Some fast facts about Christmas


Jesus was NOT born on Christmas day. (Gasp!!!) He was actually born more around September. (OMG – oh my gosh!! Double gasp!!!). God also never told us to celebrate Christmas (in other words it’s nowhere in the Bible). So the question really arises, why do YOU celebrate Christmas on Christmas day?

Today is Christmas Eve. As the day approaches that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, I just wanted to share with you some information around the celebrating of Christmas Day. I do this, because for many years now (as long as Tim has been alive), Anna-Marie and I have celebrated Christmas a bit differently from the rest of our family. We have done certain things in accordance with our convictions, which have resulted in some strange looks from people that have asked what we’re doing about this or that pertaining to Christmas. But we could never sufficiently express what our convictions were. We recently received an email that articulated how we felt, quite well. And so I share it with you too.

Charles H. Spurgeon writes the following regarding Christmas:
“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 25th of December….Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give thanks to God for the gift of His dear Son.” And Peter writes “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. …” (1 Peter 3:15).

I believe that it is important not to only know the truth, but to also understand it; not to only being doing something, but to understand why we are doing it. If someone (especially an educated or well-read unbeliever) were to ask you or your children why you celebrate Christmas, my hope is that the information that I share, will give you sufficient understanding that you can share with conviction.

Apparently the Roman Catholic Church used to assimilate pagan festivals because they found that converts where participating in them out of tradition (kind of like African Christians still participating in ancestral worship). To prevent this, the Church adopted the festival dates and made them “Christian” to encourage converts out of pagan worship.

It is true that Paul writes in Galatians that there are no special days that need to be celebrated, but he is not saying that we can’t celebrate special days. The context of his admonishment was that there was no requirement to celebrate certain days that would result in salvation. To take his teaching to the “extreme” we should not celebrate Easter or even our birthdays (the latter being the view of the Jehovah Witnesses).

I agree that Christmas has become extremely commercialised. When the whole debate started about removing the public holiday status from Christmas, my view was yes; and then we’d find out if Christmas was special enough that Christians would sign leave for it (as other religions need to do for their special days). The ONLY reason that it is still a public holiday, is because we (SA) don’t want to be different from the rest of the world, not because of its religious significance.

So agreed, we have no Biblical mandate to celebrate Christmas. But I think the answer is to make our celebration of Christmas different than how and why the world celebrates it.

There are many occasions in the Bible where God has said that we should do things in remembrance. The purpose of remembering is not to forget who God is and how He has helped you (the Jews). One of the most profound “remembrances” is when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. They laid the 12 stones on top of each other as a sign so that when their children asked what it meant, they would be able to tell of the great things that God has done.

When my son was born, we faced the dilemma of what we would teach him about Christmas. He has friends who are not Christian and so celebrate this day in ignorance. When he was two, we chose to start celebrating this day not as Christmas, but as Jesus’ birthday.

Our hope is that through this yearly remembering and focusing on its true meaning, our children will never forget their God. And those that we influence, will be blessed too.

We also recently received an email that quite sufficiently, articulated how we felt about sharing the “truth” about Christmas and Santa Claus to our children. Here is an extract from that email.

The email we received
‘Tis the season . . . for parents to decide if they will tell the truth about Santa.

When it comes to cultural issues like Santa, Christians have three options: (1) we can reject it, (2) we can receive it, or (3) we can redeem it.

Since Santa is so pervasive in our culture, it is nearly impossible to simply reject Santa as part of our annual cultural landscape. Still, as parents we don’t feel we can simply receive the entire story of Santa because there is a lot of myth built on top of a true story.

Redeeming Santa

So, as the parents of five children, Grace and I have taken the third position to redeem Santa. We tell our kids that he was a real person who did live a long time ago. We also explain how people dress up as Santa and pretend to be him for fun, kind of like how young children like to dress up as pirates, princesses, superheroes, and a host of other people, real and imaginary. We explain how, in addition to the actual story of Santa, a lot of other stories have been added (e.g., flying reindeer, living in the North Pole, delivering presents to every child in one night) so that Santa is a combination of true and make-believe stories.

We do not, however, demonize Santa. Dressing up, having fun, and using the imagination God gave can be an act of holy worship and is something that, frankly, a lot of adults need to learn from children.

