There are still many believers out there who celebrate Christmas religiously. Every year they take out the Christmas tub and put up the house lights, the plastic evergreen tree and deck it with shiny ornaments and even place a “Happy Birthday Jesus” plaque on the front and center of the tree. Presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, the mistletoe goes up and the eggnog comes out. There is no evidence that any of these customs happened on the night of Jesus’ birth, and still, these very believers claim that they are celebrating his birth. There were no lights on the stable, no tree decorated with shiny ornaments nor wrapped gifts under a tree. There was no Christmas mistletoe above the threshold of the stable entrance and certainly no invisible man, named Santa who flew by with the Angels singing the good tidings of the new King of the Jews. It seems as though we have been adding to the word of God in celebrating the birth of His Son.

This argument may sound silly on the surface but the point of this is that if Christmas is truly the recognition of the birth of Jesus, why do we do the other customs? Where did these customs originate and why are they placed together with his birth? It has been argued that these customs are fillers that signify certain attributes of the Christmas story. For example, it is said that the lights represent that Jesus is the light of the world and the tree represents, well, no one really knows but we can say it represents Jesus in some way. If you have never thought on these things before, please take the time to read through this article as it will shed light on some origins of the customs practiced and the warning of God to abstain from practicing them. It is all laid out in scripture and ignoring them is denying them.

The Push Back

The truth is that many of us that are accustomed to doing the Christmas tradition with our families and have been told year after year that this is all due to the birth of our Lord and Savior. These nostalgic Christmas traditions and captivating words do not leave room for eye-opening truths in our lives. We naturally fear that if we learn the truth, then we will have to change our ways. So we keep ourselves ignorant in hopes that this will prevent any consequences. We are reminded of the scripture in Matthew when it was foretold that many would come professing to have done many works for the sake of the name of Jesus, yet Jesus rejects them.

Matthew 7:22-23

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Yes, we should always keep a spiritual guard up when anyone comes to remove teachings that you have known your whole life, however, always be in tune with what the scriptures say. The scriptures and the Holy Ghost will always agree. If what you feel on the inside does not match what the scriptures say, then your feelings are nothing more than that, feelings. Not everything that we think is good is always of God. There is a “good” that is deceiving as we have learned from the events in the garden. The tree of knowledge of good and evil presented itself to Eve but revealed only the “good” side of itself. Eve fell for what she thought was good and caused utter destruction throughout all humanity. Let us all have a spiritual eye open to the things that we are involved in.

Christmas In The B.C. Era

Many signs, car bumper stickers, ads and more have gone out with the chant “Put Christ Back In Christmas!”. But was Christ ever in Christmas? Did you know that the nativity scene or the story of Jesus’ birth is actually a modification to the well-known winter celebration practiced by ancient cultures? The common denominator between believers and non-believers today are the customs that go with Christmas. Why is that? Look around at all the different religions and you will find that every major religion celebrates Christmas alike except for Christians. Believers add this extra bow to their Christmas celebration to make them feel better about what they do, not taking into consideration that what they do was never part of the origins to begin with. The truth is that centuries before Jesus was born, people were already cutting down trees, bringing them into their homes and decorating them with ornaments (Jeremiah 10:3). Cultures were celebrating a “real birthday” of a god on the 25th of December and used the tree to symbolize him. The birth of Jesus was an afterthought by a group of men (Council of Nicea) that wanted to control the religious beliefs of their time. Have we not also adopted the tree to represent Jesus when we present the gifts under it as the “Wise Men” presented the gifts to him?

In Our Churches

Christmas tree in church post image

It never fails that at the opening of the Christmas Sunday sermon, the preacher will state the following disclaimer:

Dear Beloved, we know that the birth of our Savior did not happen on December 25th. The truth is that we do not know the exact date, however, we take this time to recognize this extraordinary event. And although there are pagan roots to our current celebration like the tree and the presents and the mistletoe, we focus our hearts towards the baby in the manager.

