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Where did Christmas come from? What purpose does it hold? Regardless of whether Christmas is observed with a Christian perspective, most people believe its purpose was originated to celebrate the birth of Christ. They assume that the Bible is its foundation. This assumption is not correct. From the Book of Genesis to Revelation there is not one word mentioned about this most significant occasion on the the world's calendar.
A simple, beautiful account in Luke and a devastating result in Matthew has actually been added to and taken away from in order to create this overwhelming affair. There is no subtle hint, no lead to follow, no important words to give Christians this spiritual direction. God neither provided a birth date nor any personal direct request to make the birth of His Son a holy observance. Why then is Jesus' birth such a powerful focus among the Christian faith? And from there, how did it seep into every walk of life?
The place to find the answers as to why, when, and how this particular event came about are in the pages of history where an alarming story waits to be told. Not that fragments of this story have not been told before, for many times they have. Though more often in a way that is quickly covered up, put back to its restless state and deemed "better left forgotten."
For every truth that has surfaced, a pretense has risen in its place. Take the fact that December 25 is not the actual day of Jesus' birth. Those who are already aware of this fact (though many still have no idea) hold the church's point of view. Whether Jesus was born on December 25 is not the important issue, it's the purpose of intent one should be concerned with: adoration to Christ. The clergy argues against sound biblical reasoning using human emotion against solid truth. "It's how you feel in the heart that matters" they say, and it has been the faithfulness of the believer to humbly cling to these comforting words that has allowed us to fall captive to the emotional calculations of the heart.
Not many people realize that Christmas evolved from an old heathen Roman Winter festival celebrated centuries before the birth of Jesus. Many of our cherished customs derived from this affair: gift-giving, lighting candles, holly, mistletoe, the evergreen tree, and even the the festive mood surrounding this season. It took much more than human emotion to magically settle the disputes that began to soar in view of making this decision. Accepting a festival once dedicated to false gods and thus dedicating it to Christ was far more difficult than accepting an unknown date for Jesus' birth.
The odd fact remains, Christmas and its customs came from an old sacrilegious affair. So why have we been misled into believing that Christmas came from the sincerity of the heart? Why has this information been twisted to appear like an original idea evolving out of love for our Lord, as we have always believed?
History speaks for itself and if one were to seriously investigate Christmas, the truth would unfold. They would discover this shocking reality of how Christmas latched onto a pagan affair many centuries ago. They would see how the symbols once hailed as great sentiments in the hearts of those who worshipped false gods are the same symbols we embrace with great sentiment, in the name of Christ; symbols that shall be proven as being vile to God, and possessing a deeper meaning than what our reliable attachment to them bears.
In the world of occultism, symbolic relics are used to induce magical powers to seduce their victims. As farfetched as it may seem, isn't it possible for the relics used at Christmas to possess the same mesmerizing effect over those who feel drawn to them? When we think about it, what is Christmas without these luring effects? December comes like every month but until the lights are strung, the tree adorned, the gifts tantalizingly dazzled, and all the cherished relics arrayed in their splendor, does it feel like Christmas? When Santa Claus appears the spirit of magical happenings is ready to bestow the world with awe. Behind this spellbinding display however, comes a story of another kind.
The encyclopedia is one among many knowledgeable sources we can probe. Listed below are two that will tell us precisely what we need to know. In this way we can begin to enlighten ourselves with a deeper, enriching insight into the situation. Going beyond this, however, is most crucial.
"The reason for establishing December 25 for Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to the pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen to celebrate the "rebirth of the sun." Northern European tribes celebrated their chief festival of ‘Yule’ at the winter solstice to commemorate the rebirth of the sun as the giver of light and warmth. The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture and to the renewed power of the sun) also took place at this time, and some Christmas customs are thought be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration." (Reprinted with permission of The Encyclopedia Americana).
"Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25. Primitive Christianity regarded the birth of Jesus as a significant moment important for the understanding of His person. This conviction was expressed in narrative form in the birth stores (Matt. 1-2; Luke 1-2).
Despite the beliefs about Christ that the birth stores express, the early Church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century. The date was chosen to counter the pagan festivities connected with the winter solstice. Since 274 A.D., under Emperor Aurelian, Rome has celebrated the feast of the Invincible Sun on December 25. In the Eastern Church January 6, a day also associated with the winter solstice, was initially preferred. In course of time however, the West added the Eastern date as the feast of the Epiphany and the East added the Western date of Christmas. Thus, the West subsequently divided the Christmas celebration between December 25 (the birth of Christ and homage of the shepherds), and January 6 (the homage of the Magi).
