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Skip to comments.Is Christmas Pagan? No! It's time to learn some real history....
Posted on 12/23/2012 1:28:36 PM PST by Salvation
I honestly do not have any problem with what has now been turned into an occasion to bring together families, delight children with fantasies, feasts and gift giving and to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. But, there is no reason whatsoever to try to weasel out of the "true" origins of what this time has become. To try to blame those horrid "Protestants" for being such Grinches is worth a belly laugh only Santa can perfect!
Sukkot is in Autumn
Amen! As foretold in the Old Testament!
I believe Jesus does celebrate Christmas. With His Church and His body, the Communion of Saints.
Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation. Advent is latin for “coming.” Christ coming in the Incarnation; His coming into our lives and His second coming in the future. It is a time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion.
If we mark the time in this manner, I believe Christ is with us.
Amazingly, 700 years before the Savior’s birth!
The Church has been here for give or take 1,979 years and will continue to celebrate the greatest gift of all time, namely the gift from the Father of His Son, that who so ever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Now, I could care less if those outside the Church celebrate this gift on 12/25 or not, but i do find it interesting that this “pagan” charge resonates with those who continually attack the Body of Christ.
The reason it does i guess is that it plays into their narrative that the Church went apostate in the 2nd century and had to be restored in the 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th century ( depending upon what “group” you belong to )
The Church will continue to proclaim the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus until He comes again, just as she has been doing for 1,979 years, whether BB or anyone has a “problem with it” or not. deal with it.
it doesn’t happen often, so i couldn’t pass up the chance to agree 1000% with AMPU,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Imagining that you can't use a date also used by pagans because they were, in fact, pagans is a violation of the principle Peter set in his discussion of what foods were acceptable, which were prohibited, and what about food sacrificed to idols.
I don't think Peter showed any concern at all for which day the food was sacrificed, and neither should we!
Last thing we want as Christians is for the pagans or their successors to get the idea they can whipsaw us around and make us do things. We do what we want, when we want, for our own reasons.
That gets Jesus to the Temple on time when he becomes a man.
There are several old time Lutheran churches within about 20 miles of Fort Wayne who actually discuss the ideas behind this on their websites. Otherwise they're pretty normal for Lutherans.
Then there are the Old Apostolic Lutherans ~ either kind too ~ pre or post reform in the 1800s. They don't have anything to do with Christmas OR doctors, yet they have a milieu of rules that puts the RCC to shame. They are not Fundies either.
I think what may be thought of as a return to Hanukkah is the much more common use of December 5 as OLD CHRISTMAS ~ which, when combined with a local aversion to Christmas tree lights might well be taken as a preference for another traditional feast day.
This sort of thing popped up in the free church movement ~ otherwise they're pretty much run of the mill Dutch and Swedish Presbyterians.
My paternal grandfather thought it unChristian to celebrate Christmas ~ my maternal grandfather thought it should be celebrated on December 25 ~ and that rule was enforced. So we did Christmas Eve, a totally different event, on the 24th with one set, and Christmas on the 25th with a major family reunion ~ with 30+ first cousins, all the inlaws, and the cousins and their kids from my grandmother's brother's family ~ her small 4 room home would creak, and bang, and we'd all eat like pigs with regular rest breaks where folks would go to other nearby houses to play canasta and drink thick, dark, spoon stands up in it cofffee and hot cocoa.
Grandma was very poor and i still miss her ~ we'd argue Social Security for hours ~ she loved politics ~ and never voted one single time for the evil FDR.
Equinox and Solstice are cornerstones to life and have been so since life existed on earth. (If you don't believe that just pay attention to your own mood shifts as the seasons change, then see how the animals react to those changes... of course, there is also that crop cycle thing.)
Christmas on December 25th isn't "pagan", it's Human, it's a sign of life.
If Christians elect to celebrate their savior on that date and if Jews elect to memorialize their faith four days earlier - so be it and so what?
Isn't it of more value to acknowledge that we are all (well, lots of us) celebrating the same promise, and that we are all bound by the same values from the same source?
Thanks for the post! I love history and new info about early Christianity and their celebration of traditions are of great interest!
MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone here at freerepublic.com, and may God richly bless you in the year to come.
Who's "attacking" the Body of Christ? I am a member of that body - deal with it.
If, however, you want to actually discuss the subject of this thread - whether or not the celebration of "Christmas" has pagan roots or not, just simply say so - no need to get defensive about it.
Like I said, I do not have a problem with the holiday. If it actually WAS the celebration of the birth of Jesus at the start, it would be fine, too. But we know that it was not something the first Christians noted and it took several hundred years for it to start being seen that way. We have no mention of Jesus' birthday being celebrated when he was physically here on earth nor do we have any mention of it from the Apostles. I think the celebration of the light coming into the world with the birth of Christ is worth celebrating, but it was his death and resurrection that deserves the MOST, of course. There can be no denying that there were many ancient customs around that time of year and that many of them found their way into the Christian religion either by chance or purposely. I think we can ALL agree that the rampant consumerism and greed factors have diminished whatever spiritual purpose intended when Christians started observing it. It's up to us to continue the correct reason for the season and do whatever we can to not allow the amazing grace of God who gave us the unspeakable gift of eternal life through His Son to be lost in the shuffle.
I will be sharing this with my children this evening. All 6 Homeschooled children.
Thank you and God Bless, Merry Christmas
Which is the chief "Christian" holiday? Why, "Christmas," of course. Christmas means, simply, the "Mass of Christ." The Catholic Encyclopedia admits, "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church" (Vol. III, p. 724), and explains, "The well-known solar feast, however, of natalis invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date" (ibid., p. 727, emphasis mine).
History documents that the Roman Catholic Church did not settle upon the final date for the "Mass of Christ" as Christ's birthday until perhaps five centuries after Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
Christmas is connected with purely pagan ceremonies: sun worship, ancient Roman festivals, and even more ancient Babylonian mysteries. You will find that holly wreaths, mistletoe, bulbs and orbs, trees, "Old St. Nick," and many other trappings of Christmas are utterly pagan in origin!
Yet, for all its paganism, Christmas is eagerly embraced by countless millions in the professing Christian world as the birthday of Christ; a time to exchange gifts, have family reunions, enjoy roast turkey or goose; a time replete with its own nostalgic music, feelings of good will, and hospitality. ...
Pagan feasts revolved around the seasons because Satan the devil has counterfeits he has foisted on the world to deceive. They were based upon celestial observations, the summer and winter solstices, the vernal equinox. Most pagan holidays were essentially harvest festivals. Pagans prayed to their "invincible sun" (invictus solis) in the depths of winter to begin "his" journey further north once again, putting an end to winter, and bringing the springtime, and new growth.
In What Season Was Christ Born?
Even though there are no records which show the date of Christs birth, there is sufficient evidence within the Bible itself which clearly reveals that this birth was nowhere near, of all days, December 25.
First, to show this, let us consider the time of Christs ministry which we find revealed in the Gospel record.
The Gospels show that Christ ministered a little over three years. To be exact, a prophecy in Daniel 9:27 shows that Christ would preach the Gospel for three and one-half years, or for one-half of a prophetic week. (A natural week has seven days.) This section of Daniel describes a prophetic week or a period of seven prophetic days. In this prophecy, each day equals one year. Daniel, then, is speaking about a seven-year period; and in the midst of that period, that is, at the end of three and one-half years, Christs earthly ministry would come to an end. (See Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6). This Scripture in Daniel gives us a clear prophecy telling us that Christs ministry would last 3 ½ years!
What does this show? Very much!
Since we know that Christs ministry came to an end at Passover time in A.D. 31, then 3 ½ years preceding the spring of A.D. 31 would put the commencement of His ministry in the early autumn of A.D. 27.
But what does this probe? Let us see!
The Gospel further tells us that Christ began His ministry just as He was approaching 30 years of age (Luke 3:23). This was the age required by the Old Testament to which priests must attain before they could be installed as official ministers and preachers (Num. 4:30. The Jews also considered that 30 years of age was the age of maturity and real manhood.
