a Christian Celebrate Christmas?
Bible Discernment Ministries
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.
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
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
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.
Not Among the Earliest Christian Festivals -- Christmas was
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.
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
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:
1-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 ).
holidays were reclassified as Christian holidays (holy-days).
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:
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
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
delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
"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.
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
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!
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;
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.
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,
Traditions). This is nothing but nature worship or Animism.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 from witchcraft the house
in which it hung...
6. 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 Child. This has to be one of the most subtle of Satan's
blasphemies, yet most Christians are unaware of it.
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, reindeer, and the North Pole suggests Scandinavian or Norse
traditions of the Yuletide season. (In Babylonia, also, the stag (reindeer)
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.)
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.
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
of Christ's birth by subtly blending
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.
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!
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!)
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.)
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.
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?]
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
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.
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.
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..."
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 pagan feast day.
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 Roman Catholic
(Sulgrave Manor, "A Tudor Christmas," p. 3).
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.
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."
Support Against Celebrating Christmas -- Unacceptable Worship
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?
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 also 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. Therefore, is not "putting Christ back into Christmas,"
worshiping "the Lord your God
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
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?
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.
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)?
1 Ki. 12:26-33 -- In order to unify the northern ten tribes of
Israel, ungodly King Jeroboam set up pagan idols, not
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! Likewise, 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?
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
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
of idolatry, of which the participation in the pagan forms of Christmas
comes dangerously close to doing... 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
the Rationalizations that:
"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
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.
"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" (John 4:24).]
"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 it with a lie, they no longer have the truth. They have
changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and
mix it with enough truth 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?
"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
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.
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
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.
"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?
"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:
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.
"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
commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).
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:
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?
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. After all,
God has commanded one day in seven...to worship Him. Does the world observe
it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the
Lord Jesus Christ (John 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?
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!
Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers
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
tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And
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, delivered in a Lord's Day sermon on December
"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. ...
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,
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... 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)!
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.