Expose'; Ten Facts About the Christmas Holiday
by Michael Stevenson
Expose'; Ten Facts About the Christmas Holiday
by Michael Stevenson
Christmas; Is it of really of God's Spirit?  And Is it biblical?

1. December 25th: A Pagan Holiday to Another God
    December 25th is a historic feast day of celebration in honor of Mithras, the Persian Sun god. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Mithraism was the predominent religion. It has since been said that if it had not been for the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, that the entire world would be engulfed in Mithraism today. On this day of feast and celebration each year, also known as the season of the "Winter Solstice," Mithras was lauded, praised and worshipped as god almighty- the depths of spiritual adultery.

EXTRACT: Encyclopedia Americana
MITHRAISM, was a mystery religion of the ancient world centered on devotion to Mithra, the Indo-Iranian god of light and justice. It was similar in many respects to Christianity, of which it was a serious rival. Knowledge of its beliefs and rituals depends mostly on archaeological remains, because texts were either nonexistent or destroyed by pious Christians. Originally a major divinity in pre-Zoroastrian Persia and Vedic India in the 2d millenium B.C., Mithra (Mitra in Sanskrit, Mithras in Greek and Latin) was associated with the sun, the king, the keeping of obligations, and by extension, justice, war, and friendship. The name means "sacrosanct contract."

    Temporarily overshadowed by Zoroaster's emphasis on Ahura Mazda, the god of goodness and light, Mithra reemerged in the Achaemenid period as the chief Persian deity (emphasis mine). His worship spread west, absorbing elements of Babylonian astrology and Platonic philosophy and, like other migrating Eastern faiths, developed a belief in immortality and secret communal rituals. From the 2d to the 4th century, Mithraism, flourished in the Roman Empire, favored by the state and attractive to the working class and especially soldiers (emphasis mine), as evidenced by chapels built on the frontiers.

    The Church of Christ Jesus, was born at Pentecost probably in the year 33 A.D. and the last book contained in the Bible was completed about 100 A.D. with the Apostle John's writing of the book of the Revelation. The Holy Spirit of God "added to the church daily such as should be saved," [Acts 2:47] however, "Christianity" as a religion did not emerge to a preeminent status until the fourth century A.D. under the Roman Emperor Constantine. It was this group of men under Constantine that erroneously linked the birth of Jesus (Yeshua) to the December the 25th feast day. Why they did this becomes our question of historic interest.

2. 'Sol Invictus' plus Saturnalia Amounts to Double Paganism
    In formalizing this faith in the Sun God, the Roman Empire under Empire Aurelian declared in 274AD that December 25th of the Julian Calendar would be ordained as 'Sol Invictus'(the Sun invincible' a.k.a. 'Dies Natali Invictus' the "birthday of the Invincible [Sun]"). The December 25th timing was perfect for such a declaration because of the astronomical fact of the winter solstice occurring on that date. From that day forward the northern hemispher of planet earth physically gets closer to the Sun. The idea then of the "victorious" Sun or birthday of same was made official by Aurelian by this proclamation to the Roman Empire. From this date until the erroneous declaration by the Council of Nicea (325AD) that December 25th was the "birthday of Jesus" was a mere 51 years.

    Running concurrent with the December 25th feast day in honor of Mithras, is another feast called Saturnalia, named and celebrated in honor of another Roman "god", Saturn. This period began on December 17th and extended to December 23rd. This pagan festival was held in celebration of the winter solstice. During this period great festivity ran unbridled. Masters would exchange roles with servants, gifts would be exchanged and feasts would continue.
   This is the source from which the practice of today's Christmas gift giving originated- not from a myth about St. Nicholas formulated centuries later. Neither the festivities at the feast day of Mithras, nor the celebrations of Saturnalia have ever ceased as they are continued in the current holiday known as "Christmas".

EXTRACT: Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary
SOLSTICE: 1. one of the two points on the [earth's] elliptic at which [the sun's] distance from the celestial equator is greatest and which is reached by the Sun each year about June 22nd and December 22nd.
2: the time of the sun's passing a solstice which occurs on June 22nd to begin summer in the northern hemisphere and on December 22nd to begin winter in the northern hemisphere.

