Pagan Rituals In Christmas
What Is The True Meaning Of
The Lord Jesus Christ's Birth
The Reason For The Season Is Jesus Christ
Pagan Rituals In Christmas
the Origins of Modern Christmas Celebrations
© Copyright Kathryn Capoccia 2002
True Christians want and need to “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Exodus 20:5, 34:14, and Isaiah 42:8 remind us our God is a jealous God who will not give His glory to another; without knowing the truth we may, in ignorance, give glory to that which is idolatrous, honor lies, and perpetuate pagan rituals. We may offend God at a time when we are attempting to exalt His grace toward fallen man through the birth of His Son, the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
While most of us observe some type of Christmas tradition, how many of us know of their origins? How many of us know why we call this season “Christmas?” Do we know why we celebrate it on the 25th of December? Why have a Christmas tree (see Jeremiah. 10:1-7)? What is the significance of the Christmas lights that decorate our trees, homes, and city streets? Who is Santa and why does he have the pre-eminence over the birth of Christ? For answers to these questions one must look to the past because Christmas is rooted in the history of both the pagan world and in ancient Catholicism (which is not true, Biblical Christianity).
“Christmas” celebrations are foreign to the pages of Scripture: Biblically, Christmas does not exist. There is no account of Christians gathering to celebrate the birth of Christ to be found anywhere in the New Testament. Even the wise men in Matthew’s account, who sojourned in response to the appearance of the star in the sky, did not celebrate together about His birthday (Matt. 2:1-13); they traveled from their own country bearing gifts in order to worship the child (the Scriptures indicate this occurred long after Jesus was born—his family was living in a house, not a stable, and Jesus was as old as two years of age). People did not begin to celebrate the birth of Christ until the 2nd century AD. The Roman Catholic Church did not begin its “Feast of the Nativity” until AD 336.
Even the word “Christmas” itself is not Biblical. The word derived from 4th century Roman Catholicism. The “mas” of Christmas comes from the Mass, or the blasphemous Eucharistic service of western Catholicism. That rite concluded with the words, “Ite, Missa Est” (“Go, as it is ended”), with Missa (dismissal) eventually becoming the name of the rite itself. The Old English word, “Christmas” dates from 1050 AD. The word derived from the phrase, “Christes Maesse,” or “Mass of Christ.” “X"-mas is a 13th century form of shorthand representing the full word “Christmas” (“X” as in the Greek abbreviation of Chi, from Khristos, Christ). The word, “Christmas,” did not find full usage until the 9th century AD. Christmas means the celebration of the blasphemous "Mass" of Roman Catholicism held on Dec. 25th celebrating their "christ," which is not the true Christ.
December 25th is not the true birth date of Christ. This day was chosen to coincide with pagan, mid-winter festivals in order to unify pagan and Catholic worship celebrations within the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire encompassed a vast territory encircling the Mediterranean Sea, stretching from Europe, to Asia Minor, to the Middle East, and Africa. The mystery religions of the Near East, India, and Egypt had been spread to Europe by the Roman legions. The Norse, Teutonic, and Celtic beliefs had spread eastward via the same means. The various religious-pagan festivals were observed throughout the Empire at the same time.
In Egypt, December 21st marked the date of the celebration of the death and resurrection of Osiris, the god of the underworld and judge of the dead, who was the husband of Isis. The end of the month saw the observance of the birthday (Dec. 26th) of Horus, son of Isis. In northern Europe, the Norse held a twelve-day feast of the solstice at the end of December. Greeks worshipped Apollo, Attis, Dionysus, Helios, Herakles, Perseus, and Theseus in December. December also encompassed the celebration of the Roman Saturnalia, or “Saturn (god of the grain harvest) Festival,” a seven-day fair and festival of the home which began on December 17th (Saturn’s birthday) and ran through the 23rd. December 25th, the winter solstice by the Julian calendar, the day of the least sunlight of the year, was the day on which many sun-worshiping pagans worshiped the sun (lest the sunlight should disappear altogether). They also held festivals shortly thereafter in gratitude for lengthening days.
