“Christmas, Origins Are Important!”
Many Bible based Churches around the world are becoming more aware of the origins of Christmas and they are beginning to question it. I’m not talking about Messianic Congregations, we’ve known for a long time about the pagan origins of the holiday. I’m talking about mainstream Christian denominations. Everywhere I go I’ve been hearing questions concerning Christmas. “Should Christians be celebrating it?” “Should we have Christmas trees in the sanctuary?” “Was Jesus really born in December?”. Just the fact that Pastors and their members are asking these kinds of questions is very exciting! 20 years ago, you’d have never heard such questions and would even be frowned upon if you brought it up.
So let’s answer these questions so you can go and be a light to those who are seeking the truth on these issues.
Let’s look at its origins first.
Way back in ancient days, in Babylon, the winter solstice was celebrated as the birthday of Dumuzi (Tammuz in Hebrew and also known by Adonis… identified by Jerome) the god of love, fertility and vegetation. Dumuzi first appears under his name in economic texts from Shuruppak (Old Sumerian period). Interesting note, Dumuzi was seen as a dead and resurrecting god and later became the god of the underworld and his birthday was celebrated on Dec 21! This was also the day that the god Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it (the origin of the Christmas tree). The celebration of the birthday of Tammuz later became known as Saturnalia. The way it’s celebrated today isn’t much different then the way the pagans celebrated it long ago.
That brings me to the Christmas tree. As I just said, the god, Nimrod, was said to bring gifts and put them under the evergreen tree. This isn’t the only time that trees played a part in Paganism. The practice of tree worship has been found in many ancient cultures. Often, trees were brought indoors and decorated to ensure a good crop for the coming year. Trees have also been linked to divinity. Egyptians associated a palm tree with the god Baal-Tamar, while the Greeks and Romans believed that the mother of Adonis (Tammuz) was changed into a fir tree. Adonis was one of her branches brought to life.
The modern Christmas tree was likely born in the 8th century, when St. Boniface was converting the Germanic tribes. The tribes worshipped oak trees, decorating them for the winter solstice. St. Boniface cut down an enormous oak tree, that was central to the worship of a particular tribe, but a fir tree grew in its place. The evergreen was offered as a symbol of Christianity, which the newly converted Germans began decorating for Christmas.
By the 1700s, the custom was firmly imbedded in Germany, and Christmas trees were mainly a German custom. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century, they brought the Christmas tree with them.
President Franklin Pierce set up the first Christmas tree inside the White House in 1856. By 1877, the custom was well established. In 1923, President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge began the custom of lighting the National Christmas tree on the White House grounds.
Kissing under the mistletoe also has pagan origins. The Druids believed mistletoe fell from heaven and grew onto a tree that sprang from Earth. Mistletoe thus represented the joining of heaven and earth and later man to woman.
Some will try to tell you that the believers in Rome celebrated Christmas. In order to celebrate those events that were special to them, early Christians would try to do so during a time the Romans were celebrating a pagan feast or holiday of their own. They say this allowed believers to gather and celebrate without being persecuted for their faith. This is partly true. Some did so, but their peers chastised them for this behavior. In A.D. 245, Origen wrote that even to consider observing it was a sin. Early Christians in Armenia and Syrians accused Roman Christians of sun worship for celebrating Christmas on December twenty-fifth.
Pagan celebrations held on December 25 included Mesopotamian celebrations for Marduk, Greek ones for Zeus, and of course the Roman Saturnalia in honor of Saturn.
Christmas comes from “Christ’s mass,” or a service that is held in Roman Catholic churches.
What is perhaps more disturbing is that other such “masses” exist on the Roman Catholic service calendar, such as Michaelmass, a service to be held for the Archangel Michael, which we must admit is very strange.
The idea of exchanging gifts is in remembrance of the three Magi who gave gifts to Yeshua, that’s Biblical.
So that’s the history of Christmas and the Christmas tree. But what does the BIBLE say about the Christmas tree? That’s what it all boils down to anyway. Here’s what it says…
. Yirmayahu/Jeremiah 10:2-5 clearly states,
“Thus says Yehova, ‘Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens although the nations are terrified by them; for the customs of the peoples are delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”
You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Yahweh your God, which you shall make for yourself” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:21).
That pretty much sums it up.
Now does this mean you’re supposed to go jump down your local Pastors throat and tell him he’s in sin? No it doesn’t. But you can stop celebrating Christmas and lead by example. In time it will come up and you can share how you have come to feel that Christmas isn’t for you and that you prefer to celebrate Biblical holidays such as Chanukah. That will provoke them to jealousy, they’ll also want to do the right thing and join with you in Biblical celebrations. Chanukah is Biblical, Yeshua Himself celebrated it (John 10:22).
And just so you know, Jews never celebrated birthdays, they celebrated deaths and the anniversaries of loved ones who past away. They do it to this day. There’s a time in Synagogue when they stand and have a time of remembrance for all the Jews in their family who had passed during that week. Death is a good thing for those who love G-d and go to meet with Him. Birthdays have always been a pagan thing to celebrate. Let’s not do what the pagans did. Let’s celebrate the holy things of G-d instead.