THE TRUTH ABOUTCHRISTMAS
by Charles Half
WHY I DO NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
Up until 20 years ago, I used to celebrate Christmas as much or more than any Gentile. Although I was born and reared in a Jewish home, we always had a Christmas tree every December because it was the popular thing to do. We had our ornaments, mistletoe, holly wreath, presents, and everything else that goes along with the Christmas celebration. You see, Jewish people celebrate Christmas today, not because of Christ's birthday, but because it is a popular tradition of our present day society. And I observed Christmas for nearly 22 years of my life, until God opened my eyes to see the falsity of this pagan holiday. It's not because I'm a Jew that I don't celebrate Christmas. Now let me tell you why I no longer observe this pagan holiday.
CHRISTMAS NOT IN THE BIBLE
In the first place, Christmas is not a Bible doctrine. If our blessed Lord had wanted us to celebrate His birthday, He would have told us when to celebrate it and how to do it. The apostles and the early church never celebrated Christ's birthday at any time. The Bible tells us everything we need to know relative to our spiritual life (II Tim. 3:16). We don't have to go outside the Bible for anything. God's Word tells us how we're supposed to worship, how we're supposed to give money for the Lord's work, how to evangelize the lost, how to take the Lord's Supper, and everything else pertaining to the Christian life. But not once in the Bible does God tell us to celebrate Christmas.Don't you think that if God had wanted us to observe Christmas, He would have told us about it at least one place in the Bible? God's people are supposed to be Bible people. So the very fact that Christmas is never mentioned in the Bible is sufficient reason why we shouldn't celebrate it.
No one knows the exact day when Jesus was born. The birthday of Jesus is a secret with God the Father, and God would have told us the exact day of His Son's birth if He wanted us to know it!
The shepherds came to Bethlehem to see Jesus at His birth. The wise men came to Nazareth to see Jesus when He was almost two years old. If you will read Matthew 2:7-11carefully, you will see that the star led the wise men to Nazareth, not to the stable in Bethlehem where our Lord was born. Verse 9 tells us that they found Jesus in "the house" where He had lived with Mary and Joseph since He was 91 days old (Luke 2:7, 21-39). This "house" was in Nazareth, the place where Joseph and Mary lived. It all becomes very simple if you will keep in mind that the shepherds came to Bethlehem and found an infant in a manger. The wise men were led to Nazareth and found a child living in a house.
Herod knew that the Christ child was nearly two years old when he inquired of the wise men, and that's why he ordered all the children from two years old and under to be put to death (Matthew 2:16). So never confuse the visit of the shepherds and the visit of the wise men. They were two entirely separate and distinct events. Another thing, there is nothing said in the Bible about three wise men coming to visit Christ. The fact is that the Bible does not give their number at all but merely states that there were wise men. There may have been two, there may have been three, there may have been four, there may have been a dozen - we don't know. Yet ninety-nine people out of a hundred think that there were three wise men. That's the way tradition has it. What does the Bible say? It simply says that "there came WISE MEN from the East to Jerusalem saying, 'Where is He that is born King of the Jews?'" (Matthew 2: 1-2).
That brings me to the next reason why I don't celebrate Christmas, and that is because Christ was not born on December 25th. Notice: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night (Luke 2:8)."
Now this verse tells us very plainly that the shepherds were in the fields taking care of their flocks on the night Jesus was born. As the shepherds were watching their sheep, the message came to them of the birth of Jesus. Now it is a well known fact that December is the rainy season in Palestine and the sheep were kept in the fold at that time of the year. The shepherds always corralled and brought their flocks from the mountain sides and fields not later than October l5th, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. So the birth of Christ could not have taken place at the end of December. Then, if you will turn to the second chapter of Luke, you will find that at the birth of Christ every woman and child was to go to be taxed at the city where they were citizens. This could not have been in winter. Augustus, the king of Rome, would certainly not call for such a taxing in the depth of winter. Therefore, Christ could not have been born in December. Actually, Christ was born some time in the first part of October. This is deduced from the fact that His earthly ministry lasted 3 1/2 years, and He was crucified on the l4th day of Nisan which corresponds to our April. See John 19:31; Leviticus 23:5. If we go back 3 1/2 years to the time when Jesus was 30 years old (when He began His public ministry), we come to the month of October. This was probably the month when our blessed Lord was born into the world.Of course, the date of Jesus' birth is not too important. The important thing is that He was born and that He died for our sins. We're not worshiping a helpless infant lying in a manger, but we're worshiping a risen and exalted Christ who has all power in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18. ).
I shall now quote from the Encyclopedia Americana, 1942 Edition, vol. 6, page 623, concerning its report of the origin of Christmas:
"Christmas – It was according to many authorities NOT celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian Church as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth. A feast was established in memory of the birth of the Savior in the FOURTH Century. In the Fifth Century the Western Church (Roman Catholic) ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman Feast of the birth of Sol. The holly, the mistletoe, the yule log and the wassail bowl are of pre Christian times. The Christmas tree has been traced back to the Romans. It went from Germany to Great Britain."
