Is Christmas a Pagan Celebration? a History Lesson
This is a brief overview of the modern day celebration of Christmas
No one really knows exactly when Jesus Christ was born; however, most think it was some time in the fall because the shepherds were tending to their sheep in open fields in the cool of the night; this would have been unlikely during the colder winter weather. But this does not realy matter–the “When” does not matter. What really matters is that Jesus Christ was born and IS alive.
The reason we celebrate Christ-mas on December 25th is that on this day a Pagan ritual known as the Feast of Isis, (the Goddess of Nature) was celebrated.
So in the year 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth is to be celebrated on December 25th. The idea was that it would be a lot easier for pagan Romans to accept Christmas and to be converted to Christianity, and that the new religion would be easier accepted because their feasts would not be taken away from them. The pagan Romans were a majority during that time.
The idea of carollers came from ancient Rome as well. The Mummers who were people dressed in costume would go from house to house singing and dancing for the occupants.
The Yule log comes from a ritual of the Pagans of Northern Europe who celebrated their own form of the winter solstice known as the Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God Mithras being born; this was observed on the shortest day of the year. It was believed that as the Sun god grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle; this was done to encourage Mithras and the sun to reappear the following year.
Large Yule logs would be burned in honour of the sun.
Now another tradition which has infiltrated the celebration of the birth of Christ is the mistletoe. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant. The well-known custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. In addition, the Holly berries, which are used as a decoration were thought to be a food of the gods.
The history of the Christmas tree is not exact; we can read about a tree being decorated as far back as in Jeremiah in the bible for the purpose of using it as an idol for worship. However, some say that the Druids in ancient England and the Gual and also the Romans in Europe may have cut down a tree and brought it indoors then decorated it as a symbol that spring would soon come, or they may have just taken branches of trees to decorate their homes for the same reason. Others say that Martin Luther, the monk and church reformer from Germany was returning home one winter night when he saw the stars twinkling in the sky through the tree branches. Martin Luther was quite astonished at the sight, when he arrived home he wanted to tell his family about what he had seen. Martin Luther ran back into the woods where he cut down a small fir tree, he brought it indoors and decorated it with candles, the candles represented the stars he had seen through the tree. Either way, we know that the Christmas tree really has nothing to do with the birth of Christ and it goes as far back as the Old Testament times as a form of idol worship.
So we know now that the man-made traditions of celebrating the birth of Christ are not a part of Jesus’ birth. These are man-made and most are pagan in their roots. The same goes for Santa Clause, now we know that Saint Nicholas was real, he was the Bishop of Myra; however, the North American version comes from the Dutch version known as Sint Nikolaas or Sinterklaas. We must also never allow ‘Santa Claus’ to infiltrate the celebration of Jesus’ birth (Christmas). Doing so is another form of idol worship. We see that many people worship santa and make Christmas about this so called jolly fat man. Idol worship is sin, we must always focus on Jesus.
What about the tradition of gift-giving? We know that the three Magi brought gifts to Jesus Christ after His birth, these gifts had value and could be used as currency to buy things they would need during their travels. We give each other gifts during the celebration of Christ’s birth as a form of remembrance of this. We must be sure that the focus remains on Christ and not on gifts and that we do not give each other gifts in place of our worship of Christ.
We must be conscious of our actions and search our hearts and minds so that we are not drawn into the pagan rituals which have infiltrated this holy celebration.
We ought to be joyful and thankful that Jesus Christ was born, we need to celebrate His birth, His life, His death and of course His resurrection every day, We must never participate in any form of Paganism.
Jeremiah 10:2-4 (New King James Version)
2 Thus says the LORD:
“ Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
The Lord tells us not to do this to a tree. It is futile and not pleasing in His eyes. Strange how people will do a lot of work to set up a tree, ensure it will not fall and then spend time decorating it, but the same people will not put the same effort into their spiritual walk with Christ, they will not fasten themselves to Him to ensure they will not fall and they also will not spend time in the word of God to make sure their life is beautiful to God.
Romans 12:1-2 (New King James Version)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This scripture clearly tells us that we are to be a part of Christ, do what he does and abstain from the things of this world, which are un-Godly and most are as we read, Pagan in nature.
We rejoice in the birth of our Lord and Saviour. never partake of worldly traditions and festivities, never idolize, worship or put anything ahead of Christ. Always put Christ ahead of everything and do this every day and night. If , during December you have family over and you share a meal and even if you exchange gifts, do all this with Christ in mind and make sure He is the centre of your life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 thomasczech