Is Christmas really Pagan? Is the Christmas tree an idol?

SHOULD A CHRISTIAN PARTAKE IN CHRISTMAS?

I can think of a lot of reasons for Christians to celebrate Christ’s birth, no matter what time of year.  I have knowledge of families where believers will not be with their loved ones at this time objecting about it being pagan.  Did they forget that nothing has any hold over us?   That is unless our hosts were celebrating it as a pagan holiday and told us they bowed down or prayed to the tree.  In that case we would not partake for their conscience sake not ours.

I posted this article on how we celebrate Christmas five years ago. I had actually put it together over a period of years in to answer the condemning voices which called those of us who celebrated pagans.  I also discuss the meanings of certain parts of Christmas that it holds for our family.

This will be long so if you want to know something in particular about the day, or the tree, the wreath, ornaments, etc., you can ctrl + F to find what you may be looking for.

About a year or so before Gilbert died, I had gone on a trip to the mountains with a friend in the dead of Arizona summer.  Thousands upon thousands of acres of the Pines had burned, it was really dismal and I was not looking forward to our time there.

BUT GOD… I saw so much of God’s Word and truth everywhere I looked in and through the blackened Pines.  The adornment of the wildflowers springing up among the ashes (made me think of beauty from ashes).  The things I couldn’t see with the visible eye that later the proof of the zoom lens revealed.   All over His creation shouted His Word silently in my head.   It reminded me of the rocks crying out if we will not.   Christmas now does the same for me in a miraculous way.   Sure we can be tired, overwhelmed, stretched, so we need to be careful of our choices and do what we do unto Him and in JOY.   Celebrate or not, but rejoice in the Lord always!

Can Christians celebrate Christmas?

Some have stated outright that we were not Christians if we should celebrate Christmas (from Calvinists to Hebrew Roots or other lawkeepers).  To that I say, Christ knows who are His and our spirit witnesses with His that we are children of God because we have believed God’s testimony of His Son Jesus.

Some moderately religious types will condescendingly declare, ‘God has not commanded it’!  But I smile in sadness shaking my head as I note the ridiculous and absurd they state while they daily do many things that God has not commanded them to do. 

Friends, don’t let them sway you or bring you into bondage with their philosophies (1 Cor 10:29-30).   

To those who are truly concerned:  Dear brother or sister, if your conscience bothers you to partake in Christmas, then by all means, do not celebrate it! I am not trying to convince you to do so, or judge you one bit in abstaining.  In fact, do not feel the need to read at all, do according to your conscience unto Him.   All I’m asking of you is leave others alone in their conscience.   Love in Christ to you each day until we meet in the air.

WAS JESUS BORN DECEMBER 25TH?

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah

I have read some Zola Leavitt through the years, and the only reason I am naming him is to cite his particular observation on Christmas regarding the months and Feasts given to Israel. I can’t say I would recommend him in several areas, but only rightly notating this is where I first remember this contrast to the human birth made.

Jesus came (as we know) the first time born of a Virgin.  At the end His life He fulfilled four of the seven feasts of Israel.   It’s very fulfilling to know the meaning of the feasts and what He did to fulfill them.

In his Seven Feasts of Israel book, he noted something interesting. Zola was speaking with an obstetrician he knew about the length of a baby’s pregnancy.  Many men may not be aware of this, but the length of pregnancy term is calculated from the first day of the last menstrual cycle.   280 days are added.

He looked at what he called an ‘ideal Jewish Year’.  He started with the first month of the first day and added 280 days to that (on the Jewish calendar), and was excited and surprised to find it ended up on December 25th.   The first day of Nisan on the first month would start exactly on the first day of the Spring equinox.   Two weeks into that cycle, fourteen days later (the 14th of Nisan) the egg is ready for fertilization — also the date of the Passover. The egg is also the symbol of life to all, not only the Jewish people in the Passover.

The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world – our Passover

On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.  Lev 23:5

Zola didn’t make this as any statements of fact, just a point of interest.  None of us know the day Jesus was born although some try to claim they know it was NOT December 25th.

Considering the fulfilled feasts were all Spring feasts, and the order of the feasts contrasted to the order of creation itself — the December 25th birth date is very interesting (more thoughts again on that later).  To consider His conception to have come closely before those feasts is not at all unusual.  I also find it interesting that the day of Passover may be the very day the Lamb of God was knit together in the Womb.  This is not at all a stretch, we have long bought what others have said with absolutely no proof.  Interestingly the same day 34 years later (at 33-1/2 years) He would have been the sacrificial Passover Lamb of God, the day Jesus would offer His life in great love for our sins.

Whatever the day Christmas falls on, the reason we celebrate Christ’s birth should be the joy of His incarnation.   His coming to the earth to offer Himself for us, in our place, the perfect sacrifice.  Spend Christmas reflecting on these things, just as we remember His death and resurrection in the communion.

