Celebrating the Christmas "Holy Day"
Have you ever stopped to think what Christmas is really all about? For Christians, is it about the birth of Jesus Christ? I don't think so. Most of the celebrations that I see have nothing to do with the birth of Christ.If I were to decide that I wanted to celebrate the birth of Christ, what would I base my decision to celebrate on? Considering the Biblical nature of Jesus Christ, doesn't it make sense that it should be a Biblical decision? I have not encountered any scripture in the Bible that leads me to believe that I should celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Mosaic feasts are clearly spelled out. Based on that, I believe that when GOD wants His people to celebrate something as a remembrance, He lets us know. Why isn't there a specification for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ IF that is what GOD would have me do? Assuming I got past the first quandary, I believe I would have to toss aside the beginning of the Gospel of John.
This clearly states shepherds had their flocks in open fields at night when Jesus Christ was born. Shepherds don't typically have their flocks in open fields during that time of the year. Here is another person's opinion on the same subject. It comes from a book entitled The Two Babylons. The Two Babylons was written by Alexander Hislop during the 1800's. It makes for interesting reading, but here is a snippet regarding the weather in Israel during that time of the year -
I don't know the exact date, but if I were to try and guess the date of His birth, I would not choose December 25th. Aside from the date being incorrect, among pagan societies of the past, December 25th has been a time of celebration in honor of their various "gods". For the Babylonians, it was a celebration of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven. For the Egyptians, it was a celebration of the birth of the son of Isis. For the Romans, it was the Winter solstice, the celebration of the birthday of the sun (Constantine was a member of the sun-god cult before converting to Christianity). Why is this time so popular for all these pagan groups? December 25th occurs about the time of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The shortening of the days was taken as a sign that the Sun was dying. After the Solstice, the days get longer (the amount of sunlight observed during a 24-hour period increases). The pagans believed this meant the sun was getting stronger. Aside from the previously listed pagan "gods", do your own research on the birthdays of the following pagan deities: Attis, Frey, Thor, Dionysus, Osiris, Adonis, Mithra, and Cernunnos. I find the legend of Mithra to be especially interesting. Mithra was allegedly born on December 25, of a virgin. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and magicians [magi]. Mithra raised the dead and healed the sick and cast out demons. He returned to heaven at the spring equinox and before doing so had a last supper of mizd (a piece of bread marked with a cross) with his 12 disciples (these 12 represented the 12 signs of the zodiac). Any of that sound familiar?
It just doesn't make a lot of sense to choose to celebrate the birth of Christ on a date that I know to be incorrect, and have that date be in the middle of a time that is typically reserved for pagan celebrations.
Besides the problems I have previously outlined, there are a number of pagan traditions that are practiced as part of the traditional Christmas celebration.
The Legend of Tammuz
Tammuz was the son of Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis. Tammuz was identified with the Babylonian sun god and worshipped following the winter solstice, on about December 22-23. During winter, the amount of light during the day becomes less and less. The day with the least amount of daylight is the winter solstice. This occurs about December 22-23. Tammuz was thought to have died during the winter solstice, and was memorialized by burning a log in the fireplace. (The Chaldean word for infant is Yule.) The alleged "rebirth" of Tammuz was celebrated by replacing the log with a trimmed tree the next morning. Yule logs and Christmas trees. Does that sound familiar? In the Bible narratives concerning the birth of Christ, is the bringing of trees into one's home mentioned anywhere? If you look up the word yule in the dictionary, it states "the feast of the nativity of Jesus Christ". What feast? In the four gospels, there is no mention of a "feast of the nativity of Jesus Christ".
What's wrong with mistletoe? Nothing, it's just another plant. However, associating mistletoe with eternal life, miraculous healing, and virility is probably not Biblically sound. The following comes from a book entitled The Handbook of Christian Feast and Customs by Francis Weiser.
The custom of kissing under mistletoe came from Rome. Romans thought mistletoe was a symbol of fertility, and kissed under it.
Holly is one of the most common symbols associated with Christmas. Today holly invokes images of wreaths, although it had religious significance long before Christmas became popular. In ancient Rome, holly was associated with Saturn - the sun god / god of agriculture. The Druids also used holly in their religious customs. It was common to place holly around homes during the winter. This was supposed to be a kind gesture to tiny fairies that supposedly inhabited the forests. The basic belief was that fairies could come to the homes of people and use the holly as a shelter against the cold.
The Druids were fascinated holly's ability to remain green throughout harsh winters. It was customary for Druids to wear holly in their hair while they went into the forests to watch the priests collecting mistletoe. The holly berries were supposed to represent the sacred menstrual blood of their Goddess.
Lastly, holly was used for protection. Pagans would place holly around the doors and windows of their homes. It was believed that holly would stop evil spirits from gaining entrance into their homes.
Before the birth of Jesus Christ, it was a popular Roman tradition to go caroling. The Romans had a winter festival season called Saturnalia, in honor of their god Saturn. This happened every year during the winter solstice. This was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. As part of this celebration, singers and dancers traveled from house to house entertaining people.
---------So there you have it - my reasons for not celebrating Christmas. I haven't mentioned flying reindeer, elves, factories on the north pole, or a guy with eternal life who wears a red suit and makes the rounds on December 25th. Those are all things some people tell their children for one reason or another. I don't celebrate because
It also has a lot to do with people of the past using the exact same non-Biblical accoutrements of the current Christmas holiday to provide shelter to fairies, positioning themselves to receive miraculous healing/increase virility, protect their homes from evil spirits, and singing of the glories of Saturnalia.
Too bad Jeremiah isn't talking about Christmas trees in this verse. It would have made a great closing statement.