EXTRACT: Encyclopedia of Myths, Magic, & Religions "CHRISTMAS HAS ITS ORIGIN in two ancient pagan festivals, the great Yule-feast of the Norsemen and the Roman Saturnalia. Extending from Advent, which begins on 30 November or the Sunday nearest to it, to Candlemas Day on 2 February, it was close enough to the winter solstice to acquire many of the associations of the Norse ceremony: the Yule-log,the evergreen decorations in houses and churchs, even the Christmas feast itself. These elements were combined with the Saturnalia of the romans to provide the basis for the early Christian festival."

   "During the Saturnalia, gifts were made by the wealthy to the poor in honour of the golden age of liberty when Saturn ruled the known world, and slaves were allowed to change places and clothing with their masters. They even elected their own mock king who, for the period of the festival, ruled as a despot. The Saturnalia INVOLVED THE WILDEST DEBAUCHERY, and was a festival worthy of Pan himself."

   "[Some in Christianity felt that if the pagan celebration] could not be suppressed it should be preserved in honour of the christian God. Once given a Christian basis the festival became fully established in Europe with many of its pagan elements undisturbed."

   "It was only in the 4th century that 25 December was officially decreed to be the birthday of Christ, and it was another 500 years before the term "Midwinter Feast" was abandoned in favor of the word Christmas. Even then on the Continent the festival continued to show many features inherited from Saturnalia.

   "CHRISTMAS, the annual feast commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25. It is impossible to determine the exact date of birth of Christ, either from the evidence of the gospels, or from any sound tradition. During the first three centuries of the Christian era there was considerable opposition in the Church to the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays, although there is some indication that a purely religious commemoration of the birth of Christ was included in the feast of the Epiphany."

   "After the triumph of Constantine, the Church at Rome assigned December 25 as the date for the celebration of the feast, possibly about AD 320 or 353. By the end of the fourth century the whole Christian world was celebrating Christmas on that day, with the exception of the Eastern churches where it was celebrated on January 6th."

   "The choice of December 25 was probably influenced by the fact that on this day the Romans celebrated the Mithraic feast of the Sun-god (natalis solis invicti), and that the Saturnalia also came at this time. The indications are that the Church in this way grasped the opportunity to turn the people from a pagan observance of the winter solstice to a day of adoration of Christ. Both St. Cyprian and St. John Chrysostom alluded to this thought in their writings."

3. Christmas Instituted by The Council of Nicea in 325AD
    The celebration of the Christmas holiday on December 25th was not established by Christ's Apostles. It is not biblical. It was not practiced by the church born at Pentecost. It was started by Constantine, a Roman Emperor who claimed that he had seen a cross in the sky with the words "IN THIS SIGN CONQUER" and by proclaiming that "vision" to the world gained the political support of the formerly ostracized Christian community. Emperor Constantine emerged to full power in the early part of the fourth century, became a christian, and declared himself the head of the church. If Constantine did actually become saved- this action would still go very much against scripture;

1st Timothy 3:6
"Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."

    The acceptance of this merger of the December 25th pagan feast day and the newly assigned birthday to Jesus on that same date came about with the gradual yielding by Bishops who initially objected to the incorporation of pagan content into Church observances. This pagan merger was completed about 350 A.D.

    In 325 A.D. Emperor Constantine called together the Council of Nicea which was in essence the first council of the Roman Catholic church. At this council meeting, it was decided that December 25th, the well-known pagan holiday dedicated to Mithras the Persian Sun-god, would be re-dedicated to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. "So it was said, so it was written", so it is practiced by many, to this day. For a believer to oppose the Roman Catholic church would of course mean ex-communication, as in the case of the first major opposition offered by Martin Luther. (See Timechart for more on Luther's independent stand against false practices in the Church.) By this action of the Church embracing a former feast day to a pagan deity, Jesus, the LORD of glory, was effectively issued a used holiday.

4. No Participation In Such An Event By The Apostles
    Neither Christ's Apostles, nor the Church born on the day of Pentecost who followed in their doctrine, took any part in "Christmas" or the events surrounding the date of December 25th. Because those practices were pagan in nature, and practiced by nonbelievers in Messiah, it would be their practice to abstain from such [1Corinthians chapters 8 & 10]. In obedience to the commandment of Jesus, the Apostles and the original church did remember the Lord's sacrificial death through the ordinance of the Lord's supper as He had instructed.

