I’ve been fielding questions about Christmas and why I’ve chosen not to celebrate it for the second year in a row. I cannot blame people for not understanding why, since I was at one point unaware of the origins and truth about Christmas also. By no means, am I passing judgement upon those of you who celebrate Christmas; I respect your personal choice and appreciate that you respect mine. But, here is some information that might help you examine Christmas through a different and more critical lens.
Many people simply celebrate Christmas because of the fun and merriment and feel that the actual origins and meaning of the day are irrelevant. In my opinion, if you believe in God and you believe that the Bible is the word of God, then you will struggle with Christmas once you know the truth.
The Top Three Reasons Why I Don’t Participate in Christmas Traditions and Festivities
Reason 1: December 25 is not Jesus’ Birthday.
The Bible does not give us an exact date on which Jesus was born but it most certainly allows us to determine at what time of year he was born. Certainly, Jesus was not born in the winter season. There is proof of this in the Bible.
Luke 2:8 -11 “8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Ezra 10:9 – 13 “9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It [was] the ninth month, on the twentieth [day] of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of [this] matter, and for the great rain.10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.13 But the people [are] many, and [it is] a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither [is this] a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.”
It would have been too rainy for shepherds to keep watch of their flocks at night in December. The ninth month that is referred to in Ezra as the rainy season is not September. The calendar used during biblical times was a lunar calendar and not the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the ninth month in Biblical times is sometime between November and December (rainy season). In December, shepherds would not have been watching over their flock outside in a field at night. Visit http://www.keyway.ca/htm2005/20050901.htm for more information on the biblical calendar.
Is the actual birth date of Jesus irrelevant to the celebration of Christmas? Of course not, the true purpose of Christmas according to Christian churches is to celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas is founded on the premise that Jesus was born on December 25. How can we believe and teach our children this falsehood? If you still believe that it is possible that Jesus was born on December 25, consider this:
Luke 1: 13 “13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”
Luke 1: 24-36“24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on [me], to take away my reproach among men.26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name [was] Mary.28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women.29 And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.”
Logic and reason allow us to determine that if Gabriel went to Mary and Mary conceived child when Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy then Jesus was born six months after John. Historians and scholars have determined through mention of The Course of Abijah in Luke 1:5 that John was born in the spring, probably between March 18 and 31. If Jesus was born six months after John, then he was born in what we refer to as September.
Finally, if you are celebrating the birth of Jesus because you think it is the right thing to do and you wholeheartedly believe that his birth MUST be remembered and celebrated, consider this:
I Corinthians 11: 23 – 26 “23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
Essentially, many celebrate the Christmas holidays with the best of intentions thinking they are connecting to God and remembering the birth of their saviour. When Christians follow the teachings of the Christian Church they do so believing that what they are being taught is true. However, it is clear that if you read the Bible than you have no choice but to acknowledge that Christmas is not Jesus’ birthday and that Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ is a farce.
Reason 2: Christmas has clear Pagan origins.
When you look at the early history of Christmas, it dates back to traditional pagan celebrations. It was actually the early Roman Catholic Church that combined Christ’s supposed birth date to celebrations which were already established and widely practiced by pagans. Christmas corresponds with the Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia, winter solstice and Roman worship of their sun god, sol invictus.
Saturnalia – Saturnalia was a Roman pagan celebration held in honour of the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn. It was celebrated from December 17 -25 and included general lawlessness, intoxication, nakedness, rape, sexual indulgence and human sacrifice. It was also marked by drunken orgies, debauchery and reversal of master and slave roles. Upon review of literature from this period, it becomes quite clear that Saturnalia was regarded as the best day of the Roman year. Consequently, when attempts were made to shorten it, there was quite the uproar amongst Roman citizens.
Winter Solstice – The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Julius Caesar in his Julian calendar established December 25 as the date of the winter solstice. However, Pope Gregory XIII corrected errors in the Julian calendar and introduced the Gregorian calendar, which brought the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere to around December 22. Winter solstice only changes about one day every 3000 years.
Many ancient winter festivals centred on the birth or rebirth of sun gods. In pre-Christian Rome, Brumalia was celebrated for a month and ended on December 25. Brumalia was celebrated in honor of Bacchus. Bacchus is the Roman name for the Greek god, Dionysus, who is considered the god of wine, theatre and ecstasy. The celebration of Brumalia included drinking and merriment. Sound familiar?