This statement may be off by a few words but the fact remains that more and more Christian believers are becoming aware of the true reason of the season, and it’s not Jesus. The reason for the season can be found in ancient manuscripts of cultures that recorded their practices and were passed down through the ages. Let’s take a quick minute to give an overview of the origin itself. Beginning with the most modern events in Rome, we will work ourselves backward to the very origin of this celebration.

The Roman Empire

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Roman Empire had an established use for the date of December 25th way before the birth of Jesus. It states in the online section of Christmas:

One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer. Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas

The Roman Empire already had an ongoing celebration established to celebrate the “day of the birth of the unconquered sun”. Notice, that what was eventually done with this date was to “Christianize” the date to be used for the birth of the Son (Jesus). The encyclopedia states in another section that this celebration was followed by a festival known as “Saturnalia (during which people feasted and exchanged gifts).” There is speculation that the god Mithra was born on the 25th of December but there is not enough evidence to support this claim. Mithra was a god of light and loyalty whose cult was at the time growing popular among Roman soldiers. We do know that Mithra was celebrated at the same time as the Saturnalia feast. So what exactly are these festivals and why do they impact the celebration that Christians practice?

The Unconquered Sun

The Catholic Encylopedia affirms that Christmas was not a festival celebrated by the Church. Consequently, many of the Church fathers argued the practice of this celebration because it was a modified version of the worship of the sun god, Mithra. Many do not realize that the Roman Empire ruled the religious forums in its time so whatever they said was the ultimate authority. Before the Gospel reached the Romans, they were already practicing their festivals year in and year out and Mithraism was among those practices. The god of the Unconquered Sun, Sol Invictus, was the official sun god of Emperor Aurelian, which he reintroduced in 274 AD. Emperor Constantine, also known as Constantine the Great, made the practice of Christianity legal in Rome. He continued to have his coins inscribed with the words, “Sol Invicto Comiti”, which means Committed to the Invincible Sun. He is also attributed to being the one who ascribed December 25th to the birth of Jesus as he was currently working towards getting the newfound Christian group to keep the ancient Roman traditions.

This is what the Catholic Encyclopedia states concerning the date December 25th,

As undesirable is it to connect 25 December with the Eastern (December) feast of Dedication (Jos. Ant. Jud., XII, vii, 6). The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274.

Here is evidence that the Catholic Church purposely associated the Birth of Jesus to the Roman pagan sun god to subtly have the people of God worship a false god. This should not only be eye-opening but also jaw-dropping evidence that could make one want to renounce any association with such practices. For what we are seeing here is a perfect parallel of what was done by the people of God in the scriptures. God was never ok with it then, and He isn’t ok with it today.

The Bible

Sun worship is not a new occurrence in the world. It can be traced back to the days of Noah and traced back up to our own pulpits. Scripture is full of instances where the people of God turned their backs to God and turned to pagan gods such as the sun god of the East. He gave specific warnings about practicing these gods and not one of his words are void in our days. The argument that is presented by many believers concerning the old testament ways of God is that He is more lenient or merciful towards us today. Because He came to die on the cross for our sins, we can no longer make him upset by the things we do, it’s called grace.

What About Grace?

As a believer, pagan practicing does not fall under the category of “grace has covered it all”. Although this sounds like a contradiction in the sense that if grace covers all, then this too is covered. However, let’s examine this idea. When the Apostle Paul says that all things are lawful to me (1 Corinthians 10:23), is he referring to the idea that we are allowed to do anything we want and have no punishment by doing them (Romans 6:1-2)? Absolutely not.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We are free through grace, but not so we can go and freely sin but that if we do sin, we have a covering that will cleanse us. The moment we intentionally commit a sin, we have no more atonement for that sin. At that point, we must surrender back to God in repentance and turn from such sin. We must not think that we can do the things that God had forbade us to do in times past. If he said it was not permissible to worship other gods in the time of the law, then it is not ok today, though we are in the time of grace. Grace does not omit the law but fulfills it in our hearts. God fulfilling the law in our hearts does not remove the law but enhances it, it is within us!

