The True Meaning of Christmas
©2011 Stan Hallett
Christmas is supposedly the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In our day this is very popular and it is associated with beautiful music, beautiful decorations, and religious zeal and of course, last but not least, with commercial zest. A prominent figure in the Christmas celebrations, sometimes even more prominent than the babe in a manger, is Santa Claus who almost assumes a divine character, and a jolly old man, who mysteriously brings gifts to all the children. This is also a time when families can share closeness together—which they may not have for the rest of the year.
No one can really deny that all of these characteristics seem beneficial and wholesome. The ornamentalism is really beautiful, often spectacular and breathtaking. Some of the music is actually very beautiful, sober and even spiritually minded. And who would deny that families need such an invigorating association as this day seemingly provides? And who would deny that we should honor the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world? Certainly this is one time in the year when the world must recognize the supremacy of Jesus.
Anyone who would oppose this celebration is categorized as an old Scrooge who, as the story goes, had no close family and was only a self-centered, unloving miser. However, there are obvious incongruities in this celebration. Most everyone realizes and even openly admits that commercialism has stripped away a lot of the soberness of any spiritual benefit. In reality the sound of the cash registers seems more pronounced in stressing selfish values than real lasting family values. Therefore, we would ask, what are the real facts about this celebration? Does it really glorify Jesus Christ? Is it ordained by God? Are there hidden dangers in it?
Many people are surprised to find out that early colonial America forbade the celebration of Christmas. Yes, the Pilgrims who first settled in America understood the Bible very literally, and since there was nothing in the Scriptures about this celebration, they believed it was of the devil. In fact the Pilgrims and the Puritans affected laws to be established that prohibited the celebration of Christmas in the early colonies and some of those laws remained on the books for well over a hundred years and even longer. They considered the celebration a “Popish-Pagan fraud,” and a “dreadful work of Satan.” The Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature made Christmas illegal: “Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas…shall pay for every offense five shillings.” One stern judge loudly proclaimed that “persons who even made mince pie or plum pudding over the holiday period would surely be cursed by God for all eternity.”
Probably the most serious charge against Christmas was that it “smacked of Roman Catholicism”. Though many of the harsh laws were dropped from books within the first sixty years, yet the unwritten prohibitions against it remained in Protestant American society for another hundred and seventy-five years. Even school children in New England were made to attend school on Christmas day. This continued in Massachusetts up until 1856. In addition, the New York Daily Times for Dec. 26th, 1855 read, “The churches of the Presbyterian, Baptists, and Methodists were not open on December 25th.” The only churches open were the Catholic, Episcopal and Germanic, and they were decorated accordingly. Actually, when the Protestant Reformation was taking place, the churches that were separating from under the domination of Rome were called “Protestants” because they were protesting the apostasy of Roman Catholicism and they wanted to return to Biblical Christianity. Most all these churches, with the exception of the Lutheran, rejected the religious holy days celebrated under Catholicism, including the celebration of Christmas. This carried over into the new world as America came to be populated primarily by Protestants, beginning with the Pilgrims and Puritans.
1.) Christmas celebrations are nowhere to be found in the Bible. The early Christians did not celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. They honored Christ to be sure, but not by celebrating His birthday. In fact, the Scriptures are not even specific as to the date of His birth. In other words, the Scriptures are silent as to any such celebration as Christmas. (Actually we shall see that the Scriptures forbid its celebration.)
2.) Christmas was born out of Paganism. Long before Christ was even born, the Pagans celebrated the “Birth Day of the Sun.” This was called “Natalis Invicti Solis”—“The birthday of the unconquered Sun.” For most of the pagan world this took place at the winter “Solstice”—the time of the year when the sun was lowest in the heavens. This was on approximately December 25th. The Roman celebrations were called “Saturnalia.” This was after the god Saturn and it consisted of great revelry at this time of the year.
3.) Christmas is of Popish tradition. About 350 A.D. the Imperial Church (The form of Christianity authorized by the Roman government), in order to win more of the pagans to Christianity, kept the pagan feast day celebration but changed its object of worship from the sun to the Son of God. They reasoned what easier way could they win the pagans than by adopting their own festivities and convert them into the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ. At that time “the Church” called it “The Feast of The Nativity.” It was not until about 450 A.D. that it came to be called “Christi-Masse” (the Mass of Christ), hence “Christmas.” Thus, Christmas came to be called a “Popish” tradition by the Protestants who were endeavoring to return to Biblical Christianity.
As to Number 1-3 all historical authorities, secular, Roman Catholic or Protestant are in perfect agreement. See any Encyclopedia or historical reference work.
4.) The Scriptures do not authorize the celebration of Christmas. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16,17). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.… for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 10:17 & 14:23). In fact the Scriptures warn against the celebration of holy days—
“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:7-11).