December 25th, had early been identified with both the Persian sun-god, Mithras, the "god of light, truth, and righteousness" (represented by a bull) and the Syrian god, Sol Invictus, (the unconquered sun)—celebrated with feasting, masquerades, a relaxation of order, and temporary role reversals. December 25th was also the birthday of the lesser known Phoenician sun and fertility god, Baal (who was also represented by a bull). After AD 274/5, the Emperor Aurelian combined the nativity/god-men/savior cult observances of Apollo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into one. The Dies Natilus Invictus Solis (“Birthday of the Unconquered Sun”) celebrated on December 25th, is concerned with the death and rebirth of the sun. The "Mass of Christ" is held on December 25th. The false "christ" is placed in a monstrance as a sun-god and worshipped.
Roman Catholics blasphemously believe the above piece of bread, placed in a sun, is God and should be worshipped and adored. The X-mas is celebrated on Dec 25th, the same celebration date of Baal the sun-god.
By AD 320, after the last of the Christian persecutions, the Roman Catholic Church had made December 25th the date of its Nativity celebration. Why December 25th? The deeply rooted Sol Invictus had not been eradicated, the Catholic Church purposefully chose to turn December 25th, the Natilis Invictus (“the birth of the sun”), into the birth day of the "Son" that is, of Christ, the son of God. The Catholic Church, aware that March 25th, the Spring Equinox, a pagan feast-day, had long been regarded as the “birth of Spring” among pagan peoples, therefore appropriated that date to mark the “Day of Announcement,” the day that the Virgin Mary conceived the Lord Jesus; adding nine months to March 25th making December 25th the birthday of Christ. The Catholics assigned a specific date to the birth of Our Lord that introduced a Christian holiday into the pagan celebrations occurring in December that coincided with the Natilis Invictus.
Emperor Constantine, a pragmatic politician and “Catholic,” recognized the need to unify the diverse elements within his realm under the mantle of Catholicism. An article entitled, “Sacaea-Saturnalia,” quotes the authors of the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, in the following commentary on Constantine... “His primary, indeed obsessive, objective was unity—unity in politics, in religion, and in territory. A cult or state religion that included all other cults within it obviously helped to achieve that objective…in the interests of unity, Constantine deliberately chose to blur the distinctions among 'Christianity,' Mithraism, and Sol Invictus…” Constantine allowed Catholicism to effectively become the recognized religion of the Empire. In AD 336 he declared Christmas an official holiday of the Roman Empire, and Roman Catholicism’s “Feast of the Nativity” became the only approved Christmas activity. Even the city of Rome itself was celebrating Christmas by AD 354, Constantinople by 380, and Alexandria by 430. By AD 391 Catholicism formally became the state religion However, in the eastern sections of the Roman Empire Christmas observances weren’t adopted until the middle of the 5th century AD.
Jesus’ birth took place between 6-4 BC (the calendar system is incorrect as history proves). We know that this event occurred no later than 4 BC because King Herod, who had sought to kill the baby Jesus (Matt. 2:1-18), died in March/April of 4 BC. It could not have happened earlier than 6 BC because the governor of Syria, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (Lk. 2:2), ordered to conduct a census of Palestine in 8 BC, but did not accomplish that task until 2-4 years later, perhaps because of political conflict between Rome and Herod. (A second census of Palestine was also taken by Quirinius in AD 6-9). However, their is not enough information to determine the actual anniversary.
We cannot even ascertain the season of Christ’s birth. The traditional view of the season has always been that our Lord was born sometime in the fall when the sheep were brought down from the high country to the fields near the towns, or perhaps in the spring when the flocks were being moved out of their winter shelters for the upper pasturelands. However, it has been shown that sheep for the Temple sacrifices were pastured all year in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. Therefore, the fact that shepherds and sheep were present at the time of Christ’s birth is not helpful in fixing the date. However, in the eternal scheme of things the date of our Lord’s birth is of relatively little significance—what is of importance is the fact that He did, indeed, become flesh as the first-born son of the virgin Mary, born in humble circumstances, wrapped in swaddling clothes and sleeping in a feeding trough.
God is a jealous God and he will not share his glory with false gods. A true Christian will make sure, if they celebrate the birth of Christ, that Jesus will get all the glory. Most Christmas celebrations do not even mention Jesus. You can find Santa, whiskey and other spirits, ghost stories of Christmas past, the Grinch, eggnog, in Italy a witch brings presents to children on Christmas, and other such pagan festivities. However, Jesus has not been invited to His birthday celebration on most occasions. A true Christian will shun the false, pagan properties of "Christmas" and preach the true reason for the season; the birth of the Saviour of the world, the LORD God Almighty.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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