Notice when this indication shows. Since Christ was just about 30 years old when He began His ministry in early autumn, A.D. 27, this clearly shows He was born sometime in the early autumn of 4 B.C. - 30 years before!
Autumn the Only Possible Season!
There are many proofs which point to an early autumn birth of Christ. For example, if Christ had been born in any of the season preceding autumn 4 B.C. (that is, spring or summer of 4 B.C.), He would have been past 30 at the commencement of His ministry. But the Scripture says He was about or approaching 30.
Also, let us consider the season immediately after autumn 4 B.C. - the winter. If He had been born in the winter of 4-3 B.C. then He could, of course, have been under 30 when He began preaching (as the Gospel says). But this season is out of the question! Here is why! We have the plain testimony of the Scriptures that the flocks were still in the fields at the time of Christs birth (Luke 2:8). The flocks were never in the fields in Palestine during the winter season. They were kept inside barns or in protected places during the months from mid-October to mid-March. See Clarkes Commentary on Luke 2:8. The late autumn and winter of Palestine were too severe for the flocks to remain in the open and unprotected from the rain, wind and frost. Notice Matthew 24:20 for a reference of Palestinian winters.
These facts alone prove that an early autumn 4 B.C. date is the only conceivable period in which Christ could have been born!
More Proof: The Temple Ritual!
In the New Testament we have another important chronological feature which will show the season of Christs birth. It concerns the time periods in which the Levitical priesthood served in the Temple. By comparing these prescribed times with certain New Testament references, we can arrive at the very season for the birth of Christ.
In the day of Christ, the Aaronic priesthood which offered the sacrifices in the Temple at Jerusalem was divided into 24 separate divisions. Each division (called a "course)) had one chief priest who was chosen by lot to represent the whole division in the Temple for a weeks period. This chief priest was to offer the evening and morning sacrifices and the incense offerings.
The priesthood was divided into 24 courses by David. In his time there had become so many priests that all could not possibly serve in the Sanctuary at the same time. So David divided them into 24 courses and gave instructions that one course should serve in the Sanctuary for one week, then the next course could serve the following week, etc. These 24 courses of the priesthood are described in I Chronicles 24. The names of the individual courses are given from verse 7 through 19.
We are further told by Jewish records that each of these courses began serving at noon on a Sabbath and continued their services until noon the next sabbath - a one-week period (Sukkah, 55b). The Jewish historian , Josephus, who lived during the time of the Apostle Paul and was himself a priest belonging to the first of the 24 courses (Josephus Life 1), also tells us that each one of these courses served for one week, from Sabbath (Antiquities, vii, 14,7).
The Jewish records again tell us that the courses also served bi-annually - twice in the year. That is, the first course would begin serving in the spring of the year, on the first week of the sacred year. The second course would serve the second week, etc. This went on until the twenty-fourth course had served. Then, in the autumn of the year, at the first week of the civil year, the first course would commence again and all of the courses would repeat the order. Thus, on each of the 48 weeks during the year one particular course of the priests served in the Temple.
But, added to these 48 weeks are 3 extra weeks in the year during which ALL 24 of courses served together. These 3 weeks were during the three major Holy Day periods: the Passover in the beginning of spring; Pentacostin late spring; and Tabernacles in the early autumn. Because multitudes of people were always in Jerusalem at these three times of the year, ALL 24 courses of the priests stayed on in Jerusalem and served together in the Temple (Sukkah, 55b).
So, the 51 weeks of the Hebrew Calendar accounted for. (Occasionally, a 13th month was added to the calendar to allow the months to remain in their proper seasons of the year. When this extra month was added, the priests who officiated in the 12th month repeated their service in the 13th - Miggalah 6b).
It is important to realize that the first course of these 24 divisions began their ministration with the first Sabbath in the first Hebrew month - that was Nisan, in the very early spring. See especially I Chronicles 27:1,2 and following verses.
With this information, it becomes possible to know the particular weeks in which each of the 24 priestly courses served in the Temple. And consequently, we can know the time period in which some significant New Testament events took place. Let us now see the importance of this information with regard to Christs birth.
