developments of 19th-century capitalism: industrialization, urbanization, the triumph of science—all of it leading to easy transportation, efficient mail delivery, the widespread publishing of books and magazines, new inventions making life comfortable and exciting, and the rise of entrepreneurs who understood that the way to make a profit was to produce something good and sell it to a mass market. For the first time, the giving of gifts became a major feature of Christmas. Early Christians denounced gift-giving as a Roman practice, and Puritans called it diabolical. But Americans were not to be deterred. Thanks to capitalism, there was enough wealth to make gifts possible, a great productive apparatus to advertise them and make them available cheaply, and a country so content that men wanted to reach out to their friends and express their enjoyment of life. The whole country took with glee to giving gifts on an unprecedented scale.
Santa Claus is a thoroughly American invention. There was a St. Nicholas long ago and a feeble holiday connected with him (on December 5). In 1822, an American named Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem about a visit from St. Nick. It was Moore (and a few other New Yorkers) who invented St. Nick’s physical appearance and personality, came up with the idea that Santa travels on Christmas Eve in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, comes down the chimney, stuffs toys in the kids’ stockings, then goes back to the North Pole. Of course, the Puritans denounced Santa as the Anti-Christ, because he pushed Jesus to the background. Furthermore, Santa implicitly rejected the whole Christian ethics.
All the best customs of Christmas, from carols to trees to spectacular decorations, have their root in pagan ideas and practices. These customs were greatly amplified by American culture, as the product of reason, science, business, worldliness, and egoism, i.e., the pursuit of happiness. America’s tragedy is that its intellectual leaders have typically tried to replace happiness with guilt by insisting that the spiritual meaning of Christmas is religion and self-sacrifice for Tiny Tim or his equivalent. But the spiritual must start with recognizing reality. Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate—and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.
(Worldly) Philosopher Leonard Peikoff, hosts a national talk radio show.
The X in Xmas? It’s not for Christ
(Newspaper article By Morag Zwartz)
Thursday 14 December 2000
“All thinking people hate Christmas”, called out Scrooge in A Children’s Christmas Carol (3MBS) the other morning. Such music to the ears! Here indeed was a daring sentiment, a bold contradiction of the gooeyness of Christmas season sound fare.
I wondered if there are others who dread this time who also long to skip the “spirit season” month of December and return to when we can once again go about our real business, find parking spaces and amble about in shops without being squashed and bumped by desperados laden with plastic bags barking out “Have you done Fred?”, “Wad’ll I get for Johnny?”
Every year in November (earlier each year, I fancy), some bright spark delights in eliciting a response of anguish by declaring with a hint of triumph, “Do you realize it’s only X weeks ‘til Christmas?”
Who cares? I don’t need Christmas to feel connected. Nor do I need Christmas to find myself in a panic. None of us needs all that obligation and superficial bonhomie.
For most of December one has to be proactive about keeping the ghastly Rudolph (not to mention “We wish you a …”) off the inner turntable, a feat requiring loud humming of favorite snippets, on entering and departing shopping centers and last thing before bed. By what decree is it acceptable to ask strangers if they’ve “finished their Christmas shopping” or, worse, what are they “doing for Christmas”?
It puzzles me that, given the diversity of our social and religious culture, there should be such compulsion about the Christmas experience. After all, there’s no comparable almost absolute conformity to a particular practice among us. It’s even stranger given that we are no longer a Christian country and that Christmas has little to do with Christ. The influences of advertising and consumerism, fed by our acceptance of greed as more virtue than vice, surely provide all the explanation one needs.
It’s no secret that the church hijacked an existing pagan festival in the 4th century AD, and that in time the celebration came to include Christmas gifts, trees, yule logs, mistletoe and Santa Claus none of which has biblical or remotely Christian origins. Gifts appropriate for a king were indeed given to the new-born Jesus, but not as a birthday recognition. The gesture of the wise men from the east was in keeping with the custom of not entering the presence of a king empty-handed the nature of the gifts attest to this.
Not so well known is the fact that pockets of the church have never celebrated Christmas, particularly during the Reformation period, though continuing to this day.
But we find the church in the ludicrous position of defending Christmas as a Christian celebration, despite its heathen origins and its modern obsession with self-indulgence and materialism.
Many churches even embrace the lie of Santa as the bringer of all good things (move over Jesus Christ, here comes Santa, which is surely as good an example of upstaging as one can find). He even has the divine attribute of knowing what everyone wants. Can such deception possibly be justified inside or outside the church, which claims truth as its foundation?
Christians would be better off abandoning their pathetic plea about the “real meaning of Christmas” and acknowledging it as a pagan ritual with no relevance to them. That would allow time to discover that: there is no way of ascertaining the date of Jesus’ birth (though it is widely agreed it could not have been in December); there is no reference in the New Testament to the birth being celebrated, nor any hint that we should do so; the only event that Jesus invited his followers to commemorate was his supreme accomplishment of a sacrificial death; spontaneous eruptions of adoration were always deflected by Jesus to the Father; and New Testament accounts of Jesus of Nazareth are overwhelmingly concerned not with a helpless babe, but with a man, creator, redeemer and coming judge.
This Jesus is more threatening to us in our state of satiated apathy, and no doubt less marketable.
For those who just can’t give up the birthday idea, a daily reflection on the wonder of the incarnation would be more in line with what the teacher taught. For everyone else eat, drink, overspend, have a ball, but don’t, please, bring Jesus into it. He’s far too sublime for Christmas.
Sorry folks, Jesus is not the reason for the season. Never was, and never will be.
For Jesus…getting our thoughts intertwined with His, never in conflict in thought or emotion…a dialogue…
Hi there, I had not planned to discuss my grievances but I feel compelled to say something. I thought my baptism would free me from the guilt I feel with the life I led, but I find I am still confused about some things. For example, I was brought up to love Christmas, honor the LORD’s birth, have good fellowship with friends (some of my friends may not have been Christians), and enjoy all the good Christmas music. Now, I know from recent readings that Christmas day is considered a pagan holiday given to the Roman people by Emperor Constantine to appease his people in 300AD, but I still miss this time of year. How do you overcome this feeling? This feeling may seem foolish or trivial but to me it is real. Excuse my rambling as I’m not used to expressing my feelings, preferring to keep these things to myself. Much love to all, henry
Hi… So good to hear from you. :) Well, I know what you mean about things that we have all been “brain-dirtied” into believing and embracing and guarding and “needing” by our culture and environment, unguided by Truth. Whether it’s X-mas where millions use the Lord’s Name in vain daily, because they have no intention of obeying Him, or any number of other things that we “rely on” for identity or comfort or a sense of “belonging” or just the secure and “predictable” of form and rituals and sentiments. It’s just the human condition be trained like “Pavlov’s dog” to react to smells and sounds and sights that we have been “conditioned” to respond to, unfortunately. But as you said, if feels “oh so real” no matter how fallacious it may be, and there’s the problem. Few are honest enough to look into it, whatever “it” is, for REAL. Most aren’t honest because they want what they want, and don’t CARE what God thinks, really, and simply justify it all to “make-believe” that God thinks the way we “feel”—even if He doesn’t. But, in all things, if we make GOD’S OPINION to be KING, and then ADJUST our feelings to match HIS feelings we’ve looked into, then GOD CHANGES US from the inside, by His Spirit and Grace. But if we hold out on Him, and want to “play God” and don’t REALLY care what HE thinks, we will remain pathetic and mortal and lame—but just “religious” still, of course, to maintain the pretense to ourselves.
SO, I know what you mean about it being “hard” when we are totally indoctrinated by “wisdom of this world” and “the patterns of this world” that blind us to “the good, perfect, and pleasing will of God.” OF COURSE His ways are different than what feels natural or comfortable, or desirable to us. OF COURSE! That’s actually where the Growth potential comes from! Those are doorways and windows into the power and glory of God, out and away and above the wretched and lame ways and lives of “mere men” as Paul called them. Read 1Cor.2 and the first part of chapter 3 if you will. :)
It SHOULD seem “odd” that Jesus’ mother Mary gave no indication that she emphasized or even thought of an “earth-birth” day for Jesus. The writers in the Scriptures, including two of Jesus’ own half brothers (the sons of Mary and Joseph, Jude and James who wrote Scripture) NEVER ONCE mentioned such a practice or concern, that Jesus’ “First-birth” ever be recognized, or that anyone trade materialism and guilt and worldly retail loves on that day, or any day. Even the scientist Luke, who recorded a thorough THIRTY YEAR account of the practices and concerns and teachings and ways of the Church under the guidance of the hand-trained apostles of Jesus—some “birthday” thing for Jesus NEVER HAPPENED, or Luke deceives us with his neglect of even MENTIONING something the religious world pushes SO hard…as do the retail sector and alcohol business that ring up their cash registers to the tune of 30% of the annual sales during this falsified “season”. Even if 20 different Essential Biblical Principles weren’t heinously violated during this “christmas season” while using Jesus’ name, it should be shocking enough that we have unbelievable emotion and sentiment and jealousy to “protect” for our own flesh that which Mary and Jesus and Jude, and James, and Luke, and Paul and Peter, and Jesus’ closest friend John—NONE of which practiced, supported, or taught of, or even mentioned—if the Bible is our guide. The question would be, “How dare we pour emotion and time and money and camaraderie into that which violates SO much of God’s heart and His Commands regarding worldliness, taking the Lord’s Name in vain, hypocrisy, love of the world, deceit, theft, blasphemy from drunken lips, and the like—and those who KNEW JESUS PERSONALLY did NOT do this thing that is so ‘precious’ today?” It seems to be a problem.
Well, “take your time, but don’t procrastinate” is a good “motto” when things are hard to grasp or overcome the cultural and worldly “conditioned responses” we’ve had dumped on us from the time we were all babies. “Those who love the world are enemies of God” is a pretty potent statement, as is Paul’s admonishment to be “dead to the world, and the world to us.” But, that’s why Jesus was better than all that surrounded Him and was seated at the Highest Place—because He “hated” the world and the things of the world, and ONLY loved what the Father loved. That’s OUR job, too. “Find out what pleases the Lord” and ONLY allow those things to have our minds and sentiments. We HAVE to see things as He sees them, and “walk as He walked”. That’s just it. Simple. So we FIND OUT what we’re seeing wrongly and we CHANGE our minds. That’s what the word “repentance” actually means in the Greek: “to change our MINDS” about what we’re willing to love and hate, based on GOD’S viewpoint, rather than the “brain-dirtying” of this “wicked and adulterous generation” that Jesus spoke of. Hitler said that if he had a child until he was six years old (maybe he said seven, but it was right there somewhere)—he had him for LIFE. Satan and Hitler think a lot alike. Of course. So, we have all of that to overcome, since the spirit of this age and the “god of this world” has had our thinking corrupted AWAY from God’s (of course) FAR longer than six or seven years. A BIG JOB to change our minds and emotions to match His, to say the least. But, that’s no reason to reject the Process of coming to HIM for all of our opinions and feelings, just because we were SO messed up for so long, right? :)
Well, the first part of this letter is far more important than the second part, since it is the PRINCIPLE and the WAY to LIVE that I want you to be Soft for Jesus about, and the details are less important once the heart is Right with God, our Designer and King. :)
But, below you’ll find some minor examples of the topic of “X-mas”. Even articles in Time Magazine and the like are mind-boggling at the basis and pagan demon-meanings of SO many things related to Xmas and Easter and the like. It’s sooooo sad what was done to us, and so many others in our childhoods that robbed us of our minds and emotions and even intelligent choices. God never meant for our emotions to be spent on demon-symbols and rituals. He wants us to use our emotions on HIS STUFF! :)
Love to you in the Warrior-Lamb, mike
Holidays, family, morphine, and LSD
Thought for the day….
This first thought is devastatingly simple: What you find your life’s pleasure in, what you need and want in order to be truly happy, the place where you find your comfort and strength…this is the place where you must also find the salvation for your soul. It is either Jesus, or it is an idol.
Frankly, most people either find their comfort, identity and happiness in evil vices, their occupation, man-made religious activities, some sport or hobby, or in physical family ties. Some combination of these “drug addictions” allows the average unregenerate person to “be happy” and contentedly comatose in this fallen world. These are nothing but DRUGS, illegal substances that dull the senses to the REALITY that might be theirs in Jesus and His Kingdom. Yet most people, instead, harden themselves with the substitute “high” of these “drug addictions.” Sports (as an escape or vice, or affection and conversation consumer), or job or family…are for many no different than worshipping idols. Why? Because looking to these things for happiness, strength, peace, bonding, or identity…is to turn away from Jesus.
“No man can serve two masters.” One can either be self-seeking, or Jesus-seeking…but never both. Those that “love the world” (and the “things of the world”) are “enemies of God.” Those that “live for pleasure” are “dead even while they live.” What DO we find our comfort and identity and happiness in? And what DO our physical family members (adult “brothers” and “sisters,” parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc) REALLY live for?
(By way of definition, an “unregenerate” person is one not “born a second time”—not yet genetically altered in the Spiritual Realm. They have not abandoned their lives into the love of Jesus, and are therefore not Christians and not going to heaven. “Attending services” and “being a good person” and believing the “right things” cannot and won’t ever, in themselves, cut it with God. A person without a life given over to Jesus is “unsaved” and is called by the Bible a “child of the devil.” Wow. This may sound unkind, since they are all “wonderful people,” but it is reality, nonetheless. And it can change, if they will choose to live for Jesus, rather than for their own lusts, desires and securities.)
Let’s focus on one particular area of this idolatry and “drug addiction” common to the species of the unsaved: “FAMILY”—as in “physical blood-line” bonding and affections. Let’s start in the obvious place. What does the Messiah have to say about it? What does GOD think about this area of “family” that is so emotionally powerful and intoxicating?
Jesus CLEARLY re-defined “family” for those that have been re-born. Who is your REAL family, if you are truly a christian (birthed now in the Spirit of God)?
(Mark 10:29-30) So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
(Mark 3:33-35) But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
(Luke 11:27-28) And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
(Luke 9:59-62) He said to another person, “Come, be my disciple.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” Jesus replied, “Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
(Mat 10:34-38) “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household! If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.”
Jesus’ view of who our REAL family must be, if we are HIS disciples, and therefore Christians, is pretty radical, isn’t it? But who has the right to argue with Jesus and question His authority or wisdom on the matter? “You didn’t REALLY mean that, did you Jesus?” Our flesh doesn’t like these commands from Jesus very much. And if a regenerate person finds this challenging, what would we expect from a pagan?
What does an unBelieving physical relative generally want, as it relates to their fleshly family? Most all unregenerate “family” members DESPERATELY desire cutesy “family” get-togethers, cooing at “grand children” (along with the accordion wallet photos 6 feet long), giving/trading “gifts”, eating large quantities of food, hollow laughter about carnal subjects, hugs, kisses, and warm fuzzies. They have little else of Real meaning in their lives, and so they must CRAVE physical realm “bonding” as a substitute. They may gossip about, or be angry with one another (other than at holidays), or see massive destructive sin in a “family” member, but it doesn’t matter. The “drug” of “physical family” is so strong that they can still fool themselves into thinking they are “tight knit”—though they have nothing much deeper than shallow surface relationship. Physical family relationship is far inferior to God’s Way, and is simply a penumbra of God’s original intent, not the real thing. Jesus said that only this is REALITY: real relationships with Father and with real Family. And this Family can consist only of those that are born a second time as radical, supernatural, undivided followers of Jesus! Openness, sincerity, integrity, self-sacrifice, love, generosity, forgiveness, loyalty, trust, mutual-dependency through thick and thin, the spark of delight and fun…all based in the Truths of Jesus lived out together daily, in His Spirit. This is His Plan. Don’t mistake this for the very shallow “shadow” of family relationships, based on “we all have the same hair-line and nose and last name,” so we should be “close-knit.” The “physical blood-line family gathered around your dinner table” as an entity complete in itself is not a concept you’ll find in Jesus’ Heart. This is not His Plan, based on His Teachings above, and many others.
(Rom 9:6-8) It is not that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God’s people, and only some of Abraham’s descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.” This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those who become God’s children because of the promise God made to Abraham.
(Rom 9:6-7) “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants.”
From the beginning, God’s intent has been to see “family” according to the Spirit, not the fleshly offspring. “God sets the lonely in families.” The Real thing is seen through Spiritual eyes, shared in communion in the Spiritual realm with Jesus, and invested in by vulnerability of heart, love of the Light, and obedience to God. It has nothing to do with physical blood-line. Jesus surely made this point clear beyond debate. God’s Plan has always been that the “shadow” would never be indulged in, but rather it would point us towards “the Reality, which is in Christ” alone.
If you coddle, and cooperate with, and are cozy with unBelieving “family” (whether they are religious, or not—but still part of the world system), without reservation, without qualification, without speaking to them about their souls regularly in spite of social protocol, you are deeply hurting them and yourself. If you “join in the reindeer games” and just blindly DO the “family” stuff, at holidays and other times, do the chatty phone calls, photographs of the children, and hang out with pagans—you are no better than a drug dealer. You are giving a drug fix to a junkie. If you allow them to continue to build their lives, like the animal kingdom does, around physical realm, flesh and blood things to get their “highs”, you are defying the teachings of the Master, to your own detriment. Beyond that, you are contributing to your physical family’s destruction by giving them the substitute for True Family, and True Life—JESUS and HIS FAMILY, the CHURCH. It is not “love” to overlook things that Jesus has called fatal. “Keeping peace” (which truthfully is more likely to be either cowardice, or lack of relationship with Jesus on your part) is not “loving them” when you are allowing them to die without a real, consecrated walk with Jesus. Those that love the world are always “enemies of God”—and you allowed it to go on. Shame on you, if you have done this, in order to “avoid conflict” or to pad your own insecurities and fleshly desires for worldly affections.
Let me repeat a key point here. You must grasp this. Perhaps these “family members are “churched,” but not truly living for Jesus. By Jesus’ Words, they cannot be saved unless they deny their very selves, take up their crosses daily, and radically follow after Him. Jesus was clear. They cannot be saved, unless they will do this, from the heart, and fall deeply in love with Him (instead of themselves, the world, and the things of this world, such as physical family, jobs, hobbies, etc.). Unless they ARE living for Jesus, heart-soul-mind-and-strength, they are NOT your family. That is IF you believe what Jesus articulated in the Scriptures written above. And if you don’t believe Him and want to live this way, then you should go be with and enjoy the company of, and bond with your unregenerate “family members”. And if you can feel comfortable with them and depend on unBelievers? If you have no deep groanings and difficulty laughing at their jokes? If you can hang out with them during endless carnal or shallow discussions, indulging shamelessly in their pagan feasts and gift giving and “family” bonding drug parties? If you can, then you should question your own intimacy with God.
“How can two walk together unless they are in agreement?”
“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “And then I will be your God and you will be My people.”
“If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”
“Bad company corrupts good character.”
Can you be good company to the unregenerate—with nothing at stake, nothing challenged, nothing changing…just partying with them on their level? (Maybe YOU don’t curse or drink as they do, but you are clearly “one of them” by how you distribute your affections and allow your children to be handled and entrusted.) If you can be “chatty” with them in a relaxed and familiar or intimate way, you are in serious trouble. If you can live with them, visit with them, travel with them, eat with them, “party” with them socially in an unchecked, unhindered, relaxed way, there is a very serious problem. If you enjoy all of that and “bond” with them without deep grief in your heart, you are probably one of their species as well. Unsaved. And you are only sealing their destiny without Jesus more deeply, but giving them the “drugs” of “fleshly family” that they crave and dulling them to the only REAL source of Life: Jesus of Nazareth and HIS Family.
When Jesus reached out to the unsaved, such as Zacchaeus, they were comfortable with Jesus only if they desired to repent. Obviously, sin was not overlooked and conversation carnal and worldly.
(Luke 19:8) But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “I will give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times more.”
If you DO grieve deeply for your physical family, you cannot join in the pagan revelry and just be one of them. Of course you care about their well-being very much—primarily spiritually, and then otherwise, but you MUST NOT give them their demanded “drug fix.” You must not just go along with all of the building and bonding they desire, around flesh and blood. You may only build around Spiritual things, if you are a son or daughter of God.
