Christmas – The Mass of Christ?
As the holidays, or festive season, have once again arrived, we could perhaps ask ourselves what it is that people who call themselves Christians are actually celebrating during the Christmas and New Year period. If Christmas is one of the main Christian holidays why do so many non-Christians observe it?
This season has become totally focussed on consumerism and materialism on a grand scale – shopping sprees and the buying of gifts for people who do not need and in many cases do not want them. Many people delay paying bills and jump onto the debt train in order to finance the extravagances of the season. There are other people who deplore the excesses of Christmas and try to preserve what they believe to be the sacredness of Christmas. Yet others believe the religious aspect should be rejected and the focus should be on family and a time for giving to others who are less fortunate than themselves.
So what are we to believe about Christmas and its alleged connection to the Son of God?
The Scriptures reveal no record of a feast day on Jesus Christ’s birthday. If His birth-day was important to remember then surely the precise date would have been recorded along with a commandment to include it, and to observe it, in the list of annual Holy Days that are recorded? It was not instituted and celebrated by Jesus Christ, the apostles or the early Christian church. Christmas has no biblical authority.
The “Communion,” which is instituted by New Testament Bible authority, is a memorial of the death of Christ – not His birth.
Perhaps the Christmas observances allude to the traditions of men (and women of course) rather than the Holy Days of our Creator? (Mathew 15:8, 9)
The origins of Christmas are to be found in ancient so-called pagan practices. Not until the fourth century A.D. did the Roman Catholic Church give this longstanding ancient custom its Christian sounding name. It was not until the fifth century that the Roman Church ordered it to be celebrated as an official Christian festival!
The Catholic theologian Origen (A.D. 185-232) acknowledged that “in the Scriptures, sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday” (Catholic Encyclopaedia). In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of Jesus Christ’s birth existed. Even the year of His birth is open to conjecture!
Many other Christian churches have followed the Catholic church in following the traditions of man-kind.
Ancient Rome celebrated Brumalia – the re-birth of the sun after the winter solstice
..the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the Invincible Sun). On Dec. 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967
The date of December 25 to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth was chosen to conform to the ancient Roman holidays called Saturnalia and Brumalia.
Winter festivals of ancient Roman – winter solstice festival honouring Saturn/Cronus and Ceres/Demeter, and Bacchus in some cases. By the Byzantine era, celebrations commenced on 24 November and lasted for a month, until Saturnalia and the Waxing of the Light.
People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favour of colourful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.
The pagan celebration of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and time, began as a single day, but by the late Republic (133-31 B.C.) it had expanded to a week-long festival beginning December 17. (On the Julian calendar, which the Romans used at the time, the winter solstice fell on December 25.)
The exchange of gifts between family and friends is a characteristic of the Christmas season. Some people argue that the Wise Men presented gifts to the new-born Jesus and therefore the custom has a Biblical foundation. However, it was the custom to present gifts to a king – Where is he that is born King of the Jews (Mathew 2:2). The wise men were aware of who the new-born child was and hence the presentation of gifts – gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (v.11). They did not present or exchange gifts with anyone else.
The birth of Christ was not celebrated by the early New Testament church. Jesus Christ’s name has no Scriptural basis for being associated with the winter solstice, or, for celebration of this man-made festive season.
The Christmas Tree
Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD (Yĕhovah) speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2 Thus saith the LORD (Yĕhovah), 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. – 21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
1 Kings 14:23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
Read also Deut.12:2, 2Kings16:4, 2Chronicles 28:4. – Plus even more ungodly references to the ‘green tree’ for those willing to search. They are all associated with idolatry and false worship.
It will be noted that Yĕhovah is speaking to the House of Israel (Jeremiah 10:1) through His servant Jeremiah. This is a rather remarkable warning considering that Jeremiah lived among the house of Judah, while the house of Israel had long since been removed from their land by the Assyrians? – That, however, is another story!
From the above it can be ascertained that the tradition of the evergreen tree that sits centre-stage in many homes during the Christmas season has absolutely nothing in common with the Son of God, his birth, or any commandment to celebrate His birth. It has everything to do with non-Christian observance!
In Scandinavia it is quite common for people to dance around the Christmas tree – even bowing and curtsying to the tree – how idolatrous is that?
I am not going to devote much time to this mythological concept except to say that little, or no, historical and verifiable knowledge exists (except that of man-made Catholic and Orthodox tradition) to equate the life and works of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, to that of the myth of Santa Claus. There is absolutely no biblical connection to the birth of Jesus Christ, the man-made Christmas tradition, or to someone flying around the world on a gift-giving mission on one night of the year.
The Scriptures do not reveal the date of Jesus Christ’s birth. There is no commandment to celebrate His birthday. His birthday is not mentioned among the annual Holy days that are to be observed. If Christians should celebrate His birthday then surely that date would have been clearly revealed in the Scriptures?
Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with the birth day of Jesus Christ – it is man-made.
Christians are required to assist the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan. There is no requirement to present gifts at Christmas, or any other day, to those who, in the majority of cases, have no need of them – especially if the giver is expecting to receive a gift in return.
The Christmas tree is an ancient symbol having absolutely no connection to the God of Israel. It is associated with idolatry and false worship.
Christmas is associated with an abundance of artificial lights – to drive away the darkness? Perhaps more closely connected to a certain Angel of Light? (2 Corinth. 11:14, 15)
The beginning of God’s New Year does not begin in the middle of darkest winter (in the North) – 1st January – it begins in the Spring, when natural light is driving the darkness away.
Shop yourself into debt – many people end the Christmas and New Year season in debt due to overindulgence.
If people wish to celebrate the darkest period (holidays) of the year with family and friends and freely give to those in need, they must surely do so with joy in their hearts – However, this holiday period is not, and never has been, Holy or associated with the birth of Yĕhovah.