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The History and Practices of Christmas

 

Without question, the most celebrated and profitable holiday the world has ever known!  Its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over many years. Countless people from all walks of life and different faiths including atheists, come together and practice various customs of the holiday in order to celebrate what is now known to be called; "Christmas" on December 25th. 

 

Gallup polls from 1994 to 2007 consistently show that more than 90 percent of adults say they celebrate Christmas, including 84 percent of non-Christians!

 

2 Corinthians 6:17

Wherefore come out from among them,and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you.

 

This may surprise some but the very word; "Christmas" comes from two words; "Christ's Mass" which is a Roman Catholic teaching on what it deems to be the Lord's Supper. The practice is represented by a priest, who offers Christ up for a sacrifice for the sins of the world each time the mass is performed. With an assumed supernatural ability that is supposedly given only to the Priest, he is then able to transform the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ.  Instructions of worshipping the wafer are given to their members in Catholicism. However, when it comes to plain and true biblical teaching, this is obviously contrary to what the Scriptures say in terms of the true meaning of the Lord's supper and Christ's sacrifice for the sins of His people (read; Heb. 9:12, 24-26; 10:10,12,14).

 

Here are some quotes about "Christmas" given by those who profess to believe in Christ who are not Catholics...

 

‘The baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas is the Creator of the world! See John 1:1–5, especially v. 3: ‘All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ The world, you see, is no cosmic accident. This world was created by the Triune God, and through this Lord Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem.’

 

Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu Interviewed in Creation Magazine

 

Coming out of Catholicism and adopted by certain mainstream protestant groups is one of the more popular concepts of Christmas which is viewing Christ as a "baby" and then calling Him that rather than viewing him as an adult. People normally don't view their baby pictures and describe their kids "babies" in present tense when their kids are actually adults. One may be considered to be the "baby" of the family which is a description of being the youngest but not as a "baby" like described by Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu. The concept which Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu like so many others advocate, distorts the true account contained in the Bible. Christ spent 33 years on Earth before He went back into Heaven. Certainly viewing the Lord as a baby again is not biblical.

Here is another well educated theologian who stated many years ago...

 

"Although many scholars do not believe that Jesus was born on December 25, it could still be the date on which the angels announced His birth...It is not wrong to remember the birth of Christ on a day which is as close as we can come to His birthday."

John Rice (1895-1980) Should a Christian Observe Christmas?

--The Sword Sermon

 

John Rice who is a well known fundamentalist from the past, makes statements which is merely using circular reasoning and very compromising in content. We know for a fact that Christ was never born in the winter because Palestine's climate was cold during the months of December through February.  Shepherds in Judea watched over their flocks no later than October. This means the date is not close to Christ's birth as Rice claims it is. Then why was December 25th picked as the official day of celebrating Christ's birth instead of October or months before?  It's was all about converting the pagans to Catholicism. You see my friend, there was a annual winter festival which was very popular among the Romans who observed the birthday of their sun god known as Mithras.  The original winter festival of the sun god started from the Babylonian religion as they celebrated the birth of a son (Baal or Mithras as the Romans called him) from a mother-goddess who was deemed to be the "queen of heaven". 

 

Many adaptations have happened as the result of the Babylonian religion even the Arabians celebrated the "birth of the Lord" which is their moon god.  Lord moon, as they called their god was born December 24.  Anglo-Saxons called the 25th of December "Yule day" -- in other words, "infant day" or "child's day" which was long before the Christmas tradition even stared.  So under  Constantine at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD the celebration known as Christmas was officially declared in place of the winter Roman festival. Constantine wanted pagans and non-pagans alike united under Catholicism so he adapted pagan customs with the  new holiday. By adapting various pagan practices by merely changing the name to biblical names caused it to be very popular among the heathen. Thus it was much easier to convert them to Catholicism than ever before during that time period.   Eventually many hundreds of years later it's appeal spread into most Protestant circles who once shunned the idea of having a "Christmas celebration".  Nothing in their histories that reveal any origins of a day set aside for Christ's birth, but now many of these protestant assemblies (including Baptists and other non-Catholics)  have not only accepted this Roman Catholic "holy day" but are united into attempting to put Christ into the holiday!

 

How Christians and others in the Past Viewed Christmas

 

A well-known Baptist preacher named Spurgeon once said, "I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping of Christmas" (taken from The New Park Street Pulpit and was originally preached  on Sunday morning, December 23, 1855).  In the treasury of David on Psalm 81:4, we see more of Spurgeon's view about Christmas; "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." 

