11/29/2009

Why We Don't Celebrate Christmas

WHY WE DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

Patrick and Maureen LaFaive

(MOSS PATCH NEWSLETTER, Vol. 2, No. 7, November 1991)



As Christians, we gave up Christmas seven years ago when we became aware of the pagan roots of this celebration and diligently searched the Scriptures to see what the Bible had to say about it.

We learned that Christmas is essentially a pagan holiday with a thin Christian veneer. Jesus was not born on December 25th, but the pagans celebrated the Birth of the Unconquered Sun (Saturnalia) at this precise time of year, worshipping their gods with trees, yule logs, wassail, holly, mistletoe, and all the trimmings, right down to the Christmas goose. To make a long story short, in order to bring unconverted pagans into the Roman Catholic church long, long ago, the Church met them half way—letting them keep the pagan feasts that they enjoyed so much, and just “Christianizing” them. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea to Christianize paganism until it is discovered that the Word of God specifically forbids it over and over again throughout the Bible.

For example:

“Learn not the way of the heathen...for the customs of the people are vain...” (Jeremiah 10:2,3).

“Take heed...that thou inquire not after their gods saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise.” (Deut. 12:30)

“...Abstain from pollutions of idols” (Acts 15:20).

As Alexander Hislop brings out in The Two Babylons, “The tendency on the part of Christians to meet paganism half way was very early developed. Tertullian, about the year 230, bitterly lamented the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect and contrasted it with the strict fidelity of the pagans to their own superstition:

‘By us, says he, ‘who are strangers to (Jewish) Sabbaths, and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia are now frequented, gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians.’”

Charles Halff, of the Christian Jew Foundation, in his booklet, “The Truth About Christmas” reports:

“The pagan history of Christmas has been well known throughout history. In fact, at one time the celebration of this pagan custom was forbidden by law in England. In 1644, Parliament declared Christmas to be unlawful; and, consequently, it was abolished. The English Puritans looked upon the celebration of Christmas as the work of Satan. At one time in early American history the observance of Christmas was illegal. A law was adopted in the general court of Massachusetts about 1650 which required that those who celebrated Christmas were to be punished. The statute read, ‘Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas...shall be subject to a fine of 5 shillings.’ The law’s preamble explained it’s purpose was ‘for preventing disorders...(by) observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries to the great dishonor of God and the offense of others.’ After the Mayflower pilgrims landed in 1620, the first December 25th was spent in labor and cutting down trees ‘in order to avoid any frivolity on the day sometimes called Christmas.’”

Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication that we are to celebrate the Lord’s birth. There are only two “birthday parties” mentioned in the Bible, Pharaoh’s (Genesis 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6). Both were pagan celebrations and both had gruesome events associated with them—Pharaoh hung the chief baker, and Herod had John the Baptist beheaded!

Jesus said to remember His death (1 Corinthians 11:26) and look for His coming (Luke 12:37). Why do we add to His words in celebrating His birth? The Bible admonishes us not to add to the words of Scripture:

“Every word of God is pure...add thou not unto His Words, lest He reprove thee.” (Proverbs 30:5,6)

Some say, “Christmas is just a pleasant tradition. There’s no harm in it.” But Jesus says, “You make the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men. All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition,” (Mark, chapter 7).

The only way we can ever express gratefulness to the One who paid such a dear price to save our souls is to respect His Word and obey His commandments. We cannot do that if we participate in any way in a pagan tradition such as Christmas.

The Christmas tree is an abomination in the sight of God. There are many complex legends, but essentially the tree represents the slain god, Nimrod, reincarnated as Tammuz, the Babylonian messiah. Suffice to say that the Christmas tree is representative of a pagan idol, the very idol whose honoring is condemned as a great abomination in Ezekiel 8:14. We have heard well-meaning people remark, “So it has pagan roots; I do not worship the tree.” Yet what do they do with it. They drape it with garlands, just as the pagan priest honored his gods in Acts 14:13. They deck it with silver and gold, as the tree idol is decorated in Jeremiah 10:3,4. According to the dictionary, worship can simply mean “great honor and respect.” A plain little green tree seems to get the royal treatment during the Christmas season. It occupies the foremost place in the home where it will be noticed and admired even by passers-by from outside as it stands glistening in the window, bedecked with jewels and arrayed more gloriously than Solomon. If it’s not an idol, why are people so unwilling to give it up? It it’s not an idol, why do they sing “worshipful” songs to it? “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches.” The “green tree” is mentioned ten times in the Bible and in every instance it is associated with idolatry.

The exchanging of gifts is also a pagan custom. Statues of gods and other trinkets were exchanged during religious festivals in heathen lands. Yet, to quote Albert James Dager, who has written on the subject of Christmas traditions in Media Spotlight, “There is certainly nothing wrong with giving gifts to family and friends out of love and genuine appreciation for what they have meant throughout the year. But it would be far better if those gifts were given spontaneously rather than under pressure to meet the social requirements of a pagan holiday. Here it is important to examine our motives. A gift in itself is certainly not evil. A gift given under pressure is a compromise to one’s conscience and is little more than a bribe.”

Mr. Dager also observes, “The atmosphere of the world during Christmas is evidence of its incompatibility with Christ. The media are filled with advertising and programming that turns Christmas into a hedonistic celebration. Jesus is so rarely mentioned that it’s obvious He has little to do with the day anyhow.”