THE KING OF KINGS & LORD OF LORDS

Anyone can do something for the wrong reason (such as being compelled to give gifts one cannot afford to give).   This is not what this time of year is about.   Consider giving up some of the things that bring you into bondage no matter what they are.   Don’t operate off of guilt if you can help it.  Try to do all you do (with His help) as unto Him.  Ask for opportunities and ways to feel joyful at this time.

We three Kings of Orient are – The Magi

The Magi –  seen in Matt. 2, (aka, wise men or some say Kings), came to worship Jesus and bring gifts following the Star of Bethlehem to where Jesus would be born (Isaiah 60:6).  We are sure that they knew of the promised King because Daniel the Prophet apprised them of it in his prophecies (Dan 9:24-27).  He foretold of the Messiah as a Prophet, Priest and King.   They had already seen mighty things come of Daniel’s prophecies in history and surely we know they continued to watch for this promised one.

Were there three Kings or three Magi?

Micah had foretold where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2) Some think that there were three Kings or Magi, likely because of the number of gifts mentioned.  However many there were, they came with gifts worthy of a King.  That much we know. We also know it was not at His birth, but later when Jesus was a young child or infant.

THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI

The Meaning of Gold

Gold was a gift worthy to give Kings, (along with being seen all over within the temple).  The Pharaoh honored Joseph with a gift of a gold chain around his neck.  Abraham was blessed with gold.  It symbolizes many thing, purity, blessing, honor, and again — a gift worthy of the King.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents:
the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. 
Psalm 72:10-11 (a Psalm spoken to Solomon and ultimately to Jesus Christ)

The meaning of Frankincense

The meaning is not necessarily clear.  It could be like the offerings of incense, our prayers, use in temple service, and/or acknowledgment of Jesus being God. (Ex. 30:34)  Our prayers are now mediated by our High Priest, and they are stored in golden vials in heaven. (Rev 5:8)

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Ps 141:2

The meaning of Myrrh

Possibly signifies a Holy Anointing oil.  Used in service in the temple, also said to be part of the final offering to Him on the cross.  Myrrh was also used in the anointing of dead bodies when they prepared them for burial, providing a beautiful fragrance.  Jesus, was called God’s Anointed One, the Messiah. (Psalm 2)

FAMOUS PASTORS WHO CONDEMN THE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS

Hyper-Calvinist A.W. Pink delivers this rebuke regarding those who choose to celebrate Christ’s birth:

‘But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth’. He says, “It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth.“  

My Comment: So do you need ‘authorization’ to celebrate your child’s birth?  How about a wedding anniversary, was yours ‘authorized’?  What about a national holiday, do you protest and work?  Did Mr. Pink have a wedding ceremony when he was married?  Who authorized that?  I could go on, but he sounds a little more like Jehovah’s Witness’s line of thinking.

It can go on exponentially with this type of judging of our liberty or wondering if something may or may not have ‘pagan roots’.  My mom told me of those who condemned ‘hot cross buns’.  Did God not make everything?  So do we worship as unto a pagan god, or do we worship in His name, honoring Him?

After declaring the whole world does “it” (Christmas), Pink then asks of us,

“is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification?

MY COMMENT: Is that what we do? Gratify our flesh?  (Notice the accusations, with no Biblical substantiation?)  Does buying a new outfit, car, or house — even eating — ‘gratify our flesh’?  Does buying a home?  A toy for our child? Granted, some certainly may do this time in a way that is either grudging obligation or not done unto the Lord at all.  Here is where we might point them to the Lord, and His Word, lovingly, (if we are one of His and love Him we should feed His sheep).

A.W. Pink and refusing the brethren

Pink did not attend church or receive brethren who came to see him from across the world…what happened to receiving the Brethren?  Or refusing to assemble?  When we put ourselves back under the law, this is the bondage we are stuck with.   

SPOILER ALERT:  HERE IT COMES (the typical contradictory questioning of a Calvinist-lawkeeper-legalist about our salvation based on works, versus our on belief in Him alone).

Yes but they state, a faith that works is not alone… (they defeat their own cause).

A.W. PINK QUESTIONS OTHER’S SALVATION ALONG WITH STATING WE ARE DOING EVIL:

“Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2).”

MY COMMENT: As I read his argument, I was in disbelief as this supposed ‘great Calvinist scholar’ used Exodus 10:9-10 out of context for ‘taking the little one with you OUT of Egypt’.  He deceitfully handled Scripture by the use of partial verses to make a point.  He also tried to put believers under Mosaic law, (all while seemingly not understanding the whole of the law, nor the purpose of the law).  I did not see one properly divided passage in his argument.

The condemnation and the judging of my liberty continues.