5.) “Christ-mas” is blasphemous. When one realizes what they are saying when they wish a person “Merry Christmas,” they would never say it again. The word Christmas means “the Mass of Christ.” The Roman Catholic dictionary says, “The Mass is the same sacrifice of the cross, because Jesus is the innocent victim. The difference between the sacrifice of the cross is that the sacrifice of the Mass is not a bloody sacrifice. It is under the appearance of bread and wine.” (A Practical Catholic Dictionary, All Saints Press). In other words, when a person says “Merry Christmas” he is literally saying “Merry sacrifice of Christ.” Therefore the very first Christ-Mass was not at the little town of Bethlehem, but rather at Pilate’s judgment hall and Golgotha where the world was having merriment at Jesus’ expense.
6.) The world does not honor Jesus Christ! In John 5:40 & 41, Jesus said “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men.” Again Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7). “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John. 1:10). And in finality Jesus said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9).
7.) Christians are not to follow the world’s religious traditions. Jesus said, “…Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). Jesus said, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:2)?
Most of the celebrations conducted by the pagans this time of year, which were not originally celebrated by the Christians, provided the model for the merry-making customs of Christmas. These were the elaborate feasting celebrations, the lighting of candles, and the giving of gifts. Lights also played an important part. The Yule feasts played an important part for Christmas festivities such as the Yule Log.
The Christmas tree became widely used in the 18th century. The Saxons began with the use of ivy, holly and mistletoe in such festivals as the Celtic Remnant. In the 13th century Nativity plays, marriage songs and religious themes began to become a part of these celebrations, which began to turn them into a religious activity.
The representation in the Church is said to have been begun by Saint Francis. The sending of Christmas cards by way of friendly greeting and remembrance is grown up since the 19th century.
In the United States the customs and traditions of many nationalities and faiths have blended together into a new tradition.
Merry Christmas everybody! Christi-Masse! . . . The Merry sacrifice of Jesus. Does that sound good?
Ironically the Christmas holiday is also celebrated by most atheists. Many educated and knowledgeable atheists will tell you that the holiday has pagan Roman roots such as the Saturnalia Festival, as well as the Celtic Winter Solstice, and the Yule celebrations.
Saturnalia was associated with the Roman pagan God Saturn. Ironically Saturn was also a god that the Romans equated with the God of Israel, whose Sabbath (on Saturday) he shared as his holy day, Saturn’s day.
The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honoring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D.. Prior to this most of Rome worshipped pagan gods. The then Roman Emperor Constantine had made Christianity the official religion of Rome. To win over the pagans he made December 25th a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus converting what was a very favored pagan traditional holiday celebration to a Christians one in an attempt to win them to the new religion.
You can call me the spoiler of celebrations, but I want to tell you something; The spirit that goes with Christmas is not the Spirit of the Lord. All this partying and the buying and the selling and frivolous spending is not of the Lord. People will spend money they don’t have because it’s expected. They get drunken, they feast and feed their bodies with all of these things centering around pagan activities.
This is all now laid to the account of a very beautiful story in the Bible called the birth of Jesus. There is nothing wrong with celebrating His birth. There is nothing wrong with celebrating His life. There is nothing wrong with rejoicing over the fact they He paid the price for our sins in our stead, and provided a way for each of us to have eternal life. I’m excited about that!
We have communion in remembrance of His death. He said as often as ye do this, ye do it in remembrance of me. But in my opinion, what is wrong is that the devil has very subtly taken Godly things and woven them around his own satanic devices and pagan ideas. He has offered them back to the Christian Church and we have swallowed them hook, line, and sinker. Then we go forward full throttle on the worship and the merriment in something that is not from the Lord.
No one that considers themselves a Christian wants to be an idolater. Don’t stand in defense of something you love, just because you hold it as tradition. First of all check what it is that you love. Don’t turn away from the truth because you have enjoyed something. There is a manner of enjoyment in the world. People enjoy getting drunk or they wouldn’t do it. They enjoy lustful activities or they wouldn’t do them.
I am of the opinion that Merry Christmas, in a sly way, is a mockery of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I think the devil has fooled us into making fun of the cross.
8.) The Christmas Tree: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jeremiah 10:2-5).
9.) Santa Claus is a mockery of Jesus Christ.
a.) Santa wears red. “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews”. And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:27-31).
b.) Santa likes for the children to come to him a sit upon his lap. “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:14-16).
c.) The lie is that Santa gives us gifts. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13)?
d.) Santa sees you when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Hebrews 4:13). “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Proverbs 15:3).
e.) When does Santa come? He sneaks in as a thief in the night when we are sleeping. ”For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
f.) Where does Santa live? He lives UP at the North Pole. He somewhere unreachable and hidden, preparing good things for the children of the world. Parents teach their children this fairy tale. . . At least until, hopefully someday they will realize that it was a fairy tale. When they do they may lump them all together with all the other tales that were presented as truth. The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, David & Goliath, Noah & the Ark, and rest of the Word of God. . . . It’s just another fairy tale, right?
Sources: The Word of God – King James Version, Encyclopedia Americana, A Practical Catholic Dictionary, All Saints Press, Various Online Documents, Added to my own prayerful thoughts and comments.
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Tags: Christmas Deceptions