What we are concerned about, though, is lying to our children. We teach them that they can always trust us because we will tell them the truth and not lie to them. Conversely, we ask that they be honest with us and never lie. Since we also teach our children that Jesus is a real person who did perform real miracles, our fear is that if we teach them fanciful, make-believe stories as truth, it could erode confidence in our truthfulness where it really matters. So, we distinguish between lies, secrets, surprises, and pretend for our kids. We ask them not to tell lies or keep secrets, but do teach them that some surprises (like gift-giving) and pretending (like dressing up) can be fun and should be encouraged. We tell them the truth and encourage them to have fun watching Christmas shows on television and even sitting on Santa’s lap for a holiday photo if they so desire. For parents of younger children wanting them to learn the real story of Santa Claus the Veggie Tales movie Saint Nicholas is a good choice.
Email end

It contained further information with regards to the origins of Santa Claus, which I have attached at the end of this blog.

Regarding the birth of Jesus, here is another extract that I received.
Begin Extract
YAHUSHA/JESUS CHRIST Not Born December 25th
Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night,” (Luke 2:8). This could never have occurred in Judaea in the month of December. The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. Notice that the Bible itself proves, in Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night.

“It was ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring), and bring them home at commencement of the first rain,” says the Adam Clarke Commentary (Vol. 5, page 370, New York ed.) Any encyclopedia, or any other authority, will tell you that Christ was not born on December 25. The Catholic Encyclopedia frankly states this fact.

The exact date of Christ’s birth is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge—though if I had space in this booklet I could show you Scriptures which at least strongly indicate that it was in the early fall.
End extract

At the very end of this blog, you will find an extract from an information booklet that contains a very negative view towards Christians celebrating Christmas. I share it so that you are equipped with the truth so that if anyone says “sis you know”, you can answer yes. And then give an account of why still continue to celebrate it.

May God bless you this day and every other day. And may you celebrate the beginning of God’s plan of redemption, with peace in your hearts and comfort for your souls.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Additional Christmas/Santa info
The Truth about Santa Claus

The larger-than-life myths surrounding Santa Claus actually emanate from the very real person of Saint Nicholas. It is difficult to know the exact details of his life with certainty, as the ancient records are sparse, but the various pieces can be put together as a mosaic of his life.

A Gift-Giver

Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey. He was born into an affluent family, but his parents died tragically when he was quite young. His parents had raised him to be a devout Christian, which led him to spend his great inheritance on helping the poor, especially children. He was known to frequently give gifts to children, sometimes even hanging socks filled with treats and presents.

Perhaps his most famous act of kindness was helping three sisters. Because their family was too poor to pay for their wedding dowry, three young Christian women were facing a life of prostitution until Nicholas paid their dowry, thereby saving them from a horrible life of sexual slavery.

A Bishop and Saint

Nicholas grew to be a well-loved Christian leader and was eventually voted the Bishop of Myra, a port city that the apostle Paul had previously visited (Acts 27:5-6). Nicholas reportedly also traveled to the legendary Council of Nicaea, where he helped defend the deity of Jesus Christ in A.D. 325.

Following his death on December 6, 343, he was canonized as a saint. The anniversary of his death became the St. Nicholas holiday when gifts were given in his memory. He remained a very popular saint among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, with some two thousand churches named after him. The holiday in his honor eventually merged with Christmas, since they were celebrated within weeks of one another.

Misnomer

During the Reformation, however, Nicholas fell out of favor with Protestants, who did not approve of canonizing certain people as saints and venerating them with holidays. His holiday was not celebrated in any Protestant country except Holland, where his legend as Sinterklass lived on. In Germany, Martin Luther replaced him with the Christ child as the object of holiday celebration, or, in German, Christkindl. Over time, the celebration of the Christ child was simply pronounced Kris Kringle and oddly became just another name for Santa Claus.

Folklore

The legends about Santa Claus are most likely a compilation of other folklore. For example, there was a myth in Nicholas’ day that a demon was entering people’s homes to terrorize children and that Nicholas cast it out of a home. This myth may explain why it was eventually believed that he came down people’s chimneys.