It is entirely possible to love pagan family, and reach out to them, and “honor father and mother”—WITHOUT giving them the “drugs” they crave. You’d be far better off visiting with them at times AWAY from “holidays” and times of the “drug fix” and emotional pleas or emotional blackmail. “If you REALLY love me then you will ____.” “If you’re REALLY a christian, then you will ‘honor your father and mother’ and do what we want you to do!” This is terrorism and emotional blackmail, and you must not give in to it. Drug addicts will always make demands and threats and emotional pleas for their “fix”—but you are NOT doing them a favor by giving it to them. You can “honor” them (without the sin of giving away affections that must belong ONLY to Jesus and HIS Family) by showing kindness in other ways and at other times. We can visit, perhaps, at times and in ways that can center around Jesus, rather than the intoxication of “holidays” that “must not be ‘spoiled’ by these religious conversations.” Keeping Jesus always before them, rather than as a “side” topic that “we just don’t talk about,” is mandatory. Does someone you know want “religion and politics” to be “private” matters? Wrong. Jesus is everything, and must not EVER be relegated to a “side” topic. Only an unsaved church-goer would even be capable of leaving Jesus out of any relationship—whether co-workers or physical “family.” If you can bond with, and give trust and affection to, and enjoy the company of ANY unregenerate person in an un-challenged, non-Jesus-centered way, you have severely impaired your ability to know and hear and experience the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This applies to physical family, co-workers, childhood friends, neighbors, people that like similar sports, or whatever! You are robbing them of perhaps their greatest chance to have Eternal Life, and you are robbing yourself of fellowship with Jesus by disobeying and wounding Him. I’m not kidding. This is very important stuff. And I know the world and the religious world have probably never told you this. But it’s true. Jesus was serious about what He said above.
SO, let’s get our perspective in tune with Jesus’ Teaching and Commands, and then we are free to really love people as He did and does—without mixing carnal sympathies, and worldly thinking into our relationships. We can “honor” them and love them in HIS way, and not from a place of sin on our parts. Please take this seriously, “to the praise of His Glory”!
Is Christmas Christian?
by Michael Schneider
For the vast majority of people the question is really no question at all. Is Christmas Christian? “Of course it is! What could be more Christian than Christmas? Isn’t it Jesus’ birthday?” Others have begun to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the celebration of Christmas. When they look at the bacchanalia that takes place around December 25, there is an uneasy feeling that something is not quite right. And yet they keep telling themselves, “Isn’t Christmas Jesus’ birthday? The world has corrupted Christmas, but underneath it’s still a wonderful holiday.” And so they struggle year after year to “put Christ back into Christmas.”
This may be a shocking thought to some: but after wrestling with the question for several years now, searching the scriptures and church history, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing Christian about Christmas; that in its present observance, as well as in its origin, Christmas is basically and essentially pagan. If that thought is new and startling to you, I invite you to consider the possibility that for you Christmas is a blind spot that needs some reexamination.
I don’t mean to say that I’m unimpressed with the sentimental appeal of the “holiday spirit.” There’s a certain charm about this season of the year the thought of family gatherings, dreaming of a “White Christmas,” “chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style.” No one with any sentimentality could escape a twinge of nostalgia when there’s a “feeling of Christmas in the air.” Even the most hardened cynic can’t stifle a softening childlike feeling of goodwill that lasts for a few days.
I’ve tried the approach that says, “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas,” but I have become more and more convinced that Christ doesn’t want to be “put back into” Christmas. If we speak against the commercialization of Christmas and emphasize “the real meaning of Christmas,” most people would readily agree. People are very well aware of what they consider to be the materialistic excesses of Christmas celebration; and they love sermons on the “true” meaning of Christmas. But I’m asking, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?” When you get right down to its essence, what is Christmas? Where did it come from? How did it originate? What does it stand for now? The real question is the nature of the institution itself.
I think you will be shocked if you evaluate the institution of Christmas realistically. What I’m asking you to do is lay aside your cultural prejudices and preferences, and approach this question with an open mind. Granted, that’s hard to do. We are so snowed under a century of tradition and nostalgia, that it’s almost impossible for some people to look at the issue objectively at all. I’m asking you to put aside your preconceived notions, at least temporarily, to look honestly at this institution we call Christmas. Frankly, this article is calculated to disturb you, to make you think, and to cause you to change your actions if they are not consistent with the truth of the gospel.
I. Its Inception
What is the origin of Christmas? How did it begin? Were its beginnings pagan or Christian? There is no indication in the New Testament that the early Christians observed Christmas at all. It can be demonstrated in church history that, for probably the first 300 years after the birth of Christ, Christians knew nothing of Christmas celebration. It was only as the Church began to drift from apostolic doctrine and practice into corruption that Christmas began.
Where did it come from? Where did the drifting Church get the ideas and customs associated with Christmas today? The source of most of the basic forms of paganism in the ancient world can be traced back to the Babylonian “mysteries.” All of the ancient cultures, Egypt, Greece, Rome, even India and China, had beliefs, traditions, practices, gods and goddesses that were related to those found in Babylon. The names were different, and different modifications were added, but basically the ancient religions were related and find their “purest” form in Babylonia. In the Old Testament Babylon stands as the epitome of everything that is godless and perverse. The greatest indignation suffered by God’s people for their sins is to be carried away into Babylonian captivity, into the heart of the heathen world.
In the New Testament, Babylon becomes Rome. The Roman Empire embodies the pagan beliefs and practices of ancient Babylon and is seen as the arch-enemy of God’s people. In the book of Revelation Rome is called “the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” She is a woman sitting “upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” And John says that she was “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:1-6).
What was to be the attitude of God’s people toward this “Babylon” of their day? “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). Of course they could not physically separate themselves from the Roman Empire where they lived. The call was to spiritual separation from its attitudes and practices. But, did God’s people hear the warning and separate themselves from Babylon? No, they did the very opposite. They compromised with her and became contaminated with her corruption. In 313 A.D. the Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly adopted the Christian faith and declared it to be the official religion of his realm. His embracing the Christian Church proved detrimental to true Christianity. Constantine retained the traditional pagan titles, and his coins still bore the figures and names of the old Roman gods.
The Church became “the Roman Catholic Church” and its method became compromise with paganism. Ever since, the Roman Catholic way of converting pagans to its style of worship has been to absorb them gradually, along with their idolatrous observances. The church was content to swell the number of nominal adherents by meeting paganism halfway. There were some valiant voices of protest who bitterly lamented the inconsistency of this approach, but their voices were raised in vain.
The Roman church has continued the same approach until this day. It can be seen particularly in Central and South America, where idols have simply been replaced with statues of the saints. Some of their names and traditions have even been combined. Roman Catholic churches in these countries are often opened to the Indians for the worship of their animistic gods.
How then did we receive our holidays (holy days) with their customs and traditions Christmas as well as Easter, Halloween, and Mardi Gras? Each of them has come to us from ancient Babylon, through Rome, through the Roman Catholic church.
It was for this very reason that in Calvin’s Geneva you could have been fined or imprisoned for celebrating Christmas. It was at the request of the Westminster Assembly that the English Parliament in 1644 passed an act forbidding the observance of Christmas, calling it a heathen holiday. They stated: “Festival days, vulgarly called ‘Holy-days,’ having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.” (See also, James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, Vol. I, pages 406-420)
When the Puritans came to America they passed similar laws. The early New Englanders worked steadily through December 25, 1620, in studied neglect of the day. About 40 years later the General Court of Massachusetts decreed punishment for those who kept the season: “…anyone who is found observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting, or any other way, any such days as Christmas Day, shall pay for every such offense five shillings.”
It was not until the 19th century that Christmas had any religious significance in Protestant churches. Even as late as 1900, Christmas services were not held in Southern Presbyterian churches. The PCUS General Assembly of 1899 declared: “There is no warrant in Scripture for the observance of Christmas and Easter as holydays, rather the contrary (see Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:16-21), and such observance is contrary to the principles of the Reformed faith, conducive to will-worship, and not in harmony with the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
John Knox and his colleagues included the following statement in their First Book of Discipline (1560):
We affirm that “all Scripture inspired of God is profitable to instruct, to reprove, and to exhort.” In which Books of Old and New Testaments we affirm that all things necessary for the instruction of the Kirk, and to make the man of God perfect, are contained and sufficiently expressed.
By contrary Doctrine, we understand whatsoever men, by Laws, Councils, or Constitutions have imposed upon the consciences of men, without the expressed commandment of God’s word: such as be vows of chastity, foreswearing of marriage, binding of men and women to several and disguised apparels, to the superstitious observation of fasting days, difference of meat for conscience sake, prayer for the dead; and keeping of holy days of certain Saints commanded by men, such as be all those that the Papists have invented, as the Feasts (as they term them) of Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins, of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification, and other fond feasts of our Lady. Which things, because in God’s scriptures they neither have commandment nor assurance, we judge them utterly to be abolished from this Realm; affirming further, that the obstinate maintainers and teachers of such abominations ought not to escape the punishment of the Civil Magistrate.
What then is the history of Christmas? It came into the Church centuries after the New Testament, was discarded at the Reformation, and has only in this century crept back into the Protestant Church. What I’m saying, then, is that the real Christmas has always been pagan, and to make it a Christian celebration is to try to add Christ or biblical elements to an essentially pagan holiday.
II. Its Institutions
Let’s look, then, at some of the familiar customs of Christmas and examine their significance. I’m taking only a small selection of the many familiar traditions, but I assure you that what I say about these is true of all the Christmas customs, and I encourage you to check them all out in any secular encyclopedia.
Take, for instance, the very date of Christmas, December 25. As you are probably aware, no one really knows the time of Christ’s birth and December 25 is a highly unlikely time. Why then December 25? Well, at the time of year when the days began to lengthen again, the Babylonians celebrated the victory of their sun god. The Roman copy of this Babylonian custom was called Saturnalia, the feast of the birth of Sol. It was for centuries an abomination to Christians. The celebration was an orgy of pagan revelry. But the Church, instead of standing firm against paganism, began to compromise. It wanted to “help” weak young Christians who didn’t want to give up the fun and merrymaking surrounding the winter solstice. So the Church said, “Go on with your fun and celebration. Only now we’ll call it a celebration of the birth of the Son of God. Instead of losing people to paganism, we’ll combine the two and gradually even win some of the pagans of our day to profess Christianity. Let’s not force men to choose between the two.”
Then think about the name Christmas itself. What does it mean? Many people do not even know that it is a combination of Christ and mass. Christmas is the Roman Catholic celebration of a particular mass in honor of the birth of Christ. Perhaps it would impress on our minds the real meaning of Christmas if we would refer to it as Christmass. What is the significance of the mass? At its heart the Roman Catholic mass is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. It professes to be a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ for sin. It is a denial of the gospel (Heb. 9:12, 24-26; 10:10, 12,14). The Roman Catholic Church has many other masses, such as Michaelmass, but it is their Christmass that Protestants have singled out for observance.
What could seem more harmless than the beautiful Christmas trees that light our homes during the Christmas season? But do you know why we have trees in our homes? From ancient times trees have played an important role in pagan religion, and were even worshipped. Norsemen, Celts and Saxons used trees to ward off witches, evil spirits, and ghosts. In Egypt the palm tree was prominent; in Rome it was the fir. Because of this association, idols were often carefully carved from trees. Jeremiah warned the Old Testament people of God: “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with hammers, that it move not” (Jer. 10:2-4).
Even the nativity scene, which some regard as the most “Christian” symbol of Christmas, is tainted with pagan influence. Nearly every recorded form of pagan worship which has descended from Babylonian “mysteries” focuses the attention of the worshipper on a mother goddess and the birth of her child. Different cultures used different names, but the concept is uniformly the same. In Babylon it was the worship of the queen of heaven and her son Tammuz, the sun god who was thought to be the incarnation of the sun. The birth of the sun god took place at the winter solstice. Yule was the Babylonian name for child or infant, and Yule Day was celebrated on December 25, long before Christ’s birth. The next time you see a manger scene on a Christmas card, and Mary and Jesus have a halo around their heads, remember that this Roman Catholic concept is borrowed from the Babylonian “mysteries.” And remember that the believer is forbidden to make for himself “any graven image or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). Do we take these commands of God seriously, or have we long since outgrown them and explained them away?
Or what about Santa Claus? Can anyone seriously deny that he represents the real meaning of Christmas for the vast majority of Americans? I won’t go into the familiar stories of his origin as a Roman Catholic saint, but what does he stand for today? Is he a harmless, jolly, fat elf, or has he become an Antichristian symbol of greed, materialism, selfishness an expression of “something for nothing?” “What’s in it for me?”
Parents who tell their children the Santa Claus myth are endangering their credibility with their children. When they ask you, “Can Santa really see me through these walls?” What do you reply? Our children ought to be able to know that they can trust everything we tell them without question. How else can we expect them to believe us when we teach them in childhood from the holy scriptures those things “which are able to make them wise unto salvation,” even “the mystery of godliness, that God was manifest in the flesh?”
Everything the modern American pagan believes about God is capsulized in Santa Claus. He is busily engaged in a nice though rather meaningless activity most of the year. He exists somewhere up north as a harmless, friendly old man with a long white beard. He visits his people once a year, spending the other 364 days in obscurity. A child may write him at the North Pole, but the communication is strictly one way; Santa is not involved with daily living. The way for a child to be acceptable in Santa’s sight is to be “good.” Santa warns of the consequences of being “bad,” but his word really can’t be trusted. The child knows he has not been perfect, and even though he may feel some anxiety, he remembers last year and knows that no matter what Santa says or what the child does, in the end Santa will reward him. Santa represents a god who threatens man with hell and judgment only to keep him in line in this life, but who will accept all men in one way or another in the end. If you teach your children the Santa Claus myth, you are unknowingly giving them the material to build an unbiblical concept of the Transcendent.
Isn’t it interesting that the Japanese have raised Santa Claus to the rank of a deity and given him an equal place among the seven popular gods of good luck? No wonder that a liberal Protestant churchman recently suggested that St. Nicholas could well be the first truly ecumenical saint. He said that both the average pagan and the ordinary Roman Catholic, as well as the Protestant, would applaud the move: “Even the Buddhists and Moslems who revere the old fellow, might take a long stride along the ecumenical way with us.… He has done more to spread the teaching that ‘It’s better to give than to receive,’ than any churchman of the past thousand years.” That says it all!
But isn’t the giving of gifts a lovely way to remember the birth of our Lord? Surely there is nothing un-Christian about giving to one another? But has any other aspect of Christmas become more perverted than this? “We spend money we don’t have, to buy gifts they don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” What a mockery and a madness the shopping whirl has become. Could anyone seriously suggest that what goes on in America around December 25th is honoring to Jesus Christ, the One who lived a life of simplicity, humility and self-denial, who condemned ostentation and self-indulgence, who taught us that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15)? Yet people who claim to be Christians spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on their Christmases, and at the same time give little toward what they know Jesus is calling them to. Isn’t true Christian giving something that should take place the year round, out of a true heart of love, and not from compulsion and with an expectation to receive in return?
What about the parties and revelries and debauchery that take place at this time of year, supposedly in connection with the birth of Jesus Christ. Why is it that liquor flows more freely at this time of year than any other? Why is it that there are more automobile accidents during the “holiday season” than at any other time? We may quibble about the origins of the Christmas tree and manger scene, but one thing is certain: If you use the Incarnation of our Lord as an excuse for revelry and debauchery, you can be sure that you will reap the judgment of God. Now, the question is this: Is all of this travesty surrounding the Christmas season inconsistent with the true meaning of Christmas, or is this the true meaning of Christmas derived from its origin and history?
But aren’t the traditions surrounding Christmas really harmless? Aren’t they innocent enough? Well, are they? How does Satan most effectively tempt us? Does he set before us horrible, grotesque—looking things that repulse us? Does he jump out of a dark alley in a red suit with a tail, and wave a pitchfork and say, “I’m the devil. I’ve come to deceive you, to bring you down to hell?” Of course not. The devices of Satan are subtle: he disguises himself “into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). He sets before us things that seem “harmless,” “innocent,” “fun” things that “everyone else is doing.” Sincere Christians are often unwittingly led into idolatry through man’s traditions.
III. Its Implications
From this mass of material (and we’ve only scratched the surface), let’s draw some conclusions. How is the Christian to react to the Christ-mass and all its traditions? As I see it, we have only three alternatives:
1. We can keep on trying our best to “Put Christ back in Christmas,” keep on fighting the losing battle to salvage something remotely Christian from this thoroughly pagan holiday. But then we must ask ourselves, “Am I ‘putting Christ’ in a pagan celebration?” We must deal with the basic question, “What is Christmas?” What is it really? Where did it start and what has it historically been?
2. We can try to separate Christmas entirely from Christ. We can observe it as kind of cultural folk festival, reasoning that the pagan elements are so far removed historically, that the traditions have been somehow purged from their idolatry. That would be more consistent, but there is still a problem: Your non-Christian friends and society still vaguely associate Christmas with the birth of Christ and assume that, since you’re a Christian, you are joining in this celebration of Jesus’ birth. Christians in primitive cultures have had this problem for years. They are urged to participate in pagan rites as a kind of cultural heritage, disassociating themselves from their idolatrous origins. But can they do that and still maintain a consistent Christian witness?
3. The only other alternative is to forsake Christmas entirely. I’m convinced that, for myself, this is the only consistent course to take. I know well the objections. I’ve heard them many times. “No one is completely consistent.” No, of course no one is completely consistent. But that fact doesn’t relieve us of the obligation to be as consistent as we can be; to obey every Scriptural command that we understand. “But isn’t that a drastic step?” Yes, it’s a very drastic step; but if we are going to stem the tide of paganism in our day or even challenge it drastic measures are going to be necessary. “Isn’t that a radical proposal?” Yes, but then true Christianity is a radical faith.
“But won’t I be considered fanatical if I take such a drastic measure?” Probably. That will be a new experience, won’t it? No one enjoys being considered a fanatic; if they do, there’s something wrong. No one enjoys persecution. But think how little persecution we face as Christians. Isn’t it because we are inconsistent? Isn’t there something wrong when our beliefs and practice don’t disturb the world any more than they do? If we compromise at this point, why wouldn’t we compromise at another, and another, and another? We Christians often wonder why we are not persecuted today. The conclusion we often reach is that we would be persecuted if we were faithful. Why doesn’t the world hate us? Isn’t it because we are not challenging the world’s thinking at the most crucial point—the world’s concept of what Christianity is? The world has substituted a folk religion for the gospel.
Martin Luther said: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle field besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
“Won’t that be a very hard thing to do?” Yes, it will. No question about it. The Christmas tradition is so firmly entrenched in our society and even in our own hearts that it will be most difficult to swim against the stream. But the question is not really, “Is it hard?” but “Is it right?” The right thing is not always easy. Christ has never promised us that following him would be easy. When our Christian lives are as easy as ours are, there is bound to be something wrong somewhere.
What then are the positive reasons we should consider scrapping Christmas altogether? The first is the reason our Protestant forefathers so carefully avoided Christmas; it was because they held the scripture to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The Westminster Confession says, “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deducted from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men” (Westminster Confession, 1:6). “The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy scripture” (21:1).
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You lay aside the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men…making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:8,13). Paul wrote to the Galatians in dismay, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years! I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Gal. 4:10-11). He wasn’t condemning them for observing those institutions commanded by God, but for observing those of man’s making, contrary to God’s law. For many people, the highlight of the year’s religious observance is a celebration with no scriptural support.
Do you think I enjoy saying these things? No one enjoys being an Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch who stole Christmas. But the only real question is this: Is what I’ve been saying biblical? Is it consistent with God’s Word? If it’s not, then you ought to disregard it. But if it is, then you ought to consider it carefully and heed it. You may, of course, disagree with my interpretation of scripture at this point; you may disagree with my assessment of the historical background and the present situation. I could be wrong. I very often am. But what you must do with a message like this is what the Berean Christians did with Paul’s preaching: “they searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). You must openly, honestly, and realistically evaluate the evidence for yourself and come to your own conclusions. You are not responsible to the preacher but to God.
The scriptures point out what is to be a stark contrast between the Christian and the world. That contrast has been largely glossed over in our day. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15). “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17). “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). The idea is, don’t let the world write the agenda, don’t let the world call the shots or set the standard. The Christian is in the world, but he must not be of the world. He is a citizen of another country, a stranger and pilgrim here. He isn’t keeping pace with his companions because he hears a different drummer.
What I’m really questioning is whether you can have a Christian Christmas. The religious aspects are the worst part of Christmas. There is no more pointed illustration of the contrast between cultural religion and biblical faith than Christmas. Christmas promotes an imitation gospel that actually keeps the world from understanding the true gospel. Christmas presents a substitute gospel that the world can easily live with. To the world, the Christian message is simply “love, peace, the spirit of giving, the feeling of good will.” That stripped-down “gospel” gives men just enough inoculation to keep them from understanding the true gospel.
