“...is the note that is sounded throughout our world from east to west and from north to south. With youth, those of mature age, and even the aged, it is a period of general rejoicing, of great gladness. But what is Christmas, that it should demand so much attention?” (EGWSROCHG 1.1)
The first question should be asked, what is Christmas to you? Also, what attracts you to celebrate it? Is it to honor and acknowledge the birth of our Savior? Or is it a love for tradition and the desire to gratify self?
Why the 25th of December?
“The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. 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.” (EGWSROCHG 1.2)
“In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death. For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth; that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world—one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as He who could save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.” (EGWSROCHG 1.3)
As we read through the context around Jesus' birth there are several clues we can follow:
The Jews were under Roman rule and they despised anything which reminded them that they were no longer free. The Roman ruler, Caesar Augustus, was requiring that a census and taxing be done of all of the Jews. They required the Jews to travel back to their birthplace which would be unpopular and even more so if during the dead of winter where the roads would be very hard to travel on (see: Matthew 24:20)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed... And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. ” Luke 2:1-3
More evidence that Jesus' birth would not be during the middle of winter as the winter the weather very cold in Israel, conditions not suitable for living in fields or even keeping the flocks out in the field overnight.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. ” Luke 2:8
We do not need to know exactly when Jesus birth was, this is only proving it was unlikely to be in December, however there are clues to when it was if you research the timing of John the Baptist’s birth and also the Feast of Tabernacles.
If December 25th was clearly not the birthday of Jesus, what is significant about this date?
History informs us that the 25th of December was the date that the Roman Empire established the cult of Sol Invictus, on the supposed day of the winter solstice and day of rebirth of the Sun.
On 25 December 274 AD, the Roman emperor Aurelian succeed to establish the cult of Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") as an official religion, alongside the traditional Roman cults. ” Sol Invictus - Wikipedia
“One day of the week was named after Sol, the sun. However, there was no observance of any of these days in the way that the Jews observed Saturday or the Christians Sunday. The first Sunday closing law was enacted by Constantine in 321 CE, and refers to the "day of the sun", and forms the basis of subsequent Christian legislation in this area.”
“Constantine decreed (March 7, 321) dies Solis—day of the sun, "Sunday"—as the Roman day of rest to replace the Jewish and Christian Sabbath” (CJ3.12.2)
Who was the "Unconquered Sun" and why was this date so important?
We find that to the Romans the god of the unconquerable sun was Mithra...
In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year. ” History of Christmas - History Channel
But Mithra is just a localized version of the same god that traces back to early paganism taking on the names of Krishna, Attis, Horus to name a few, all tied to Tammuz.
We will not fully understand the origin of Christmas until we research more into the rise and fall of Nimrod.
We can start by seeing what the Bible has to say about Nimrod:
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. ” Genesis 10:8-10
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth. ” 1 Chronicles 1:10
Because of his rebellion and distrust in God, we learn that he was responsible for the building of the Tower of Babel; we also learn that he founded many major cities and was a great ruler of Mesopotamia.
And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. ” Micah 5:6
Here we see Nimrod linked with Assyria. This is also the conclusion of Alexander Hislop, as published in The Two Babylons (1853), where linked identified Nimrod with Ninus, who founder Zoroastrian cult and according to Greek mythology was a Mesopotamian king and husband of Queen Semiramis. Hislop attributed to Semiramis and Nimrod the invention of polytheism and the pagan trinity.
Nimrod was also known as
If we link together his other pagan identities it all starts to come together and we see that there is not a bunch of disconnected myths, but instead a localized version of the same Pagan sun god.
After Nimrod died, his wife Semiramis did not want to give up power and as a way to keep her throne came up with a plan to secretly get pregnant and then say that Nimrod had ascended to the sun and became the sun god himself and that his sun rays impregnated her. The bastard child she had was Tammuz.
She is Semiramis, of whom we read That she succeeded Ninus, and was his spouse; She held the land which now the Sultan rules. ” Dante's Divine Comedy, Canto V, lines 60 to 62
This part of the story is unclear but legend has it that likely by those who killed Nimrod had him cut up into several pieces and sent to the cities he founded as a sign that his rule was over. Semiramis is said to have collected his parts in an attempt to reassemble her husband and bring him back to life. While she was able to get the majority of Nimrods body parts, she did not find his male organ. This is the foundation for why she established the phallic obelisks which are so closely tied to sun worship.
It gets even stranger, as historians claim she then had a sexual relationship with Tammuz.
Here are other three Whose love was evil: and Semiramis, Byblis and Myrrha are oppressed with shame For their unlawful and distorted love.” ” Petrarch's Triumphs, Canto III, lines 75 to 78
What we find is that Semiramis is represented by "Mother Mary" as forming the 3rd member of the Pagan godhead.
And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal (Nimrod) and Ashtaroth (Semiramis). ” Judges 2:13
Understanding this, it becomes clear why so much of Pagan Catholicism (and Christmas) involves Mother Mary.
Queen Semiramis AKA
The bastard child of Semiramis, Tammuz was honored as the son of the sun god and was accepted as the successor to Nimrod. The Bible does not say how Tammuz dies but legend has it that he was killed by a wild boar (or pig).