1st Corinthians 11:24-26
"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.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

    This glorification and rememberence of the Messiah's sacrificial death and resurection along with the expectation of His return as King, is in contrast to returning Him to the arms of Mary as a non-intimidating infant. The risen Christ Jesus is not a baby in Mary's arms any longer. Jesus is the Lord God Almighty, who reigns from His throne in heaven in the company of the holy angels and will come again to judge the earth and establish His kingdom. Jesus is Mary's creator and has become her Saviour;

Luke 1:46-47
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

    Again, the Apostle's and the church born at Pentecost absolutely abstained from, and there is no record in the Bible of, the paganistic events of December 25th described in the previous sections. Be careful of things that are started up by man as opposed to that which is biblically ordained by God. That which may be started with good intentions, just may end up at a shopping mall with the precious name of Jesus lying amid the dust of flying dollar bills, toys, and new shirts.

5. No Repentance Necessary
    A Question: Constantine had a political bombshell on his hands; i.e. how does one tell the entire Roman Empire to dump they're favorite festive holiday? Remember that the Roman Empire worshipped Mithras, the Persian Sun-god, as one of their true gods. They did not recognize Jesus of Nazareth. Also remember that Mithraism was very popular with soldiers, making the renouncing of the religion highly political.
   What Constantine did was to declare that in short- if you want your job in the government you're going to be a christian. Droves of "followers" came into the faith with paganism accompanying their practices. It was "conversion by decree" as opposed to rebirth by the Holy Spirit of God.
    An Answer; It was a heck of a lot easier to rename a popular pagan holiday than to *repent* of its practice. So then, as December the 25th and the season of Saturnalia (Dec. 17th -23rd) rolled around the next year- it was "business as usual." The same celebration was practiced in the same way under a new name- "Christmas". In all of this, there was NO REPENTANCE NECESSARY. Listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah concerning repentance;

Jeremiah 7:1-7
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

    The prophet Jeremiah, actually stood at the gate of the temple to tell all that would enter there to change their ways - not to come into the church of the, most holy God with paganism (verse 6) to conform the church to their prior rituals. Rather, to- "Amend your ways and your doings."

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

6. The Yggdrasill Tree, The Oak Of Oden, and the Christmas Tree
    It would serve one well to study the Yggdrasill tree of Norsemen mythology to see the depths of the paganism of tree worship. This is one source of the tradition of raising trees at the winter solstice. Concerning this practice, an extract from God's word;

Jeremiah 10:1-5
1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
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. 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.

    The tradition of the Christmas tree was most probably brought into the existing Christmas holiday out of Norsemen mythology through the Germans who entered the North American during the 16th century. As they celebrated the worldwide Christmas holiday declared by the Roman Catholic Council of Nicea (325 AD), they included their own form of paganism; the Yggdrasill tree.

Extract: Encyclopedia Americana
"The custom of trimming and lighting a Christmas tree probably had its origin in the medieval German mystery plays, when a tree, the Paradeisbaum (tree of paradise) was used to symbolize the garden of Eden. After the suppression of these plays, when a tree was used in the home, and gradually there evolved the custom of decorating it with cookies, fruit, and eventually candles. Some authorities consider the Christmas tree a survival of pagan tree worship and trace it to ancient Rome and Egypt.

The use of evergreens to decorate homes at Christmas time has an *unmistakable* pre-Christian origin. During the celebration of the Roman Saturnalis, laurel and flowers were used extensively....."

Extract: "Burning the Yule log was adapted to English custom from the ancient Scandinavian practice of kindling huge bonfires in honour of the winter solstice. The idea of using evergreens at Christmastime also came to England from pre-Christian northern European beliefs. Celtic and Teutonic tribes honored these plants at their winter solstice festivals as symbolic of eternal life, and the Druids ascribed magical properties to the mistletoe in particular. The evergreen holly was worshipped as a promise of the sun's return, and some day that Christ's crown of thorns was made of holly..."

    A sign reads... "CHRISTMAS TREES/$35 AND UP". In reference to Jeremiah chapter 10:1-5, GOD's holy nation and chosen people did not carry out such heathen acts described in that passage. Rather- they were a royal priesthood, a chosen people, a holy nation. This prophecy of Jeremiah speaks for itself. It is a detailed account of today's tradition of the Christmas Tree. It must be forsaken. Some might say, "Well, I didn't cut my tree down from the forest- I got mine at the parking lot next to the supermarket." That may be true however, "it must needs be borne" (Jer. 10:5) and the tree was tied on top of a car and borne home.

