Christmas -- a Pagan Holiday?
Q: I have been told that Christimas is a pagan holiday. What say you?
A: Christmas, is a Federal holiday -- at least in the United States. The commercial value of this holiday, as the biggest money maker of all the seasons, for businesses, big and little that the US Federal Government decided that it had be come under Federal protection. Remember, many people celebrate Christmas as a time of family gatherings and exchanging gifts, for adults and kids alike, and it is not celebrated as a religious HOLY Day. But, others, with strong Christian convictions do celebrate this day as a religious Holy Day.
It is easy to prove that this particular time of the year, as a Holy Day can be proven to be connected to a pagan past, more than the actual birth of the Christian Christ. However, if the Christian Christ is not the Same as the Biblical Savior, well, then, like the pagans before them, they can do whatever they want or believe in, be it stick and stones. Look into any souce on Christmas and you will find that it is suggested that this Holy Day predates the founding of the Jews and then the Gentile Christianity. Bits and pieces, such as the birth date of December 25th, seem to be connected with other gods before the Birth of the Christian Christ. Here is a quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
There is also a place in your Bible that is a good comparison for the Christian Tradtion surrounding the famous, Chirstmas Tree. Not all Christians, however, worship the Evergreen, but do follow the Custom and Tradtion began by their forefathers.The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus' birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. 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. One of the difficulties with this view is that it suggests a nonchalant willingness on the part of the Christian church to appropriate a pagan festival when the early church was so intent on distinguishing itself categorically from pagan beliefs and practices.
(Jeremiah 10:3 -5) 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.
Remember, this is hundreds of years before the Christian Christmas. It does not take a genius to make the connection. This account is a sarcastic reminder from one of Israel's famous Prophets, Jeremiah (Yeremyah), about how far the people of Israel had fallen, yet they remained a very, very religious people -- Jeremiah wanted them to stop their foolishness and fear YaHWeH above all and give Him His due, instead of making things to worship, things made by men, by hammer, axe, wood and even gold and silver. Read all of Jeremiah Chapter 10, and see how everything mentioned compares to the very, very religious people of today, not just Christians, but all religions.
Now, the question becomes, what are we to do? When I say we, I mean those to whom our Lord has found it necessary to open the eyes and remove the fog of religion from the mind a some, to see and question such things, even against what they may have learned from Pastor, parents and friends. What to do, what to do?
That is another problem, the does and don't of religious thought. The bottom line is tha you, not others, or anyone but you, are responsible for your own conscience. The following of your Conscience is to be open to the Spirit guiding you. Not everyone is called to the same task. For example, some may be called to deny the Christian holidays and festivals while others in a different level of Conscience may be called to witness or observe from within the family gatherings or religious gatherings as an opportunity to share the true word and true Identity of our Lord and Savior, YaHshua. Some will chose to hide away during these questionable times of celebration by the masses, while others will see this as an opportunity. Can an individual enter a pagan temple without worshiping its diety? Of course, but not everyone. Some would be so offended by the (powerless) decorated trees or images or temple churches with a dead messiah on a cross, that they would not enter, and they should not enter. There is another side, however, some may be able to enter without being offended and thus taking power away from the powerless objects of veneration, and by doing so may be able to share the hope that is in them, as given by the Holy Spirit, and not by the hopeless power of images that are really nothing. And if nothing then no threat to your belief or worship of the One Savior, YaHshua.
By avoiding people and gatherings during those times the opportunity to correct of share, when the opportunity arrises, then you are most definitely shining a candle of light on the darkness. If however, one is so offended by these powerless objects then you may be putting your candle under the bucket, hidden away, to no advantage but yourself. However, you must do as you are led to do. Not everyone is in the same place, not every part of His Body on Earth is meant for the same purpose. Paul said he was not called to baptize - 1 Cor 1:17 -- it is only assumed by most believers that the ministers are all called to baptize, but this is not the case, as Paul makes plain. We are different parts of the same body. Some are not mature enough to stand among the pagans and the Christian pagans without feeling guilt and thus it is a sin, but for one called who can stand as an observer, and waiting for the opportunity to inform or to introduce His Holy Name then there is no sin but opportunity for the Spirit. For example: During one of these Christian pagan festivals I was asked to lead everyone in prayer, and in doing so I offered up our Savior's true Identity to many ears at the same time. This eventually led to the baptism of two of my grand children into His Holy Name.
Yes, you can find connections between the Christian paganism and their pagan past. Christmas traditions, as identified in Jeremiah, is so similar to what is today. Then there is Easter which is the Christian pagan replacement for the Biblical Passover. They say Easter is to remember His Resurrection, which may be just fine, and I see no ruling against remembering such a wonderful time, but what does eggs and rabbits have to do with His resurrection? Nothing, but looking back we do see the pagan past using these objects as fertility and rebirth signs. Then there is Halloween -- no need to get into all of that. But notice how the process has come down over the millennial past -- from adult celebrations, that led into sex orgies and othere immoral actions, all turned into celebrations for the children. Oh, yeah, it is all for the kids. Easter bunnies, colored eggs, scary mask of demons and dead people, Santa Claus and gifts to the spoiled, all dressed up in the Christian wrapper for the kids.
Paul answers this question about things sacrificed and offered to idols and practices the pagans engage in. He is talking about foods and things sacrificed to pagan, powerless, gods and even being present in their Temples. These instructions have been side tracked by those preaching against the practice of avoiding unclean meat -- meat as in animal meat. In the days gone by, to mention meat was to mention eatind dinner, to sit down to meat was not always to be eating meat, but anything at meal time. Today's and past preachers have chosen to use these instructions to say that our Creator has made all animal meat clean, which, of course is not true. Pigs are a filthy animal and until modern times were killing more people than battle in war. It was not until around the 16th century that it was discovered this animal carried a parasite in its flesh and when eaten that parasite would invade anyone eating the flesh of th pig and it usually led to an early death. Since then the warning went out to full cook, over cook, pig flesh if you were going to eat it. Today the controls and regulation for raising pig for food is regulated. The following instructions were written 1,500 years before this was discovered. We can safely assume, then, that pigs were not made clean, and not made clean by prayer either. Many a professing Christian died from eating this unclean animal.
Put the misdirection introduced by your Pastor or Church groups and translate the meaning of "meat" to mean anything pagan, and apply this principle in your conduct and actions toward what the pagans and the Christian pagans do. See that it is all about the conscience, not about animal flesh. There is, however, overriding principles when dealing with those outside of the Faith, and considerations that go beyond consience as well. If you are invited to a pagan festival or home, the priniciple is to not let food become a wall between you and the offering of the Message about Him and Salvation. It is all about all pagan practices, not just one thing. But, some cannot get past this opportunity and fear the things that we should not fear and it is for their sake that we may not do a certain thing, even though it is permissible for the Adult Believer. We want to take care in not offeneded a brother or sister that are still in the early stages of learning and spiritual growth. In these days, however, the lines are so blurred this is virtually impossible, but we should take all of this into consideration. If it is just you among the outsiders then fear not, you have not and are not sinning in being present as you wait on our Lord to present you with a possible opportunity to share.
(1Co 10:25) Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,(1Co 10:26) for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."(1Co 10:27) If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.(1Co 10:28-29) But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake-- the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?(1Co 10:30) If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?(1Co 10:31) So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.(1Co 10:32) Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--(1Co 10:33) even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.