 

 In America's early history, a governor named William Bradford, who was a Puritan, tried hard to stamp out all "pagan mockery" during the Christmas season which includes the holiday itself. Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event."

 

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."
 

 

 

The Customs and Symbols of Christmas

 

 

"I do celebrate Christmas, I get my Christmas tree. It's a secular holiday"

 

PZ Meyers--Well-known Militant Atheist and Professor at a University in the United States who has a blog that attacks Christianity on a regular basis but attempts to rationalize his celebration of a religious holiday.

 

 

The Christmas Tree

  I'm going to start out with the most recognized and widely used symbol during the Christmas holiday season and that is of course the "Christmas tree." It comes in many shapes and sizes, decorated with the utter most care with lights, glitter, bulbs, angels, stars, and more.  It all depends upon a person's creativity and how deeply they are involved with this holiday. It's decorate style was later expanded to houses and yards even the United States government purchases Christmas trees for display. This symbol is very common to see after Halloween through the first week of January.  But what about the relevance and origin in relation to Christ's birth? Most Christians know there is no relevance when it comes to an evergreen tree in relation to Christ's birth found anywhere in the Bible.

 

However, to the ancient pagans, the evergreen represented eternal life because no matter what the season, the tree would always stay green.  Pagans used it as a way to honor their god Adonis. The mythology of Adonis went like this,  he was slain but was later brought to life by the serpent Aesculapius.  Adonis dead body was the symbol of the stump of the tree, when the snake brought him back alive, the stump grew into an evergreen tree.  Various other cultures adapted the tree, in Rome Baal-Berith, who was supposedly brought back to life by the same serpent on December 25th. In Egypt, this god was worshiped in a palm tree as Baal-Tamar. As far as Christ is concern, the Bible says nothing about this symbol representing Him or His birth. 

 

After the pagans, the modern "Christmas tree" custom was later adapted by bringing it into the home and decorating by a man named; St. Boniface (675 - 755 AD). He would always cut down a deciduous tree in the presence of some newly-baptized Catholics. The tree was an oak -- once sacred to the former Pagans. It miraculously split into four pieces, revealing an evergreen tree growing from the center of the oak stump. This practice which is not biblical symbolized the death of Paganism and the establishment of Catholicism. Later on, Martin Luther helped the practice become more mainstream by cutting down a fig tree and decorating it in his home. What saith the Scriptures concerning this Christmas custom and practice? The Bible condemns such a practice which was done by the ancient pagans...

 

Jeremiah 10:2-4: "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 nails and with hammers, that it move not." 

 

The Scriptures make it clear, we are not only to reject the beliefs of paganism but we are also to reject the practices which comes along with those beliefs, and not to do them ourselves.

 

 

Santa Claus

 

Another very popular symbol or figure like the "Christmas tree" is Santa Claus or as some call him; "Father Christmas".  Stores are packed full of little kids waiting to get a picture with whom they believe will give them presents on Christmas. Even Christians who celebrate the holiday do have a problem with this concept of Santa Clause as it replaces Christ, while others lie to their kids about Santa Claus being a real person. Not surprisingly, Santa Claus was actually a Dutch Roman Catholic by the name of "Sant Nikolaas" or in English it's spelled; "Saint Nicholas."  He was a Roman Catholic Bishop of the 4th century in Asia Minor who was known for giving out treats to the children of that time and later was regarded as a special friend and protector of children. After his death, he was promoted to the status of sainthood by the Roman Catholic Institution. The apparel that Santa Claus is known for came from the bishops of Italy who wore red.

 

"Kriss Kringle" is another name Santa Claus goes by and there have been cartoons and movies using this name but where did it come from or originate from?  It's German for "Christ Child" and most Christians who celebrate the holiday are unaware of that fact. In paganism, they also their own "Santa Claus" which is actually where the concept first came from in the first place and later adapted into Catholicism by using another man's legend. The Santa Claus in paganism was called; "Bes" who lived at the north pole and worked year round making items like toys for kids who had good parents. Does that sound familiar?  It should, because many parents and Hollywood movies and programs use the mythology for Santa Claus. In European countries it was expanded to traveling around the world seeking who is "naughty or nice."  The reindeer which is another aspect tied into the Santa Clause mythology has it's origins in Babylonia and later adapted into the Norse traditions of the Yuletide season.

