When we have believed in and participated in such events as Christmas for decades, it is hard to investigate the real foundations of such a celebration – it’s like questioning your nation’s sovereignty, the patriotism of it’s citizens, or even your own parentage. It’s even regarded in some quarters as close to heresy to question “Christmas.” On deeper inves- tigation, I’ve come to realize that Christmas has become a sociological celebration that goes far beyond it’s supposed “Christian” foundations, especially when it is based largely on a combination of both commerce and paganism. To help folk consider the truth of the event we call “Christmas,” I’ve chosen to break the issues down into twelve major points. This will assist genuine Christians to make appropriate decisions and changes.
1. Isn’t it Time to Stop Lying about Fairy Stories?
Most parents try to train their children to be truthful. Parents who are Christians should definitely be doing this, and living the example as best they can. So why do so many par- ents lie to their children about Santa, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy, for example? I wonder how many of those children give up on Jesus when they discover their parents lied about these fairy stories and they guess that Jesus is just another myth? It’s time for all Christian parents to stop lying about these fairy stories and instead train their children to stand up and defend why Jesus is true, and why they reject the lies such as Santa. One day your children will also stand before God for the rewards and punishments at the end of time. How will you feel if their rejection of Jesus was caused by your lies about fairy stories such as Santa and the Easter bunny?
2. Christmas is driven by commercialism.
Christmas has become “a road-show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God-sub- stitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year,” according to syndicated columnist Cal Thomas (who often writes from a Christian perspective). He goes on to write, “Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in Victoria’s Secret window? … No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot.” The reason Christmas has survived and grown into such a popular holiday – being observed by 96 percent of Amer- icans and almost all nations, even atheistic ones – is because of economic factors. (Jeffery Sheler, “In Search of Christmas,” U.S. News and WorldReport, Dec. 23, 1996, p. 56). Originally envisioned as a way to ease converts’ transition from heathen worship to Chris- tianity, in more recent years the holiday’s observance has been driven by economic forces. The Encyclopedia Britannica observes that the traditional Christian holidays have “undergone a process of striking desacralization and – especially Christmas – commer- cialization. The Christological foundation of Christmas was replaced by the myth of Santa Claus.” (15th edition, Macropodia, Vol. 4, p. 499, “Christianity”)
3. Christmas is never mentioned in the Bible.
Most people never think about this, including many whose names are on church rolls. The books of the New Testament cover over thirty years, then another sixty years of the early church, following the death and resurrection of person we usually call Jesus. (His real name is Yeshua – He was born a Hebrew.) The Bible does give quite a few details about the birth of Jesus, including the angelic appearance to Miriam (you know her as Mary), and then Joseph; the birth in the stable/tabernacle; and the heavenly choir’s per- formance for the shepherds in the fields. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God expects us to.
4. Jesus wasn’t born in December, either the 25th or any other day.
December weather around Israel is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in their right mind would keep their flocks outside at that time of year. So the Luke account of the shepherds out in the fields watching their flocks has to be another time of year. The evidence shown elsewhere is that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, in September of 3BC. Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his human parents were from there and required to attend their original hometown for the census the Romans were forcing everyone to participate in. Since the Romans were highly efficient administrators, it would make no sense to conduct a census with all the travel requirements in the middle of winter with difficult weather and road conditions. Noncompliance would have also been penalized.