Also, there was a Siberian myth (near the North Pole) that a holy man, or shaman, entered people’s homes through their chimneys to leave them mushrooms as gifts. According to the legend, he would hang them in front of the fire to dry. Reindeer would reportedly eat them and become intoxicated. This may have started the myth that the reindeer could fly, as it was believed that the shaman could also fly. This myth may have merged with the Santa Claus myth, and if so, explains him traveling from the North Pole to slide down chimneys and leave presents on fireplace mantles before flying away with reindeer.

These stories of Santa Claus were first brought to America by Dutch immigrants. In the early twentieth century, stores began having Santa Claus present for children during the Christmas season. Children also began sending letters to the North Pole as the legends surrounding an otherwise simple Christian man grew.

In sum, Saint Nick was a wonderful man who loved and served Jesus faithfully. So, we gladly include him in our Christmas traditions to remind us of what it looks like for someone to live a life of devotion to Jesus as God. Our kids thank us for being both honest and fun, which we think is what Jesus wants.

Extract from another email I received
WHY WE AS BELIEVERS CANNOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” or, as it came to be shortened, “Christ-Mass.” It came to non-Christians and Protestants from the Roman Catholic Church. And where did they get it? NOT from the New Testament—NOT from the Bible—NOT from the original apostles who were personally instructed from Christ—but it gravitated in the fourth century into the Roman Church from paganism.

Since the celebration of Christmas has come to the world from the Roman Catholic Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine theCatholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, published by that church. Under the heading “Christmas,” you will find:
“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church . . . the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” “Pagan customs centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.”

And in the same encyclopedia, under the heading “Natal Day,” we find that the early Catholic father, Origen, acknowledged this truth: “. . . In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners [like Pharaoh and Herod] who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world” (emphasis ours).

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1946 edition, has this: “Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ). . . . Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church. . . .” It was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, or by Bible authority. It was picked up afterward from paganism.

Santa Claus is a pagan mockery of God the Father with white hair, grandfatherly image, eternal, lives in the North, unlimited resources, omniscient of children’s behavior, omnipresent for a night, hears confessions, comes as a thief, blesses children, and distributes judgment for works.

Every sincere birthday party honors the one born that day rather than all the mere guests.
a gift exchange dictated by a calendar is not a message of love but a ritual of obligation.
a gift exchange at the winter solstice was invented by pagans to celebrate the sun god.

Charles Spurgeon, the most popular Baptist minister, preached against it as late as 1871.
all the unique customs of Christmas may be traced individually to pagan religious rites.
Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Pagans, and other cults celebrate it while despising Jesus.
using Scripture’s silence to justify anything not expressly forbidden will lead to Coke and chips for the Lord’s supper and ouija boards for difficult decisions. It creates the most foolish, hectic, stressful, guilt-ridden, and unproductive time of year.

Mat 5:17 “Don’t assume that I (JESUS CHRIST) came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Rom 3:31 Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Rom 7:7 What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, You shall not covet.

ELOHIM is a jealous God and will judge any playing with other gods (Ex 34:12-16).
Christianity is giving gifts unexpected without obligation to reciprocate (Luke 14:12-14).

FATHER GOD condemns using pagan religious practices in His worship (Deut 12:29-31).
FATHER GOD condemns adding to or taking away from His commandments (Deut 12:32).
FATHER GOD condemns doing anything under green trees in His worship (Deut 12:1-4).
FATHER GOD condemns the heathen use of decorated trees at a solstice (Jeremiah 10:1-4).
FATHER GOD commands us to separate from and not touch pagan religion (II Cor 6:14-18).
FATHER GOD commands us to come out of Roman Catholicism and her sins (Rev 18:4).
FATHER GOD condemns turning to the left or right from His commandments (Deu 5:32-33).
FATHER GOD told the apostles to teach us to observe only His commandments (Matt 28:20).
FATHER GOD requires reverence and godly fear in worship to avoid His fire (Heb 12:28-29).
FATHER GOD seeks true worshippers to worship Him in truth, not superstition (John 4:23-24).
FATHER GOD condemns fellowship with men having only a form of godliness (II Tim 3:5).
FATHER GOD condemns anything different from His Word as dark ignorance (Isaiah 8:20).
FATHER GOD abominates anything popular with the world and esteemed by it (Luke 16:15).
FATHER GOD condemns traditions in His worship as evil and vain hypocrisy (Mark 7:5-13).
FATHER GOD hates the polluting of His glorious name with pagan idolatry (Ezekiel 20:39).
FATHER GOD condemns the superstitious idolatry and blasphemy of the Mass (I Cor 11:26).
FATHER GOD considers the birth of His Son worthy of honor rather than folly (Heb 1:6).