 

 Divinity of Santa Claus in the X-mas Story

 

Now we come to the Santa Claus divinity or mythology as I like to call it, he has God like features for instance, he never dies, so he has eternal life. Santa has been labeled as the "magic" of Christmas because of his so-called ability to travel around the world in one night visiting billions of homes which no human being could really do in one night. He also judges the people of the world to see if they are bad or good.  And rewards those who have acceptable behavior which is not a symbol of faith freely given of God without any merit, but a symbol of salvation by works. Some call this commercialism and would agree this should be kept out of the celebration, but it's more than "commercialism" of a materialistic world, it's a pagan deception which doesn't point in the direction of God or agrees with His Word, but points in the direction of hell and no Christian should have anything to do with pagan customs. And it's not only Santa Clause's mythology and the Christmas tree mythology but others as well, let's look further into some of the other practices of Christmas.

 

Mistletoe

This plant has no practical purpose for man or animals because it's poisonous to both. However, the Druids did find a purpose for this particular plant.  They used the mistletoe as a corrupted version of Christ as the "Man of the branch."  The plant was a magical representation for the Druids as a Messiah (a false Messiah) coming down from heaven placing itself on a tree and growing from there.  Symbolism was also and still is part of the mistletoe.  It was used by the pagans as reconciliation between God and man.  Since a kiss is considered symbol of reconciliation, the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began. It's so-called magical powers believed among the Druids which came to them from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying in it's toes, the magical powers, thus the name; Mistletoe came into being.

 

X-mas Gifts

One of the most if not thee appealing aspects in the modern era when it comes to the Christmas holiday is purchasing and exchanging gifts. The vast majority of profits from retailers comes from this tradition of Christmas. Many think they are serving the Lord when they practice this concept of the holiday. While others think it's a materialistic burden that should have no part in celebrating the birth of Jesus.  When look we back on the history of the event which is when Christ was actually born, the gifts were given to Christ, not the local population exchanging gifts among themselves. This is not a surprise since the roots of this holiday is not biblical.  While it's true, there is nothing wrong with giving someone a gift for such things as their birthday or for no reason at all, but an X-mas gift is something totally different. 

 

Christmas Carols

 

  Colossians 3:16; "Let the WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY, in ALL WISDOM teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"   

 

There is no question or doubt when believers in the Lord sing hymns to God, they must be glorifying songs, not rock music, not rap music, or pop music and so on.  But even if the style of the music does in fact glorify God, the content of the hymns must also glorify God as well. The two go hand in hand with each other. Let's take a look at various hymn content from the top Christmas songs...

 

 

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Charles Wesley, 1739

 

A very well-known song through out the years and normally only sung or played on the radio after the Halloween holiday. But it has many errors in it's content which doesn't agree with the Bible.  For example, "herald angels" did not sing "Glory to the newborn King."  The author John Wesley wasn't a Christian as he believed in salvation through infant baptism as he has stated; "By water then as a mean, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again: Whence it is also called by the Apostle; 'the washing of regeneration.' This statement is completely contrary to the plain teaching of the Word of God. Faith is a gift from God which doesn't come through water baptism (Eph 2:8,9) and then holiness follows as that person becomes a "new creature" as old things are passed away and behold all things are new. So naturally the hymn or hymns written by him would not have a true biblical foundation on the most important aspects of God's Word!

 

 

SILENT NIGHT! HOLY NIGHT!


Written by:  "Father" Joseph Mohr, 1818 (Roman Catholic priest);
Tune written by: Franz Grüber, 1818 (Roman Catholic)


Another hymn which distorts the actual event itself. The angles were singing, also the shepherds were visiting, so it was anything but a "silent night."  More distortions include: "all is bright" where there is no such description found anywhere in the Scriptures. The hymn also claims the Angels were singing "Alleluia" which is not found either in the Scriptures nor a light radiating from the baby's face or the star's light was a part of the scene. The Scriptures doesn't not even call that evening "silent" or "holy." A few phrases might appeal to a true believer who thinks they are singing to God, but in fact are singing a Roman Catholic tradition based on fictional elements which many people claim is morally acceptable during the holiday season unlike other times of the year.

 

JOY TO THE WORLD

Isaac Watts, 1719

Interesting enough and I believe many who sing this song for the holidays don't not realize it, but this hymn does not directly relate to the Christmas at all, but to the Millennium. More than likely this hymn was included in the Christmas carols by Protestants who had previously rejected the new holiday, but then decided to go along with the popular celebration.

