Origin of Christmas
The following is a quote from the 2000 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11; page 390.
“During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a ‘solar monotheism.’ Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of Solar qualities, and both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities. The feast of Sol Invictus (open unconquered Sun) on December 25th was celebrated with great joy, and eventually, this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ.”
Notice how it says “both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities?” Pardon me, but do any alarm bells go off here?
The Christians were apparently trying to get more converts so they tried to make the Messiah more like the idols found in sun worship—all under the guise of making Him more attractive to pagans.
They even brought various elements of the December 25th “feast of the unconquered sun” into their worship by saying that December 25th was actually the Messiah’s birthday. This is the origin of Christmas and this is why we have various pagan-rooted traditions accompanying this holiday.
When it comes to things like this, the real question for me is “who converted who?” Do we imitate the world to bring the world to the Messiah? Absolutely not. You don’t win the world by imitating the world; you win the world by imitating Yahushua the Messiah!
It seems to me that true believers should be teaching the unbelievers the true way of Yahweh rather than the unbelievers teaching believers these pagan customs and practices. But Christians of former times not only learned these heathen ways, they also incorporated them into their worship.
When Paul was writing to the Ephesians, a group of believers who were surrounded by idol worship, he said:
Ephesians 5:11 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
So we shouldn’t be trying to copy idolatrous feasts. Rather, we should be exposing them for the fraud and lie that they are. One of the last things our Savior would ever want is to “acquire the traits of solar deities” and believers should not be imitating pagans.
So when was His birthday? The scriptures do not supply us with an exact date of birth.
We know the date of His death is on Passover. Scripture does tell us the time of many other important events in biblical history such as the founding of the temple (first day of the biblical year), the timing of the Exodus from Egypt, the date that the flood began, and many other events. But the date of the Messiah’s birth? Scripture is silent.
To me, this speaks volumes. Even though Yahushua could look into the future and know that there would be billions of people who wanted to celebrate His birthday, He never told us when it was. If He wanted us to celebrate His birthday, He surely would have told us when it was.
His silence is deafening.
I realize that today, Christmas is a very popular holiday. However, as is often the case, what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular. We can’t follow the masses if the masses are wrong. We should have no fellowship with those things, rather we should reprove them.
Christmas means ‘mass for Christ,’ but the name of the holiday is much newer than the holiday itself. The customs associated with Christmas, in one form or another, have been celebrated for literally thousands of years. ‘Christmas’ is just a new name for an old holiday.
So there is no doubt that the customs that are associated with Christmas, as well as the idea of a deity being born on December 25th, are of pagan origin. One need only look to an encyclopedia or even many local newspapers in the 12th month of the year to find this “truth so I don’t need to spend much time establishing that. The real issue is whether or not we should walk in these customs.
You may wonder what is so bad about it. You may say, “Oh but what about the children? They would feel left out if I didn’t celebrate Christmas.” But what should we be teaching our children? Truth or lies? Conformity to the world when the world is wrong or rejection of worldly things that are rooted in idolatry?
The truth is that we have no evidence Messiah was born on December 25th. Instead, December 25th is the birthday of numerous pagan idols. Why would we want to put the holy Messiah in with them? He is holy, a word which means “set apart.” He is not like them at all! And He doesn’t want to be associated with them or the customs of those who worship them.
In fact, the pagan customs associated with Christmas are clearly condemned in the scriptures. Here is one of them:
Jeremiah 10:1-4 – Hear the word which Yahweh speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says Yahweh: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.
First of all, Yahweh is telling us in this verse “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles” Don’t even learn it, let alone practice it and incorporate it into the worship of Yahweh! After all, shouldn’t the roots of our worship be in the scriptures, rather than paganism?
Secondly, it says that the Gentiles were dismayed at the signs of heaven. History tells us that when the sun began to go further away from the earth and the days grew shorter in the winter, the sun-worshipping Gentiles were “dismayed”, and feared that the sun would not return. So they held certain festivals just after the time of the Winter Solstice when it did begin to return. This return of the sun is why December 25th is the birthday of so many solar deities/gods.
One of the customs the pagans had was to decorate a tree that they had cut down and fastened it so that would not topple. The evergreen tree seemed to not be bothered by the winter so it would have been a logical choice. We see this same copycat custom existing even today–called the Christmas tree.
Yahweh tells us not to learn the way of the heathen. And here He even goes so far as describe a custom that is a way of the heathen. He tells us that this is a heathen custom and He clearly condemned the practice of it, shouldn’t we avoid it? How can we delight in something that He despises? The placing of gifts under the tree is much like the heathen who offered various gifts to their idols and then kneeling before the tree to receive them back again.
Think about it though—if this had never been done before, have you ever wondered why in the world someone would do something as strange as cut down a tree and put it in their house and then decorate it with all different types of ornaments? Not only is it odd, but it is also a custom that is clearly condemned in the scriptures. We don’t need a prophet to come and tell us today that this custom is wrong. Jeremiah said so a long time ago!
This is one of many other such customs, including the gift-giving. Why on earth would we give each other gifts when it’s supposed to be the Messiah’s birthday? It isn’t our birthday, is it?
All of this has led to ridiculous commercialism, with various “Black Friday” sales in corporate America. But “Black Friday” sales are only a smokescreen. It may be the day when corporate America goes in the black, but most other Americans end up going in the red.
Because of this, credit card companies will get even richer and the poor man even poorer. All this to buy gifts for people on a birthday that is neither theirs or the Messiah’s.
Both Christmas and Easter take pagan festivals and traditions and apply them to the worship of Yahweh.