The Sun God

Baal

In the scriptures, we find many instances where the Children of Israel rebelled against God and turned to idols. Some of those idols are given by name, such as Baal, Bel, Molok, Tammuz among others. When we explore the scripture along with historical documents, we find that these names are attributed to the same entity, a sun deity. One of the first mentions of this sun god was in Numbers, although it doesn’t give a description of who he is, we learn later that it is, in fact, a pagan god worshipped by the heathen.

Numbers 22:48

And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people.

There are also traces of this name in other passages from Genesis but those were prefixed onto names of people and places, indicating that Baal influenced life decisions. “Bel” was another name for Baal which can also be found in many of the early pagan names. Baal, which means “lord, master or husband” was first introduced after a series of events that occurred after the reign of Nimrod, the great and mighty hunter. After his death, he was given deity by his wife and they called him lord, the sun god or “Baal”. They worshipped Baal after that his wife claimed his new dwelling place was in the sun and that through his spirit, he impregnated his wife, with himself, therefore coming back in the flesh as a man/god.

Here is a passage from Ezekiel showing that sun worship was found within the people of God.

Ezekiel 8:16

And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Tummuz

This man/god was named Tammuz. He was the son of their new god, Baal. Not only was he the son of Baal, but he was also Baal himself. It is believed that Nimrod had a big part in establishing the Babylonian Empire. The name Babylon has a familiar ring to it. Think about the Tower of Babel, which is the tower Nimrod set out to build in order to destroy God. Is it ironic that “Babel” has the suffix of “bel”? Keep in mind that every people, besides those of the lineage of Adam, settled together to build this great city. They were all influenced by Nimrod and his power. After the split due to the confounding of languages, they all took with them the majesty of Nimrod in their hearts.

Every Gentile nation was influenced by the worship of Baal yet they all called it something else. With time we were able to gather fragments of ancient cultures and can now compare their beliefs and practices and see that they all, in fact, can be traced back to Nimrod. Tummuz was worshipped as a god of agriculture and spring, along with his Mother/Wife Ishtar, which was the goddess of fertility. According to the myth of the Spring god Tammuz, it is said that every year he is swallowed up by winter and shortly after the winter solstice, he is reborn to take on the throne of Spring. The winter solstice was celebrated throughout the ages and is still a popular celebration among the Wiccans. It is celebrated December 25th, the day of “the birth of the unconquered sun”.

In Closing

We have now come full circle and will close with a remark directly from the Lord Himself. He wants us to stick strictly with what is written in the scriptures concerning Him. Jesus spoke against the practices of men made traditions and how they took priority over the word of the Lord. This is an offense against the Holy Spirit and should not be done by His people.

Mark 7:13-15

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

Because we are under the grace of God, all the pagan activities and references like the days of the week, people cursing around us, secular music played in the office, etc do not affect us for they are without a man. If they come into your eyes and ears, yet we give them no regard, we are free from the sin around us. It is when we hold to the same pagan practices that we begin to defile ourselves with them. If Christmas is around you because of your family or friends, you are not a slave to the traditions. Once you partake of the rituals and put the effort to celebrate the festival, then you have defiled your temple with idols. As mentioned in “Why Some Christians Do Not Celebrate Christmas” Let’s not worry so much about making the devil mad by trying to take traditions created by man and “converting” them to a holy day for the Lord. Let’s instead look to please the Father through true worship in spirit and in truth. If we want to have a close relationship with God, why wouldn’t we want to do what is pleasant in his eyes? There are legitimate holidays that God set up for his people to celebrate with song, decoration and feasts, so why not consider to do those on a yearly basis?

If you continue to practice the act of putting up a tree and placing gifts underneath it and say to yourself that this evergreen tree represents the everlasting Son, you have committed the same act the Hebrews committed. For they created the golden calf and said it was Jehovah they were worshipping. God destroyed them that instant. We close with the word of the Lord directed to His people:

Deuteronomy 4:2-9
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.

4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.

5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Author

Ever is the founder of the One Way Gospel Ministries. Ever's desire is to edify the body of Christ with words of inspiration, hope and biblical truths and to encourage others to be part of the movement in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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