Unwrapping Christmas

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,

In a previous writing, I touched on some of the history in which the pagan holiday which we today know as Christmas was incorporated into Christianity. In this article, I will delve just a little bit deeper into the origins and man- made customs of Christmas.

We have learned that December 25th is not the day of Christ Jesus’ birth. Also, we can deduce it was not in the winter, but rather in the autumn.

The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, he would have spoken through his prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes. {RH December 9, 1884}

There are these three events described in the Bible surrounding the birth of Jesus.

1) The shepherds were out in the field. Therefore, shepherds would not be out in the winter day of December 25.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8

2) Caesar summoned the people to their homes to be enrolled in the census. It would be highly unlikely that Caesar would cause the people to travel in the winter.

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. Luke 2:3.

3) Jesus was crucified at the spring Passover, 3 ½ years into His ministry. The Bible states that Jesus was baptized at about His 30th birthday, at which time He began His ministry. As He was crucified at the spring Passover, if you go back 3 ½ years, it brings you back to the autumn.

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli Luke 3:22-23

So, from where and why did we get December 25th from and why do “Christians” celebrate the Christmas? The date depended on pagan festivals such as Brumalia (the December 25 celebration) following the eight- day Saturnalia festival (December 17-24). These encompassed celebrating the shortest day of the year (the winter solstice on December 21) with the birth of the “new sun” (December 25, the first observable day of it rising in the noon sky). These festivals were full of merrymaking and licentiousness. December 25 was chosen in honor of their sun god Mithra, in the keeping of his birthday. Mithra was originally an ancient god of Iran (Persia). By the 1st century, Mithra was the leading sun god and foremost pagan god of any kind. By the 2nd century, Christians in Alexandria and Rome began keeping Sunday, the first day, to be better accepted by the pagans. Lord Mithra was the name given him by pagan worshippers, and they called his day “the Lord’s Day.” The terms “Lord’s day” and “day of the Lord” were used in the Bible repeatedly to describe the seventh-day Sabbath. On March 7, 321, the first national Sunday Law was enacted by Roman Emperor Constantine. He decreed that all trades were to rest on (as he called it) the “Venerable Day of the Sun”, Sunday, the first day. This was the day of Mithra, the sun god. Exception was made for farmers to tend their fields. It was easily accepted by compromising Christians. Constantine’s goal was to unite all religions into one, the Christian church. It granted authority to the Roman Bishop over all other Christian congregations. So, Christmas, the birthday of the sun god and Sunday sacredness both came into and were accepted by the Christian church. Christianity was joined with Mithraism. Christmas is but a Christianized pagan festival, and is why we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. Remember that the word Christmas comes from the joining of two words, Christ’s Mass. This is a Roman Catholic mass that is performed on December 25th. As in other masses, Christ is offered by the priest in a wafer. The people are to worship this wafer as if it were Jesus Christ Himself. This is a custom of the Catholic Church.

Where did sun worship originate?

1) Egypt- first evidence of the feast came from Egypt, a celebration of the sun god. Ra was the sun god of Egypt. The son of Isis, “queen of heaven” was born at about the time of the winter solstice. Pagan Egyptians celebrated their feast at this time, pointing to the origin of Christmas. The center of Egyptian sun worship was in Heliopolis, which means “city of the sun” in Greek. Their god of the Sun Disk was named Aton.

2) Babylon- In honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian “queen of heaven.” Entering Canaan, Joshua and the Hebrews encountered sun worship. There was Baal of the Phoenicians, Molech or Milcom of the Ammonites, Hadad of the Syrians, Mitras or Mithra of the Persians, Shemesh in the Middle East, and the Babylonian myth of Tammuz and Ishtar. The temple at Baalbek was dedicated to sun worship. The Israelites often practiced sun worship themselves.

And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. Lev 26:30.