Any reputable encyclopedia will tell you that our modern day Christmas customs came out of paganism. Encyclopedia Britannica has this to say:
"Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ) was not among the earliest festivals of the church."
Any good encyclopedia will verify the fact that Christmas came out of paganism, that the exchanging of gifts, the making use of holly, the mistletoe and the yule log, the Christmas tree and the singing of carols, the dancing and the feasting are all of pagan origin and were all gradually grafted into the so-called "Christian" church during or after the fourth century A. D. Tertullian and others tell how exchanging of gifts was a part of the Saturnalia celebration. And the hymns they sang at that pagan feast were predecessors to the Christmas carols. Says Pysher: "Many pagan carols were adopted but were given a Christian meaning. Carols and dancing were kept out of the festival of Christmas for many centuries." The Encyclopedia Americana declares: "The holly, the mistletoe, the Yule log and the wassail bowl are relics of pre Christian times." The historian Hislop confirms these findings: "The wassailing bowl of Christmas had its precise counterpart in the 'Drunken festival' of Babylon," says Hislop;" and many of the other observances still kept up among ourselves at Christmas came from the very same quarter. The candles, in some parts of England (and America), lighted on Christmases, and used so long as the festive season lasts, were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honor to him . . . The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in pagan Rome and pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir." – The Two Babylons, page 97.
Now, beloved, God's people are not supposed to have anything to do with pagan customs or pagan doctrine. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 10: 2, "Learn not the way of the heathen." But somehow the Christian has learned it just the same.Some will say, "We can't help it if we were born into a pagan world. We can't help it if we were reared and steeped in pagan doctrines and customs." Oh, yes you can! Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
There is only one righteous thing that you can do with these pagan holidays and that is to repudiate them and have no part in them. The virgin birth of Christ is a blessed fact, but the Christmas celebration is a wicked and an ungodly thing.
Another reason why I don't celebrate Christmas is that Christmas is a Catholic holiday. Why should I steal Christmas from the Catholics? They got it from the pagans and I'm happy to let them keep it.Sometimes you hear the slogan, "Let's Put Christ Back Into Christmas." Well, beloved, how can you put Christ back into something when He was never there?
Even the name "Christmas" is an abomination to the Lord. Christmas is a combination of two words, "Christ" and "Mass." Christ is the divine title of our Lord. "Mass" is from the Roman Catholic sacrament of the mass. Certainly born-again Christians shouldn't have anything to do with masses. The mass is a Roman Catholic invention. The mass is a prayer that is read or sung for the soul of a dead person. Every time you say "Merry Christmas," you are actually mixing the precious and holy name of Christ with a demon holiday. The Lord tells us in no unmistakable language that we are not to mix His name with any pagan holiday or with a pagan god. The Lord says in Ezekiel 20: 39, "Pollute not my holy name no more."
The next reason why I don't celebrate Christmas is that Christmas is of the world. We are commanded in I John 2: 15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
One fact alone proves to me that Christmas is not of God. It is this: The world which hates Christ and His blood atonement for sin makes more fuss about Christmas than any other holiday. Now beloved, if December 25th were really the birthday of Jesus, don't you know that the world would have nothing to do with it?
More people get drunk at Christmas than at any other time during the year. There's more big parties and more selfish spending at Christmas than at any other season. Doesn't that prove that it's of the world and not of God? If it were of God, the world wouldn't have anything to do with it. The very fact that the world observes it proves that it isn't of God.
Furthermore, Jesus said, "That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15)." Jesus said anything which men highly esteem is abomination to God. Well, don't people esteem Christmas more highly than almost anything else!
The vilest sinner in town will run over you if necessary in order to celebrate Christmas. If you have any doubts as to whether the world loves Christmas or not, just go into any big department store or dime store during the last few frantic hours of the Christmas shopping season, and see how many people run over you and what a mad house it is. Why, they'll elbow you practically to death.A person must surely be blind it he can't see that the modern day Christmas celebration is of the world.
I do not celebrate Christmas because the Christmas tree is condemned by the Bible.
"Learn not the way of the Heathen . . . For the customs of that people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not . . . But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities . . . (Jeremiah 10: 2-4, 10)."
Here you have a perfect description of the Christmas tree, called by God "the way of the heathen." We are commanded not to learn that way or follow it. It is also viewed in this passage as idolatry. The fifth verse says that these trees cannot speak – cannot walk – must be carried. Some people misread this to make it say there is no harm in having a Christmas tree, but that is not what it says at all. Rather, the prophet Jeremiah tells us that it is vanity and foolishness and says "learn not the way of the heathen." Some people will stay up all night to work on an old dead tree. They'll trim it all up, and stand off a little ways and admire their handiwork. Some of you will sit up all night and look at that old Christmas tree.