7. Idolatry
    One of the conveniences that the world enjoys via the Christmas holiday is that it is not necessary to acknowledge the Lord Jesus at all in such a setting. As long as someone's focus is fastened on a "Christmas tree" and its blinking lights, like the famous light show at John Wanamaker's in Philadelphia, they don't have to think of or acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Jesus was 'placed' into Saturnalia in the forth century to re-validate that pagan feast along with the winter feast dedicated to Mithras. If this were a game of chess, that act would be comparable to Satan sacrificing a queen to gain an advantagious position during the entire game. In this case, Satan made the sacrifice of acknowledging to some degree, Jesus, while gaining a permanent foothold in the activities of His Church, and saved a pagan holiday completely intact. Distractions from the saving power of Christ's blood, i.e. "Santa Claus", "Christmas Trees", presents, "Christmas lights" were necessary to hold onto that which was threatened to be lost by an empire coming to faith in the Saviour.

    As one is driving around looking at lighted houses, the work of men's hands, eyes must be removed from the Lord God, as the two have nothing in common. If I want an entity to go "ooh or ah" about (glory in), let it be the glory of the Risen Saviour! Jesus is Lord!

The concept of Children making out "Christmas Lists" while rejoicing in the birth of Jesus is pure idolatry. Adults making Christmas lists are no different. The very question, "What Are You Going To Get Me For Christmas?", reveals the position of the heart in this matter. There is certainly no fault in desiring a new red bicycle. But the writing of a procurement request with specifications in the name of the coming of Emmanuel- does strain the definition of the term "praise."

When I was a child my sisters and I ran down the steps from our bedrooms on Christmas morning at warp drive heading for the Christmas Tree- but not to open a Bible, but rather to rip open a package. Then phonecalls were made to tell your friends "what you got."
Question: Where is Jesus? Where is His glory in all of this?

8. The Puritans Were Opposed To The Paganism Of Christmas

Extracts: Encyclopedia of Myths, Magic & Religion
   "The undisguised pagan element in Christmas had often provoked criticism from extreme Protestants but the festival was not really affected by their [protests] until the Puritans came to power in the 17th century. Christmas was attacked as "the old heathens" feasting day to Saturn their God and carols were forbidden.

   "In England, the Puritans condemned the celebration and, from 1642 to 1652, issued a series of ordinances forbidding all church services and festivities. This feeling was carried over to America by the Pilgrims and it was not until the nineteenth-century wave of Irish and German immigration that enthusiasm for the feast began to spread throughout the country. Objections were swept aside and the old traditions revived among Protestants as well as Catholics."

   "Naturally [Christmas] came under heavy censure from the early Church and despite the fact that Jesus Christ and the saints gradually replaced the pagan deities it was long considered completely out of character with the Christian ideal. However, the festival was far too strongly entrenched in popular favor to be abolished, and the Church finally granted the necessary recognition, believing that if Christmas could not be suppressed it should be preserved in honour of the Christian God. Once given a Christian basis the festival
   became fully established in Europe with many of its pagan elements undisturbed."

9. Hand-Me-Down Clothes, Hand-Me-Down Praise
    It is simply wrong to offer to the LORD of the Universe, a used holiday- especially one formerly in worship of at least two pagan gods (SATURN & MITHRAS). This writer considers it an insult to God. We are exhorted by the Apostle Paul to offer the *1st* fruits of our offerings to God, not the second fruits. And more from God's word;

Isaiah 42:8
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Exodus 20:1-3
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

10. Whose Report Will You Believe? "We Shall Believe The Report Of The LORD."

Jude 1:3-5
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Jude had already noticed at the time of his writing that the church of God had been invaded by 'certain men' with obvious false doctrine. Jude encouraged the church to 'earnestly contend' for the faith that was once delivered to the saints... "Once delivered?"

    Yes, the faith that was once delivered from the mouth of our LORD Himself, the WORD of God, and from his appointed Apostles which left their word on the record along with the exhortation not to follow another gospel.

Acts 2:42
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Eph 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    The deciding point in the examination of the celebration of this holiday of pagan origin, established over two-hundred years after the Bible was completed boils down to these questions:

  1. Was the incorporation of pagan rituals and doctrines (including feast days to other gods), with a new 4TH century concept of celebrating Jesus's birthday- inspired by the holy Spirit of God, or of Men?
  2. Was it a sincere effort in the worship of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, or a covert attempt to first disguise- then to continue an honored pagan feast?

    Outside of the hard evidence of paganism retained in the celebration to this date, perhaps these verses of scripture from God's word holds the answer;

Matthew 7:16-20
"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

"Santa Claus; The Spirit of Christmas"
by Richard Clark
Michael Stevenson


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/16/2004 7:13PM