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What You May Not Know About Christmas
by Jerry Blount from Jerry's Christian Jottings

Merry Christmas?
Today’s article (see below) will allow a bit of a father’s pride to show through. It was written by my daughter. She had done her own research with the intention of drawing her own conclusions and explaining why she believed what she believed to her friends. She then sent it to me to edit and criticize… I asked for permission to send it out on my “Jottings”
Christians that study scripture will rapidly find themselves in a dilemma. What can we participate in and defend? For example, only a light reading of scripture reveals that the nativity scenes pass on a sorely mistaken view of what actually happened the night our Lord was born. As the ACLU attacks their placement in public places with a view to attacking Christianity… Our dilemma is, how do we defend Christianity without defending what is not really Christianity?
There is a certain joy that comes with watching your children come of age and establish families of their own. That joy runs even deeper as you watch them choose Christian spouses and then establish Christian families.

Enjoy
Jerry

What You May Not Know About Christmas

What does the Bible say?
I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday- the reason being that the Bible doesn’t tell me to. Under the Old Law, God was very specific about the holy days He wanted observed. He told what event was to be remembered, what should be taught, how and when to observe the celebration. Today… we aren’t under the Old Law anymore (refer to Hebrews 8-10), and God radically changed the way worship occurs in the New Testament. The only way we are commanded to remember Christ with a ceremony today is the Lord's Supper which we observe every Sunday. (1 Cor 11:23-26, Ac 20:7). The New Testament church did not celebrate the birth of Christ in any special way. If Jesus wanted us to celebrate His birthday, He would have told us to celebrate it, when and how to celebrate it. God has given us all instruction about life and godliness in the scriptures (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s not my place to add in any religious holidays or observances that God didn’t command (Rev. 22:18).

When was Jesus born?
No one knows the date Jesus was born! Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 describe Christ’s birth. December 25th, or any Roman or Hebrew equivalent is not mentioned! What we do know is that the shepherds were abiding in the fields, watching over their sheep at night (Luke 2:8), which wouldn’t be the case in December. “It's a well-known fact that December falls in the middle of the rainy season in Palestine, and the sheep were kept in the fold at that time of the year.”3 (Refer to Ezra 10:9-13, Song of Solomon 2:11, which show winter as the rainy season and shepherds could not be out on the cold, open fields at night with their sheep.)
“The shepherds always corralled their flocks from October to April. They brought their sheep from the mountainsides and the fields no later than October 15 to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. So the birth of Christ could not have taken place at the end of December.”3
We also read in Luke 2:1-3 that everyone was going to his own city to register for a census at the time of Christ’s birth, which wouldn’t have been imposed in the winter time due to the difficulty of traveling that time of year.
Basically, we know that Jesus was not born in December. The best estimates seem to place His birth in September/October. The fact that God didn’t tell us the date means that we don’t need to know it. We don’t worship an infant in a manger, we worship a savior who conquered death and rose from the grave.

Where did December 25th come from?
Christmas celebrations have been around about 4,000 years. It was originally a pagan feast celebrating the victory of the sun god over the darkness god at the winter solstice. This celebration included gift giving, partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and fornication.
The Catholics attempted to Christianize this pagan feast- the Pope’s theory being “if you can’t get them to repent, just adopt their rituals and Christianize the practices.”
Since Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:5-9; 8:12), the pagan worship of the Sun was “Christianized” into the worship of the Son of God.
“The emperor Constantine pursued the deliberate policy of uniting the worship of the Sun with that of Christ. By about the middle of the fourth century, the church at Rome began the observance of the birth of Jesus on December 25. To my knowledge the first person to claim that Christ was actually born on that day was Chrysostom of Antioch (A.D. 386). Opposition to this practice continued for many years among some of the churches. The observance of Christmas began with the apostate church which was developing into what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. Christmas had its origin in the pre-Christian age among the pagans. It did not originate by the authority of God, Christ, or the apostles and is not the way He chose to be remembered”2