The world loves Christmas because Christmas promotes a sentimental picture of a baby in a manger. Christmas keeps Jesus a baby in the manger. Jesus is misrepresented by Christmas. The gospel is misrepresented by Christmas. Christmas is the one time an ungodly person can be religious safely. Most people like to do something religious every once in a while to ease their conscience and convince themselves that they are really a pretty good person after all; and Christmas affords them the perfect opportunity to do that. It’s perfectly safe for the most pagan person to join in the Christmas spirit. You can have the Christmas spirit without having the Holy Spirit, without having the mind of Christ.
The very popularity of Christmas should cause the Christians to question it. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question! Outright pagans, nominal Christians, even Buddhists join in the celebration. If, in reality, December 25 was a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, you can be very sure that the world would have nothing to do with it. Shouldn’t the Christian be suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?
The crucial question for the believer is the Lordship of Christ: “Know ye not that…ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Are you sincerely willing to think whatever God would have you think about this whole matter? Are you willing to do whatever God would have you do, even though it may mean a drastic change in your thinking or practice? It’s at this point that the conflict really comes.
I have heard many people say about this subject, “No I don’t want to read a book about it. No I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going to have my Christmas no matter what. I enjoy it, and no one is going to take it away from me” (the implication being, not even God). It’s then that Christmas becomes an idol. An idol is anything that comes between you and God: anything you refuse to give up, even at his command. General exhortations to surrender all don’t affect us greatly; but discipleship really counts when it affects some concrete area we really care about. The real question is, can you sincerely say to God about this issue, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” “Thy will be done”?
“Roots and Fruits” (of x-mas)
Do the “roots” or origins of something have any meaning or consequences to us? Of course they do. Would you put a butcher knife on your kitchen counter for daily use that you knew had been used to brutally massacre fifteen people? “Well, that’s not what I plan to use it for—no matter what someone else may have used it for! I’m not affected by that. My heart is right.” Actually, that is not what a normal person’s view of things would be. In the real estate business, there is even a name for property that is unsaleable because a violent crime had been committed there. People do not say, “What difference does it make to me what the origins of this house and previous use of this house has been. That’s not what I intend to do with it! I intend to use it for good purposes.” Realistically, everyone does care what the roots or origins of things are. Unless it is to their advantage to ignore that issue.
Jesus said that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. The history of December 25 is clear and indisputable. Rome controlled the world. Romans worshiped many gods and twice a year celebrated two major festivals, one in spring and one in winter. When Constantine converted to Christianity, most of his subjects did too, at least for political correctness. But because their conversions were mostly external, most Romans still wanted their festivals to their gods. These were wicked festivals, honoring demons and filled with every evil practice. So to appease his subjects (how many poor, poor decisions are made to appease), Constantine renamed and “christianized” the holidays. The Festival of Sol Novus—the day of the birth of the sun god Mithras. It occurred on Dec. 25th. Pagans were rebelling against Constantine’s strong recommendation for everyone to become “Christians,” so he began to accommodate the pagans by allowing them to keep their holidays and festivals. The spring pagan festival, which was for the goddess of fertility, became easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Consequently, during this holiday we have bunnies and eggs, symbolizing fertility, not resurrection. Adopted customs from the Winter Solstice were put into practice with Christmas. Consequently, during this holiday we have trees, mistletoe, and lights—things that have nothing to with the birth of Christ. Simon the Zealot was killed in Persia after refusing to worship Mithras, the sun god, whose birth was celebrated Dec. 25. Many brothers and sisters were put to death over these newly named pagan holidays because they refused to give sacrifice and worship to the pagan gods. The Puritans in England and New England tried to abolish Christmas, but the move was unpopular and Christmas survived.
Most scholars actually suspect His birth was in October. But what would the holiday be without snow (“I’m dreaming of a white…”). If it was really to honor Him and not to replace a pagan festival, then it could be moved. But don’t hold your breath, because it’s not for Him.
The significance of all this becomes increasingly clear. For example, you wouldn’t eat beef that was raised on nuclear waste. If you’re used to eating nuclear waste, that is, if you’re a pagan, celebrating a pagan holiday is normal. But if you claim to be a Christian, then you should know that the unseen world is more real than even the effects of something polluted by nuclear waste is in the seen world. Just because a holiday’s name has changed, that doesn’t change its spiritual architecture. Remember, this was a holiday for demon-gods. Jesus isn’t honored by this time of year; He’s blasphemed. Essentially it’s a pagan holiday with His name on it. Putting Jesus’ name on something that is impure and wicked causes the spiritual senses to be dulled and lulls them to sleep. It makes it even harder to reach others for Christ the other 11 months of the year because Jesus is associated with “Christmas time”; because they see Him as a cute little baby in a manger instead of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The result of the above is obvious. I saw a sign the other day that said in reference to this season, “Love, joy and peace are in the air.” Bzzzt. Wrong answer. Materialism, gluttony, selfishness, suicide, greed, pride, self-righteousness, family idolatry, hypocrisy with strangers and family members, and all the like are in the air, in abundance. The demonic power of Christmas includes a seduction of the flesh which is warm, fuzzy and intoxicating. It strokes every sense of the flesh with smells, sights, feels, sounds, and a “spirit” in the air—literally. Or it totally depresses them. Suicide is higher this time of year than any other time. “No one even cares for me at Christmas time,” is a common thought. During this time of year, “Christian” people are supposed to be glad that at least once a year people’s attention is on Jesus. The facts are, people are probably more concentrated on themselves during this time than any other time. References to Jesus, the nativity, the virgin birth, and singing all these beautiful songs about Him seem only to allow people to feel more justified in their sin and more callused to those truths and words later. It blinds and hypnotizes them.
Many people feel justified or appease their consciences by putting a manger scene in front of their tree or donating food or money to the Salvation Army; going caroling or going to a Christmas Eve service. Some people are sincere about wanting to celebrate Jesus’ birthday and believe that others can be reached with the gospel during this time of year. But for the one person who might come to know Jesus as a result of something he heard during this season, there will be thousands of others who will be further and further away from knowing who Jesus really is and what that means for their lives.
The fruit shows itself to be very related to the roots. Hypocrisy and shallowness of heart produce hypocrisy and shallowness of heart. Take the exchanging of gifts, for example. Is it really gift giving or is it possession exchanging? If someone gives something, how often would there be a person who honestly doesn’t want something back. Very rarely. Greed and self-centeredness are bred into children. This holiday does not draw people to an exalted Christ. It mocks Him and pulls people away from Him. Just as the soldiers mocked Jesus when they crucified Him. They put a robe on Him, a crown of thorns on His head and said, “Behold, the King of the Jews.” Today, scripture says that rebellious sin crucifies Him again. And in the middle of rebellious sin, people sing, “Silent night, HOLY night.” In reality, it is children of satan singing songs about Jesus. God sees it as blasphemy because their hearts are far from Him. The Father is not pleased; He is angry. And we will be too if we see His Son and the name of His Son the way He does. One of the things most important to Him to say to His People when He first revealed Himself on Mt. Sinai was “Do NOT use my Name in vain!!!” Wouldn’t you say that a choir or a group of intoxicated “carolers” singing joyously about “baby Jesus’ and the “HOLY night” to a group of folks that also have little or no intention of obeying Jesus in their personal lives—wouldn’t THAT qualify as using His Name in vain, the most grotesque form of hypocrisy? Bad news, and not, it would seem, something we can join in with and fellowship with in the name of “keeping peace” or “I don’t PERSONALLY abuse it, so it’s OK for me.”
Find Out What Pleases Him in EVERY Area—A Letter
(kind of an FYI forwarded note about some x-mas questions… For His Sake)
As for the thing itself (x-mas), I realize that the “traditions of men” do have a powerful blinding effect that makes what ought to be obvious things seem trivial. I have been “blind sided” myself numerous times with things that should have been very obvious. Case in point: I didn’t have any knowledge at all of God’s Heart about modesty as it related to certain things. A low-cut or super-tight dress, or short shorts or miniskirts—those were fairly obvious to me. However, I MISSED ENTIRELY for a number of years after I became a Christian, that **wearing bathing suits in public swimming situations reveals the EXACT same amount of shape and skin as those other clothing items do that would cause me to turn my head away in a shopping mall.** HOW CRAZY that I would have thought that sunshine, hot temperatures, and water would make immodesty somehow different in one location than it is in another! Yet, I didn’t see it at all for a long time. Partially, because being a runner and triathlete historically made me accustomed to, and desirous of doing things the way the world does. I loved the heat and the sun and a good sweat and a workout in the pool. I also loved that my children were outdoors getting “good clean exercise.” Convenient for mothers, too, to take the children somewhere so they can talk and “sun” or whatever. In other words, being hardened by faulty experience, combined with my own idols, etc., made me fish bait for satan.
Do these things matter? Of course! Would you allow your daughter to wear a slinky nighty or her underwear, even with a slip over her underwear, into a shopping mall or to school? Then why is it okay for women to be so dressed in a public place, with even a one-piece bathing suit? Does God owe an apology to Noah’s sons for cursing them for not reverencing modesty? Why DID God think it important for there to be a ramp up to the altar, instead of stairs as He designed the Temple grounds? Meaningless? Of course not. Consider Gen. 3:21, 9:21-27; Exo. 20:26, 28:42, and Rev. 3:18, 16:15, and it is obvious what God thinks, since Eden of how we dress and modesty issues. Is it okay for men doctors, because of the patterns of the world, what we are used to, and the “line” they feed us about their superior knowledge and morals to be looking upon the exposed bodies of our females? (All in the name of science, health, or whatever, of course. But does GOD really see these as exceptions to His expressed Heart?) These are important matters to God! Ask Noah’s sons! (And they were blood family, and of the SAME sex!) I, frankly missed a lot of things such as these for a long time, and there is still ground to cover for me in Knowing Him and His Heart!
If the Vineyard had a beauty contest, would anyone sit back and ignore the fleshly, worldly “pattern of the world,” “judging after the flesh,” ugliness of such a thing? Would it be an honor to be nominated for such a thing? Not at all. It would hurt deeply that those that profess Jesus would even consider comparing people’s externals and have a glorious contest to promote it. It is NO different at a “christian school” than a “church,” is it? God’s Way is God’s Way, regardless of the format. The “pool” is not different in modesty issues than “the shopping mall” or “the church service” as it relates to modest dress. The school or workplace is not a place where God’s Principles and Priorities don’t apply as much as in “the church.” Truth is Truth and God is God. And a homecoming queen is not more acceptable to God in a school than it is in a church. I know this is hard, since the culture of the world system is screaming, “Foul! Foul!,” but it is real in God’s Sight. It took me awhile, to my shame to see this.
So, I understand how you might have missed this, too. I really do. However, you DO need to look at it seriously and thoroughly, okay? My lack of understanding does not make me innocent. The “traditions of men” have hardened many to God’s Reality, but His Reality has not changed. Not about modesty, not about beauty contests (and similar fleshly comparisons of intellect, etc.), or about pagan festivals, or _____. The fact we can easily refer to it as a holy day (holiday) is a clue as to what has happened to this whole thing. It is shrouded in the world system, steeped in pagan ritual, icons from satan worship, utter worldliness and hypocrisy—ALL WITH JESUS’ NAME AS THE BANNER! “Easter” and its fertility god worship is slightly more obvious (the bunny, the eggs, etc.), but only slightly (the trees, lights, mistletoe, and others). At least halloween doesn’t put Jesus’ Name on it to justify it! If we were to have lived in Ephesus when “Diana,” the fertility goddess represented a huge portion of the local economy (as does xmas today amongst today’s pagans), we wouldn’t have “bought” the substitution of “Jesus” as the reason for continuing the goddess’ annual celebration. We shouldn’t today, either. Make sense? Using the phrase “Merry Christmas” is no less painful to God, for the above reasons and several more, than calling the Mormon establishment (or anything outside of Jesus’ current Headship) a “church,” or calling a clergyman “Reverend” (revered and holy one) or “Father.” These things must not happen! Words and practices are not small matters to God.
As for the stuff like the christian school “holiday” program, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, xmas hymns in the shopping malls, etc.—how could it be wrong?! The words are all right—”Jesus is Exalted!” OR IS HE? Seldom the REAL Jesus is exalted in this way, since the real Jesus says, “If you love me, KEEP MY COMMANDS.” How would a loving husband feel if they knew that the one that says daily, “I love you” was regularly sleeping around? “QUIT telling me that, if you will not back it up with your LIFE!” Jesus is no different. The shopping malls are obvious, and we must not sit back and let the world defy our God by “taking His Name in vain” in such a serious and hypocritical way. But what about the christian school, or “church” usage of Jesus’ Name at “holiday” time? What if the choir director or program organizer at the “christian school” was living like the christian coach who recently showed such anger at the christian basketball game you were involved in? Or worse? And several of the children were, like the youths in Texas you know of, going to an abandoned house to drink and have sex after the “practices” for the program? Would that make the xmas program, in God’s eyes an abomination rather than a pleasure? You betcha.
You can’t ignore history. Ai was a massive failure because of ONE idol in ONE tent, out of the couple of million people involved. Weren’t the others innocent, since they were not aware of the man’s sin, nor committing any of their own? No. That particular xmas program (for all its nice qualities and fine words and songs and affirmations), that school, and any “church” is no different than Ai’s Judgment was for those that professed God at that time in history. God is God, and He wants only reality, not words and songs (see Isa. 1). Since the probability of many such problems as the basketball coach exhibited in his temper tantrum is EXTREMELY high, there is little likelihood that God found pleasure in the xmas program you were at and may have participated in, or the other 500 such programs “in His Name” that month in your city. THEREFORE, we are disconnected from the Head if we DID find pleasure in any one of them.
REALITY is what God is after, not form. Anything less than Reality is SAND, and upsets Him greatly. As I said before, I have been so guilty on several such issues in the past, until, as in the story Jesus told, I “came to my senses” and was no longer swayed by my inattention to God’s View, my personal desires and idols, or my numbness created by “the way things have always been”—the “traditions of men that nullify the Voice of God.” I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I hate that fact, and desire total change in every area that would please the Father and His Son. God help us all to withhold nothing.
“To him who is given much, much is required” (Lk. 12:48).
Well, that is all I want to say right now. That still is only a fraction of what could be said about the “holiday/holy day”—but the subject I wanted to deal with is much larger, anyway.
Would be glad to dialogue all that you would desire about it or anything else.
Love in Christ Jesus, Messiah King…
How Christmas Works
by Marshall Brain
Let’s say that on December 20 you were to meet a friendly space alien. That is, let’s say that his space ship discreetly drops him off in your back yard while you are looking out your window. You walk outside to meet the visitor, and you find out he’s a pretty nice guy. His name is Gorg, he is wearing a costume that makes him look passably human, he speaks reasonable English, and he explains that his goal is to spend a week on the planet to learn about its people. He asks if you would consider being his guide for the week, and you decide to take on the job. So you take Gorg around and start showing him your town. Since it is December 20, one thing is for sure—Gorg is going to ask about Christmas. And he is going to ask a LOT of questions, because Christmas is a pretty complicated tradition. Think about all the different questions Gorg might ask:
• What is Christmas?
• Why is Christmas such a big deal?
• Why do people give each other presents on Christmas day?
• Is December 25 really the day Jesus was born?
• Why is there a small evergreen tree in your living room?
• Why have you decorated this evergreen with ornaments, lights, fake snow and Mylar plastic tinsel?
• Why do you have holly draped over the mantel and staircase?
• Why is mistletoe hanging over the front door?
• And what about this nativity scene in the corner?
• Why is there a big log in the fireplace?
• Why are there poinsettias on the hearth?
• And what about these fruit cakes?
• Why are there oversized socks hanging on your mantel?
• Why are Christmas cards scattered all over the coffee table?
• Why do I keep hearing the same songs over and over again?
• What, exactly, are the 12 days of Christmas?
• Why do Christmas carolers walk around the neighborhood singing?
• Why is the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, celebrated?
• Who is this Santa Claus person?
• What's with this reindeer named Rudolf?
• Why do so many people, even Floridians, dream of a white Christmas?
• Why is Christmas sometimes spelled Xmas?
• Why are stores and malls so geared up about this holiday?
If Gorg can assimilate all of that and make sense of it in a week, then obviously he is a member of a highly advanced species! You may find that you yourself don’t know the answers to half of these questions. Where DID Rudolf come from? And why DO we deck the halls with boughs of holly?
In this article, we will answer all of these questions so that you can understand how Christmas works and where all of these Christmas traditions come from!
What is Christmas?
The word Christmas comes from the words Cristes maesse, or “Christ’s Mass.” Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D.
Christmas is both a holiday and a holy day. In America it is one of the biggest event of the year (especially for kids), and for The federal government, all state governments, all schools/colleges/universities and the vast majority of businesses in America give employees one or two days off at Christmas, making it an important holiday (other federal holidays are: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving). In the Roman Catholic calendar, Christmas is one of six holy feast days celebrated in America, the others being: Circumcision (New Year’s Day), Ascension, Assumption (Mary’s assumption into heaven, August 15), All Saints (November 1), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8). members of the Christian religions it is an important day on the religious calendar.
Why is Christmas such a big deal?
There are two reasons why Christmas is such a big deal:
According to the 1994 “Britannica Book of the Year,” there are 1.8 billion Christians in a total world population of 5.5 billion, making it the largest religion worldwide. In America, 241 million out of a total population of 281 million people are Christians—that’s 85 percent. Because Christians follow Jesus, the birth of Jesus is important to them.
In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70 percent of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas. Therefore, retailers hype the event beyond belief.
According to Daniel Boorstin in his book “The Americans,” Christmas was largely a non-event in America until the 1860s. 1867 was the first year that Macy’s department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve. 1874 was the year of the first window displays with a Christmas theme at Macy’s. It has snowballed from there
Why do people give each other presents on Christmas day?
The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men (the Magi) brought to Jesus. As recounted in the Bible’s book of Matthew, “On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
As mentioned in the previous question, however, no one was really in the habit of exchanging elaborate gifts until late in the 1800s. The Santa Claus story (described later), combined with an amazing retailing phenomenon that has grown since the turn of the century, has made gift giving a central focus of the Christmas tradition.
Is December 25 really the day Jesus was born?
No one really knows. What is known is that Christian leaders in 336 A.D. set the date to December 25 in an attempt to eclipse a popular pagan holiday in Rome (Saturnalia) that celebrated the winter solstice. Originally, the celebration of Christmas involved a simple mass, but over time Christmas has replaced a number of other holidays in many other countries, and a large number of traditions have been absorbed into the celebration in the process (as we will see in later sections).
Why is there a small evergreen tree in the living room?
This is a German tradition, started as early as 700 A.D. In the 1800s the tradition of a Christmas tree was widespread in Germany, then moved to England and then to America through Pennsylvanian German immigrants.
Why is this evergreen decorated? …with ornaments, lights, fake snow and Mylar plastic tinsel?
In Victorian times, people had already started decorating trees with candies and cakes hung with ribbon. In 1880, Woolworths first sold manufactured Christmas tree ornaments, and they caught on very quickly. Martin Luther, in the 16th century, is credited as being the first person to put candles on a tree, and the first electrically lighted Christmas tree appeared in 1882. Calvin Coolidge in 1923 ceremoniously lit the first outdoor tree at the White House, starting that long tradition. Fake snow and tinsel… Who knows? It’s probably related to the song “White Christmas” (we’ll get to that soon).
Why do you have holly draped over the mantel and staircase?
Mistletoe has apparently been used as a decoration in houses for thousands of years and is also associated with many pagan rituals.
According to the book “Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things,” by Charles Panati: The church forbade the use of mistletoe in any form, mindful of its idolatrous associations. As a substitute, it suggested holly. The sharply pointed leaves were to symbolize the thorns in Christ’s crown and the red berries drops of his blood. Holly became a nativity tradition. The Christian ban on mistletoe was in effect throughout the Middle Ages. Surprisingly, as late as the 20th century, there were churches in England that forbade the wearing of mistletoe sprigs and corsages during services.
Why is mistletoe hanging over the front door?
For Scandinavians, the goddess of love (Frigga) is strongly associated with mistletoe. This link to romance may be where our tradition of kissing under mistletoe comes from.
And what about this nativity scene in the corner?