Why is it that the world, that hates Christ, loves Christmas? Multitudes will accept Jesus as a helpless babe in a manger while rejecting Him as Lord of their lives. We cringe when we hear of ministers of the Gospel, after preaching the “Christmas” sermon, extending invitations to sinners to “ask the baby Jesus to come into your heart.” There is no salvation in such a warped concept of surrender to the Living God.

To those who would say, “Let’s put Christ back in Christmas,” we would respond, He was never the “reason for the season” to begin with! Let the world have its tinseled, liquored up Christmas. “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”


References:

“The Origin of Christmas Traditions,” Al Dager, Media Spotlight

“The Truth About Christmas,” Charles Halff, Christian Jew Foundation

The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop

Babylon Mystery Religion, Ralph Woodrow

World Book Encyclopedia




Addendum 4/17/07:

Rabbinical Judaism likes to put “fences” around commandments. Why are Messianics so de-fence-less against Christmas? We often hear, “As long as you don’t worship the tree, it’s OK to have it.” Yet the Second commandment tells us not only “Do not worship idols” but don’t even have them around. “Does it not concern you what God thinks about the “mystery forms” of imagery that you claim are harmless? They represent the enemy of our souls whether we see it that way or not. Did Yeshua redeem us so we could continue in the “chambers of imagery” that He abhors (Ezek. 8:12)? What is the difference between a marble statue of Zeus or a bedecked, gaudy tree prominently displayed in a room in your home? Can you exhibit a Buddha in your living room? As long as you don’t worship it, why not? How about a Mary statue? A Jesus picture on the wall? We knew a man who would gaze at his Jesus picture to keep him from sin. His wife was defending the practice, telling us that it was working. The man was an alcoholic. Yet he would not read the Bible or surrender his life to doing God’s will. Eventually he fell back to alcohol abuse and wife abuse. The picture did not deliver him. He forsook the Word of God for chambers of imagery. If you find holidays such as Christmas “neutral,” just what does comprise temptations to idolatrous practices in our generation? We are told to “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14) but if there is no idolatry to flee from in our modern Christian/Jewish world, maybe these Scriptures are irrelevant?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Christmas is as pagan as one makes it. ^^ Peter

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I wonder now if we ever had any views in common and how we connected in the first place.

What does ^ ^ mean?

Sonya said...

I 'stumbled' across your blog while 'blog surfing' today. The subject matter is something that I have heard a few times over the past few years. It rings true in my heart and must be the reason why this season just doesn't hold much excitement to me anymore.
I am curious though to what your opinions are of the common pagan practices that most of us follow each day. For example, functioning under the days of the week which were given for different gods (Sunday for the 'Sun' god) or simply wearing a modest wedding band which is also a pagan tradition. I am not trying to start an argument, just an honest discussion as to your thoughts on this enlight of your posting.
Thank you, Tandi

Tandi said...

Hi Sonya,

Thanks for your post. We live in a pagan-influenced world and all we can do is eschew syncretism in our own lives as much as possible....the true meaning of Hanukkah by the way. We should be trying to hit the mark in order to receive mercy for missing it. I agree with Romans 14......"let every man be fully convinced in his own mind" concerning personal convictions when modern day applications of commandments are less than clear. Another principle I live by is "when in doubt, throw it out." But don't go throwing your wedding band out without researching and having a strong conviction about it. : )

I have not researched that issue enough to have an opinion. I lost my wedding band years ago because it was too loose and did not choose to replace it. I don't know that it is necessarily a pagan tradition originally. Tell me more. Yeshua talked about putting a ring on the finger of the prodigal son. He did not seem to consider wearing a ring a pagan idea (Luke 15:22).

As for the days of the week, I don't like that they are named after pagan gods but there is not much we can do about it in daily life. What bothers me more is the name of the Jewish month, Tammuz! Another carryover from the Babylonian captivity.

Looking forward to dialogue if you have interest. Sorry it took me so long to respond.

Shalom,

Tandi

Lorraine said...

Just because people choose to celebrate Jesus birthday on Dec. 25th (Becuase they don't know his real birth date), doesn't make them pagans.. sheesh!

We do not WORSHIP the small Christmas tree I put up every year. It's a pretty decoration.

Christmas does remind us to be more giving and generous to those in need. You mahage to slaughter all the GOOD and loving aspects of the holiday.

True, it's become too commercialized. WE give gifts to people who don't even need them, but your viewpoint is twisted too.

Tandi said...

Hi Lorraine,

Thanks for reading the article. Notice the title: "Why WE Don't Celebrate Christmas." My husband and I do not seek to impose our view on others, just to present our understanding of Scripture and the convictions we personally reached. You are, of course, free to disagree. It does not make Christians "pagans" to celebrate Christmas. Never said that. Nevertheless, the fact remains that God's Word forbids the adoption of pagan customs by His people. You will answer to Him, not me, as to why you brought a tree into your home and decorated it and admired it and put gifts under it. You may see it as a pretty decoration and a harmless tradition. But what does God see? That is the all important question.

I hope those who overspent at Christmas and are deep in debt now have something left to give for Disaster Relief in Haiti and elsewhere. Generosity and gift-giving is something we can do year-round, not just when the retailers coerce us to spend more than is wise, surprising people with things they often don't particularly like. As one friend put it, "Christmas is over; now for the returns!" Something seems wrong with this picture. How does this gift exchange honor our Saviour? Why do we keep a holiday He never asked us to keep, while ignoring the Biblical holidays that He commanded us to keep?!

Just trying to provide food for thought.

I do appreciate your taking the time to express your view. All views are welcome here and I enjoy discussion.