What’s wrong with nativity scenes?
Angels over the manger: Read Luke 2:8-16. The angels appeared to the shepherds in the field, and then went “away from them into heaven…” We aren’t told that they appeared over the manger.
Three wise men or kings: The Bible doesn’t say how many wise men there were. People likely settled on three, because of the three gifts, though the oldest traditions claim there to be twelve. Three wise men traveling across the desert alone, carrying valuables like gold, frankincense and myrrh would not be very wise, and would be easy prey to robbers. The Bible also doesn’t say they were kings. They could be kings, but we don’t know that. They were well learned men, and possibly astronomers.
The wise men at the manger scene: Read Matthew 2:11. The wise men didn’t make it to the manger, they visited him in a house. Also, by comparing Lev. 12:2-8 and Luke 2:22-38 we learn that Jesus must have already been circumcised and dedicated at the temple before the wise men visit, because Joseph & Mary give the poor person’s offering. They wouldn’t have done this after receiving the gifts from the magi. This means that Jesus was at the very least 40 days old before the magi visited.
Star over the manger: The angels told the shepherds that their sign was a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger… not a star (refer again to Luke 2:8-16). The star was for the wise men (Matthew 2:9), who didn’t make it to the manger, but to the house. It would also seem that the star didn’t hover lowly and brightly, bringing great attention to itself for all to notice, since Herod had to ask the magi, who studied stars, when it first appeared.

Where did the other Christmas elements come from?
There are a variety of pagan legends, memorials, and feasts which provide us with the various elements of Christmas we know today. They generally relate to a fire/sun god, known by its own name in each language, tracing back to Nimrod, who “was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods.”1

Consider the origin of the Christmas tree.
Nimrod “was so wicked, it is said that he married his own mother, Semiramis. After Nimrod was killed, his mother/wife propagated the doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being (with the resurrected name: Tummuz). She claimed a full grown “evergreen tree” sprang overnight from a “dead tree stump” which symbolized the springing forth into new life, of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth (December 25th), she claimed Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it.”4
Christmas trees were clearly associated with pagan customs long before Christ’s birth. Read Jeremiah 10:1-5.

What about the mother/child theme, and yule?
“Through her scheming and designing, Semiramis became the Babylonian “Queen of Heaven”, and Nimrod, under many other names, became the “Divine Son of Heaven”… In this false Babylonian religious system, the mother and child (Semiramis and the reborn Nimrod) became chief objects of worship. This worship of mother and child spread throughout the world. Only the names varied because of differing languages. In Asia they were known as Cybele and Diorus. In Rome they were Fortuna and Jupiter. In Egypt their names were Isis and Osiris… Nearly every recorded form of pagan worship which has descended from Babylonian “mysteries” focuses the attention of the worshipper on a mother goddess and the birth of her child… In Babylon it was the worship of the queen of heaven and her son Tammuz, the sun god (reincarnated Nimrod), whose birth took place at the winter solstice. Yule was the Babylonian name for child or infant, and Yule Day was celebrated on December 25, long before Christ’s birth. .”4

When did Santa enter the picture, and what about St. Nick?
“According to Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History, (article “Santa”), “Santa” was a common name for Nimrod throughout Asia Minor. This was also the same fire god who came down the chimneys of the ancient pagans and the same fire god to whom infants were burned and eaten in human sacrifice among those who were once God’s people.
Today Santa Claus comes from “Saint Nicholas.” Washington Irving, in 1809, is responsible for remaking the original old, stern bishop of this same name into the new “jolly St. Nick” in his Knickerbocker History of New York. (Most of the rest of America’s Christmas traditions are even more recent than this.)”1
Our image of Santa Claus comes from the drawings of a political cartoonist named Charles Nast. His Santa drawings (from 1863-1886) were inspired by Washington Irving’s descriptions, and included “a rotund Santa with a flowing beard, fur garments, and a clay pipe.”6 This image was popularized further by Nast Sundblom, whose paintings (inspired by Nast) were featured in Coca-Cola advertisements beginning in 1931.7

Works Cited:
1. Pack, David C. The True Origin of Christmas. < http://www.thercg.org/books/ttooc.html>
2. Jenkins, Ferrill. What About Christmas? Christianity Magazine, p. 21. Dec. 1989.
3. Halff, Charles. Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? < http://www.sovereigngrace.net/should.htm>
4. Blount, Jerry. The Christmas Story. 2006.
5. Wittmann, Kelly. Christmas’ pagan origins.
6. Buseck, Craig. How Saint Nick Became Santa Claus. CBN. < http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/churchhistory/vonBuseck_Saint_Nicholas_Santa.aspx>
7. Coke Lore - Coca-Cola® and Santa Claus < http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html>

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