The star, the manger, the swaddling clothes, the shepherds, the angels, the heavenly host and the wise men all come from the books Matthew and Luke in the Bible.
Why is there a big log in the fireplace?
According to the “Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins,” by William and Mary Morris:
“Yuletide” for “Christmastime” is a term derived from the yule log, which in olden days was a huge log used as the foundation of the holiday fires. Bringing the yule log in was, as recently as the 19th century, as much a part of the pre-Christmas festivities as putting up an evergreen tree today. “Yule” can be traced back to the Middle English “Yollen” (cry aloud) and is thought to date from early Anglo-Saxon revels in celebration of the discovery (after the winter solstice) that nights were becoming shorter.
Up until the 19th century, the custom of burning the Yule log flourished in England, France, Germany and among the South Slavs. Out of oak, families carved a heavy, wood block. They placed it into the floor of their hearth. It glowed throughout the year under the flames of household fires. Gradually it became ash.
Why are there poinsettias on the hearth?
Poinsettias were attached to Christmas starting in 1828. Joel Roberts Poinsett, then the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, imported the plant from Mexico. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: In warm climates, the poinsettia grows outdoors as a winter-flowering leggy shrub about 3 metres (10 feet) high; as a potted plant in northern areas it rarely grows beyond 1 metre. What appear to be petals are actually coloured leaflike bracts that surround a central cluster of tiny yellow flowers. A milky latex in the stems and leaves can be irritating to persons or animals sensitive to it, but the claim that poinsettias are deadly poisonous is greatly exaggerated. (“Poinsettia,” Britannica CD. Version 97. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1997.)
And what about these fruitcakes?
According to “The Joy of Cooking,” by Irma Rombauer and Marion Becker, “Many people feel that these cakes improve greatly with age. When they are well saturated with alcoholic liquors, which raise the spirits and keep down mold, and are buried in powdered sugar in tightly closed tins, they have been enjoyed as long as 25 years after baking.”
Why are there oversized socks hanging on your mantel?
According to a very old tradition, the original Saint Nicholas left his very first gifts of gold coins in the stockings of three poor girls who needed the money for their wedding dowries. The girls had hung their stockings by the fire to dry. Up until lately, it was traditional to receive small items like fruit, nuts and candy in your stocking, but these have been replaced in the last half-century by more expensive gifts in many homes.
The tradition of a lump of coal in the stockings of naughty children comes from Italy.
Why are Christmas cards scattered all over the coffee table?
Christmas cards started in London in 1843 and in America in 1846. Today, about two billion Christmas cards are exchanged every year in the United States.
Why do I keep hearing the same songs over and over again?
There is a set of songs that are played continuously during the Christmas season. Here’s a pretty complete list:
Away In A Manger
Carol Of The Bells
Deck The Halls
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Joy To The World
Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Little Drummer Boy
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Holy Night
O, Little Town of Bethlehem
Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
The First Noel
The Twelve Days of Christmas
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
What Child Is This?
Since this list is relatively short, you tend to hear each song about 700 times over the course of the few weeks leading up to Christmas.
What, exactly, are the 12 days of Christmas?
The 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days that separate Christmas day on December 25 from Epiphany, which is celebrated January 6. Depending on the church, January 6 may mark Christ’s baptism (the Catholic tradition), or it may mark the day that the wise men visited the baby Jesus with their gifts. In the past, there was a tradition of giving gifts throughout the 12 days, rather than stacking them all up on the morning of December 25. That tradition, as you might imagine, has never really caught on in America! We just aren’t that patient. The song, however, demonstrates that some people once stretched out their gifts (and gave some fairly elaborate gifts…) over the full 12 days.
Drennon’s Twelve Days of Christmas offers some interesting perspectives on the 12 days of Christmas and the song of that same title.
Why do Christmas carolers walk around the neighborhood singing?
In the Middle Ages in England and France, carols were dances accompanied by singing. In the French Midi, for example, the “carol” was a kind of round dance. In time, the word “carol” changed its meaning, referring only to certain kinds of songs. The Anglo-Saxon tradition favoured gathering together small choirs on the village green to sing carols and Christmas songs for the pleasure of passers-by. A number of currently very popular American Christmas carols come directly from France and England.
Why is the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, celebrated?
Christmas Eve is a big deal for religious reasons, such as the midnight mass, and also for retail reasons. 1867 was the first year that Macy’s department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve.
A HowStuffWorks reader was also kind enough to point out the following: “All Jewish holidays start at sundown the evening before (not at calendar midnight). Our holidays start with ceremony the evening before: rituals, candle-lighting, whatever…at sundown and they last until the following sundown, and then they’re over.”
Who is this Santa Claus person?
Why is Santa characterized as a short, fat and jolly pipe smoker?
Why does Santa wear such outlandish clothes?
Why does he ride around in a sleigh? Pulled by reindeer? That lands on rooftops? So he can climb down the chimney? With a big sack full of toys? Which he leaves under the tree for good girls and boys?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Santa Claus started with a real person, Saint Nicholas, a minor saint from the fourth century:
According to tradition, he was born in the ancient Lycian seaport city of Patara, and, when young, he traveled to Palestine and Egypt. He became bishop of Myra soon after returning to Lycia. He was imprisoned during the Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians but was released under the rule of Emperor Constantine the Great and attended the first Council (325) of Nicaea. After his death he was buried in his church at Myra, and by the sixth century his shrine there had become well known. In 1087, Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’ relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola, Bari.
Nicholas’ reputation for generosity and kindness gave rise to legends of miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy. He was reputed to have given marriage dowries of gold to three girls whom poverty would otherwise have forced into lives of prostitution, and he restored to life three children who had been chopped up by a butcher and put in a brine tub. In the Middle Ages, devotion to Nicholas extended to all parts of Europe. He became the patron saint of Russia and Greece; of charitable fraternities and guilds; of children, sailors, unmarried girls, merchants, and pawnbrokers; and of such cities as Fribourg, Switz., and Moscow. Thousands of European churches were dedicated to him, one as early as the sixth century, built by the Roman emperor Justinian I, at Constantinople (now Istanbul). Nicholas’ miracles were a favourite subject for medieval artists and liturgical plays, and his traditional feast day was the occasion for the ceremonies of the Boy Bishop, a widespread European custom in which a boy was elected bishop and reigned until Holy Innocents’ Day (December 28).
After the Reformation, Nicholas’ cult disappeared in all the Protestant countries of Europe except Holland, where his legend persisted as Sinterklaas (a Dutch variant of the name Saint Nicholas). Dutch colonists took this tradition with them to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the American colonies in the 17th century.Sinterklaas was adopted by the country’s English-speaking majority under the name Santa Claus, and his legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents. (“Nicholas, SAINT”, Britannica CD. Version 97. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1997.)
It is amazing but true that the common, popular view of Santa that we all have today, along with all the crazy things around Santa like the sleigh, the reindeer and the chimney, all came largely from two publishing events that occurred in the 1800s and one advertising campaign in this century. Clement Moore wrote “The Night Before Christmas” in 1822 for his family. It was picked up by a newspaper, then reprinted in magazines and it spread like wildfire. Moore admitted authorship in 1838. If you read the poem you will find that he names the reindeer, invents the sleigh, comes up with the chimney and the bag of toys, etc. Nearly everyone in America has been able to recognize or recite this poem since the 1830s.
Then, between 1863 and 1886, Harper’s Weekly (a popular magazine of the time) ran a series of engravings by Thomas Nast. From these images come the concepts of Santa’s workshop, Santa reading letters, Santa checking his list and so on. Coca-Cola also played a role in the Santa image by running a set of paintings by Haddon Sundblom in its ads between 1931 to 1964. The red and white suit came, actually, from the original Saint Nicholas. Those colors were the colors of the traditional bishop’s robes.
Who is this reindeer named Rudolf?
…who guides Santa’s sleigh with the biological aberration of a red, glowing nose capable of penetrating thick fog? The whole story of Rudolf appeared, out of nowhere, in 1939. Santas at Montgomery Ward stores gave away 2.4 million copies of a booklet entitled “Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer.” The story was written by a person in the advertising department named Robert May, and the booklet was illustrated by Denver Gillen. The original name of the reindeer was not Rudolf, according to the book “Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things,” by Charles Panati. The original name was Rollo, but executives did not like that name, nor Reginald. The name Rudolf came from the author’s young daughter! In 1949, Gene Autry sang a musical version of the poem and it was a run-away best-seller. The Rudolf song is second only to “White Christmas” in popularity.
Why do so many people, even Floridians, dream of a white Christmas?
The song “(I’m Dreaming of a) White Christmas,” written by Irving Berlin for the movie “Holiday Inn” (1942) and sung by Bing Crosby, is one of the best-selling songs of all time.
Why is Christmas sometimes spelled Xmas?
…especially when combined with the word “sale”? According to the book Did you ever Wonder…by Jeff Rovin, the word for Christ in Greek is Xristos. The use of the shortened form “Xmas” became popular in Europe in the 1500s. The word Xmas is so common in advertising most likely because “Xmas” and “sale” have the same number of letters, and “Xmas” is significantly shorter than Christmas.
Why are stores and malls so geared up about this holiday?
Why does every mall have a Santa village, and why do kids come sit on Santa’s knee? As mentioned previously, stores and malls have been revved up about Christmas since the late 1800s. In America today, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are, by far, the biggest retail sales weeks of the year. The survival of most retail stores depends on the Christmas buying season. Therefore, retailers do whatever they can to whip people into a Christmas buying spirit and to attract them to their stores. Festive decorations, big ads, Santa’s Villages and all the rest are a part of that process.
Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?
There is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration. This is not to say that we shouldn’t remember Christ’s birth and its significance, but for religious commemorations or celebrations, we must have Biblical command or precedent! The fact of the matter is this—the early church did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the “Christianization” of pagan rites as Catholicism was made the state religion by Constantine in the fourth century A.D. Since the Word of God does not support the tradition of Christmas, a Christian’s conscience ought not and must not be bound.
The following outline describes the origin of Christmas (with its associated pagan customs, symbols, and terminology), details the Scriptural support against celebrating Christmas, attempts to show that celebrating Christmas violates the spirit of every one of the ten commandments, attempts to demonstrate that celebrating Christmas does not fall in the realm of Christian liberty, and attempts to debunk eight of the major rationalizations Christians put forth for celebrating Christmas.
I. The Origin of Christmas
A. A Long Evolution—Christmas customs are an evolution from times long before the Christian period—a descent from seasonal, pagan, religious, and national practices, hedged about with legend and tradition. Their seasonal connections with the pagan feasts of the winter solstice relate them to ancient times, when many of the earth’s inhabitant’s were sun worshipers. As the superstitious pagans observed the sun gradually moving south in the heavens and the days growing shorter, they believed the sun was departing never to return. To encourage the sun’s return north (i.e., to give the winter sun god strength and to bring him back to life again), the sun gods were worshipped with elaborate rituals and ceremonies, including the building of great bonfires, decorating with great evergreen plants such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe, and making representations of summer birds as house decorations. The winter solstice, then, was the shortest day of the year, when the sun seemingly stood still in the southern sky. Observing the slowdown in the sun’s southward movement, and its stop, the heathen believed that their petitions to it had been successful. A time of unrestrained rejoicing broke out, with revelry, drinking, and gluttonous feasts. Then, when the pagans observed the sun moving again northward, and a week later were able to determine that the days were growing longer, a new year was proclaimed.
B. Not Among the Earliest Christian Festivals—Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. It was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed, neither by the apostles nor in the apostolic church—not for at least the first 300 years of church history! History reveals that about 440 A.D., the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, following the lead of Roman Catholicism (see I.C.). [It was sufficient for the early Christians that Jesus, their Lord and Savior, had been born. They praised God that Jesus Christ had, indeed, come in the flesh. The day and the time of His birth had no relevance to them, because Jesus was no longer physically on earth. He had returned to heaven. And it was the risen, exalted Christ whom they looked to, and that by faith—not a babe laid in a manger. Jesus Christ is no longer a baby; no longer the “Christ-child,” but the exalted Lord of all. And He does NOT somehow return to earth as a baby every year at Christmas-time—though this is the impression given even in certain hymns sung in Protestant services.]
C. The Role of Religion in Ancient Rome—Seemingly forgotten is the essential role religion played in the world of ancient Rome. But the Emperor Constantine understood. By giving official status to Christianity, he brought internal peace to the Empire. A brilliant military commander, he also had the genius to recognize that after declaring Christianity the “state” religion (Constantine forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptized into the Roman Church), there was need for true union between paganism and Christianity. The corrupt Roman Church was full of pagans now masquerading as Christians, all of which had to be pacified. What better way than to “Christianize” their pagan idolatries. Thus, the Babylonian mystery religions were introduced by Constantine beginning in 313 A.D. (and established a foothold with the holding of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.). The Constantine-led Roman Church was more than willing to adapt and adopt pagan practices in order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen. Constantine used religion as a political tool, totally devoid of any true spirituality:
· Pagan rituals and idols took on Christian names (e.g., Jesus Christ was presented as the Sun of Righteousness [Malachi 4:2] replacing the sun god, Sol Invictus).
· Pagan holidays were reclassified as Christian holidays (holy-days).
· December 25th was the “Victory of the Sun-God” Festival in the pagan Babylonian world. In the ancient Roman Empire, the celebration can be traced back to the Roman festival Saturnalia, which honored Saturn, the harvest god, and Mithras, the god of light; both were celebrated during or shortly after the winter solstice (between the 17th and 23rd of December). To all ancient pagan civilizations, December 25th was the birthday of the gods—the time of year when the days began to lengthen and man was blessed with a “regeneration of nature.” Moreover, all of December 25th’s Babylonian and Roman festivals were characterized by 5-7 day celebration periods of unrestrained or orgiastic revelry and licentiousness.
December 25th was particularly important in the cult of Mithras, a popular deity in the Old Roman Empire. Robert Myers (a proponent for celebrating Christmas) in his book Celebrations says:
“Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. This feast, which took place just after the winter solstice of the Julian calendar, was in honor of the Sun God, Mithras, originally a Persian deity whose cult penetrated the Roman world in the first century B.C.… Besides the Mithraic influence, other pagan forces were at work. From the seventeenth of December until the twenty-third, Romans celebrated the ancient feast of the Saturnalia.… It was commemorative of the Golden Age of Saturn, the god of sowing and husbandry.”
In order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen, the Roman Church simply took Saturnalia, adopted it into Christianity, and then eventually many of the associated pagan symbols, forms, customs, and traditions were reinterpreted (i.e., “Christianized”) in ways “acceptable” to Christian faith and practice. (In fact, in 375 A.D., the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I merely announced that the birth date of Christ had been “discovered” to be December 25th, and was accepted as such by the “faithful.” The festival of Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithras could now be celebrated as the birthday of Christ!) The pagans flocked into the Catholic places of worship, because they were still able to worship their old gods, but merely under different names. It mattered not to them whether they worshiped the Egyptian goddess mother and her child under the old names (Isis and Horus), or under the names of the “Virgin Mary” and the “Christ-child.” Either way, it was the same old idol-religion (cf. 1 Thes. 1:8-10; 5:22—Paul says to turn from idols, not rename them and Christianize them). Roman Catholicism‘s Christmas Day is nothing but “baptized” paganism, having come along much too late to be part of “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
D. “Christianization” of Pagan Customs, Symbols, and Terminology—Christianity had to undergo a transformation so that pagan Rome could “convert” without giving up its old beliefs and rituals. The actual effect was to paganize official Christianity. “’A compound religion had been manufactured, of which…Christianity furnished the nomenclature, and Paganism the doctrines and rights.’ The idolatry of the Roman world, though deposed from its ancient pre-eminence, had by no means been demolished. Instead of this, its pagan nakedness had been covered with the garb of a deformed Christianity” (W.E. Vine). Pagan customs involving vestments, candles, incense, images, and processions were all incorporated into church worship and continue today.
The following customs and traditions associated with Xmas all have pagan/heathen origins. (“Xmas” is the more preferable form for the day, since it at least leaves the name of our Savior out of the heathen observance.) Naturally, Christians would not keep these customs for such evil and perverse reasons, but the fact of their origins remain—“the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:3), and should thereby be carefully considered by all who know and love the Lord:
1. The blasphemous “Christ’s Mass” shortened to “Christ-mas”—The Roman Catholic “Christ’s Mass” is a special mass performed in celebration of Christ’s birth. In this mass, Jesus is considered both the priest and the victim, represented by the Catholic priest who offers Him as a sacrifice each time the mass is performed. In offering this “sacrifice,” the priest believes he has the power to change the bread and the wine of the Communion into Jesus’ literal flesh and blood, requiring the people to worship these elements as they do God Himself. This is obviously a denial of the gospel, and thereby, a false gospel (a re-doing of the sacrifice for sin—Heb. 9:12, 24-26; 10:10,12,14). Yet, many who cry out all year long against the blasphemous Roman Catholic system, at year-end embrace Rome’s most blasphemous abomination of them all—Christmas!
2. Nativity Scenes (tainted with paganism)—Nearly every form of pagan worship descended from the Babylonian mysteries, which focus attention on the “mother-goddess” and the birth of her child. This was adapted to “Mary-Jesus” worship, which then easily accommodated the multitude of pagans “converted” to Christianity inside Constantine’s Roman Catholic Church. [If anyone were to erect statues (i.e., images) of Mary and Joseph by themselves, many within Protestant circles would cry “Idolatry!” But at Xmas time, an image of a little baby is placed with the images of Mary and Joseph, and it’s called a “nativity scene.” Somehow, the baby-idol “sanctifies” the scene, and it is no longer considered idolatry!] (cf. Exo. 20:4-5a; 32:1-5; 9-10a)
3. Christmas Tree—Evergreen trees, because of their ability to remain green through-out the winter season when most other forms of vegetation are dormant, have long symbolized immortality, fertility, sexual potency, and reproduction, and were often brought into homes and set up as idols.
The full mystical significance of the evergreen can only be understood when one considers the profound reverence the ancient pagans had for all natural phenomena—“To them, Nature was everywhere alive. Every fountain had its spirit, every mountain its deity, and every water, grove, and meadow, its supernatural association. The whispering of the trees…was the subtle speech of the gods who dwelt within” (W.M. Auld, Christmas Traditions). This is nothing but nature worship or Animism.
The custom of bringing the tree into the home and decorating it as is done today has legendarily been attributed to Martin Luther. In truth, the modern custom has been lost in obscurity, but almost every culture has some such tradition. For ages, evergreen trees would be brought into the house during the winter as magic symbols of luck and hope for a fruitful year to come, It may also be that the star with which many of today’s trees are topped did not originate as a representation of the star that the wise men followed, but rather a representation of the stars to which the ancient Chaldean astrologers looked for guidance.
The first decorating of an evergreen was done by pagans in honor of their god Adonis, who after being slain was brought to life by the serpent Aesculapius. The representation of the slain Adonis was a dead stump of a tree. Around this stump coiled the snake—Aesculapius, symbol of life restoring. From the roots of the dead tree, then comes forth another and different tree—an evergreen tree, symbolic to pagans of a god who cannot die! In Babylon, the evergreen tree came to represent the rebirth/reincarnation of Nimrod as his new son (Sun), Tammuz. In Egypt, this god was worshiped in a palm tree as Baal-Tamar. (Heathen people in the land of Canaan also adopted tree worship, calling it the Asherah—a tree with its branches cut off was carved into a phallic symbol.) The fir tree was worshiped in Rome as the same new-born god, named Baal-Berith, who was restored to life by the same serpent. A feast was held in honor of him on December 25th, observed as the day on which the god reappeared on earth—he had been killed, and was “reborn” on that day, victorious over death! It was called the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Thus, the annual custom of erecting and decorating evergreen trees was brought down to us through the centuries by the pagan Roman Catholic Church—the paganism of Tammuz and Baal, or the worship of the sun, mingled with the worship of Aesculapius the serpent. Whether erected in private homes or in churches, decorated or not, the evergreen tree is a glaring symbol of this false god.
4. Christmas Wreaths—In pagan mythology, evergreen means eternal life and a never-dying existence. Made from evergreens, Christmas wreaths were most frequently round, which symbolized the sun (just as do halos in most religious art). Hence, the round Xmas wreaths stand for an eternal sun, a never-dying or self-renewing sun. In addition, the round form can also relate to the sign of the female, which stands for the regeneration of life. Because of these pagan associations, the Christian church was initially hostile towards the use of wreaths and other evergreen derivatives. But in the same way it Christianized other pagan traditions, the church soon found a way to confer its own symbolic meanings. For example, the sharp pointed leaves of the “male” holly came to represent Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries His blood, while the “female” ivy symbolized immortality (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 6). Such wreaths now not only adorn churches at Christmas time, but are also appearing during the Easter season.
