Just using those words for a title on a blog written by a Baptist preacher is sure to catch a glimpse or two I will bet, but it isn’t about what you think it is. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching this past year regarding Christmas. Amelia and I had long ago made the decision that we aren’t going to put the tree up anymore (Jeremiah 10:1-4 helped that along just a little), because we didn’t like the pagan associations that it holds and because there is no Scriptural reason to have one either. I mean it seems funny to talk about how Christmas is all about Christ while we do all these things that have nothing to do with Him at all. Let me explain what I mean.
There is a new video series at WorldNetDaily that highlights some of the pagan influence and corruption that has crept into Christian circles over the centuries, which intrigued me more since doing my research paper on that topic a few weeks ago. One of the recent videos in the series, that we both posted to Facebook, was on the pagan nature of Christmas and Easter and you can check it out for yourself if you want. But now you may be wondering what all of this has to do with the title of the post.
In doing this research I wandered to a website created by Richard Rives called Too Long in the Sun, and in particular I was drawn to his article about Christmas in this case. I would like to quote a couple of passages from the article here, but I would certainly encourage you to take a look at the whole thing for yourself.
A Roman calendar drawn up by a “Christian” in 354 A.D. (The Codex Calendar of 354) shows December 25 to be the birthday of Sol Invictus. Not only is it listed as a pagan birthday; but, it is listed as the most important pagan birthday of the whole year. It was celebrated in the Roman Circus with extra chariot races. This is the sun god that Constantine the Great worshipped while claiming to be a “Christian.” His coins state that he was “committed to Sol Invictus.” Constantines’ form of “Christianity” continues to influence Christianity today. December 25th is just one example. Satan wants to be “God.” The first four commandments tell us who “God” really is. Satan hates that and has done everything possible to abrogate those commandments. Calling December 25th the birthday of Jesus is nothing less than sticking a pagan god in the face of the “God” of the Bible – a direct violation of the first commandment.
Now that may sound a little over the top to some, but I think the man makes a very valid point. It isn’t as though Christmas itself is sacrosanct or holy in some way. In fact, the early church wouldn’t know what to make of our current celebrations to be sure.
There is no record of a December 25th celebration of the birth of Christ in Rome earlier than 336. In Constantinople, no record of a celebration before 378. In Alexandria, not before 400; and in Jerusalem, not before 425.The bottom line is that there are no reliable historical documents that would place the birth of Jesus on December 25th. On the other hand, there is overwhelming documentation that the birthday of many of the sun gods of antiquity was recognized as December 25th.
I am not writing this to condemn anyone, but rather I am writing this to provoke thought. We have a tendency to do what we do because we have always done it that way. In the case of Christmas, there is much sentimentality attached and the pull to just keep doing things the way we always have is even stronger for that reason. For me personally, the situation has just changed too much. I am not out to ruin Christmas for people, but I can’t help but share my heart in this matter either. This was the thing that really drove this home for me and is the reason for the title of this post:
. . .let us not forget that at Mt. Sinai the people declared the celebrations associated with the “golden calf” to be “a feast to the LORD.” He wanted to kill them all, and would have, except for the intervention of Moses. We cannot decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. That is what Satan wants us to do. We cannot proclaim a known pagan birthday to be in honor of Jesus, just because we think it is a good thing to do.
When the people worshiped the golden calf in Exodus 32, Moses responded by taking the calf and turning it into powder and then forcing the people to drink it. That was his response to the people who tried to “make their own celebration to the Lord” rather than wait on God’s ways and His times. Maybe we ought to pulverize some evergreens and drink up.
I say all that to also admit that we aren’t really going to do the Christmas thing this year. We are going to see our families during the Christmas holiday and we will be gathering with them peacefully(I have no intention of starting any arguments over this), but we are going to celebrate Hanukkah here in North Dakota before we go (it starts on the 11th of December if you are curious). I am sure my good friend Eric is chuckling even now as he reads this, but if you want to know why we are doing it read John 10 and pay special attention to verse 22. You may have to read the footnotes in your Bible to find out that Jesus was in the Temple for Hanukkah when you read it, but this is exactly what it says. We have decided that if our Lord observed it, we will too. So, please don’t be offended if I don’t wish you a merry Christmas. It isn’t done out of spite for our Savior, but rather out of respect for Him. Be blessed in the Lord and may His light shine on you at this time of the year. Oh, and Happy Hanukkah!