According to Pink, celebrating the birth of Jesus is…

“dragging his Holy name in connection…season of carnal jollification …

“a type of the world”

“a mingling with the present day Egyptians in their pleasures of sin for a season”.

He asks, “Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask THE LORD’S blessing?” 

MY COMMENT: We can’t give our children a good gift? I thought we were to bless everything He has given.  Because some use it carnally does it drag His Holy name somewhere?  Did not some of the church treat the Communion carnally?  Did it become carnal?  His reasoning is nonsensical.

SHOULD A CHRISTIAN GIVE GIFTS AT CHRISTMAS?

DO YOU GIVE GIFTS?

PINK says you are:

“in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of ‘Christmas’ namely that of exchanging ‘gifts.’

MY COMMENT: somebody should have told the Kings that in advance when they brought gifts to Israel’s Kings or when the Magi brought gifts to Christ.

Maybe when Jesus said this, He should have warned these ‘good gifts’ were pagan.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIFT GIVING?

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  Luke 11:10-13

COMMENT: I’m not trying to convince anyone, you must do your conscience can handle. But would the Magi be doing something worldly here by offering Him gifts, by bringing presents?

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.  Ps 72:10-11

Was it then unacceptable for Mary and Joseph to ‘partake in their evil deeds’?

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.  Isaiah 60:6

They were showing forth the praises of the Lord, (think on the Queen of Sheba coming to see Solomon.  Psalm 72 speaks to Solomon and ultimately Christ.)

CHRISTIANS TOO CAN SHOW FORTH PRAISES AT HIS BIRTH!

Why Green, White and Red are used at Christmas

Since the Bible doesn’t say I can only tell you what I share regarding these colors.

Green to me signifies eternal or everlasting life.  As Isaiah 55 puts it, come buy without cost.  That is what the evergreen tree means to me, eternal life.

Red reminds me of the blood Christ shed for me, along with Isaiah 1:18, our sins may be like crimson, but He will make them white as snow (when we believe upon Christ and Him crucified for our sins — risen again from the dead means we too will have everlasting life.)

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM EPHRATAH

The city of David where Christ was born has much significance.  Bethlehem Ephratah is the first mentioned in the Bible as where Rachel (Jacob/Israel’s) mother was buried.  As I was reminded by my friend Susan, the Hebrew meaning of Bethlehem is special, (בֵּית לֶחֶם‎ Bet Lehem) means ‘House of Bread’.  We of course know that Jesus is the true Bread, the Bread from Heaven.  Jesus said, I am the Bread of Life (see my Seven “I AM” statements article here).

King David was born in Bethlehem and crowned King there.  The OT refers to Jerusalem as the ‘City of David — the NT, identifies it twice as Bethlehem.  David came from the little city of Bethlehem, it is where he fed his sheep (1 Sam 17:15).  Even though later He became King of Jerusalem, Luke reminds us of the little humble beginnings of a Shepherd boy from whom would come the Great Shepherd.

Bethlehem may have been called the least among the princes of Judah, but from out of them would come the One that would rule His people — Jesus.  Salma was the founder of the city of Bethlehem.  Why might that be interesting?  Because He was the father of Boaz, who we know as a type of the Kinsman Redeemer to come.  Christ is that Kinsman Redeemer.  Only God is Savior, only God is our Redeemer.  Christ the Savior is Lord, and was born in the City of David (Bethlehem).

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.  Numbers 24:7

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah*, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2

Christmas is a time that those believers who DO celebrate should show forth our Praise to the King of Kings.   If we give gifts to others, let us remember to bring the most important gift to others, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Pray for opportunities to share at this time of the year.

Calvinist A.W. Pink condemns Christmas again:

“Christmas merrymaking” is entirely a thing OF THE WORLD”

“devoid of any Scriptural warrant”.

MY COMMENT: Again, I could come up with a whole list of things “devoid of Scriptural warrant” as he has done, based on law, (as he uses).   How about wearing pants, driving cars, using banking institutions, writing checks with pagan dates, even having a green houseplant in our house.  Isn’t that the same as equating the Christmas tree to the Jeremiah 10 idol carved from a tree?  We don’t fashion the tree into an idol, nor carry it about to worship it, nor pray to it.  We are not afraid of the tree, thinking it can do evil or good (as Jer 10 states).  It is not a wooden idol, nor a doctrine, nor a god to us.  (Please always examine the entire context).

PINK CALLS CHRISTMAS “a Romish institution”

MY COMMENT: Some customs do come from traditions of Rome, such as the name of Christ-mass itself.  They also celebrate Resurrection day (Easter), and wear crosses and use His name, believe in heaven, the virgin birth, etc. — shall we stop? They meet in churches, do we need to talk about that?  Carry Bibles, worship on Sunday, use music in church, and they do plenty that we do.