5. Mistletoe—The use of the mistletoe plant (which is poisonous to both man and animals) can be traced back to the ancient Druids. (The Druids were pagan Celtic priests who were considered magicians and wizards.) It represented the false “messiah,” considered by the Druids to be a divine branch that had dropped from heaven and grew upon a tree on earth. This is an obvious corruption of God’s prophetic Word concerning Christ, “the Man the Branch,” coming from heaven. The mistletoe symbolized the reconciliation between God and man. And since a kiss is the well known symbol of reconciliation, that is how “kissing under the mistletoe” became a custom—both were tokens of reconciliation. The mistletoe, being a sacred plant and a symbol of fertility, was also believed to contain certain magical powers, having been brought to earth from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying it in its toes (hence the name). It was once known as the “plant of peace,” and in ancient Scandinavia, enemies were reconciled under it (yet another reason why people came to “kiss under the mistletoe”). It was supposed to bring “good luck” and fertility, and even to protect the house in which it hung from witchcraft.
A kiss is also something which is, at times, associated with lust. So the practice of “kissing under the mistletoe” also had roots in the orgiastic celebrations in connection with the Celtic Midsummer Eve ceremony. At the time the mistletoe was gathered, the men would kiss each other as a display of their homosexuality. (The custom was later broadened to include both men and women.) Kissing under the mistletoe is also reminiscent of the temple prostitution and sexual license prolificating during Roman Saturnalia.
6. Santa Claus—Santa Claus or “Father Christmas” is a corruption of the Dutch “Sant Nikolaas.” (“Saint Nicholas” was the 4th century Catholic bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who gave treats to children; he was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, “regarded as a special friend and protector of children.” The red suit comes from the fact that Catholic bishops and cardinals in Italy wear red.) Santa Claus was also known as “Kriss Kringle,” a corruption of the German “Christ Kindl “—Christ Child. This has to be one of the most subtle of Satan’s blasphemies, yet most Christians are unaware of it.
Originally, the Santa Claus concept came from the pagan Egyptian god, Bes, a rotund, gnome-like personage who was the patron of little children. Bes was said to live at the North Pole, working year-round to produce toys for children who had been good and obedient to their parents. In Dutch, he was called “Sinter Klaas.” Dutch settlers brought the custom to America. In Holland and other European countries, the original Santa Claus was actually a grim personage who traversed the countryside, determined to find out who really had been “naughty or nice.” Those who had been acting up were summarily switched. The association of Santa Claus with snow, raindeer, and the North Pole suggests Scandinavian or Norse traditions of the Yuletide season. [In Babylonia, also, the stag (raindeer) was a symbol of the mighty one, Nimrod. The symbolism of antlers worn on the head of a noble leader would demonstrate his prowess as a hunter, and thereby, influence people to follow him.]
Santa is the blasphemous substitute for God! He is routinely given supernatural powers and divine attributes which only GOD has. Think about it. He is made out to be omniscient—he knows when every child sleeps, awakes, has been bad or good, and knows exactly what every child wants (cf. Psa. 139:1-4). He is made out to be omnipresent—on one night of the year he visits all the “good” children in the world and leaves them gifts, seemingly being everywhere at the same time. He is also made out to be omnipotent—he has the power to give to each child exactly what each one wants. Moreover, Santa Claus is made out to be a sovereign judge—he answers to no one and no one has authority over him, and when he “comes to town,” he comes with a full bag of rewards for those whose behavior has been acceptable in his eyes.
Santa Claus has become one of the most popular and widely accepted and unopposed myths ever to be successfully interwoven into the fabric and framework of Christianity. It is a fact that Christ was born, and that truth should greatly rejoice the heart of every Christian. But the Santa Claus myth distorts the truth of Christ’s birth by subtly blending truth with the myth of Santa Claus. When Christian parents lie to their children about Santa Claus, they are taking the attention of their children away from God and causing them to focus on a fat man in a red suit with god-like qualities. All of this teaches the child to believe that, just like Santa, God can be pleased with “good works,” done in order to earn His favor. Also, they teach that no matter how bad the child has been, he will still be rewarded by God—just as Santa never failed to bring gifts. Even in homes of professing Christians, Santa Claus has clearly displaced Jesus in the awareness and affections of children, becoming the undisputed spirit, symbol, and centerpiece of Christmas.
7. Christmas Eve—“Yule” is a Chaldean word meaning “infant.” Long before the coming of Christianity, the heathen Anglo-Saxons called the 25th of December “Yule day”—in other words, “infant day” or “child’s day”—the day they celebrated the birth of the false “messiah”! The night before “Yule day” was called “Mother night.” Today it is called “Christmas Eve.” And it wasn’t called “Mother night” after Mary, the mother of our Lord—“Mother night” was observed centuries before Jesus was born. Semiramis (Nimrod’s wife) was the inspiration for “Mother night,” and “Child’s day” was the supposed birthday of her son (Tammuz), the sun-god!
8. Yule Log—The Yule log was considered by the ancient Celts a sacred log to be used in their religious festivals during the winter solstice; the fire provided promises of good luck and long life. Each year’s Yule log had to be selected in the forest on Christmas Eve by the family using it, and could not be bought, or the superstitions associated with it would not apply. In Babylonian paganism, the log placed in the fireplace represented the dead Nimrod, and the tree which appeared the next morning (which today is called the “Christmas tree”) was Nimrod alive again (reincarnated) in his new son (sun), Tammuz. (Still today in some places, the Yule log is placed in the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and the next morning there is a Christmas tree!)
Today’s Yule log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex-and-fertility god, Jule, was honored in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, and each day for twelve days a different sacrifice was offered. The period now counted as the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany was originally the twelve days of daily sacrifices offered to the Yule log. (What, then, are we really doing when we send “Yuletide greetings”? Are we really honoring Christ by sending greetings in the name of a Scandinavian fertility god? These are the same customs being practiced today as in ancient paganism! Only the names have changed.)
9. Candles—Candles were lit by the ancient Babylonians in honor of their god, and his altars had candles on them. And as is well known, candles are also a major part of the ritualism of Roman Catholicism, which adopted the custom from heathenism. Candles approached the Yule log in ritual importance. Like the Yule log, they had to be a gift, never a purchase, and were lighted and extinguished only by the head of the household. Such candles stood burning steadily in the middle of the table, never to be moved or snuffed, lest death follow. The Yule candle, wreathed in greenery, was to burn through Christmas night until the sun rose or the Christmas service began (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 9). Obviously, candles should have no part in Christian worship, for nowhere in the New Testament is their use sanctioned.
10. Giving of Gifts—The tradition of exchanging gifts has nothing to do with a reenactment of the Magi giving gifts to Jesus, but has many superstitious, pagan origins instead. One prominent tradition was the Roman custom of exchanging food, trinkets, candles, or statutes of gods during the mid-winter Kalends (the first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar). This custom was transferred to December 25th by the Roman Church in keeping with the Saturnalian festival and in celebration of the benevolent St. Nicholas. [Is it not the height of ridiculousness to claim that giving one another presents properly celebrates Jesus’ “birthday” (not that there is anything necessarily wrong in giving each other presents)? But what are we giving Him, if indeed we are specifically celebrating His incarnation?]
11. Christmas Goose—The “Christmas goose” and “Christmas cakes” were both used in the worship of the Babylonian “messiah.” The goose was considered to be sacred in many ancient lands, such as Rome, Asia Minor, India, and Chaldea. In Egypt, the goose was a symbol for a child, ready to die! In other words, a symbol of the pagan “messiah,” ready to give his life (supposedly) for the world. This is obviously a satanic mockery of the truth.
12. Christmas Ham—Hogs were slaughtered and the eating of the carcass was one of the central festivities of the Saturnalia. Each man would offer a pig as a sacrifice because superstition held that a boar had killed the sun deity Adonis. Hence, the tradition of the Christmas ham on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
13. Christmas Stocking—According to tradition, a poor widower of Myra, Turkey, had three daughters, for whom he could not provide a dowry. On Xmas-Eve, “Saint Nicholas” threw three bags of gold down the chimney, thereby saving the daughters from having to enter into prostitution. One bag rolled into a shoe, and the others fell into some stockings that had been hung to dry by the fire. Hence, the beginning of the tradition of the “Christmas stocking” or “boot.”
14. Christmas Cards—The first British Xmas card can be dated back to 1843. The first cards featured pictures of dead birds! Evidently, the popularity of hunting robin and wren on Christmas Day made the dead bird image an appropriate one for “holiday” cards. Often the text of the cards would also have a morbid tone. Later, the cards displayed dancing insects, playful children, pink-cheeked young women, and festively decorated Christmas trees. The first actual Xmas cards were really Valentine’s Day cards (with different messages) sent in December. Mass production of Xmas cards in the United States can be traced back to 1875. Initially, the manufacturers thought of Xmas cards as a sideline to their already successful business in playing cards. But the “tradition” of sending cards soon caught on, leading to a very profitable business by itself.
15. Christmas Carols—What do you suppose the reaction would be by a church’s leaders if its pastor were to propose that the following hymns be introduced into the church to commemorate the birth of Christ? After all, the tunes are quite lovely.
Hymn #1—A hymn by a Unitarian (rejects the Trinity and full deity of Christ) minister that does not mention Jesus Christ and reflects the liberal social gospel the-ology of the 19th century.
Hymn #2—A hymn by an American Episcopal priest, the fourth verse of which teaches Roman Catholic superstition about Christ coming to be born in people during the Advent season.
Hymn #3—A song, the words by an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, the music by a Roman Catholic school teacher, containing the Roman Catholic superstition about halos emanating from holy people, with no gospel message.
Perhaps you would expect the church’s leaders to be very upset. It might surprise you to learn that they were upset when they suspected that the pastor might somehow prevent them from singing them. You see, those three hymns were already in the church’s hymnals! The pastor did not have to introduce them. The three theologically incorrect “Christmas carols” referred to above are It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night.
E. European Xmas Traditions—In the early days of Christianity, as it moved north and west into Europe, many pagan celebrations were encountered. For example, in the late-6th century in England, the Angles and Saxons were found celebrating Yule. The Christian evangelists thought they would fail in any attempt to rival, suppress, or stamp out such long held customs, so they simply adopted popular dates for their own “special rituals and hallowed services.” In other words, it was easier to establish a festival celebrating the birth of Christ if it conveniently coincided with an existing popular feast day. In this way, the pagan peoples (albeit potential converts to Christianity), could continue with their usual celebrations at this time of year, but the reason for the merrymaking could be redefined and attributed to Christ’s birth rather than to any pagan rituals. As paganism eventually died out and Christianity became widespread, Christmas became increasingly more associated with its religious foundations than any others (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 2).
It was left to the Puritans to denounce everything. For them, Christmas was rightfully part popish, part pagan, and was forbidden to be kept as a holiday or feast day. The attack began in 1644 when the Puritans controlled the Parliament; December 25th was changed to a Fast Day. By 1647, even the Fast Day was abolished as a relic of superstition, synonymous with the Church of Rome. No observation on December 25th was any longer permitted, but the day was to be observed as a normal market-day. Christmas was accurately depicted by such names as the Profane Man’s Ranting Day, the Superstitious Man’s Idol Day, the Papist’s Massing Day, the Old Heathen’s Feasting Day, the Multitude’s Idle Day, and Satan-that Adversary’s-Working Day. In those days, any Christmas celebrations would be broken up by troops, who would tear down decorations and arrest anyone holding a service. Some who celebrated it in Europe were also thrown into prison. Because of the riots that broke out following the banning of Christmas, the celebrations and revelry were restored in 1660 by King Charles II, a Catholic (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 3).
F. American Xmas Traditions—America’s settlers (the “founding fathers” of so-called “Protestant America”) rightfully considered Christmas a “popish” holiday. In fact, it was only in the early 1800s that several founding members of the New York Historical Society “invented” Christmas. Before then, it was illegal in colonial Massachusetts to even take December 25th off work. Christmas was forbidden as “unseemly to ye spiritual welfare of ye community.” (It was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, and this law remained on the books for 22 years. In Boston, public schools stayed open on December 25th until as late as 1870!) It wasn’t until 1836 that any state declared Christmas a holiday (Alabama), and then there were no more state declarations until the Civil War. It was not until 1885 that all federal workers were given Christmas Day off. The so-called Xmas customs and traditions were later concocted more for commercial purposes than for religious.
Quoting from a 12/23/83 USA TODAY article about Christmas: “A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century.” Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist, wrote in 1874 of his New England boyhood:
“To me Christmas is a foreign day, and I shall die so. When I was a boy I wondered what Christmas was. I knew there was such a time, because we had an Episcopal church in our town, and I saw them dressing it with evergreens, and wondered what they were taking the woods in the church for; but I got no satisfactory explanation. A little later I understood it was a Romish institution, kept by the Romish Church.”
II. Scriptural Support Against Celebrating Christmas—Unacceptable Worship
A. 2 Chron. 33:15-17—The Israelites had kept the old pagan form (the high places of Baal), but had merely introduced the worship of God into that form—a refusal to let go of pagan worship forms (i.e., God was to be worshiped in the Temple, not on the high places). This was unacceptable worship because the right object of worship was mixed with wrong forms of worship; i.e., the mixing of godly worship with ungodly form. [Likewise, is not the celebration of Christmas the taking of a celebration established by pagans and for pagans, and then introducing the worship of Christ into that pagan form?]
B. Deut. 12:29-32—God warned His people Israel to destroy all vestiges of pagan worship that they found in the “Promised Land.” Not only did God want to prevent His people from being enticed to worship false gods, but He specifically revealed that He did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner in which the heathen worshiped their gods. We know, therefore, that our Lord is displeased by practices which profess to honor Him, but which are copied from the tradition of false religions. The command here was to worship God only in His way, i.e., do only what God commands—not adding to God’s commands nor taking away from them. [Is not “putting Christ back into Christmas,” worshiping “the Lord your God their way”? Is there any command in the Bible to give special reverence to the Scriptural account of Christ’s birth more so than to any other Scripture, let alone even a suggestion to celebrate or commemorate His birth in any way whatsoever? God never intended for His people to be imitators of the pagan customs of the world, but has called us to be separate and set apart.]
C. Lev. 10:1,2—Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord. [Is not the celebration of Christmas, with all its pagan symbols and forms, a “strange fire” unto the Lord, and is not this form of worship contrary to what God commands?]
D. 1 Sam. 15:1-3, 7-9, 21-23—Saul disobeyed God’s prophet in order to worship God in his way. [Is not the celebration of Christmas one of man’s ways of worshiping Christ? There is certainly no Biblical command to offer worship in this manner.]
E. 2 Sam. 6:2-7—David attempts to transport the ark on a “new cart” instead of using the rings and poles as the Law required (Exo. 25:12-15). Additionally, the “transporters” of the ark were not even authorized to carry it (1 Chron. 15:2, 13-15); i.e., the ark was not only transported in the wrong way, but was transported by the wrong people! [Is not the celebration of Christmas the wrong way (pagan forms and tradition) with the wrong people (the heathen of the world join right in with the professing Christians)?]
F. 1 Ki. 12:26-33—In order to unify the northern ten tribes of Israel, ungodly King Jeroboam set up pagan idols, not in place of God, but as new focal points for directing worship to God. He even instituted a new festival on a new day; i.e., a new religious holiday of his own choosing. Even though the true God of Israel was still to be the object of worship in the new religious holiday, both the holiday and the worship were not authorized by God nor accepted by Him (1 Ki. 13:1-3; 15:29,30). Why? Because the concocted mixture of error with truth constituted false religion! [Is not the celebration of Christmas a religious holiday of man’s own choosing, replete with pagan symbols and forms, all under the guise (by sincere Christians at least) of worshiping the one true God and Savior? But does not this worship form and system still constitute false religion, and thereby, make it unacceptable to God? And besides, where in the Bible do Christians have the right to add a new holy day to the so-called Christian calendar, any more than King Jeroboam had the right to add a new holy day to God’s theocratic calendar?]
G. 1 Cor. 8:4-13; Rom. 14:1-13; 1 Cor. 10:14,18-21—These passages concerning Christian liberty are discussed in more detail under Roman numeral IV. [Christian liberty can best be defined Biblically as “the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by the Scriptures or denying oneself what is permitted (i.e., a moral choice of self-discipline) in order to be a more effective witness for God.” So the question must first be answered, “Is Christmas permitted?”] Briefly, some claim that Paul is teaching that the participation in pagan forms condemns no one, and therefore, participation in Christmas and its forms, even though arising out of pagan idolatry, is inconsequential. However, Paul nowhere approves participation in acts of idolatry, of which the participation in the pagan forms of Christmas comes dangerously close to doing. Instead, Paul is speaking of the liberty to continue in Jewish days of worship/festival that had been previously ordained under the Jewish law. There is certainly no liberty to bring outside pagan forms into the church’s worship services. Likewise, there is no liberty to Christianize Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days as special days.
Christians in the first century churches had the liberty to observe Old Testament holy days and feasts (days that had previously been revealed by God) if they were so immature as to do so. The weaker brother, Paul wrote, was at that time not to be censured for continuing to attach some importance to the Old Testament holy days, as a clear knowledge of their abolition in Christ was not yet given to him (the weaker brother). But to observe a pagan holy day is something this passage does not sanction. They certainly did not have the liberty to regard Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days (days that were invented by the devil) as special days. Again, that would have been idolatry, worldliness, and perhaps even a form of Satan worship on their part. Therefore, how can the observance of Christmas Day, or any other Babylonian/Roman Catholic holy day, be a matter of Christian liberty?
Yet when some of us refuse to regard the pagan holy days as special days, we are the ones often referred to as the “weaker brother” in this matter! Are we opposed to such days because we are “weak in faith”? Faith would be defined as believing what the Word of God says about a matter and acting upon it. It was by faith that we stopped regarding pagan holy days as special days. Would we be more mature Christians if we would start regarding such days again? It would certainly be much easier on us and our families.
III. Christmas and Violation of the Ten Commandments (reverse order)
A. Do Not Covet—Children learn to covet the gifts of others, to drool over the Christmas catalog, to drag their parents endlessly through toy stores, all in the name of “the Christmas spirit.”
B. Do Not Bear False Witness—“Jesus is the reason for the season!” is the Christian battle cry to “put Christ back in Christmas,” when in actuality, there is not only no Biblical warrant for Christmas, but its roots are in pagan worship systems. Nevertheless, professing Christians lie to their children about Santa Claus, the supernatural, sorcerous false “god” of Christmas, whose “gospel” is one of works salvation along with unconditional acceptance and rewards. Parents lie to their children for years about the god-like character of Santa Claus, in effect asking them to trust in a false god and a lie, and then don’t understand why later in life their children won’t believe and trust in the true God, Jesus Christ.
C. Do Not Steal—Christmas spending patterns could never stand the test of Biblical stewardship; i.e., Christians, in celebrating Christmas, “steal” the Lord’s resources by ignoring their proper use; lavishly spend these resources on worthless and useless trinkets (in many cases); and withhold resources from those in need, while at the same time claiming to never have enough money to buy good Christian books, pay for home schooling, or buy Bible helps for their children. (Christians could also be helping the spiritually needy by buying and giving them tracts, books, etc.) We “steal” from our families what they need and what we owe them in order to buy gifts for those who don’t need them.
D. Do Not Commit Adultery—At this “special” time of the year, lustful thoughts are actually encouraged; e.g., teens are allowed to go to parties and stay out later, thereby having temptations put in front of them that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Christmas parties for adults also encourage evil thoughts through the use of the mistletoe, etc. (According to Matt. 5, such thoughts constitute adultery. At the very least, spiritual adultery is encouraged by the “season.”)
E. Do Not Murder—Envy and hate of my brother (which, according to Matt. 5, is equal to murder) because he has more than me or because he receives a larger Christmas bonus than me, is encouraged at Christmas time. We also tend to spiritually sacrifice our children to the “god of Christmas” via greed, selfishness, etc.
F. Honor Father & Mother—Christmas gift-giving is not an honor to parents; the term “exchanging” gifts (i.e., giving in expectation of a return) is a dead give-away of the mockery associated with this tradition.
