How Christian is Christmas really?

Every year when the giant Christmas trees come out, the bright lights and inflatable Santas’ in front yards, all the “Merry Christmas”’s, here and there. Have you ever just wondered, what does it all really have to do with Jesus Christ? Christmas is a time of giving and joy but aren’t we commanded to ‘’rejoice evermore’'(1 Thessalonians 5:16) and be ‘’cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s a time to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and celebrate his birth, but we should remember his sacrifice every single day, to move us towards perfection, which we are able to obtain through his death.

Furthermore, we should not uphold hypocritical christian values but kindness, love, joy and mercy-the fruits of the spirit should be a part of our personality. Part of who we are regardless of the season. The Most High did not command us to observe Jesus’ birth as a high holy day in Leviticus chapter 23, and never told us to celebrate his birth to remember him. However, we know how Christ told us to remember him.

1 Corinthians 11:24-25

(24)  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

When we break bread and drink wine, we remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, we remember his body was broken, his precious blood spilt and it washed us clean from our filth. He did not ask us to remember him by re-defiling ourselves in keeping pagan celebrations. Yes, Christmas is more pagan than it has been sugarcoated to seem.

Let’s look into the history and let the facts speak for themselves

The winter solstice usually occurs on the 22nd or 21st. During the winter solstice we experience the shortest day of the year and the longest night, although we may not notice it. In ancient Egypt it was believed that after this time the strength of the sun god Ra began to recuperate, after his illness and weakness all winter long. Egyptians filled their homes with palm bushes and decorated with evergreen plants. This was done to honor Ra and comfort the people that his strength would return.

In Northern Europe, the druids (an ancient celtic priesthood) also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs, and even further north the Vikings revered the plants, seeing them as gifts from the god Balder of light and peace. The bible talks about the heathen custom of cutting trees down and how they are nothing to be dismayed at.

Jeremiah 10:3-5

(3)  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. (4) They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. (5) 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.

Ancient Romans marked the winter solstice with a great feast called saturnalia. This feast was held in honor of the god Saturn (the god of agriculture). People decorated just like the Vikings, Druids and Egyptians. This lasted a week starting from the 17th of December.  It was really popular and most important in Roman culture, which we could say today, that Christmas is the celebration most looked forward to or embraced by society on a general scale. Strangely enough, although during the feast merry making, exchanging gifts and and kindness was heavily encouraged, it was also a time when heinous crimes like rape and murder were excuseable. 

The birth of Jesus was placed at the end of the festival saturnalia by the first Christian Romans. This was a political move used in order to appeal to pagan people.

So what are people really celebrating, the winter solstice, the god Ra, or the god Saturn? One thing is for sure, it is not the birth of Jesus Christ!

Jeremiah 10:2

(2) 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.

We should not accept this pagan holiday. The lord has set us apart from the world and we ought not to learn their ways and conform to their customs. Instead we should be focused on keeping the holy days the Most High has already ordained. To be dismayed by the signs of heaven (the planets, sun, stars and the moon) is the same as having fear and awe for them. The reason why we are commanded not to be dismayed by the signs of heaven, like the heathen are, is because often the heathen took to worshiping them as gods, like the sun god Ra, the moon god Khonsu, and so on.

1 Thessalonians 5:22

(22) Abstain from all appearance of evil.

As christians the example we set is important. It’s vital that we don’t teach other people evil lessons. In this case keeping a pagan holiday we imply that affiliation with idolatry is ok.

Matthew 5:19-20

(19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

In the book of Matthew Christ explains the weight of the examples we set. Teaching others to do evil through our own actions comes with a price. We must avoid hypocrisy. How can we say that we’re followers of Jesus when we keep pagan holidays? Jesus warned us about hypocrisy and it’s such a weighty thing that it can keep you from entering the kingdom. 

(20)  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 3:4

(4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Even though you may have heard that this holiday is a good, honest and true celebration of Jesus Christ, we must get our evidence from God and see what his holy word says.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good

We are commanded to prove ALL things, instead of simply taking peoples word for it. When we have proved a thing if it is indeed of God and is good, we ought to hold fast to it and continue in ‘well doing’.

At the end of the day, as ambassadors we have the responsibility to stand for the word no matter what and spread the gospel in Christ’s stead. Our savior was a humble and meek man. He never asked us to throw a big celebration on his birthday and set up Christmas trees and Santa Claus decorations. In fact the bible gives more evidence suggesting that Jesus was born around the springtime close to the new year. We don’t find a single instance in the bible that tells us to celebrate christmas or honor the birth of Jesus. He specifically told us to remember him by breaking bread, and as often as we do that, ‘we do so in remembrance of him.’

Let us be kind everyday and not just on one specific day.  Let us meditate on the weight of God sending his only begotten son to die for his chosen people and finally let us set good examples and by it spread the good news.

Please listen to the lesson below for further edification.

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