Sol Invictus – Yet another pagan celebration that is connected to Christmas is Natalis Solis Invincti, which roughly translates to “Birthday of the Invincible Sun God”. When the Catholic church chose December 25 as the date to celebrate the SON of God, they were well aware that pagans called this day the ‘birthday’ of Sol Invictus, the SUN god. In the 4th century, Christianity hoped that the pagan masses would convert to Christianity if they allowed them to continue celebrating their festivals and so, Christmas and all the pagan traditions were neatly wrapped into one.
The Roots of the Traditions
The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. From pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire had many customs and traditions that were adopted by the Roman Catholic church and eventually Christians and non-Christians worldwide.
The Origins of Carolling
Originally, pagans would sing naked in the streets as they celebrated Saturnalia.
The Origins of the Christmas Tree
Pagans worshipped trees in the forest and decorated trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus.
The Origins of Mistletoe
Pagan rituals included the use of mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victims. The “kissing under the mistletoe” also comes from the sexual indulgence that occurred during Saturnalia. It can also be linked to the pagan belief that the white, sticky goo from the berries was the semen of the gods.
The Origin of Christmas Presents
It was an ancient pagan custom to sacrifice children as gifts to Saturn. They believed in human sacrifice including the sacrifice of small children and infants. The Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that at the feast of Saturnalia, “all classes exchanged gifts, the commonest being wax tapers and clay dolls. These dolls were especially given to children…Varro thought these dolls represented original sacrifices of human beings to the infernal god. There was, as we have seen, a tradition that human sacrifices were once offered to Saturn, and the Greeks and Romans gave the name of Cronus and Saturn to a cruel Phoenician Baal, to whom, e.g. children were sacrificed at Carthage” (article: “Saturnalia,” 11th edition). In recent times, instead of offering children as gifts to gods, we shower the children with gifts.
But, the wise men gave gifts when Christ was born! It is true that the wise men arrived with gifts for Jesus. However, this is not the same as them giving each other gifts. If you’re giving gifts in honour of someone, shouldn’t your gifts be presented to the person you are honouring? Think of it in this way, if you want to honour your father on his birthday, are you going to spend your money lavishly buying gifts for everyone except him and then after all the merriment of gift giving is complete, turn to him and tell him that the receiving and giving of gifts was done for him or in other words that he was “the reason for the season”. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
The Origin of Santa Claus
I’m not even going to waste my time on this one. We know that Santa Claus has nothing to do with the birth of Christ and that he is simply a lie that we tell children. There are various explanations of how we arrived at the current version of Santa Claus but, the most important point to mention is that children are often cited as the reason for why we should continue to celebrate Christmas. What are we teaching our children, when we lie to them and tell them that some fat guy from the North Pole is all-seeing and all-knowing and will judge whether they deserve to be “blessed” with gifts?
Reason 3: Supporting Evidence from The Bible
Many Christians know that their festivities are of pagan origin but disregard this fact as a minor detail. However, you cannot choose to follow some of God’s instructions and disregard others. God instructs his people to follow his word and the Bible does in fact communicate that it is wrong to adopt and/or adapt the customs of those who worship false gods. In the Bible, there are many examples of God not wanting his people to adopt pagan practices.
Exodus 32: 1 -10“1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for [as for] this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which [are] in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring [them] unto me.3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which [were] in their ears, and brought [them] unto Aaron.4 And he received [them] at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.5 And when Aaron saw [it], he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow [is] a feast to the LORD.6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted [themselves]:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.”
Deuteronomy 12: 28-32 – “28 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.29When 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;30 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.31 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. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
1Corinthians 10:19-22 – “13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I [say], that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18“13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto [my] children,) be ye also enlarged. 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 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,18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Jeremiah 10: 1-8“1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:2 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.3 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.4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.5 They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good.6 Forasmuch as [there is] none like unto thee, O LORD; thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might.7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise [men] of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, [there is] none like unto thee.8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.”
Finally, I know that after reading all of this many people will still argue, “I don’t care if Christmas is derived from pagan celebrations, I am not honouring pagan gods, I am honouring my God”. My response to this is, look in the Bible and use common sense and logic. What makes you think that you have the right to worship God, however, you see fit and who or what has led you to believe that God will accept worship in whatever way you choose to give it? In my opinion, it would be illogical to look through history and read the Bible and still believe that it is so. Here is Biblical support from the New Testament stating that worshipping and honouring according to the truth and in truth is of paramount importance:
John 4: 23-24 – “23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.24God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”
John 17: 17 – “15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Matthew 15: 8-9 – “8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.9But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.”
Please take what you want from this and use it as a starting point for discussion and dialogue. This is simply an overview of the knowledge and understanding I have gained through online research and Bible study. I sincerely hope the time and energy I’ve put into this post, acts as an impetus for others to conduct their own research and arrive at their own conclusions. Peace.