G. Remember the Sabbath & Keep It Holy—Although we recognize that the Lord’s Day is not the “Christian Sabbath,” clearly the Lord’s Day is to be kept for worship and observed as such. Yet when Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the day after Christ-mas falls on a Sunday, most churches adjust the Lord’s Day to accommodate Christ-mas, usually by canceling the regularly scheduled Sunday evening service. Most of its members are too busy or too tired to attend services anyway.
H. Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain—“Christ” and “mass” are two words that are totally opposite from one another, and to connect the two is to blaspheme the name of Christ. By taking a pagan celebration, “Christianizing” it, and calling it a celebration of the birth of Christ, is most certainly taking the Lord’s name in vain. (A good example of the willingness of the professing church to profane the name of the Lord would be the title of a popular children’s Christmas concert production—The Divine Ornament. Imagine, identifying our Lord with a pagan ornament to hang on a pagan tree! What insult! What blasphemy!) In addition, some professing Christians use religion (“Christ’s birthday”) as a cloak to cover the evils of covetousness, idolatry, greed, immorality, etc.—all excuses to give vent to evil lusts.
I. Do Not Make Yourself Any Carved Image—Nativity scenes, “pictures” of Christ, Christmas cards with “pictures” of Jesus, etc., all violate this command. God has given us His Word, not images, to teach us about Christ (1 Pe. 1:23; Dt. 4:12, 15-19).
J. Have No Other gods Before Me—The “god of Christmas” is idolatrous! Looking to the Christmas season for happiness, joy, and fulfillment, rather than through a pure, personal, and Biblical relationship with Jesus Christ, is idolatry.
IV. Is a Christian’s Decision to Celebrate Christmas a Part of Christian Liberty?
A. Romans 14:1-13—This passage is speaking of Jews who were observing the Old Testament Jewish holy days/festivals and dietary laws even though they were now believers in Christ; but they were also judging their Gentile brothers-in-the-Lord who did not observe the Jewish customs. Likewise, the Gentile Christians were judging their Jewish brothers who were seemingly caught-up in ceremonial law. Paul was thusly saying, “To you Gentile Christians—leave the Jewish Christians alone, because they are not violating any Scriptural commands by their actions (i.e.,it’s a “disputable” matter [doubtful or gray area] and not a moral issue). To you Jewish Christians—it’s okay for you to observe the Jewish festivals and dietary laws because they were given by God in the Old Testament, and thereby, are considered to be previously approved worship forms, but don’t judge your Gentile brothers because there is no Biblical command for either of you to continue to observe these things.” (Actually, it wasn’t “okay” [see IV.C. below], but Paul allowed it as an act of an immature/weaker brother [see II.G. above].) If a moral issue is involved (i.e., a practice that is covered in Scripture), then this passage and its application to Christian liberty (i.e., the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by Scripture) would obviously not apply. And as brought out earlier in this report, the celebration of Christmas appears to be such a moral issue, because its celebration is not only not from God, but is from ancient paganism itself!
B. 1 Corinthians 8:4-13—The Gentile Christians, who had been raised in an idolatrous system, were having a problem with the their Jewish brothers who were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. (Apparently, this was the only “healthy” meat available.) Similar to the Romans 14 passage above, Paul says that eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols is not a moral issue, and thereby, is not prohibited. However, Paul does not say that it is okay to go into the pagan temple itself; in fact, in other passages (1 Cor 10:14, 18-21), Paul specifically prohibits getting involved with the pagan feasts. In other words, it’s not a moral issue to partake in the byproducts of a pagan religious system (note, however, that there is no indication here that the Jewish Christians were using the “idol meat” as part of their worship), but it is not okay to partake in the religious system itself (because the corrupt character of the participants would be harmful for believers). Rather, we must be separate from the worldly system (2 Cor 6:14-7:1). Therefore, when items (byproducts) associated with a pagan religious system not only develop religious associations of their own, but have been integrated into what would otherwise be true Christian worship (as the celebration of Christmas has clearly become in our culture), then we should pull away from them so that there is no confusion over our allegiances.
C. Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16-17—Both these passages of Scripture refer to the Jewish holy days under Old Testament law. If Christians were not even to observe the Old Testament holy days—days which did have divine sanction, for a time—they certainly don’t have the liberty to observe pagan holy days!
D. James 4:11—James is saying that Christians may only judge a brother on matters determined in God’s Word (i.e., moral issues). If a matter is not covered in the Word, then these are matters of Christian liberty (á la Rom. 14:1-13 and 1 Cor 8:4-13), and he who judges in these areas of Christian liberty is, in effect, judging and condemning the Word of God as being an imperfect standard to which the judge, thereby, refuses to submit. On the other hand, since we have clear Scriptural precept that condemns the things that go on around December 25th in the name of Christ, the celebration of Christmas does not appear to be a matter of liberty, but one of moral conduct.
V. The Right Response
A. Quench Not the Holy Spirit (1 Thes 5:19-22)—Test all things against the Scripture and line-up beliefs and actions with what is true (i.e., do not treat with contempt the Word of God). If one is convinced that to celebrate Christmas is sin, then he and his family must not compromise with the world or the church by participating in any Christmas celebrations (Rom. 14:23).
B. Avoid Traps of the Devil:
1. Lack of Zeal—One who never considers why he does certain things, but he just does them because he always has or because his parents always have; one who acts on emotions rather than on facts.
2. Lack of Truth—One who does things for good reasons and right motives (i.e., plenty of zeal), but not in truth.
C. Realize that Christians Celebrating Christmas as the Day of Christ’s Birth Makes No More Sense than Adding Any of the Following Days as Special Days of Christian Celebration:—(Remember, the Bible’s focus on the birth of Christ is for the sole purpose of documenting his virgin birth, his incarnation, and the fulfillment of His prophetic Messiahship. Like the tongue-in-cheek suggestions below, one must also remember that there is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for the remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration.)
1. Baptism Celebration—Why not have three days of swimming parties in the summer in order to celebrate/symbolize Christ’s three days in the grave? We could even pick a time based upon our speculation of when John the Baptist baptized Jesus!
2. Ascension Celebration—Why not have one day set aside every year for hot-air balloon rides in order to celebrate Christ’s ascension to heaven?
3. Miracle Celebration—There is considerable Biblical focus on Jesus’ miracles (even more than on his birth), so why not have one day set aside every year to celebrate the first of Christ’s miracles? And since that was the turning of water into wine (Jn. 2), why not have “Christian” wine-tasting parties?!
D. Avoid the Rationalizations that:
1. “Christmas Provides a Festive Time to Share the Gospel”—One cannot take something condemned in God’s Word and “use it” to spread the Gospel; neither will God bless it to spread His Word. Unacceptable worship and the “mixing-in” of unholy/pagan forms is surely not the normal means through which God blesses the faithful. Satan works to blend together his system with God’s system, because when unacceptable worship (paganism) is blended with true worship (God’s truth), true worship is destroyed. In fact, any time one mixes pagan ideas and practices with the pure religion of Christ, it is condemned in Scripture as the heinous sin of idolatry! God has always detested taking those things dedicated to idols and using them to worship Him. [As a matter of fact, this “special time of the year” is probably more a hindrance to the receptiveness of the gospel message than a help. Much of the celebration observed by our contemporary society deludes people into assuming that God is pleased, when in reality, He is offended by false religion, pseudo-worship, and alien philosophies. The ecumenical spirit and a counterfeit “love” under the guise of “peace and goodwill among men,” more than likely dulls one’s sensitivity to his desperate need to repent of sin and be reconciled to a holy God.]
2. “Christmas is Merely the Honoring of Christ’s Birth”—Someone says, “I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it’s not wrong for a church to have a special time for honoring Christ’s birth.” But since when did Protestants believe that Christians have the right to add to the Bible? Is the church a legislative body? Are we to follow the Bible in our faith and practice, or the thinking of fallible men? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will be no better than the false cults and the Roman Catholics who follow heathen traditions! [Besides, celebrating Christ’s birth is a form of worship. But since Christmas is a lie, those who celebrate it are not worshiping in “spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).]
3. “All I’m Doing is Putting Christ Back into Christmas”—The modern conservative cry to put Christ back into Christmas is absurd. As detailed earlier in this report, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas. It’s a lie to say He was. He has no part in a lie. When anyone takes the truth and mixes a lie with it, they no longer have the truth. They have changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and mix enough truth with it to change the lie into the truth. You still come out with a lie. One may say, “Well, I know it’s not the truth, but I’ll put Christ back in Christmas and glorify God in it then.” No, you won’t. Christ never was in Christmas. You cannot change a lie into the truth. It should in reality be called Baal-mass, Nimrod-mass, Tammuz-mass, Mithras-mass, or Mary-mass. Christ-mass is a lie. Why use a lie as a good time for a cardinal truth (the incarnation) of the Christian faith?
4. “I’m Using Christmas to Witness for Christ, Just Like the Apostle Paul Did”—Some say that all they are doing is taking the “truth” from Christmas (i.e., the incarnation of Christ) and “cultivating” it as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 17/Mars Hill), taking the opportunity of the season to witness to a lost world. This would be fine if these Christians were actually doing only as Paul did. Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, proclaimed to them that their “unknown god” to whom they had erected an altar, was none other than “the God who made the world and all the things therein.” Paul was not intimidated by the pagan surroundings and symbolisms, nor did he berate the Greeks for their error, but merely showed them the truth of the gospel of Christ.
But do Christians really use the “opportunity presented by the season” in the same way as Paul used the opportunity of the pagan altar? Do Christians personally stand in front of their hometown public displays of Xmas (Nativity scenes, etc.) and preach the gospel? To paraphrase Paul, do they say: “Men of Indianapolis, I see that in every way you are very religious; what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you”? Do they come out of the public schools where they have just attended their children’s Xmas programs and preach to the attendees about the true God who has been grossly misrepresented in the program they have just witnessed?
Hardly. Even to most of those who understand the true origin of Xmas, this “unique time of year” means inviting unbelievers into their homes to gather around the Xmas tree, to enjoy the beauty of the wreaths, absorb the heat from the Yule log, etc., reasoning that they are only using the pagan forms and the pagan festival season as an opportunity to witness. If Paul meant this in Acts 17, he would have met the people in the Athenian temple or in his or their homes, gathering around their idols that he had Christianized and was now using as a part of his worship. Most of the people who decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees, holly wreaths, Nativity scenes, etc., all supposedly to be used as “opportunities” via “Xmas coffees,” neighborhood “grab bag” gift exchanges, Xmas concerts, etc., are thoroughly convinced that they’re doing God a service. And since they are not involved in the crass secular “commercialization” that the world revels in, but have instead “put Christ back in Xmas” (so to speak), they reason that all is Biblical and pleasing to God.
5. “It Doesn’t Mean Anything to Me”—Many Christians who routinely make a habit of picking-and-choosing which Biblical commands they will or will not obey, have likewise carried this practice over into a justification for celebrating Christmas. They claim, “but the Christmas tree, mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc., don’t mean anything pagan to me, so I’ll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it.” Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e., “I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison”), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God’s spiritual warnings?
6. “The ‘Connection’ Has Been Broken”—There are those who clearly recognize the pagan nature of the various Christmas worship forms and practices. Nevertheless, many of these Christians claim that because of the long passage of time from their pagan inception to the present (6,000 years?), the “connection” to paganism has been sufficiently diminished to allow the adoption of these forms and practices into our Christian worship and celebration. While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that Christendom seeks to commemorate Christ’s birth with the faded symbols of Satan. And even though some of God’s people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, surely God is not. Can such things please Him? And think about this—if it were possible to “disconnect” current practices from their pagan/occultic roots, why does Scripture not provide us any guidelines as to:
(a) how much time is necessary for the “neutralization”/disassociation process to occur; and
(b) which of the hundreds of ancient pagan rites would then be acceptable for adaptation into Christian worship (since some are obviously much more pagan/occultic than others)?
7. “There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin”—It is said, “Such things as the wedding ring, certain clothing customs, the modern division of time into hours and minutes, the names of the days of the week, etc., all have pagan connections in their origins, so isn’t it a contradiction on your part to say that their meanings have sufficiently changed while Christmas’s meanings have not?” But we are not saying that their meanings have changed. The question is one of using things of pagan origin in our worship of Christ. So we would ask the question back, “Which of these pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? Or which of these is ‘Christianized’ and brought into our weekly worship of, or our daily devotion to Christ, as you do with the pagan forms and traditions of Xmas?” The origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship. As we have already detailed in the section on Christian liberty (Section IV.B.), these rings, clothing customs, etc. would be merely the byproducts of paganism, not paganism itself, and they have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Xmas customs and traditions.
8. “Baptism (and Circumcision) Have Pagan Origins and God Still Gave Their Use in Scripture, So What’s Wrong With Using the Pagan Forms of Christmas?”—This argument is frequently made by pastors who say that to be consistent, those who would have us forbid the forms, symbols, and traditions of Christmas should also be calling for us to abandon believer’s baptism; i.e., shouldn’t the would-be banners of Christmas be saying, “Since the ancient mystery religions practiced forms of baptism, therefore baptism is a pagan custom and should be outlawed for the believer in Christ”? This is a strange argument for anyone to make, particularly a theologian (and, in our opinion, reveals a low view of Scriptural admonitions). If baptism were absent from the Bible, as using pagan forms and traditions to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birthday are totally absent, there would then be no Biblical justification for baptism. But God has not commanded us to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birth in any way. He has commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).
E. Abstain From the Observance of Christmas—What, then, ought to be the Christian’s response to this and other pagan and Roman inventions? It cannot be denied that they are pagan pure and simple, from beginning to end. God gives us specific instructions in His Holy Word: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…(Jer. 10:2). These words are perfectly clear. What rational options does a Bible believing Christian have?
The very popularity of Christmas should cause the Christian to question it. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question—outright pagans, nominal Christians, and even Buddhists and Hindus. If, in reality, December 25th were a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, there is no doubt that the world would have nothing to do with it. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 15:18, 23-25). It shuns anything pertaining to true religion. Shouldn’t the Christian be just a little suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?
One way to test the Scripturalness of our practices is to reflect on what we would expect missionaries to teach new converts in a foreign culture. We assume that they would use the Bible as their guide book. If they could start new local churches without importing American culture encumbered with Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, and crass commercialism, wouldn’t it be wonderful? Missionaries who have urged new converts to forsake all pagan superstitious relics have later been questioned about the apparent inconsistency of their own American Christmas customs. Nationals perceived them as idolatrous even though the missionaries were oblivious to that possibility!
When Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers Protestant people! And there is reason why it does so. When the pagan celebration of Christmas is rooted up, and rejected, then what has become a Protestant tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And that is why people become angry. It began as a Roman Catholic holy day, and then it became a Protestant holy day. And if anyone dares show it up for what it really is, they face the wrath of the Protestant religious machine. And these days, that can be very ugly.
Christmas is a thoroughly pagan holiday—in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions. Perhaps we should contemplate the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, on December 24, 1871:
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it’s] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred.…
“It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it;… Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals.… We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.…regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”
And from Dr. H.A. Ironside’s Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920: p. 301):
“It is a lamentable fact that Babylon’s principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ’s Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas.…some of these festivals…when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother’s characteristics…”
And, finally, from Alexander Hislop’s 1916 classic, The Two Babylons: Or the Papal Worship:
“Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas is a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.”
We can summarize by saying that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence, it will always remain unknown and is not to be ceremoniously remembered and celebrated. (In fact, God has warned us about getting entangled with any special days [Gal. 4:10]). Notice though, that we are commanded to remember Him in His death (but no special day was specified for this either):
“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; this DO in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:18,19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
To commemorate His death is Scriptural. Any day of the year will do. To commemorate His birth is non-Scriptural, even extra-Scriptural (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19), whether one chooses December 25th or any other day.
If God had desired us to remember Christ’s birthday, He could have left us the precise date. But if He had, He would have vindicated every astrologer in the past 2,000 years. In occult circles, the anniversary of a person’s birth is the most important metaphysical day of the year. The Bible recognizes no such significance. It is intriguing that there are only two birthday celebrations recorded in the entire Bible and they were both those of ungodly kings—and both resulted in an execution (Gen. 40:16-22 and Matt. 14:6-10/Mark 6:21-27)!
The Apostle Paul says: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross [not the manger] of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). By itself, we find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Savior, not in a cradle.
Those who love Jesus should certainly rejoice that He was born and lived amongst us as a man. But if we truly want to glorify Him and bear testimony of who He is, we must stop marrying that blessed gift with the debauchery of paganism. If we want to honor His birth, let it be done as He would have done it: year-round unselfishly serving our fellow man as an unending act of love for our God. Let us put away all of the mixture of pagan customs and take up His mantle and His pure worship, and show the confused world that there is a difference.
1. Assemblies of Yahweh. The Case Against Christmas. Sacred Name Broadcaster, Bethel, PA,23pp.
2. Becker, R.F. The Truth About Christmas. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 36 pp.
3. Blanton, Raymond. The Christmas Lie. Highways & Hedges Tracts, Liberty, SC, 13 pp.
4. Buday, George. The History of the Christmas Card. Putman Pub., New York, 1954, 304pp.
5. Dager, Albert James. “The Origins of Christmas Traditions,” Media Spotlight Special Report Redmond, WA, 1985, 2 pp.
6. Dickey, D.J. & Shetler, Earl. “Should A Christian Celebrate Christmas?” Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Vernonia,
7. Dossey, Donald. Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun: Mythical Origins, Scientific Treatments & Superstitious “Cures.” Outcomes Unltd. Press, Asheville, NC, 1995 (paper ed.), 232pp.
8. Elwell, Walter A. (Ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984, pp. 218-221.
9. Halff, Charles. The Truth About Christmas. The Christian-Jew Foundation, San Antonio, TX, 13 pp.
10. Halff, Charles. “Is Christmas a Jewish Holiday?” Message Of The Christian Jew. November-December 1993, pp. cover, 1,2 & 7.
11. Helgerson, John C. Considering the Christmas Issue. The Church of the Open Bible, Burlington, MA, 12/31/90, 12 pp.
12. Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons: Or The Papal Worship. Loizeaux Bros., Neptune, NJ, 1959:Second Edition, 330 pp.
13. Kohler, John. Our Baptist Heritage. Heritage Baptist Church, Salem, IN, Vol. 2, No. 3, 11/92, 8 pp.
14. McCurry, Robert. The God Man Has Made. Heritage Press, Sharpsburg, GA, 8pp.
15. Pink, A.W. Xmas . Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 6 pp.
16. Schneider, Michael. Is Christmas Christian? Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 15 pp.
17. Spurlin, Ed. Where Is The Christ In Christmas. Voice in the Wilderness, Milford, NH, 11/92, 8pp.
18. Spurgeon, C.H. “Joy Born At Bethlehem,” A Sermon: Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, December 24th, 1871. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, pp. 697-698.
19. Unknown. My Lord Has Not Told Me To Do It: The Christian and “Christmas.” Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 4 pp.
20. Unknown. 10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Unscriptural. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 8 pp.
21. (Vine, W.E.), Gospel Tract Publications. The Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, Volume 5. Glasgow, Scotland, 1986, pp. 436-439.
22. Willcock, Shaun. The Pagan Festivals of Christmas and Easter. Bible Based Ministries, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 1992, 76 pp.
23. Wilson, Greg. Let’s Keep Christ Out of Xmas. Landmark Independent Baptist Church, Homestead, FL, 4 pp.
Hello James :) ACTUALLY, the entire X-mas thing is wrong. It is born of the world, NOT of Jesus or the Apostles. What is born of flesh is flesh. There is no “right” way, no matter how clever, sentimental, or compelling, to participate in the world’s filthy use of “the Lord’s Name in vain” during “X-mas” or “Easter”. These are only about materialism, violating the Lord’s Name in vain, selfishness, gift TRADING, and the demon gods of fertility (easter) and the like. There is no way to “fix” it by being more sincere. He wasn’t even born in December. EVERYTHING about it is evil, at its root and core. Should we celebrate mardi gras and Halloween (“All Saints Day”—HA!), the satanic new year, by dressing up like joseph and mary instead of witches and demons (real entities)? Of course not. It is far better to just “avoid the very appearance of evil” and “NOT conform to the patterns of the world” regardless of the pressures and fear of men—and just live out Jesus EVERY DAY. “I fear I have wasted my time on you, because you esteem one day above another” and you therefore have “weaker faith” if you do so, saith the Lord. It’s just not appropriate to try to dress up a sow’s ear as a silk purse, anymore than it would be right to pay people money and entertainment, to “attend services” or “be baptized” as Willow Creek, Vineyard, virtually every denomination and “house church”—and “missionaries” to India and other places are prone to do. To find a “tricky” or “more sincere” way to “have Christmas” is only self deception, or manipulation, or accommodation. Sincere, or not, this is NOT Jesus’ way. So, there are some more thoughts….