5. The Christmas holiday is mainly a recycled pagan holiday.
You can find that in every encyclopedia. Consider what are the associations with holly and mistletoe, Yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit and hat, with sleighs and flying reindeer. None of these have anything to do with Israel! None are mentioned in the Bible. These are northern-European items commercialized by US Americans and then exported everywhere. December 25th is the alleged birthday of Mithras, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts. The Roman Empire had many strange gods and cults, including Mithras. Their emperor Aurelian established 25th December as the festival of ‘Dies Invicti Solis’, the Day of the Invincible Sun. Thus Mithras became the preferred pagan deity of Rome. It was in the name of this pagan god that Constantine won the battle that brought him into the position of emperor. Two years after winning that battle he even minted coins with Mithras in the reverse side. If Constantine ever did become a Christian, it was much later in life,”and he wasn’t “baptized” until just before his death. Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion because so many people were join- ing this rapidly growing faith, and he wanted to be the head of everything. He so changed the Christian faith that it became unrecognizable, putting Christian gatherings (previously only in homes) into the largely vacant pagan temples, and establishing himself as the Pontifax Maximus – a title previously used for the supreme priest of Mithraism. Virtually all the customs associated with Christmas are recycled pagan festivals honouring other pagan gods. “Santa Claus” is a US American corruption of the Dutch form “San Nicolaas,” a figure brought to the US by the early Dutch colonists, (Encyclopedia Britan- nica, 11th edition, Vol. 19, p. 649, “Nicholas, St.”). This name, in turn, stems from St. Nicholas, bishop of the city of Myra in southern Asia Minor, a Catholic saint honoured by the Greeks and the Latins on December 6. How, we might ask, did a bishop from the sunny Mediterranean coast of Turkey come to be associated with a red-suited man who lives at the north pole and rides in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer? Knowing what we have already learned about the ancient pre-Christian origins of Christmas, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Santa Claus is nothing but a figure recycled from ancient beliefs tied in with pagan midwinter festivals. The trappings associated with Santa Claus – his fur-trimmed clothing, sleigh and reindeer – reveal his origin from the cold climates of the far North. Some sources trace him to the ancient Northern European gods Woden and Thor, from which the days of the week Wednesday (Woden’s day) and Thursday (Thor’s day) get their designations, (Earl and Alice Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, 1997, pp. 56-64). Others trace him even farther back in time to the Roman god Saturn (honoured at the winter Saturnalia festival) and the Greek god Silenus (Walsh, pp. 70-71). What about other common customs and symbols associated with Christmas? Where did they originate? “On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites … Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian,” (Encyclopedia Bri- tannica, 15th edition, Micropedia, Vol. 2, p. 903, “Christmas”).
The foundation of the USA economy is consumer spending. November – December is the busiest time of the year. If the US President banned Christmas, their economy would fail and pull the rest of the world down with them. Therefore, the foundation of “Christmas” is not Jesus Christ, it is spending money….
6. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him
If Christmas were supposed to be a day to worship and celebrate God, it would be a good idea to check the Bible out on how we should do that. Note in Deuteronomy 12:30- 32, where God instructs: “Do not inquire after their gods, saying ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way… Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it (as in do, not watch); You shall not add to it nor take away from it.” For those who think we can ignore that because it’s in the Old Testament, check 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1, “What fellowship has righteous- ness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial (the devil)? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God… Therefore “come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you”. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting ho- liness in the fear of God.”
In no uncertain terms, Paul the apostle told the believers they had to leave behind their past pagan practices, including their methods of worship. Now they were required to wor- ship the True God in spirit and in truth, according that the forms prescribed by God Him- self, (John 4:24).
7. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.
Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men and demons, and isn’t found in the Bible, the question should be honestly addressed, “Does God ho- nour or accept such worship?” I believe Jesus provided the answer about substituting human traditions and practices for God’s divine truth in Mark 7:6-9. “Well did Isaiah proph- esy of you hypocrites … ‘in vain they worship Me, teaching doctrines the commandments of men’ …All too well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your tra- ditions.” I find it interesting that during the 17th century, Christmas was outlawed in Eng- land and some parts of the US colonies because of it’s unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have either forgotten or never knew. “On June 3, 1647, Parliament established punishments for observing Christmas and certain other hol- idays. This policy was reaffirmed in 1652,” (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 20). The Pilgrims in Massachusetts made a point of working on Christ- mas as on any other day. Even colonial America considered Christmas more of a raucous revelry than a religious occasion: “So tarnished, in fact, was its reputation in colonial US 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,’” (Jeffery Sheler, “In Search of Christmas,” U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 23, 1996, p. 56).