The only question should be, why do or to Whom are we doing something?  How do we esteem the day?  Does our position offend another, make a brother or sister stumble?   Is our own weaker conscience making another feel judged?  If what we are doing is not done in the way of their false idol (such as attending the mass to take the eucharist (believed to be a daily and living offered sacrifice), are we then to worry about a word that has been adapted from them?  We use many words that have been adapted from all sorts of other religions. How many words do you use from Catholic, Old English or Latin root word etymology? Do you know? (Such as the word repentance formed from out of the RC practice of penitence).  Should we stop using this word?

Or should we just make sure we attribute the right meaning to something that has been corrupted?  Is not everything made by God?

Who are these religious men (like Pink) to judge us with their opinions?  Is the reason you do this as worshiping an idol?  Is this why you esteem the day (as unto a sun god)?  Ask the Lord to show you where you are not doing any part as unto Him as we should do with each and every day we walk on this earth.

Pink wrongly compares any observance of Christ’s birth with the unfruitful deeds of darkness by saying:

“now that you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph. 5:11).

MY COMMENT: Sorry Mr. Pink ‘Real men may love Pink’ (supposedly according to the Calvinists), but I do not ‘see this’ your way at all. My Master is able to make me stand, and I look to Him in these things, and where there is not direct prohibition, I will not stand condemned.

I will not and cannot listen to incorrectly exegeted (and eisegeted) passages of these with possibly either weaker consciences — or even worse, those who are living by the law.  I will refrain from judging another man’s servant for these choices in liberty, and prayerfully I will also not cause another to stumble.

SHOULD CHRISTIANS SEND OUT CHRISTMAS CARDS?

Sending out Christmas cards with Scripture on them?  

A.W. PINK says, “That also is an abomination in the sight of God.”

MY COMMENT: AMAZINGLY, Pink seems to have had no fear and trembling when it comes to God’s Word (Is 66:2)!  He wrongly cited Old Testament law AND out of context AS his proof (Deut 22:9-10).  

Twisting Scripture to condemn others, does that sound familiar?

PINK: Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.  Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

Why would he not cite prior verse 8, that says this? “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet (or battlement) for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”

MY COMMENT: A battlement is a parapet which is a low wall all the way around a roof to keep anyone that goes up on the roof from falling off.  Was his house built this way? Or even a couple of verses later, does he wear wool with linen?  Does he have four fringes on his vestures? This is why I see Pink deceitfully handling God’s Word throughout.

A.W. Pink slyly says this: ‘IF’ we have a heart that really desires to please the Lord’ (key word for Legal/law keepers is always use “if” ….then they fill in the blank) Pinks says, ifthen He will grant us increasing knowledge of His will in this “growing evil” and “dishonoring Christ”

But Jesus said: If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17

Simplify things friends, give it to the Lord and pray about it.  If you’ve come to a conclusion, great!  Just don’t let it be bondage.

WHAT DOES THE WORD CHRISTMAS MEAN?

Isn’t Christmas the name the Roman Catholics assigned to it?

The earliest reference to celebrating Christ’s birth was around 202 AD. The word suffix “mas” comes from the Old English “messe” which ‘simply’ means “feast“. In other words, Christ-mas, is the feast of Christ.”

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35

There is no better reason for a celebration among the saints!

Remember, in celebrating His birth, we are also remembering why He came, and that He died for us.

Others question, “How dare you say “Merry Christ’s death”? (which is the supposed meaning of Christ-mass (mass they refer to the Roman Catholic).  If the name itself bothers you, then nothing wrong to think on it as any other day.

I am very happy that Christ died for me because He rose again.  He took up His life again.  By His death on the cross for my sin, and by His resurrection, He had the victory over sin, death and the grave.  The Angels announced His birth and not one person knows the day, so does it matter which day we celebrate or not?  I don’t think so personally so leave me be please.

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, O(N EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN!

When did the Wise men find Jesus?

We know the wise men did not come on the day of His birth, (some say it was up to two years later), but that couldn’t be quite right either for a number of reasons.  But it was before He and His family fled to Egypt.

But the birth of Christ was announced to the Shepherds by the angels, and they hastened to find the babe lying in a manger. And the Wise men came from the East following the star.  (So this is why when I put out a Nativity scene, I include the whole time period with the wise men as well.  I separate them out sometimes from the manger portion so I can explain why).

Who in History celebrated the birth of Christ?

The Consolation of Israel

We should probably have a Simeon and Anna too as I love that part so much too (Luke 2:25-38).

So if Simeon, Anna, the Angels, the Shepherd’sHis family, the animals, and eventually the King Makers (Magi), celebrated His birth, SO WILL I!!  And I will do it unto the Lord. 

If you do not esteem this day, and do not celebrate, then do it not unto Him.

Whichever you choose, celebrate or not, let’s not be a stumbling block to another either way.