I hope some of you preachers will get up in the middle of the night and throw that old tree out of your house and out of your church. Well, I realize some of you will just gnash your teeth and call me "narrow minded." Well, you can call me narrow minded it you want to, but I'm just giving you the Word of God.I'd like to leave this little thought with you. Did you know that the green tree is mentioned 14 times in the Bible, and in every instance it is linked with idolatry. There isn't one place in the Bible where God commends the use of the evergreen in connection with true worship.
Perhaps the most important part of the Christmas celebration is the buying and exchanging of gifts. Now beloved, I do not celebrate Christmas because the custom of exchanging gifts has nothing to do with the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When people exchange gifts, they're not bringing them to Christ; they're giving them to one another. You have got to keep a list of the people who sent you presents last year and each year your list grows longer and longer, and before long you're in such a heavy debt buying Christmas presents that you've got to start saving money right after one Christmas in order to buy presents for the next Christmas.
Beloved, I can't understand why anyone would went to be in bondage to such an expensive custom. Jesus is supposed to be the cause of Christmas, and yet people give their gifts to everybody but Jesus.
Perhaps some of you are asking, "Didn't the Wise Men give gifts to Jesus?" They certainly did, but they didn't give them to one another. And their gifts were not birthday gifts because the Wise Men did not come to visit Jesus until he was nearly two years old. The Shepherds came to visit Jesus at His birth, but the Wise Men came to see Him nearly two years later.Did you know that giving gifts to a king was a common custom in the Far East? That's the reason why the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus – because he had been born to be King of the Jews. But they were not birthday gifts. So there is no connection between Christmas and the birthday of Jesus in this respect. Every time some conscientious mothers raise this question, "Don't you think we ought to give the children a good time? They don't understand." Let me ask you this question, mother – is it necessary to drag the holy name of our blessed Lord down to the low level of fleshly gratification and drunkenness to show the kiddies a good time? A thousand times, No! Let's teach our children the truth about Christmas. God's Word says (Ephesians 6:4) to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and why should we dishonor the name of Christ in such manner under the pretense of showing the children a good time? There are 364 more days in the year during which we can give gifts to our children.
It is plain to see that there isn't a single thing connected with Christmas that is Biblical. Let's just take Santa Claus as an example.
The name Santa Claus is a corruption of the name Saint Nicholas who is none other than Old Nick, the Devil. And yet thousands of parents will encourage their children to write to dear old St. Nick or dear Santa. Now if you're a Christian, you should be ashamed of yourself if you lie to your children by telling them that there is a Santa Claus. Through the year you punish your children for lying, and then you turn right around and lie yourself by telling your children that there is a Santa Claus. Is it any wonder that when they grow up and learn the truth they begin to believe that God is a myth too?
The Bible says in Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another." We are commanded in Ephesians 4:25, "...to put away lying, and to speak every man truth with his neighbor."
Beloved, I say again I don't know of a single thing connected with Christmas that is Biblical. You have to go outside of the Bible to learn of the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, the holly wreath, mistletoe, yule log, and all other things that go along with the Christmas celebration. Let's be honest before God and admit that this is a pagan holiday and a trick of the Devil.
Beloved, anyone with any sense at all ought to be able to see that Christmas is good for only one thing – to make money for the department stores and the business merchants. Any simpleton should be able to see that Christmas makes dollars, and dollars make Christmas. But, does it make any sense?No, there's no reason why anyone has to celebrate Christmas. It's not in the Bible. Jesus was not born on December 25th. And we can remember the birth of our wonderful Savior 365 days a year.
Finally, I don't celebrate Christmas because God's Word absolutely forbids the observance of any (religious) holy days in this church dispensation. Listen:
"Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain (Galatians 4:10-11)."
That sounds like the observance of Christmas, doesn't it? Here the Apostle Paul absolutely forbids the observing of days, months and seasons. To the Christian there are no special holy days. Every day should be alike, holy unto the Lord.
If you are truly saved, you will remember the birth, the life, the death, the burial and the resurrection of your wonderful Savior 365 days a year. Yes, I am glad to serve a real and a living Christ who lives all year round. Let us as born-again Christians use our money this season of the year, not for foolish and unnecessary presents, but to spread the Gospel message to this lost and dying world.
Oh, Christian, I beseech you, turn from the world and its holy days, touch not the unclean thing; associate not the birth of the holy Son of God with the fables of the world and apostate Christendom. Hear His pleading voice, "Be ye separate, O my people (II Corinthians 6:19)."The late Charles Halff was the director of the Christian Jew Foundation, P.O. Box 345, San Antonio, TX 78292. Edited.