December 25, we’re told, is the birth of Jesus. Yet, not one single Bible scholar will vouch for that. Indeed, there isn’t anyone in the world who knows exactly when Jesus was born. So then, if no one knows when the birth occurred, one has to ask who picked, and why, Dec. 25 to represent the Messiah’s entrance into the world.
History tells us the following. Immediately preceding the Dec. 25th date, a major annual festival took place in pagan Rome called Saturnalia. It was a week-long celebration – Dec. 17 thru 23 – that honored the deity Saturn.
The festival would begin by each Roman community choosing a citizen to be an enemy of the state. The citizen would be labeled the “Lord of Misrule.” Each citizen victim would be forced to indulge their appetites in food and sexual activities throughout the week. At the end of the festival, the victim would be killed under the belief that the forces of darkness were being destroyed.
During the week, all other festival participants were free to celebrate by rioting at will. Property could be damaged; injury could be inflicted upon others – even to the point of committing rape – and no one could be punished. The courts, along with all other businesses, were closed.
Other customary festival activities were decorating houses with greenery and lights; indulging in widespread intoxication; and going house to house while singing naked (a precursor of caroling).
On the lighter side, a day called Sigillaria (Dec. 23rd) was set aside for gift giving. In a practice akin to modern day greeting cards, poetic verses sometimes accompanied the gifts.
In the 4th century, desiring growth and money, the Roman Catholic Church allowed the Saturnalia festival to be integrated with Christianity. Church leaders promised the pagans that they could continue to celebrate the festival as Christians. This made it easier to mass- convert pagan Romans.
The elephant-in-the-room problem, though, was that there wasn’t anything about the festival that remotely resembled Christianity.
To remedy that, the following connection was established. Knowing that Saturnalia marked the winter solstice, the return of the sun; church authorities eventually were able to transition worship of the sun to worship of the Son.
Church officials were able to finalize the transition by establishing a separate feast in memory of Christ’s birth. This was a first such occasion because up until that time, early Christian custom was to celebrate the death of notable, outstanding people rather than their births.
Because there wasn’t certainty about the date of Christ’s birth, the Catholic Church in the 5th century ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia.
Mithraic rites are sacramental rituals and ceremonies conducted on behalf of the Iranian mystery god named Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. Mithras’ birthdate: Dec. 25.
“Both Mithras and Christ were described variously as ‘the Way,’ ‘the Truth,’ ‘the Light,’ ‘the Life,’ ‘the Word,’ ‘the Son of God,’ ‘the Good Shepherd.’ The Christian litany to Jesus could easily be an allegorical litany to the sun-god. Mithras is often represented as carrying a lamb on his shoulders, just as Jesus is. Midnight services were found in both religions. The virgin mother was easily merged with the virgin mother Mary. Petra, the sacred rock of Mithraism, became Peter, the foundation of the Christian Church.” — Gerald Berry, Religions of the World.
Now that the church had a date it could use for Christ’s birth, a Christ-mass was established. Sacramental rituals and ceremonies were created for it, and refined elements of Saturnalia were carried over into it as well.
Other Elements Introduced
Santa Claus. As time went on, the church allowed and encouraged other figures and practices to enter the festive occasion. The primary person that inspired the myth of Santa Claus is a bishop named Nicholas. He was born in 270 CE in an area that was Greek, but is now on the southern coast of Turkey.
He was famous for his gifts to the poor. A Nicholas cult developed and spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans.
Those groups worshiped a god named Woden. Woden had a long white beard and flew a horse through the sky once a year in autumn.
When Nicholas was merged with Woden, Nicholas’ Mediterranean appearance changed. He then was presented as sporting a white beard, wearing heavy winter clothing. The cult portrayed him atop a flying horse on an annual rescheduled flight in December.
Christmas Trees. Worshipers of the Asheira cult worshiped trees in the forest, or brought them home and decorated them. As a way to recruit more members, this custom was adopted by the Catholic Church after putting a Christian veneer on the practice.
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the nations, for the customs of the people are delusion. It is wood cut from the forest, the work of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold. They fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter. Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.’” Jeremiah 10: 2-5.
That was said by the Lord because cut, decorated trees are associated with idolatry. They shouldn’t be idolized, for they are only inanimate objects; not like the living God.
Mistletoe. Druid rituals used poisoned mistletoes to kill their human sacrificial victims. The custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later blend of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.
Focusing on Christ?
A major benefit of knowing history is to benefit from it. Yet, when the foregoing is brought to the modern day Christian’s attention, it is quickly disregarded as being irrelevant.
One would think there would be anger at having been duped by the minions of the Father of Lies. Instead, justification is put forth for continuing the Christmas tradition. The rationalization is that old pagan customs and intents have been replaced by focusing on Jesus.
Focusing on Him should be an everyday observance. Admittedly, there are special mandated occasions to group-memorialize events in His life. Celebrating His birthday is not one of them.
Why not? For one thing, the date is not known. That leads to another thing; meaning God, obviously, didn’t intend for it to be known. Probably the reason for that is because of exactly what Christmas has turned out to be.
Christmas is not a command of God. It is a tradition of man. The date for Christmas was not selected by man because it is the truth. It was selected because the pagan’s birth-of-the sun coincided with the pagan Saturnalia festival.
In no way, shape, or form is it connected to Jesus, nor focused on Jesus. It began as all about obtaining money and power, and it continues to be. As a result, we have false pagan customs merging with the worship of the true God. When understanding that the Old Testament is given to us an example to learn from, it is so clear how much of a serious affront this merging is to God. He does not want His people bringing heathen, pagan customs into the kingdom. To do so is to be cut off, cast out (Leviticus 18: 24, 29).
Christians who blend the profane with the holy are the same as those ancient Israelites in II Kings 17: 33, “They feared the LORD and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.” Look at the next verse. “To this day they do according to the earlier customs, they do not fear the Lord nor follow His commandments.”
So what has God commanded that we do in relation to Jesus’ life as a whole? It is this: observe and celebrate together Jesus’ death. Do it through the rite of communion. There is so much significance attached to the act of His death, e.g., holiness and righteousness. So much so, that the world’s culture cannot stand it; much less celebrate it.
That brings up another point. The fact that the world is so involved in Christmas should be a red flag to the Christian community that Satan is behind this. So why would the Christian want to emulate those who don’t have the slightest concern about Jesus? The world may give lip service to the baby in the manger, but its actions are contrary. The worldlings like to think their gift giving is in line with the “wise men” giving gifts to Jesus. But in reality, they give exclusively to each other. Jesus is forgotten.
In reference to his lie about Jesus’ birth, Satan must really be satisfied with the fruit it has borne; that is, Christians lying to each other and especially to their children about when Jesus entered the world; the souls that get stressed out and stretched out, financially; and the despair and suicides that sometimes occur from being alone during the Christmas season.
It must thrill Satan to no end that all this, indeed, has caused Jesus to be forgotten, and that when He is remembered, it is for reasons that further contribute to the lie. With Christmas, Satan gets to mock the Lord.
It doesn’t make it Christian just because the name Christ is in Christmas. Just because the crowd says it’s “fun” and “harmless” doesn’t mean it’s not dark and insidious. As a famous personality once said, “A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig.”
As children of the Light, none should desire, nor take part in deeds of darkness. Instead, such deeds should be exposed (Ephesians 5: 11). Christians are supposed to be seekers of the truth. The truth is Christmas doesn’t have any connection to Christ. It’s of the world.
Let the focus forevermore be on Christ’s atoning death.