Are you possibly TROUBLING or judging others with your own conscience?  Year after year I see people wrongly understanding and elucidating false information regarding the Jeremiah 10 tree.  Stating the Christmas tree is the same. No it is not, but if that is how you understand it, and you have somehow been worshiping your tree, praying to it, bowing down to it, then you should stop!

Me and my house know Who we belong to and why we esteem this day.

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. Rom 14:4-6

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Col 2:16

CHRIST THE SAVIOR IS BORN!

More on when Jesus may have been born.  People disagree on the time of Jesus birth. 

Some like Alfred Edersheim make a good case for the timing or reason some celebrate December 25th*.

Some say it was a Spring birth, others that He was born in September, around the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.  The most ancient reports say it was around the feast of the Dedication of the Temple – Hannukah/ Chanukah (Dec 25th by most cipherings in that year).

I am not attempting to make a case for the day, again celebrate (or not) whichever day you like. I believe no one knows the exact time, and we are joyful that He came — whatever the day.

Is Christmas an authorized holiday?

I would like you to consider that Jesus went up to the feast of dedication or the festival of lights.  And He went to the temple itself, and it was not an ‘authorized holiday’.  We know Jesus did not sin.  So those who tell you they don’t see it ‘authorized’ in the Bible, tell them to follow their own conscience and try not to trouble yours.

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.  John 10:22-23

Additional cases for the date of December 25th as Christ’s birth

The Jewish Era:  A Christian Quarterly, Volumes 5-6.

Hebrew Scholar, Dr. Cassel on the similarities between the Feast of Dedication & Christmas

Dr. Cassel believes the festival of Christmas is not heathen or pagan, but has a Judæan origin. He says that its customs are significantly in accordance with those of the Jewish festival of the Dedication of the Temple. He says “Christmas Day was celebrated on the 25th of December because of the fulfillment of what had been symbolized in “the feast of the Dedication of the Temple”.

Others say the date chosen, was to cover up two other pagan holidays.  Biblical scholars disagree of course on these points, as well as historians.  Looks like there was an argument in the early church in the 100’s AD (close to 200) regarding celebrating Christ’s birth…. surprise surprise. Look up Hippolytus if you’d like more info on that.

Who is right?  Is the date important?  I don’t think we see important dates in the New Covenant, just remembrances, and I see nothing wrong with remembrance of anything Christ has done at any time, any day.  He made every single day.

Was Christ’s birth in Winter?

At this time of the year in December, the distance of the sun is the furthest from the earth, so it is/was the darkest time of the year.  So being in celebration about the Light of the World coming at this time is sure something wonderful to ponder.  Whatever day it is, we celebrate the greatest gift that was ever given.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Emmanuel: God has come to Tabernacle among men.  He brought the good news to the Jews first, then the Gentiles.  He came once, and He is coming again.  The Wise Men from the East, rejoiced with exceeding GREAT JOY!

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, (Numbers 24:17) which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.  Matt 2:9-11

IS THE CHRISTMAS TREE PAGAN?

THE TREE represents so many things to me.  This is my tree (so far) this year.  If it bothers your conscience, most definitely DON’T DO IT. BUT, if you are one of the ones condemning others who have a tree, please refrain!  They are not bowing down to worship or pray to their tree…

I SEE THE CROSS OF CHRIST IN THE CHRISTMAS TREE

A curse He took for us (Gal 3:13).

We are told in Hebrews, that Abraham in faith offered up Isaac, knowing that God had made him a promise that the Seed (or Savior) would come through Isaac.   We see this FORESHADOWING of God’s own great love towards us.  He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  God said, “Take your son whom you LOVE”…. (Gen 22 – John 3:16)

But as we know God stopped Abraham & provided the sacrifice, foreshadowing again the PERFECT SACRIFICE that was to come along with the love God showed us in offering the Son of His love.

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide.  Gen 22:13-14b

THIS IS THE TRIUMPH! And YOU, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.   Col 2:13-15  And the LORD always does provide doesn’t He?

Is the indoor Christmas tree the Jeremiah 10 tree?

This is how I view these things, or ponder them — it does not make it Scriptural, nor does it make it unbiblical. I have Christian liberty to remember these precious things without guilt lawkeepers try to cause.

There are many types and fiures in Scripture, it’s even why I have a Noah’s Ark hanging on my tree (a type of Christ and some think a type of the Rapture).

Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths and the Christmas Tree

I recall the first tree, which Adam and Eve ate of, causing the first curse.  Even though the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles is not a Spring Feast, I think on the Jews, awaiting the arrival of their Messiah during the Feast of Tabernacles, making a Sukkah/booth; a dwelling which was made of and covered with green branches, and boughs from trees.  They pondered how Christ delivered them from Egypt during the Passover.  We believers have already been delivered by the perfect Passover Lamb.  God tabernacles among us, we are His temple.  Jesus came to provide a permanent reconciliation for our sins (take them away), and to also tabernacle (or live) among us.  From the beginning, He dwelt among us and desired to again.