 

There are many more popular Christmas Carols such as GOD REST YOU MERRY GENTLEMEN, THE FIRST NOEL, O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM, and AWAY IN A MANGER which have doctrinal problems or actual account problems concerning the Lord's birth. Which can be gone through in various degrees on certain verses of the hymns, however, I like to move on to more important issues at hand.

 

Scriptural Support and Basis For Not Celebrating Christmas

 

In Deut. 12:29-32, God tells His people if there is any pagan worship to be found in the "promised land" to destroy every part of it.  God did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner that pagans were worshipping their gods.  Not even in the slightest degree, did God want such worship of Him. In 1 Sam. 15:1-3, 7-9, 21-23 -- Saul rebels against the prophet sent to him by God, and decides to worship God his way. Isn't that what we see in the Christmas celebration being man's way in worshiping God?

 

Here are some more points to consider... 

 

Thou Shall Not Make Yourself Any engraved Images 

 

Pictures of Christ, nativity scenes,  Christmas cards with "pictures" of Jesus, etc., all violate this command.

 

God has given us His Word, not images as there is no real description of His appearance. But rather to teach us about Christ.

 

(1 Peter 1:23)

(Det. 4:12, 15-19)

 

Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me

 

"The god of X-mas" is idolatrous!"

 

Looking to the Christmas season for happiness, joy, and fulfillment, absorb in picking of gifts, putting  lights on a tree or in the yard, rather than through a pure, personal, and Biblical relationship with Jesus Christ, is idolatry.

 

(Exodus 20:2-3)

(Matthew 22:36-38)

 

Thou Shall 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.

 

(Exodus 20:7)

(Mark 7:6-8)

 

Thou Shall Not Covet

 

Christmas brings out sinful behavior on how people and children should drool over the gifts of excesses from Santa Claus, parents, friends, and so on.

 

If they have little money then the focus is more on the cheaper gifts. 

This practice has no value in worshipping God or remembering Him.

 

 

(Romans 7:7)

(1 Timothy 6:6-10

 

 

 

A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come you nations and adore the Lord

--Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas message on December 25, 2007

 

 

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days (Colossians 2:16).

 

Christians are not instructed to observe Jewish holy days even though these "holy days" were given to God's people to do back in the Old Testament. Neither can a government sanction them again as a biblical practice. And Christians certainly do not have the liberty to create a day not found anywhere in the New Testament to observe every year and then in the process using pagan customs to practice it.
 

 

The Apostles in the Lord who later would walk with Jesus and be taught by Him never created a special day set aside to celebrate his birth after His accession into Heaven. There was also no such record in the Scriptures of a special day to celebrate the Lord's birth when He was living on Earth.  It's like calling Jesus a "baby" when He is not. While the birth of Christ in itself was important, factual and historical, it doesn't make 'Christmas' biblical with a celebration that the world loves not hates. The Scriptures in fact have more focus on the miracles of Christ than His birth. So I posed this question; Why are people not setting a special day for the miracles of Christ?

 

 

“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exod. 23:2)

 

 Some like the X-mas holiday because it brings people into the assembly or makes them more in the mood to talk about the Bible. Another reason people try to justify this holiday is the fact that families get together. As Christians know, there is nothing wrong with getting together with the family, around the holidays even though one is not observing the X-mas holiday. But if people were able to add things to the worship of God like holidays which would just focus in on certain events, it would make the Bible look incomplete and encourage sinful behavior.  Believers are to worship God in all things of what the Lord has commanded upon us to do, nothing more or nothing less, and encouraging Godly behavior and practice in the process.

 

 

“Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2)

 

No true Christian should ever celebrate Christmas for it is man-made worship who's customs come from a pagan god in various cultures and pagan religions through the ages. We are not to be conforming God's Word to the worldly celebration but we are ourselves are to be conforming to His  Word on a daily basis. Christians should leave the practice of Christmas, as Revelation 18:4 would say, come out and do not be partakers of her sins!

 

News Bits

 

Expert links pagan shrine to first Christmas

 

Italian archaeologists in 2007, uncovered a pagan shrine only a few steps away from what many call a 'church' building (but the real meaning of "church" is the assembly of saints ) which was built under Constantine who had declared the first Christmas on December 25th 325 AD. More on story, click on link above.

 

Other related Links

 

Audio Sermons on Christmas

The True Meaning of Easter

 

 

 

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