it breaks the first commandment by having other gods – the sun god Mithra (Ex 20:3).
it breaks the second commandment by having images – a Christmas tree (Ex 20:4-6).
it breaks the third commandment by taking His name in vain – “Christmas” (Ex 20:7).
it breaks the fifth commandment by promoting children’s greed over parents (Ex 20:12).
it breaks the tenth commandment by promoting covetousness to children (Ex 20:17).

The Real Origin of Christmas
But if we got Christmas from the Roman Catholics, and they got it from paganism, where did the pagans get it? Where, when, and what was its real origin?

It is a chief custom of the corrupt system denounced all through Bible prophecies and teachings under the name of Babylon. And it started and originated in the original Babylon of ancient Nimrod! Yes, it stems from roots whose beginning was shortly this side of the Flood!

Nimrod, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonish system that has gripped the world ever since—the system of organized competition—of man-ruled governments and empires, based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, many other cities. He organized the world’s first kingdom. The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, is derived from “Marad,” meaning “he rebelled.”

The real origin of Christmas goes back to the ancient Babylon. It is bound up in the organized apostasy with which Satan has gripped a deceived world these many centuries! In Egypt, it was always believed that the son of Isis (Egyptian name for “Queen of Heaven”) was born December 25th. Paganism celebrated this famous birthday over most of the known world for centuries before the birth of Christ.

Santa Claus!
The name “Santa Claus” is a corruption of the name “St. Nicholas,” a Roman Catholic bishop who lived in the 5th century. Look in the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 19, pages 648-649, where you’ll read: “St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the sixth of December. . . .

A legend of his surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen . . . is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the eve of St. Nicholas [Dec. 6], subsequently transferred to Christmas day. Hence the association of Christmas with Santa Claus. . . .”
Through the year, parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children this “Santa Claus” lie! Is it any wonder many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too?

One little fellow, sadly disillusioned about “Santa Claus,” said to a playmate, “Yes, and I’m going to look into this ‘Jesus Christ’ business, too!” Is it Christian to teach children myths and falsehoods? God says “Thou shalt not bear false witness!” It may seem right, and be justified by human reason, but God says “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death!” “Old Nick” also is a term for the devil! Is there a connection? Satan appears as an “angel of light,” to deceive! (II Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 12:9.)

How This Pagan Custom Got into the Church
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains clearly, in its article on “Christmas”: “How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) following the Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day in the year and the ‘new sun,’ . . . cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. . . .

The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.”

Remember, the Roman world had been pagan. Prior to the fourth century, Christians were few in number, though increasing, and were persecuted by the government and by pagans. But, with the advent of Constantine as emperor, who made his profession of Christianity in the fourth century, placing Christianity on an equal footing with paganism, people of the Roman world began to accept this now-popular Christianity by the hundreds of thousands.

But remember, these people had grown up in pagan customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of December 25th. It was a festival of merrymaking, with its special spirit. They enjoyed it! They didn’t want to give it up! Now this same article in the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains how the recognition by Constantine of Sunday, which had been the day of pagan sun worship, and how the influence of the pagan Manichaeism, which identified the SON of God with the physical SUN, gave these pagans of the fourth century, now turning over wholesale to “Christianity,” their excuse for calling their pagan-festival date of December 25th (birthday of the SUN-god) the birthday of the SON of God.

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About Darryl Schoeman

My Personal Life : challenge leads to thought and thought leads to change More than the Apostle Paul, I can say that I am the chief of sinners (really really really). But I love God and I love the Bible. So I try to live my life with the constant realisation that God is PERMANENTLY with me (yes even when I sin), and seek His presence in everything that I do (except when I sin) and in everything that happens. I share this with others so that they too can believe it and then seek to live it.

Posted on December 24, 2010, in Christianity, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Some fast facts about Christmas.

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