The Feast of Tabernacles actually means “THE SEASON OF OUR JOY”.  

The Sukkah likewise was decorated with lights, and hanging ornaments that represented their first fruits.   Jesus is our firstfruits now.  I remember marveling about these things during my first introduction to the Feast of booths or Tabernacles.  It reminded me of our tree — the lights, the ornaments.  Their sukkah outside, some say Jesus was born in a manger (like a sukkah) and stayed there for eight days until He was circumcised, which is significant to the New Covenant, the circumcision of our hearts.  But we bring our trees inside.

Just as He indwells us, so is the Christmas tree to me a reminder of eternal life sitting in my living room.  No god, just a sweet aromatic reminder.  So should we be <3  This is a time we can be showing Christ’s love to others, although it should always be.

Now thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ and who maketh manifest through us the savor of His knowledge in every place.   For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in those who are saved and in those who perish:  to the one we are the savor of death unto death, and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor 2:14-16

Someone once told me that it was strange for the tree to be inside.  (I didn’t say this to them, for their conscience).  But they ask if it’s strange without evidently considering a green tree houseplant.  Shall we nix any pine just in case?  How about a green plant that gets too tall?  We have trees in our house all year, so no I don’t find it strange.

Jesus came for the Lost House of Israel, and when they rejected His offer of the Kingdom, the Gentiles were grafted in to the Promise of the blessing of salvation.  When we received Him (Jn 1:12), Jesus came in to dwell (tabernacle) in our hearts by faith (Romans 8:9; Eph 3:17). He indwells us forever.

CHRISTIANS DO NOT WORSHIP THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Jesus came, knowing He would be hung on a tree. (See the Prophecies of the Crucifixion of Christ and look for how they relate to Christmas)

In the tree, I see more Biblical symbols of the cross.

The tree that our Redeemer was foretold to hang on in order bear the curse for us…

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree… Gal 3:13 (see also Deut 21:22-23)

This same tree symbolizes ETERNAL LIFE for those of us who believe on what Christ did in our place on the cross.

In the evergreen of the tree, we reflect on the FREE GIFT of everlasting life.

The tree topped with either the star of Bethlehem or some put an angel, as in angel’s heralding the BIRTH of our Saviour. (Since they typically make female angels, we prefer the Star topper — just a preference).

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS SIGNIFICANCE

The lights not only represent the Light of the world to us, but the eternal life He brings.   As I see the twinkling lights encircle the tree, round and round, from top to bottom, I can’t help but smile in remembrance.

The Light of His glorious gospel has gone around the world and brought light into the darkness.

I love the different colored lights, which remind me of the redeemed from every tonguetribe and nation.   Phil 2:15, tells us we are to shine as lights in the world.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SNOW BLANKET 

The snow blanket that many wrap around the bottom remind me of one of my favorites.  I know many argue that there is not really snow in Israel, but this time of year there is all over the world.   It is the time we are furthest from the sun, kind of perfect timing for the Son to be born.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18 (I like to tease and say this is proof He was born in winter)

The blanket also reminds me of the swaddling clothes which I will go into later in this article.

THE MEANING (TO US) OF CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS

The secular definition of an ornament is something used to grace something to make it more attractive.

Our ornaments bring to my mind how wisdom is likened unto an ornament of grace in Proverbs.   Being justified freely by the grace that Jesus gives, the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom.  The crown of glory that our Lord of Glory gives to us.   I also love this passage, seeing the ornaments and jewels on the bridegroom and bride…The garment of salvation also reminds me of what we lay around the bottom of the tree, His blood shed for us, His righteousness covers us.

Look at how the Bridegroom and Bride is described here, THIS gives me such joy to decorate my tree with things that honor Him, and the gifts that He has blessed me with:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.   For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.  Isaiah 61:10-11

Ornaments may make the tree look better, but eternal life is freely offered and we can offer nothing on top of it.  Too many try to adorn the gospel message with excellency of speech of men’s wisdom (1 Cor 2), but the gospel is simple.  God’s Grace that brings salvation needs nothing to adorn it — in fact, if we do, we have frustrated His grace and brought believers into bondage or kept a lost person in the same state.  If we add works before the gospel, then we’ve lied about the truth, and now the message is now false.   Eternal life is free and is appropriated by faith alone in Jesus Christ (who He is) and Him crucified (what He has done).

I reminisce about the first fruits hanging in the Sukkah I told you about earlier.  They used it to decorate their temporary homes.   But as it is with Christ, He does not do things the way we do things, or think the way we think.   Our temporary homes are dying more and more each day.  Jesus was not a man of beauty to look on or that anyone should desire Him.   Can you imagine what He will be like??? (1 Cor 2:9)   He was despised and rejected by men.   A man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief.  The sins of us all were laid on Him.