Love in Christ Jesus, mike
Some X-mas dialogue between Believers.
Hello again, George, my brother. Yes, that information you asked for about “x-mas history,” excerpted from years of correspondence and historical evidence, with those who have asked, is for (true) Believers only. Such conversation is not for cultural “believers” who “never knew Him” and have a religious “cultural christian” belief system but no demonstration of Life—the CreatorGod Himself, living visibly within. That “information” about x-mas, or any other “topic,” serves no purpose for “passing around” and “using” amongst the unRegenerate religious world to attempt to make some point with them. (This would mean the majority of christendom, according to Jesus in Mat.7, would not benefit from such “information about x-mas” since the majority of those who say “lord, lord”…“never knew Him” anyway. They need to bow their knees before HIM, not some list of beliefs or rules or lifestyle “issues”!) This “making a big deal about the demon-worship history of ‘christmas’ would be as worthless and destructive as making some foolish “rules” or “doctrines” about smoking or drinking or profanity for those who say “lord, lord”—but do not “love the Light” or obey Him from the heart, and therefore are not Saved, yet. They need JESUS, the real Jesus, to take over their hearts, souls, minds, and strength—they need their sins washed away by the Blood of the Lamb, and His SPIRIT to come and live within them. They don’t need some “anti-social religion” to take the place of their “love the world and the things of the world religion.” What purpose would that serve?! Information and rules have no value in bringing people to Jesus. To make “issues” out of this or that will help no one, of course. So that “information” was for you, not for “using” in some way to make a point with others. You knew that, I’m sure.
However, since YOU are not permitted to use “the Lord’s Name in vain,” under ANY circumstances (and “Christ-mas” is the most “in VAIN” use of the Lord’s Name ever devised), it does put you (all of us) in tough spots every year, at business situations, in the marketplace, and with cultural “christians” and relatives. Being “all things to all men” doesn’t include demon worship or pretending one is engaged in Druid worship while using Jesus’ Name in vain to promote such—just to be a “man-pleaser” in our society and families. In the first and second centuries, many were beat and even put to death for simply not “attending” the Union Meetings of their trades (metal workers, etc)—because there was a statue of the “god” of their “trade” in the meeting hall. Kinda like Santa or a cultic Tree. SO, for TRUE Believers, there is no possibility of supporting or embracing Druid worship using Jesus’ Name. That DOES, of course, create a dilemma of finding ways to be kind and loving, while not engaging in their satan worship rituals with the “trees” and such, or the fertility goddess “eggs” and “bunnies” while using Jesus’ Name in vain again on “Easter”. Yes, it is a “long story” of “how” to demonstrate kindness and patience and love, while NOT participating in the Reindeer Games of Druid and Celt false god worship.
An EXAMPLE of something that many have done, would be (since it is virtually impossible to “attend the Druid worship service” of sitting around a tree, strung with Hindu lights and pretend that JESUS is central when He cannot be central in a cultic worship service)……to send a VERY nice gift, no wrapping paper or “holiday/holyday” card or reference—perhaps THREE WEEKS BEFORE the Halloween/xmas/easter ritual sacraments of family/food/decorations/trading materialism “gifts”. Demonstrate kindness and immense generosity in ways that their consciences will KNOW that you love them, and so your lack of participation in the cultic worship festival CANNOT be a sign that you don’t love them. After all, the nicest gift they’ve gotten all year was from YOU, and hmmmm, only three weeks ago. “Wow. I guess they DO love me, so their lack of attendance at our false god worship must not be a lack of love. So, what IS it then, since my heart can’t condemn them the way that my emotions would like to. Hmmmmm.”
Well, I guess that is more along the lines of what you meant to ask about. :) We can talk more, if you’d like. Twenty years of being with hundreds of Disciples dealing with thousands of unSaved religious relatives for scores of “holidays”—it surely is a lot of work living on this decaying planet. :) But, no one has killed any of us by age 33, so I guess we’ve not really “pushed the envelope” as far as our Master did. The flesh of this fallen age and religious world SCREAMS. Flesh will always find Truth to be “the stench of death, or the aroma of Life”—at even “faith the size of a mustard seed”.
If you want to narrow your question still further :) and talk about the specifics of some situations, real or hypothetical, that brothers and sisters have faced on this topic around the world, I’d be glad to keep chatting. :)
In the meantime, may He grant you all Life and Love and Peace and Wisdom, without a hint of compromise, for the sake of the Blood and the Spirit of Truth.
For the Lion and the Lamb, mike
More Wisdom on Romans 14?
(one side of a dialogue about the x-mas season)
Hi there :)
There is, of course, a possibility that Romans 14 would apply for some “season” (pun intended, of course!) of time in any relationship, as it would relate to this holiday or another. I’ve been through, personally, several different stages of activity and inactivity in relating to this subject with family and others. Certainly, it would be unwise and unfair to drop a bomb of anything that could be construed as an insult or an attack until they have a pretty fair understanding of where y’all are coming from. To me, it would seem appropriate to “bear with” others on this point as far as conscience and responsibility to your children will allow, until they have a fair understanding of what your thinking is. It can take some time, or it could all happen quickly. The main point is that they would give you a fair hearing and dialogue with you about it, and respect your wishes as it would relate to your family unit. But, again, I’d sure ask the obvious (not necessarily to say at all, I know); be patient and kind to try to help them to consider for themselves the pertinent issues relating to this holiday, and easter. If they are totally resistant to any conversation or prayer on the subject after much thought and prayer and forbearance has been invested, you may very well need to take a stronger stand and “disappoint” (or even, depending on their understanding and experience of Jesus’ Ways, “anger”) them. Hopefully it would never come to that. However, we really cannot be asked to violate our consciences or the trust we have been given with our children. Surely your parents would not have wanted a “Way International” or Hindu neighbor to influence THEIR children (you!) to follow ways that they felt were harmful for you. They would have felt, I’m sure, the need to intervene and ask the neighbor NOT to impose on you, or speak of, their religious or social beliefs that could be harmful to you, their trust. So, surely they can understand why you would also feel that way about guarding your children. Most reasonable parents or adults would work with you on all of this, surely! And the dialogue about it all, offered for their consideration for themselves as well, could be fruitful.
A thought that has been helpful to others is something like this (for what it may be worth):
Carl Sagan, the atheist astronomer and “Cosmos” television program host, just recently took a lawsuit to court against Apple Computer Corp. They had code-named a prototype project “Carl Sagan” and he didn’t care much for that.
In a way, using Jesus’ Name in the discussion of the holiday on December 25th is more of a “code name” than reality. The songs coming from the lips of the children’s choir and the carolers are not reflective of the Truth of their lives, nor would they be open to discussing such in 999/1000 cases. Selfishness, anger, worldliness, jealousy, rage, disrespect, laziness, pride, lust—none of these are dealt with on a daily basis in the lives of the vast majority of those that say “Merry CHRISTmas!” This is hypocrisy, to use Jesus’ word, and deeply saddening. The DJ’s that “spin the x-mas records” at the radio stations and the folks that are so quick to say “Merry CHRISTmas” at the shopping malls usually want NOTHING to do with obeying Jesus or talking about doing so. This is not something we can overlook since Jesus’ Name is being used. If they would just use Napoleon’s name or someone else to blame the need to indulge in pagan revelry this time of year, the “Winter Solstice”!
If some folks decided to indulge in pagan revelry on a particular random day of the year (perhaps one that had been a demon “god” celebration in generations past) and named it after you, and said they were doing it in your honor—you wouldn’t be very honored, would you?! Even if some good things were done and nice things said, you still would prefer (since the whole of it was not authorized by you nor reflective of your life and priorities) that it NOT be named after you, I would imagine! That is certainly a good reason to not name such a tainted event as xmas after Jesus! Even if “we” were to do it “right”—why engage in something (Mardi Gras, Xmas, or whatever) that is so tainted by the idolatry (“on demand”—not real Love in most cases, as evidenced by the contradictions the rest of the year), vices, etc., etc., etc.??? Not to mention all of the historic symbolic demon mantras and icons—trees, mistletoe, xmas lights (we saw these in a demon worship holiday in Bombay, used in exactly the same manner as they are used here this time of year) that are ubiquitous this season! Why not do the “good things” at other times of the year and leave this “holiday” to the unbelievers???! We don’t really need it, I don’t think! We “count every day alike” as Paul did! That would, at least, be a good move for one with “greater faith,” as Paul would say.
I’d better sign off here, but I wanted to get back with you—good question! and I’d love to talk more with you about it as you desire :)
Love in Yesu, Mike
Pete’s 10 Reasons not to celebrate Christmas!
1. It is not Biblical.
2. Messiah never commanded us to celebrate his birthday, but his death.
3. The Apostles never observed Christmas.
4. Messiah was absolutely not born on December 25th.
5. It is a man-made tradition with pagan origin handed to us by the apostate Roman Catholic Church, delivered by the Emperor Constantine.
6. We know the true time of Messiah’s birth. (Feast of Tabernacles, Sept-Oct)
7. Putting a decorated tree in your house is forbidden in scripture. (Jeremiah 10:1-7)
8. You are paying homage to Pagan sun gods who were born on that day. (Mithra, Bacchus, Nimrod etc….)
9. Christmas is worldly and the scriptures tell believers, “Do not love the world.” (1 JOHN 2:15)
10. Practicing a LIE like Christmas can keep you out of the New Jerusalem!!! (Revelation 21:8)
And a note to my Brothers and Sisters…
Yahweh is calling a remnant out from amongst His people. He is calling us to walk away from man-made pagan traditions and customs. He is earnestly seeking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. In love, I plead with you brethren. Do not involve yourself in this false Christmas season anymore. Refuse to put up any tree or lights or exchange any gifts and propagate this man-made custom. Be strong and bold and stand for the truth!!! Your decision to walk away from these things will be difficult. Your family and friends will scoff at you and persecute you in ignorance but, Yahshua said,” Blessed are you when men persecute you for righteousness sake for yours is the KINGDOM of heaven.”
In Yahshua’s name, Pete
another letter about X-mas…
Subject: Xmas? ;(
Hi there, Thought you might be interested, too, in the fact that it is a VERY “new” thing for the Christian world to be SO GULLIBLE about “Xmas”!
There is Spurgeon, below, but it wouldn’t even take that much discernment to watch drunken “carol-ers” who blaspheme their Maker in their daily lives, with “Little Town of Bethlehem” coming out of their mouths, in between sips of liquor, or the pagan revelry and immorality at “office parties” using Jesus’ Name in vain as their “reason for the season” or the filth of materialism. And the fact the Jesus’ own mother and brothers and the apostles never MENTIONED His birthday or give us any reason to think they ever even thought about it, or did anything to recognize such a thing as Jesus’ birthday? As if that’s actually His birthday anyway, as opposed to an ancient pagan day, renamed. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord they God in vain. But, it’s not just the United States.
There are things all over the world to further demonstrate the demon-nature of this “taking of the Lord’s Name in vain” by calling the demon-celebration by Jesus’ Name! For example in Bulgaria, there is a Thracian “christianized” pagan “christmas” ritual festival every year. Sacrifice of animals, magic water rituals, pictures of mother god and sun god, fire dancers, dreams will come true this night, and many more things such as this, for the Xmas Dec.25 flesh-orgy, as well as the fertility goddess worship with eggs and bunny rabbits that pagans call “easter”….
One person’s attempt to deal honestly with the facts—a letter…
To a few of my friends,
A couple of you know that I have been struggling with the X-mas season coming up. I have been asking God how to view this season we call “Christmas.” I was wondering if you could ‘hear me out’ and help me out!
Most of us have been conditioned to accept Christmas as part of the Christian tradition. Yet, it is a day that the early Christians never celebrated. Jesus’ own mother and His disciples and the apostles never seemed to think about it like the world does. Mt. 1 & 2 and Luke 2 are accounts of Christ’s birth, but there is no mention of the date. There is no example in the New Testament of any celebration of Christ’s birth. The focus is rather on the death and resurrection of Christ. The Scriptures tell us to partake of the Lord’s supper to “show the Lord’s death till he come” (I Corinthians 11:26) but totally ignore His birthday. We don’t even know when Jesus birthday was. It is said that a common practice of shepherds was keeping their flocks in the field from April to October, but in the cold and rainy winter months they took their flocks back home and sheltered them. Most historians will say that nobody really knows when Jesus was born, but they say it was definitely not December 25. It was more likely sometime between April and October because the Bible specifically mentions the shepherds keeping their flocks at night.
It’s also interesting that many of the festivities connected with Christmas had their origin in paganism, not in the Bible. One just needs to look in the World Book Encyclopedia for examples of the pagan influence in Christmas customs. When Constantine christianized everything (in name), he was unable to get people to let go of their pagan celebrations and worship. This important pagan holiday (centering around the sun god) was then turned into a “Christian” holiday, and all things used and done to demon-gods on this pagan holiday, now wore (wear) Christ’s Name. I guess that’s a clincher, “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord in vain.”
Charles Spurgeon (considered probably the most Christ-centered teacher since the Apostle Paul) wrote these words about Christmas, in the late 1800’s, in London:
“When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, “Is this a law of the God of Jacob?” and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty. (from Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4.)
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly, we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called “Christmas.” We find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior, and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred…. It was not ‘till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not ‘till very long after the Western Church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it.… Probably the fact is that the ‘holy’ days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals.
We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was *not* the day on which the Savior was born, it is the 25th of December. “How absurd to think we could do it (celebrate the birth of Christ) in the spirit of the world, with a Jack Frost clown, a deceptively worldly Santa Claus, and a mixed program of sacred truth with fun, deception, and fiction. If it be possible to honor Christ in the giving of gifts, I cannot see how while the gift, giver, and recipient are all in the spirit of the world. The Catholics and high Church Episcopalians may have their “Christmas” one day in 365, but we have a Christ gift the entire year.” (—Charles H Spurgeon December 24, 1871)
I have been wrestling with these thoughts. I know our group is planning to have a Christmas party and as this season approaches, so much of our getting together will be around this thing called “Christmas.” I am asking God what to do and how to see it. That’s why I am writing to you all. What do you all think God thinks about it?
Hope you know how much I love and appreciate you all, S
(for those who prefer 17th century English. :) )
The Ecumenical Feast of The Beast
by Rebecca Sexton
(Some background on X-mas with future speculations)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col.2:8) We are to “beware”, that is, to take heed of the “tradition of men” since their purpose is to “spoil” (Strong’s Concordance #4812—“to lead away as booty, i.e. seduce”). What is Paul speaking of here in Colossians? It is the traditions that are “after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”. The word “rudiments” means: 1. A first principle, step, stage or condition. 2. That which is as yet undeveloped or only partially incomplete, or early stage that may develop by growth. A germ” (Funk and Wagnalls New College Standard Dictionary).
If the worship that you were taught to offer up to the Lord has its foundation, or its first principle, rooted in paganism rather than in Christ, then it is time to ask the Lord to set you free from the trap that was set to snare you, and repent. Peter said: “For we have not followed CUNNINGLY DEVISED FABLES, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Pet.1:16)
Peter lived during the time of the Roman Saturnalia with all its drunken excesses and the worshipping of Mithra. He was aware of the “cunningly devised fables” pagans used to seduce the people into worshipping their gods. Peter says that the apostles did not follow such things, and from history, we see the early Christians condemned these “fables” and refused to partake in them. 1Tim.1:4 says, “Neither give heed to fables”. 1Tim.4:7 also says, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables….” 2 Tim.4:4 warned: “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
We have learned that it was a common practice during Kalends (a Roman festivity) to adorn the houses with evergreens and lights. “‘Let them,’ he says of the heathen, ‘kindle lamps, they who have no light; let them fix on the doorposts laurels which shall afterwards be burnt, they for whom fire is close at hand; meet for them are testimonies of darkness and auguries of punishment. But thou,’ he says to the Christian, ‘art a light of the world and a tree that is ever green; if thou hast renounced temples, make not a temple of thy own housedoor’” (Christmas and Christmas Lore, Crippen, 13). Pliny, who lived in Jesus’ time, was a Roman writer whose works are sources of knowledge on ancient Roman culture. He wrote of the Roman practice of hanging colored rags and other offerings on “holy trees”, and said: “We delight to worship the same god in the silent groves as we do in stately temples. The fairest trees are consecrated to certain gods, just as churches are today” (Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Miles). Saturnalia was a time of exchanging gifts, and the idea of a god coming from the north pole bearing them presents was quite familiar to the Roman.
“In ancient ritual, Saturn [Satan] appears as the stationary sun or central fire at the North Celestial Pole. When Saturn ruled the world, his home was the summit of the world axis. Manly P. Hall observes, ‘Saturn, the old man who lives at the North Pole and brings with him a sprig of evergreen (the Christmas tree), is familiar to the little folks under the name Santa Claus.’ All the ancient world looked upon the Polar center as the ‘middle place, resting place or steadfast region’ occupied by the universal monarch” (Saturn Myth, Talbott).
The point should be made that Jesus lived during these times. Jesus saw the houses decorated with laurels and evergreens. He saw the children anxiously awaiting the arrival of Saturn. Jesus would have witnessed all the gaiety of the season as they honored the “Lord of Misrule”. The markets would have been closed. The pigs would have been slain for the feast. The smell of all the foods being prepared would no doubt fill the air. The feast of the “Unconquerable Sun” would have just the same attraction then as it does now, yet not once do we hear that Jesus partook of it. Not once do we hear Jesus saying, “After my departure, please worship me this way”. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Jesus to establish the feast of Saturnalia as His own day, yet He did not!
How did the Catholic church become so rooted in these pagan practices of the nations around about them, when they were at one time so repulsed by them? How did strong rebukes turn to apathy and compromise? And why? Did she think to gain all the more converts if she cunningly took the feast days of Rome that were after the “rudiments of the world” and dubbed them Christian? Is this the kind of worship our holy God deserves or even desires? Keep in mind that “rudiments” can also mean “something that is undeveloped or in its early stages”. Without a doubt, Christmas has developed over the centuries, and on her journey has picked up many other pagan (often Druidic) symbols such as the yule log, ivy, holly and mistletoe and the heathen rituals that were inextricably intertwined with them. She has incorporated them into this “holyday”, making it very difficult to distinguish any one specific source as responsible for Christmas. It continues to develop and we have only to read a few quotes from the pope to see where this pagan festivity is leading. Christmas is without a doubt the most ecumenical feast day ever devised in the mind of Satan. No other feast day unites all the pagan trimmings in order to pander to the whimsical nature of man. No other “holyday” unites men of all religions and nationalities to worship as one. So much for the command “be ye separate”. God has over and over again warned His people not to add or take from His word and not to worship Him as the heathen worshipped their gods. Deuteronomy 12:28-31 states: “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; TAKE HEED to thyself that thou BE NOT SNARED BY FOLLOWING THEM, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, HOW DID THESE NATIONS SERVE THEIR GODS? EVEN SO WILL I DO LIKEWISE. THOU SHALT NOT DO SO UNTO THE LORD THY GOD: for every abomination to the LORD, which HE HATETH, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Notice that God hates the things that the nations did, and did not want His people worshipping Him in the same manner. “Thou shalt not add…nor diminish….”
“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, THOU SHALT NOT LEARN TO DO AFTER THE ABOMINATIONS of those nations.” (Deut.18:9)
Several prophets in the Old Testament warned the Israelites of the snares and traps of following idolatrous nations. In Deut.20:18, it is written: “That they TEACH YOU NOT TO DO AFTER ALL THEIR ABOMINATIONS, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.”
Ezra 9:14 says: “Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?”
Isaiah also expounds on the Lord’s feelings towards men’s “appointed feasts”: “Your new moons and your appointed feasts MY SOUL HATETH: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (Isa.1:14)
Amos also commented on these celebrations. “I HATE, I DESPISE YOUR FEAST DAYS, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.” (Am.5:21)
Malachi 2:3 words it well: “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the DUNG OF YOUR SOLEMN FEASTS; and one shall take you away with it.”