8. You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in!
Some people these days are declaring we should put ‘Christ back into Christmas.’ But since He was never part of it from the beginning, that sounds like a nice sentiment, but it is only a misguided effort trying to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than doing what the Bible actually teaches. To say it again: You can’t put Christ back into some- thing He was never in!
9. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus’s birthday, but it tells us clearly to commemorate His death.
For followers of the Jesus of the Bible, the most significant event was clearly His death, not His birth. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was be- trayed took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My body which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of Me.” Jesus repeated the same for the Passover cup, the cup of Redemption, “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes…” (Check also Matthew 26:18-19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:8-13, 15). Jesus expects His true followers to commemorate His death, not His birth, by observing the Passover, of which The Lord’s Supper or Communion is a small part.
10. Christmas obscures God’s real plan for humans.
The Passover (see Exodus 12) was symbolic of the future role and sacrifice of Jesus. His sacrificial death on our behalf was to spare us from eternal death. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul addressed Him as “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” John the Baptist said similar in John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Again, Peter stated that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God’s gift of eternal life. (See John 3:14-17; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22) In contrast, Christmas teaches none of this, so it obscures the real purpose of Jesus coming, and also of His return the second time. The message of Jesus Christ and the apostles – “the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14-15) – was soon lost. The Christmas celebration shifted Christianity’s focus away from Christ’s promised return to His birth. “Blessed, happy, fortunate (to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound, who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the Feasts: they walk, O Lord, in the light and favour of Your Countenance.” Psalm 89:15 AMP Scrip- ture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, accord- ing to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Feasts should be studied for all the richness of understanding and revelation God wants us to learn. After all, they are part of the Scrip- ture given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know of a single Christian denomination that rejects the authority of Scripture (although Roman Catholics regard it as only equal in authority with church tradition; and the liberals across many older denominations have little real faith except in their own intellect and they only quote the bits of Scripture they approve of). It must also be recorded that the Feasts are shadows of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1-2) and they point to Jesus/Yeshua who is the sub- stance. He also is the fulfilment of the Feasts, in the plan of redemption. “It’s not the Ju- daizing of the church because Judaizing was a heresy. The Judaizing taught that a Gentile had to convert and become a Jew to be saved. That is NOT what is happening today,” wrote Dr. Robert Heidler. (The Messianic Church Arising!, page 75) To miss the valuable revelations found within the Feasts, when these are clearly commanded by God for all time, can only be described as selective obedience. In this vital case, ignorance is not bliss, but actually becomes sinful.
11. Pleasing God by celebrating the Holy Days that Jesus and the apostles did.
All through the Bible, God gives choices, to do things His way, or our own. There are con- sequences, of course. Jesus never taught His followers to adopt pagan practices in their worship. With His disciples, they kept God’s holy days. They kept Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and they observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament church commenced on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), and they kept observing that (Acts 20:16). They also kept the Day of Atonement (Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2,10). Actually, there were six feasts and only one fast! But Christmas is missing from the Bible. The feasts God told His people to observe (to do, not to watch) have all got vital lessons about Jesus, what He has done, what He is doing now, and what He will yet do as He carries out God’s plans for mankind.
12. The Real Deity of Christmas.
In the wider world, even beyond so-called “Christian” nations, Christmas is celebrated. Not only in commercial advertising, but in shopping malls and even in many church gath- erings, the real centre of attention is Santa Claus, not Jesus. It would be fair to describe Santa Claus as the deity of Christmas, as he gets more space, attention, (one might even call it worship) than everything else put together. If the attention on Santa isn’t idolatry, it must be getting perilously close to it! So, do you want to continue with the tired old pa- ganism and crass commercialism of Christmas, or do you want to obey the Living God? Above, I’ve given twelve reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe Christmas, instead of the Feasts of the Lord?