We do not make Him look better, His eternal life makes us a NEW CREATION. We still have the Old Nature, but the New incorruptible nature now is eternal and already seated in heavenly places.

Santa’s Naughty or Nice List

They are the ones that put us on some sort of bad list.  I just don’t believe the Lord shows us He operates this way, we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory.

I have a huge list of Christmas ornaments with many different meanings and verses and God’s blessings in my life.    I could share (and may next year), but I suggest you think up some of your own.  Meditate upon His Word and find the different meanings and symbols in the birth of Christ.  Share them either in verse form or symbolic/picture form on your tree, or in gifts you give, including the events of your life which Christ cares about and has blessed you with.  Make sure you include the gospel!

We live in a world where He gives us good gifts.  Don’t let legalists spoil it through their philosophies of men.  In Him, WE (the body) are COMPLETE.  So walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you have been taught.   ABOUND in in with THANKSGIVING!!  EVERYTHING that was against me was blotted out at the cross, ALL my sins were forgiven (as any believer). 

Do not listen to these people tell you what you should not touch, and what you better not taste or handle.  These things are according to their commandments and doctrines.   Colossians 2 says they have an appearance of wisdom, but it is from self-imposed religion, from false humility, and giving up certain things, but of are of NO VALUE against the indulgence of the flesh.

We do not need their own made-up Santa list of who is naughty or nice.  Do not let them judge you by their own conscience.  If I partake with thanks, why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 

THE MEANING OF THE CANDY CANE

This is a sweet story of the Candy Cane, whether true, or not, I do not know, but it is enjoyable to reflect on the Scriptures and remembrances of what Christ has done in our place.  Again, we see it as the staff and rod that comforts us.  The Good Shepherd that He is.  His blood that washes us white as snow (Rev 1:5-6; Is 1:18).

REJOICE AND BE JOYFUL IN OUR GOD!

The gifts under the tree are exciting to the little ones.  But the most exciting gift of all, was the free gift of salvation that Jesus brought.  Do you remember how you received that gift?

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Mark 10:15

The Magi (thought to be Kings or King makers – see passages in Ps 72 & Is 60), brought gifts to the King of Kings.  They opened their treasure chests and gave their gifts.  Jesus, who is our treasure, is the greatest gift ever given.

All these things and more are interwoven into our traditions, remembrances, joy, songs and praise in celebrating the birth of Christ our Savior.  If you do it, try to do it unto the Lord.  Use the opportunity to share Christ with others.

Lawkeepers and Christmas

One last word: Quickly explained, don’t judge them if they don’t keep Christmas, judge doctrine only.  They will suggest the Holy Spirit led them to the revelation that Christmas is evil or that they are more spiritually mature, do not let them trouble you, but we also don’t want to trouble others either.  Speak kindly if their doctrine is false, use the Word.   Don’t let them bait you.  Follow your conscience and surely do not do it if it troubles you, but do not trouble others either…

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  Rom 14:5

Christ, the Savior is born, our Passover Lamb

As we sit down to dinner, I look back on the Passover supper, we see much of what they condemn as “pagan roots” in that dinner.  The roasted egg, the herbs, the hunt, the cups of wine.  I won’t go over it all in this you can see it in my article here or another here — but remember the priestly bread that was broken by the Father for us. Jesus is our King and High Priest — He is that bread.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.  John 6:47-48

From the beginning we have been rebellious.  All of us… All we like Sheep have gone astray, each to His own Way.  God created us to have a relationship with Him, to KNOW Him and walk with Him.  He loved us and wanted us to love Him in return. But we disobeyed.  And in Genesis 6, it says we grieved Him in His heart because we were so sinful.

From before the very first sin, God already had a plan.  Here is the prophecy of the Savior that was to come.

God spoke to Satan and said, And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”  Gen 3:15

This is all just a part of my family’s Christmas traditions…It is the way we remember the many things He has done for us.

I do not let others judge my choices in this, nor do I try to cause offense.  But this does not mean others can impose their viewpoint on you, or judge you by calling you an idolater.  We have liberty and He will guide us.

However, we do not want to argue with others about what we choose to do in our home, in thanks, unto God.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.  I Cor 10:31-32

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHRISTMAS WREATH

The wreath has always reminded me of the crown of thorns*, the thorny leaves of the Holly, the red berries reminding me of the drops of blood my King shed for me, the scorn He endured silently.  If you Google the meaning of the Christmas wreath, some of the meanings of the never ending circle will include the eternality of our God, and evergreen is the promise of life unending for believers.

*THE THORNS – Man’s curse that He took upon His brow (Gen 3:17-18)

And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 

And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.  Matt. 28:31

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:8-14

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.  Isaiah 53:7

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.  