Jeremiah 10: 2-4 has to be the most explicit. Many people will argue that this has nothing to do with the Christmas tree, but rather that Jeremiah is speaking of idols. But a short study in history shows that Jeremiah’s rebuke is timeless! All the generations before and after have committed this very act of idolatry in one form or another… “Thus saith the LORD, LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For THE CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE ARE VAIN: for one CUTTETH A TREE out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. THEY DECK IT WITH SILVER AND GOLD; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” This is the perfect description of today’s man who sacrifices the life of a tree and decks it in silver and gold to offer it up to the god of this world…Santa (Satan, Saturn, whichever you prefer). Notice that Jeremiah doesn’t speak of carving the tree in verses 1-4, but only cutting it down and decking it with silver and gold. As you continue reading Jeremiah, they eventually carved them into idols. No matter how they did it, it all displeased God.
“In many places they hung furs and skins on the holy trees in the forest; but having observed that these furs were often appropriated and carried off by unscrupulous travellers, they adopted the practice of hewing the trunks into great blocks which they decked with their offerings and preserved in safe places. The custom marks a transition from the worship of trees to the worship of idols carved out of the sacred wood” (Golden Bough: The Magic Art And The Evolution of Kings, Frazer, 11).
Jeremiah, when speaking of the tree, mentions “the work of the hands of the workman with the axe”. There is a belief in paganism that trees are animate and therefore sensitive to the “cutting” of them. Many fables have been told of wailing and bleeding trees as they fell under the axe. As a result of this superstition, they would hire a special axeman to perform the ritual, a witch doctor, or a shaman to make offerings to the spirit of the tree. Many different cultures actually hold conversations with the tree before cutting it down. Sound strange that men would talk to a tree? How about sing to one? How many times have you heard the song “O Christmas Tree…O Christmas Tree…your branches green delight us”?
The earliest religions held the tree in high regard as a symbol of life. According to Collier’s Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, page 630:
“Of special significance was the festival founded on the Osirian myth which told how the dead body of Osiris floated ashore at Byblos, Phoenicia, and was revived as a green tree. A tree thus became a symbol of this revival, and gave rise to a beautiful feast held each year at which a fallen tree was erected and with much ceremony replanted. Restored to life, it was elaborately decorated and dressed with green leaves. Here is the remote origin of the maypole which colorfully celebrates the return of spring, and it may also be the distant origin of the modern Christmas tree.”
It was not only at Christmas that the ceremonial trees corrupted society. In the Erzgebirge, there is dancing at the summer solstice round “St. John’s tree,” a pyramid decked with garlands and flowers, and lit up at night by candles. At midsummer: “…in the towns of the Upper Harz Mountains, tall fir-trees, with the bark peeled off their lower trunks, were set up in open places and decked with flowers and eggs, which were painted yellow and red.”
Even today, we see the growing phenomenon of the Easter-egg tree as a outgrowth of this custom. Trees have always been a major facet of Gaia (mother earth) worship. Perhaps this explains why Satanists celebrate this day with Christians? According to The Solstice Evergreen: The History, Folklore and Origins of the Christmas Tree:
“Worship around a tree is common worldwide. Even within the sacred groves, worship often centered around one special tree which may or may not have represented a higher deity. In either case it was usually larger than all others or set apart in some other way. Ceremonies honoring the tree involved sacrifices and holy offerings which were placed on the ground beneath it or in its branches. When the Spanish journeyed to the New World they found an ancient cypress in Mexico revered by the Mayans, which had offerings of teeth and locks of hair attached to its boughs. In China sacred trees bore red banners with words of praise and thanksgiving painted on them in black. Greek and Roman goddesses and gods each had their special trees which were draped in cloth or garlands of flowers. Little masks of Bacchus [another one of Santa’s predecessors] called ‘oscilla’ were placed on the branches so they twirled in the wind. By honoring the popular agricultural god, the faces were supposed to encourage growth and fertility in whatever part of the tree they faced. Another ritual in this vein performed at the winter solstice, was recorded by early missionaries in Finland, who quickly modified the custom for the celebration of Christmas. Each year the Lapps collected a sampling of all the foods eaten at the solstice feast. These were put into a small birch bark trough shaped like a tiny sailing boat, complete with masts, sails and oars. The boat was placed in the branches of a special pine tree which was marked with sacred symbols on all four sides. They also slaughtered a reindeer and put offerings of the animals internal organs in another pine, which was then smeared with reindeer blood. The tree worship of the Druids in Europe is well known. Their special tree was the Oak, but they revered the fir, the rowan and the hazel…During the winter solstice they [Vikings] tied apples to the branches of oaks and pines to thank the god Odin for blessing them with fruitfulness. They also made offerings of cakes shaped like fish, birds and other animals. Lighted candles, honoring the sun god Balder, were placed in the boughs. The connection between the Christmas tree and the sacred tree is quite clear” (pp.23-24).
According to Rabbi Tony Van Renterghem: “On December 25th, the Greeks had their Helia (from helios, the sun) winter feasts assuring the return of the sun, and shortly thereafter, another festival called the Basilinda. The Romans had similar periods of feasting called the Saturnalia and Kalendea, in which they not only exchanged gifts, but also decorated trees, or, in the cities, decorated their homes and wrapped posts with green branches, all trimmed with gifts and lights” (When Santa Was A Shaman, Renterghem, 42).
“As Christianity supplanted older religions, the decorating of evergreens continued in various parts of northern Europe on many special occasions, including Easter and Midsummer’s Day. The maypole is known to have begun as an evergreen tree and originally bore many of the same decorations that were used on the first Christmas trees. The Roman Catholic Church frequently banned or otherwise tried to discourage the use of the evergreen, but the age-old custom remained so deeply ingrained in the German culture that the tree eventually became transformed into a Christian symbol…the veneration of the evergreen is FIRMLY ROOTED in PRE-CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS” (The Christmas Tree Book, Snyder).
Though the bishops were zealously issuing canonical condemnations, the supporters of this feast day argued that these festivals were “healthy” and that ancients celebrated them to vent the “foolishness that was pent up in man”. If the excesses of paganism could not be completely eradicated, they at least could be made to appear Christian, so the Catholic church decided to use this to her advantage. The rebukes stopped and the legends and fables began that would make this blasphemous holiday palatable to the Christian.
“St. Winfred, a missionary to the Scandinavians in the eight century, had another interpretation of the meaning of the tree. As he hewed down a great oak tree, a young fir tree miraculously sprung up in its place. St. Winfred then proclaimed the tree holy, saying it was a symbol of endless life because its leaves are ever green. ‘Take it up and carry it to the chieftain’s hall. You shall go no more into the shadows of the forest to keep your feasts with sacred rites of shame. You shall keep them at home with laughter and songs and rites of love, gathered around the green fir tree to rejoice in the birth night of the Savior” (The Book of Religious Holidays and Celebrations, Ickis).
Another “fable” was later introduced: “And ancient legend tells how in the eighteenth century, St. Boniface persuaded the Teutons to give up their cruel practice of sacrificing a child before a great oak tree during their midwinter festival. Instead, he said, ‘cut down a big fir tree, take it home, and celebrate around it with your innocent children.’ He also told them that the fir was the wood of peace, from which their houses were built, and that it was a sign of immortality, because its leaves were ever green and its top branches pointed straight to the heavens” (The Book of Religious Holidays and Celebrations, Ickis).
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”(1 Cor.5:6) Even so, as they allowed a little lie to enter in (all in the name of Jesus) the door was opened for all kinds of abuses. 1 Jn.2:21 warns us: “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that NO LIE IS OF THE TRUTH.”
During Saturnalia, the servants exchanged roles with their masters. They were permitted to mock their masters and behave as buffoons without fear. Thirty days before the feast of Saturnalia, there would be one man chosen by lot to be the “Lord of Misrule” (Saturnalicius princeps, “leading man of the Saturnalia”) (Golden Bough, Frazer).The chosen young man would dress in royal red attire to resemble Saturn. Attended by a multitude of soldiers he went about in public with full license to indulge his passions and to taste of every pleasure, however base and shameful. But at the end of the 30 days, the young man would be sacrificed to the god whom he personated. “In the year 303 A.D. the lot fell upon the Christian soldier Dasius, but he refused to play the part of the heathen god and soil his last days by debauchery. The threats and arguments of his commanding officer Bassus failed to shake his constancy, and accordingly he was beheaded, as the Christian martyrologist records with minute accuracy….” (The New Golden Bough, Frazer and Gaster, 560-561)
You would think that the “church” at this point would have been so repulsed by a feast tainted by the blood of a saint that they’d never participate in any way. But not so! They instead baptize it a “holyday” and went to great lengths to imitate this “buffoonery”, and became the worse kind of mockers and blasphemers. How true the scripture, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt.7:16)
“In France the counterparts of these Lords of Misrule masqueraded in clerical attire as mock Bishops, Archbishops, Popes, or Abbots. The festival at which they disported themselves was known as the Festival of Fools (Fete des fous), which fell in different places at different dates, sometimes on Christmas.… According to one account ‘on the first day, which was the festival of Christmas, the lower orders of clergy and monks cried in unison Noel (Christmas) and gave themselves up to jollity. On the morrow, the deacons held a council to elect a Pope or Patriarch of Fools, a Bishop or Archbishop of Innocents, an Abbot of Ninnies; next day, [during] the festival of St. John, the subdeacons began the dance in his honour; afterwards, on the fourth day, [during] the festival of the Holy Innocents, the choristers and minor clergy claimed the Pope or Bishop or Abbot elect, who made his triumphal entry into the church on Circumcision Day (the first of January) and sat enthroned pontifically till the evening of Epiphany. It was then the joyous reign of this Pope or this Bishop or this Abbot of Folly which constituted the Festival of Fools and dominated its whimsical phases, the grotesque and sometimes impious masquerades, the merry and often disgusting scenes, the furious orgies, the dances, the games, the profane songs, the impudent parodies of the catholic liturgy.’ At these parodies of the most solemn rites of the church, the priests, wearing grotesque masks and sometimes dressed as women, danced in the choir and sang obscene chants; laymen disguised as monks and nuns mingled with the clergy; the altar was transformed into a tavern, where the deacons and subdeacons ate sausages and black—puddings or played at dice and cards under the nose of the celebrant and the censers smoked with bits of old shoes instead of incense, filling the church with a foul stench. After playing these pranks and running, leaping, and cutting capers through the whole church, they rode about the town in mean carts, exchanging scurrilities with the crowds of laughing and jeering spectators. Amongst the buffooneries of the Festival of Fools one of the most remarkable was the introduction of an ass into the church, where various pranks were played with the animal. At Autun the ass was led with great ceremony to the church under a cloth of gold, the corners of which were held by four canons; and on entering the sacred edifice the animal was wrapt in the rich cope, while a parody of the mass was performed. A regular Latin liturgy in glorification of the ass was chanted on these occasions, and the celebrant priest imitated the braying of an ass” (Golden Bough: Scapegoat, Frazer, V.9, 334).
These things may seem strange to us now, but the concept of “misrule”, or a “ritualised reversal of traditional social norms”, was an important element of Christmas, and has been viewed by many historians as a useful “safety-valve” for the tensions which existed in those times. Is it any wonder that the laity practiced such lasciviousness when the clergy was indulging in the same revelry themselves?
Up to the seventeenth century, after many of the abuses had toned down, we still read of men such as William Prynne warning: “If we compare our Bacchanalian Christmas and New Year’s tides with these Saturnalia and feasts of Janus, we shall find such near affinity between them, both in regard of time, they being both in the end of December and the first of January, and in their manner of solemnizing-both being spent in revelling, epicurism, wantonness, idleness, dancing, drinking , stage-plays, masques and carnal pomp and jollity-that we must conclude the one to be but the ape [imitation], or issue, of the other” (The Story of Santa Klaus, 77-76).
It was these very abuses that caused the Puritans to go to war against Christmas. In England, in the 1580’s, Philip Trubbes, the author of The Anatomie of Abuses, complained: “…that more mischief is that time committed than in all the year besides, what masking and mumming, whereby robbery, whoredom, murder and what not is committed? What dicing and carding, what eating and drinking, what banqueting and feasting is then used, more than in all the year besides, to the great dishonour of God and impoverishing of the realm.”
The same can be said of today. Suicide increases dramatically during Christmas. The instances of theft, adultery and fornication (mistletoe often used to seduce), idolatry (Christians partake with the Catholics in setting up their nativity scenes—it is during this season that Mary is elevated in Catholicism—the mother with her baby image is world-wide and goes by a variety of names), drunkenness, excess and rioting are all increased as well. This is the season where all the different religions find a common ground whether you are atheist, Mormon, Catholic, “Christian”, pagan, etc. During this one time a year, all differences are put aside to join in an ecumenical feast day, a time of “peace”. But is it a true peace? Does not our Lord Jesus say: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: NOT AS THE WORLD GIVETH, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(John 14:27)
We are commanded to “be separate” (2 Cor.6:18). Is it any wonder why the Lord says: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (Jas.4:4)
Those who partake of Christmas are friends of the world and those who depart are spoken evil of just as the scripture says: “…they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet.4:4)
The fact that Christmas has its “rudiment in the world” is obvious and admitted by all historians and honest theologians. There is no scriptural foundation for Christmas. We know that Jesus could not have been born on December 25th because the shepherds would not have been in the fields keeping watch over the sheep in the middle of winter. We also know that it was some time later that the wise men (no mention of there being “three”) came to see the “young child” in a “house”, not a stable. There is no record of the early church partaking in any of these festivities, but rather rebuked them for centuries. Catholicism, in its early stages, had bishops that denounced the pagan practices and warned the people not to take part in them.
In the book Carnival, we read of the “infallible” Catholic church’s earliest attitude concerning these festivities: “..anyone practicing these disgusting customs should be severely chastised until he had regretted committing the sacrilege.” Subsequent Church councils ruled against decorating homes with greenery, against drinking, preparing special foods or making offerings to the dead. Dancing, singing, making sacrifices to the false pagan gods, wearing any kind of mask-whether comic, tragic or satirical, playing the old woman or invoking the cursed name of Bacchus was sinful and hostile to the Christian way. Anyone who dared to commit these evil acts had abandoned God the Creator and deserved the eternal fires of hell.
Immorality was not the only objection to Christmas. English Protestants viewed Christmas festivities “as the trappings of popery, anti-Christian rags of the Beast”. To Robert Brown and his Pilgrim associates, Christmas was nothing more than a “popish frivolity” at its best and the “dreadful work of Satan” at its worst. In January 1645, the newly-published Directory of Public Worship, which outlined the basis of the new Presbyterian church establishment, affirmed bluntly: “Festival days, vulgarly called Holy days, having no Warrant in the Word of God are not to be continued”.
In February 1656, Ezekial Woodward admitted: “The people go on holding fast to their heathenish customs and abominable idolatries, and think they do well.”
On May 11, 1659, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the colonial legislature made Christmas illegal: “Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas…shall pay for every offense five shillings” (Modern Maturity, “The law that banned Christmas”, Pelton, 2).
Gerson, a noted theologian of the early “church” who attended a council of bishops held at Auxerre, said of Christmas: “…if all the devils in hell had put their heads together to devise a feast that should utterly scandalize Christianity, they could not have improved upon this one” (The Story of Santa Klaus, 75).
Regardless of every effort to purge the church of idolatry, the people were not able to separate themselves from the pagan practices. Christmas would continue to infect the world. The whore of Babylon would pour out her fornication on the world, and the world would love to have it so. All the cries of the Reformers to “Come out of her” (Rev.18:4) would be ignored.
An article in U.S.News & World Report , Dec.12, 1988, called “The season of objects and things” by Roger Rosenblatt, says: “Next to consumption, the most conspicuous impulse is to moralize about it, especially at this conflicted time of year. ‘Consider Christmas,’ wrote Upton Sinclair, ‘Could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft plus buncombe that the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks die of exhaustion while selling them…all in the name of Jesus?’”
Christmas is the feast of the one-world religion, the feast of the beast. As the world prepares to celebrate Christmas in the year 2000, the pope also has some plans of his own. In his Apostolic Letter, Tertio Mellennio Adveniente, speaking of the Great Jubilee, he says: “I entrust this responsibility of the whole church to the maternal intercession of Mary, mother of the redeemer. She, the mother of fairest love, will be for Christians on the way to the Great Jubilee of the third millennium the star which safely guides their steps to the Lord. May the unassuming young woman of Nazareth, who 2,000 years ago offered to the world the incarnate Word, lead the men and women of the new millennium toward the one who is the true light that enlightens every man.”
This ecumenical feast of Christmas is aiding the anti-Christ in deceiving millions to join with Rome. In March of 1995, the Heads of all the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land established a committee for the Great Jubilee (the year 2000). The Holy Land will be the center of the celebration, and Christmas will take on a special meaning during this time. One Catholic site admits: “Therefore the year 2000 is a year of jubilation in the Lord to those who follow our Lord Jesus Christ first, but also to every human being on this earth. Is it not significant enough to remember that this calendar referring to Christ’s birth has become the universal reference calendar in the whole world? It is really the Great Jubilee! It was declared as such by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter: ‘Tertio mellennio adveniente’, published on Nov. 10, 1994. In this same letter, the Holy Father designated also the Holy Land as a centre for the Great Jubilee, along with Rome. ‘A separate chapter’, he says, ‘will be the actual celebration of the Great Jubilee, which will take place simultaneously in the Holy Land, in Rome and in the local Churches throughout the world.’” (T.M. A. 55)
Another Catholic site expresses their views of the jubilee celebrations as ecumenical and universal, with meetings of Christians of all denominations and traditions, but they feel the focus will be the Eucharist. “The sacramental focus of the year 2000 will be the Eucharist. An international Eucharistic Congress will take place in Rome during that year, ‘The Church has endured for 2000 years. Like the mustard seed in the Gospel, she has grown and become a great tree, able to cover the whole of humanity with her branches.’” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 56) The pope has misinterpreted the scripture from Matthew 13:31-32 and thought that the mustard seed represented something good, but a close examination of this verse shows the total opposite. The fact that the mustard seed is in a field (the world) instead of a garden and is left unattended so that it grows wild without care or pruning so that the birds of the air lodge in its branches proves it is not a good thing. Remember that the “whore of Babylon” is a hold for every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For those of us who have forsaken the idolatry of Christmas, we dread the fulfillment of the next quote: “Instead of the Christmas season in 1999 lasting for 12 days, it will likely continue for 12 months throughout 2000, becoming a historic world Christmas year. Publishers will release books on the life and legacy of Christ. Concert halls will feature performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” Museums will celebrate the paintings of Christ, such as Raphael’s “The Sistine Madonna.” And the Pope will welcome 13 million pilgrims to Rome during the Holy Year.”
The Millenium Christmas will be a call for unity for all religions, and Rome is well aware and making preparations: “Ecumenical Dimension: In Jerusalem we rejoice in the fact that one can no longer ignore this dimension, which is one of the great preoccupations of the Holy Father in “Tertio Millennio Adveniente.” The Patriarchs and the Heads of the Christian Churches of the Holy Land are decided to prepare and celebrate the Great Jubilee together. This cooperation is intended to extend to a large part of the initiatives of the Year 2000.”
Are any of the “Christian” community aware of this? Of course they are: “The Great Jubilee of the year 2000 also stirs a particular interest within the Orthodox and Protestant Churches. Already in May of 1995, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches of the Holy Land had established a committee for the preparation and joint celebration of the year 2000. Since then, this committee has worked in a spirit of openness and brother-hood. Thus the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches were able to hold a press conference at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem on December 21, 1995, during which was presented their common Message for Christmas. This message officially announced the opening of the joint preparation of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000,-along with the individual and particular celebrations of each Church, and the constitution of the “Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee” (J.l.C.C.)…This committee is now in the process of preparing a common document on the Great Jubilee of the year 2000…One rejoices to see continually manifested the desire and will for more unity and collaboration in the great event of the year 2000. ”
Let us not be lazy or apathetic in these dangerous times, but alert and sober, doing the Lord’s will that ye “…henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph.4:14-15) “Come out from among her” and “be ye separate” for “the time is at hand.” Don’t celebrate with the “whore”. by Rebecca A. Sexton
To make you smile…
1. There are approximately 2 billion children in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.
2. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels from east to west. This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house. Assuming that each of the 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth, we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second—3000 times the speed of sound.
3. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the flying reindeer could pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them—Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
4. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous resistance—this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 M.P.S. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to forces of 17,500 g’s. A 250-pound Santa would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly reducing him to a quivering blob of goo. THEREFORE, if Santa did exist, he’s died now. :)