In medieval Europe, folk customs connected with the winter solstice were perpetuated together with the church celebration. The Puritans in England and New England tried to abolish Christmas but that move was unpopular and Christmas survived and has been developed commercially ever since the Industrial Revolution. This has had the effect of pushing back the Christmas festivities to the period before Christmas. In the traditional church calendars the pre-Christmas season of ADVENT was one of the quiet preparations, the festivities belonging to the Twelve Days (December 26 - January 6." (Reprinted with permission for the Academic America Encyclopedia)
Here is part of our evidence. Christmas did not exist before the 4th century. It's no wonder then why a celebration for the birth of Jesus is not mentioned in the Bible. The early Christians did not even observe such a day. The fact that it came into effect centuries later by the adoption of a heathen festival, at the time already in full force, is repeatedly undisputed. The Roman Catholic Church utilized the heathen festival as a means for their own advantage.
If the idea to celebrate Jesus' birth was not a vital focus among the early Christians, the very people who walked and talked with Jesus, then what was? The Bible makes this focus clear: it was Christ's death and resurrection. This was the driving force behind His people ... and the entire New Testament revolves around this most important message.
Jesus was born for the sole purpose of dying so He could defeat death to provide mankind with the promise of salvation. Many Christians believe that if it were not for His birth mankind would not have salvation. As meaningful as Jesus' birth is to a Christian, it cannot be denied that if He had failed to conquer the temptations and trials of the flesh, His birth would have been void, providing no salvation. The apostles were aware of this vital factor so any disputes in regard to a birth/death issue were never raised. It was only after the efforts to change the true focus did disputes begin to rise, and then this was centuries long after Christ's departure. Certainly, this should make one wonder.
It wasn't an infant lying helpless in a manger that Jesus asked His people to remember, it was the full power of Christ. This is the real issue few take time to question. So why isn't there an outstanding commemoration for Christ's memorial? This is the one and only remembrance He asked us to carry on from generation to generation until He returned. A Sunday Service with an Easter egg hunt can hardly be considered paying proper homage to the one who sacrificed His life for ours. Perhaps one should be wondering about this affair, as well.
The point is, the remembrance Christ asked us to follow is far less than a remembrance He never mentioned: His birth. Could it be that this was never a consideration for one simple reason, such as He didn't want His followers spending their time foolishly on something other than focussing our attention on everlasting life through His death?
With so little said about Jesus' birth in the Bible (yet much about His death and resurrection) why, then, has it become the one thing most followers have made the most of? Why do people insist on believing in something contradictory to Christ's own personal request? The answer is obvious: blind love has closed eyes to the truth.
Jesus obviously knew what would and would not please our heavenly Father. He must have regarded birthday celebrations as a means of self-worship, as was the common belief among God's elect. They were never celebrated.
Every Christian should agree that Jesus was more than aware of the example His life would set and certainly He would not want to set any displeasing, misguided ideas. Perhaps this is why the early church felt little about turning His birth into a makeover of a pagan celebration. But despite what was known as a very wrong doing, the Roman Catholic Church disregarded God's word and took advantage of a situation that managed to turn the people away from their true focus toward a pagan focus - and all in the name of Christ.
This idea may sound promising and with good intentions, but from a biblical point of view the Roman Catholic Church took what was and still is an abomination to God. They not only adopted it but presumably Christianized it and hung the name of Jesus upon it to provide the foundation for a holy standing. In biblical terms this is called "Adulterating" the word of God and this, without doubt, is how Christmas came into existence.
The clergy has always defended this forbidden comprise as a purpose of good intent. So if the intent was to exploit Christ's name, thus winning souls, why has it not accomplished this task? One need only to look around the world at Christmastime to see that the majority of people are actually further away from Christ.
Since it was the church that gave this spirit of pretense the foundation for its lifelong standing, could this festival have survived without the good name of the Lord? Most likely yes, but the rest of the question is, "Would it have become one of the World's most obsessive affairs!?" Probably not. The status of its power has won the world over in leaps and bounds. The hold that this spirit now possesses on Christians and non-Christians alike is so deeply cultivated it no longer needs Christ's name to survive anymore. Santa Claus is doing a fine job on his own.
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Copyright 1990 / ISBN: 0-533-08812-7 / Library of Congress Catalog Card No : 89-90466 (Out-Of-Print)