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, (which means “God Saves” or “Jehovah is Salvation”) for He will save His people from their sins.” (From before His incarnation, Jesus was identified as God.)  

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:18-23

Caesar Augustus had decreed that all the world should be registered. Everyone was to go to his own city.  So Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

SWADDLING CLOTHS SIGNIFY THE PERFECT SACRIFICE

The Shepherds were outside the camp, they were the lowliest of the people. This was the same place the bodies of the sacrifices were burned, where the lepers were sent, where in Hebrews 13 we are told to join Jesus in His reproach, without the camp.

The Shepherds watched over the sacrificial lambs, and in order to keep them without blemish, from the time they were born, until the time of sacrifice, they were wrapped in Swaddling cloths to keep them from nicking their fur, cutting themselves, or doing something that would cause them to be an unacceptable sacrifice.

Isn’t it significant that our humble Savior, the suffering Servant was announced to the humble keepers of the sacrifices (lambs)?  That He was wrapped in those same swaddling cloths?

John the Baptist told us who Jesus was…. Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the World. 

WE were (are) the sinners that need that Perfect Sacrifice.

2 Cor 5:21 says, For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Swaddling cloths – One of the signs to the Shepherds

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them (from Luke 2).

Christ Prophesied…

For unto us a Child is born, 

Unto us a Son is given; 

And the government will be upon His shoulder. 

And His name will be called 

Wonderful,

Counselor,

Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6

His Name is Wonderful

And the Angel of the LORD said to him,

“Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” Judges 13:8

This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.  Is 28:29

The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.  Is 10:21

Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemerthy name is from everlasting.  Is 63:16

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.  Is 54:10

FOOTNOTES AND CITATIONS:  

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/christmas-awpink.htm * (Alfred Edersheim – March 7, 1825 – March 16, 1889, born in Vienna; a Jewish believer in Christ and a Biblical scholar.)

> We have thus stated the ground on which the arguments rests that Christmas Day was celebrated on the 25th December, because it was the fulfilment of what had been symbolised in the feast of the Dedication of the Temple, which took place on the 25th of the ninth month, corresponding to our December. It is not necessary for our present purpose to maintain that this reference was understood even in the latter half of the fourth century, when the Christmas observance of the 25th December became general.   Suffice that already at that time it rested “on a very ancient tradition.”   The tradition may have been known, even while its origin had been forgotten.

>>And yet it is singular how our Christmas customs are so thoroughly in accordance with it. Those tall, straight fir-trees, with their branches stretched out like arms, are like the candlestick in the Temple, and, as among Israel during that feast every home was lighted up, so the Christmas trees also are lighted to symbolise the same truth of light shining out into the darkness.

>>The “gilded apples” with which they are hung were intended to convey a kindred meaning. According to Christian legend, the fruit of the tree which had caused our parents’ fall was of the apple kind (malum a malo). But now the apple is gilded, and it hangs on the Christmas tree, which is lit up in joy for the Dedication of the true Temple, which is the body of the second Adam. As for the superstitious practice of introducing the manager-cradle, we cannot find too strong words to condemn its silliness and profanity. But it is a curious illustration alike of how, in the providence of God, whatever is false avenges itself, and of the origin of superstition, that the practice of placing an ox and an ass by the side of the manger-cradle arose from a false translation3 of Hab. iii.2: “Revive thy work in the midst of the years.” The Septuagint renders it, “in the midst of two beasts shall he be known,” and this, with further reference to Isaiah i. 3, led to the custom which now so shocks our sense of reverence! But to us all, whatever our special views or conclusions may be, Christ is the true Temple, and His Incarnation the real Dedication of the Temple. God grant that from our homes the true Light of Christ, “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” may shine forth into the wintry darkness of the heathen world, and also “so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.”

 

 

3 Responses to “Is Christmas really Pagan? Is the Christmas tree an idol?

  • Stephen W., I don’t know if you meant for your comment to be for a public comment or not, it was under ‘feedback’ (learning so much with this new format).

    I love you in Christ, the Lord opened your eyes because you wanted to know the truth, and you were a Berean. Those times and friends bless me greatly. My graphics you have helped me too with the feedback and sharing His Word.

    Love in Christ, Holly

  • Amen! Well put and love the way this is scripture based!

    If it’s your conviction then fine. But dont judge or try to put others in bondage because of what you perceive as wrong.
    It’s ALL about Christ and not about whether it’s right or wrong! Some are so busy trying to get there point across they forget about Christ! HE’S THE ONE!

    • Terry, so true, and I’m afraid it goes both ways. If we can just ‘reset’ our thinking and fix our eyes on Jesus. Hard to do as we have either fallen into patterns or into legalism or condemnation. So thankful to be free in His truth and grace.

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