And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect [that] which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images. Isa 17:8

For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 2 Kings 21:3

And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen [this], O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Ezekiel 8:16-17

3) Rome was largely pagan. Pagan customs and traditions were incorporated into Christianity by half-converted members and leaders. They did not want to give up their festivities. In the 4th century, the December 25th festival was established as the birth of Christ, and this is how we got Christmas. In the 5th century, the Western Church ordered it to be forever celebrated on the old Roman festival day of the feast of the sun god of Sol Invictus- the Invincible Sun (another name for Mithra, the sun god), the “birthday of the Sun.” The pagans followed a planetary week and thus named the days of the week after different heavenly bodies ruled over by a different god. The most important day for the pagans was the first day, Sunday, Mithras’ day. Sun worship is one of the most ancient forms of worship, the earliest idolatry.

Where did all the customs and traditions surrounding the Christmas holiday come from?

1) Santa Claus- the legend of Santa Claus is strikingly similar to that of the ancient Egyptian god Bes. Bes was a short round god who was said to give gifts to children. He lived in the far North, where he spent the year making toys for them. The Roman god Saturn was similar and more than likely was copied from Bes. The name Santa Claus and Kriss Kringle are from the German “Sant Nikolaas” (Sant-Ni-Klaus) and “Christ Krindl” or “Christ Child” - a counterfeit Christ. Behind the German name of Santa Claus is the pagan German god of Thor. He was an elderly man, jovial and friendly, heavy build, with a long white beard. His element was fire and his color red. The roar of thunder was said to be caused by the rolling of his chariot drawn by two white goats, Cracker and Gnasher. He lived in the North land and had a palace among icebergs. He was a cheerful and friendly god, helping and protecting the humans. The fireplace was sacred to him as he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire. This is the true origin of the Santa Claus of today, and has nothing to do with the birth of Christ Jesus.

2) Tree- The Christmas tree originates from Egypt. Evergreens, because of their ability to remain green, symbolized immortality and fertility. Egyptian priests taught that the evergreen tree sprang from the grave of their god Osiris, who after being murdered by another god, was resurrected by the energy in an evergreen tree. This pagan custom is mentioned in the Bible.

Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.

They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. Jeremiah 10:2-4.

Green trees were cut down and decked with offerings of food and precious gifts to Mithra. Germans brought the Christmas tree to America. The Irish brought the ancient Gaelic custom of lights in the windows.

3) Yule log- Yule is the Chaldean (Babylonian) word for an infant or little child. Pagan Anglo Saxons called December 25th “Yule day” or the “Child’s day” long before they came into contact with Christianity. The Celts also worshipped the sun. Their December sun festival was called Julmond, which was taken into Christianity when it came to Britain. During the Yule festival, branches were stripped off the evergreen and used for decoration. The remaining log was considered sacred to the sun. The log was round like the sun and its length symbolized the sun’s movement. Families would select nicely rounded trees each year from which to cut the Yule log. When burned, it would send out heat, just like the sun. In 1644, by an act of Parliament, the English Puritans forbade any merriment or religious services as the Yule day was considered a heathen festival.

4) Mistletoe- the mistletoe was a sacred plant of the pagan Druids in Britain. It was believed to have all sorts of miraculous qualities, one of which was the power of healing. The druids called it “All-heal.” It was considered so sacred that if enemies happened to meet beneath a mistletoe in the forest, they would lay down their arms and keep a truce till the next day. The pagan custom survives today as in the kiss under the mistletoe.

5) Wreaths and Holly were circular and made of evergreen branches. They were made in the shape of the sun as life could not exist without sunlight. They were also worn as fertility symbols. They can be traced back to pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas.

6) Exchange and giving of gifts came from the Roman feast of Saturnalia. Gifts of candles were supposed to symbolize the increasing power of sunlight after the winter solstice. It was a season of “goodwill.” It was during this feast that there was excessive eating and drinking, sweets, the playing of games and exchanging of gifts. The church adopted this custom declaring that the exchanging of gifts to be done on December 25th.

There are many other pagan holidays and customs which are based on sun worship. The few listed above are those that should be more familiar to this present time. So, when you are out and about partaking in this holiday and customs surrounding it, ask yourself- am I honoring God or man’s traditions. Is this about Christ Jesus, or is this just another one of Satan’s great deceptions. The answer should be crystal clear.

Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. Deuteronomy 12:30-3

But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9

More Christmas Articles:

Should We Heed the Season's Greetings?


Debunking the Christmas Star Myth



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