The Course of Abijah
In the Gospel of Luke we are told that a certain priest named Zacharias was performing his service in the Temple at Jerusalem when a most marvelous thing happened. He was privately told that his wife Elisabeth, who was quite advanced in years, was going to conceive and bear a son and that the sons name was to be John.
This, of course, is familiar to us all. But I wonder how many have noticed the time period in which Zacharias received this information? Let us notice this section of Scripture closely.
"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, OF THE COURSE OF ABIA [Abijah in Hebrew]: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth" (Luke 1:5).
This scripture clearly tells us the particular course of the 24 priestly divisions that Zacharias was serving in. It was the course of Abijah.
"And it came to pass, that while he executed the priests office before God IN THE ORDER OF HIS COURSE, according to the custom of the priests office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the Temple of the Lord (Luke 1:8,9).
Now this is very significant! It shows that Zacharias was serving in the prescribed time intended for the course of Abijah. By referring to I Chronicles 24:10, you will see that the course of Abijah was the eighth in order!
This plainly means that he was ministering in the ninth week after the beginning of Gods first month Nisan. The reason it was the ninth week and not the eighth is that the Passover season always occurs in the first month and during the third week. Since all 24 courses served that particular week, according to the laws set down by David, this means that Zacharias officiated during the ninth week after the beginning of Nisan, the first month in spring.
Now comes the question: On what days did Zacharias serve?
The year in which all of this occurred was 5 B.C. The first day of Nisan in this year was a Sabbath, the very day on which the first priestly course began its ministration. On our Romans Calendar, this day was April 6. Thus, by simple arithmetic, Zacharias, who served in the ninth week, was serving form Iyar 27 to Sivan 5 (June 1- June 8). This was the time he was told his wife was going to conceive and bear a son. But let us go one step further.
There was no chance of Zacharias leaving immediately after the ninth week to return home. Why? Because the next week was a Holy Day "week" - it was Pentecost! Zacharias was obliged to remain over one more week with the other 23 priestly courses and serve in the Temple. This extra service kept him in Jerusalem until Sivan 12, or June 15. At that time he was free to return to his home in the hill country about 30 miles south of Jerusalem.
Now why are all these dates important. We will see if we pay attention to what the sacred writer tells us.
"And it came to pass that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house (Luke 1:23).
This shows Zacharias returned home immediately after his ministration and then his wife conceived (verse 24). This would have occurred about the first week after he returned from Jerusalem. Gabriel had told him that he was to remain dumb, completely speechless until the child was born. It should be obvious that no man would want to stay in such a condition - and certainly no longer than necessary. And too, Zacharias was a righteous man and was anxious to see Gods command fulfilled. So, with reasonable assurance, Elisabeth must have conceived sometime immediately after Pentecost week! This week was from Sivan 12 to Sivan 19 (mid-June).
With this information we are able to come to the exact season for John the Baptists birth.
The human gestation period is very near 280 days or 9 months and 10 days. If we go forward this amount of time from about Sivan 16 or mid-June in 5 B.C. we arrive at about the first of Nisan (March 27th) 4 B.C. The birth of John the Baptist was undoubtedly near this time - in the very early spring.
Now, let us come to the main question: What about the birth of Christ?
The Gospel says that Christ was just 6 months younger than John the Baptist (Luke 1:26,36).
And, by adding this six months to the time of Johns birth (the 1st of Nisan), we come to about the 1st of Tishri or near mid-September for the birth of Christ.
So again, we arrive at an early autumn birth for Christ. So Christ was not born in the winter after all!
Really, it DOES matter. Does YHWH change? Did YHWH ordain His Holy Days? And what is the purpose of those days?
It matters because those TRUE Holy Days, and their purpose, go wanting. I doubt that more than 1 in 100 Christians even know what they are.
Last thing we want as Christians is for the pagans or their successors to get the idea they can whipsaw us around and make us do things.
LOL! They already have.
Are you jehovah’s witness? They’re alla’ time messing with the schools over kids’ birthdays.
You are confounding a calendar with a religious rite. The solstice is a phenomenon that happens with or without religion ~
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