After his death, Semiramis ordered that as a remembrance to Tammuz, for 40 days a wild pig should be killed and eaten... *cough*... Christmas Ham anyone?
He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. 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. 17 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 8:13-17
What a horrible scene, seeing how Pagan sun worship had infiltrated God's people.
The shortest day when there is the shortest amount of time that the sun is in the sky is called The Winter Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere it is now marked on December 21st or 22nd, but was previously celebrated on December 25 by the Roman Empire.
... at the winter solstice, the sun would seem to be a little child like that which the Egyptians bring forth from a shrine on the appointed day, since the day is then at its shortest and the god is accordingly shown as a tiny infant. ” “On Isis and Osiris” 65B-c Plutarch
The entire celebration was centered around the birth of the anti-christ and brought with it horrific rituals.
In Germany, a new study published in the journal Antiquity, researchers looked at items collected from 29 shafts also found at Woodhenge found something unexpected during, the dismembered bodies of 10 children, juveniles and women. The orientation of these bodies suggest an association with death and sunrise, the team writes in the study, which could signify the culture that buried them had ideas of reincarnation or an afterlife. “the gender-specific nature of the adult victims and the ritual nature of the other deposits make [ritual sacrifice] a likely scenario.”
In Denmark, the same trio were called Thor, Odin and Frey: “We know from written sources that the Odin cult demanded human and animal sacrifices. Both animals and people may have been hung at Onsholt.”
In Rome, they honored Saturn with the festival of Saturnalia...
The Roman Festival of Saturnalia aligned with the Winter Solstice where they honoured the Roman god Saturn.
The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves as it was seen as a time of liberty for both slaves and freedmen alike. ” Saturnalia - Wikipedia
The signature of the event was the feasting and gluttony.
“This day is generally spent in feasting and gluttony. Large sums of money are spent in needless self-indulgence. The appetite and sensual pleasures are indulged at the expense of physical, mental, and moral power. Yet this has become a habit. Pride, fashion, and gratification of the palate, have swallowed up immense sums of money that have really benefited no one, but have encouraged a prodigality of means which is displeasing to God. These days are spent in glorifying self rather than God. Health has been sacrificed, money worse than thrown away, many have lost their lives by overeating or through demoralizing dissipation, and souls have been lost by this means.”
3LtMs, Ms 8, 1880, par. 10
Should we participate in a Pagan holiday?
“We advise all our brethren and sisters to make a decided reform in regard to these festal days.”
Review & Herald, December 11, 1879
“It is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age...”
Review & Herald, December 11, 1879
“On Christmas, so soon to come, let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath-school scholars is a sin; for it may be made a great blessing. Keep before their minds benevolent objects. In no case should mere amusement be the object of these gatherings.”
Review & Herald, December 9, 1884, par. 8
“Shall we have a Christmas tree? Will it not be like the world? We answer, You can make it like the world if you have a disposition to do so, or you can make it as unlike the world as possible. There is no particular sin in selecting a fragrant evergreen and placing it in our churches; but the sin lies in the motive which prompts the actions and the use which is made of the gifts placed upon the tree.”
Review & Herald, December 1, 1879, par. 15
“In every church, however small, special efforts should be made to show our gratitude to God by bringing our offerings for his cause. Let those who desire a Christmas tree make its boughs fruitful with gifts for the needy, and offerings for the treasury of God. And let the children learn the blessedness of giving by bringing their little gifts to add to the offerings of their parents.”
Review & Herald, December 26, 1882, par. 15
The context around these quotes are about trees in church. There are no statements about trees in the home. Only a verse discussing how this was a custom with Pagan origins of carving and decorating trees, treating as idols:
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 axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. ” Jeremiah 10:2-4
“In early 16th century Germany, “Paradise Trees”, which represented the “tree of knowledge” from the Garden of Eden, were erected in people’s homes during the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24th . They were decorated with apples (sin) and wafers (redemption) to commemorate the name day of Adam and Eve, who were symbolically redeemed through Jesus Christ on this day.”
“Evergreen trees were important fertility emblems for pre-Christian ceremonies marking the winter solstice. People from ancient societies believed that by decorating their homes and temples with evergreen plants, such as holly, ivy and mistletoe, they were helping to carry the diminished sun through a critical period... Mistletoe was the most sacred plant of the Druids... [It] was given great reverence... because it grows on the venerated oak. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from the ancient idea that mistletoe is the oak's genitals. And so it was believed that an embrace under its glistening berries was sure guarantee of a fruitful union... The decoration of Christmas trees is a survival of pagan tree veneration... For centuries before Christianity, holly was... used... for celebrating their midwinter Saturnalia.""
If we are truly celebrating the life of Christ, we would honor His desire to helping and serve others even at great sacrifice to Himself.
“Jesus Christ identified Himself with His suffering poor, and when we do the works of benevolence, we are doing it unto Christ. I want to know how many of us are doing this kind of work. How many will keep Christmas aright? The wealthy bring gifts to their friends, but they are rich still. Then how can this be a sacrifice to them? Then what shall we do to please God? I will tell you. If you would keep this day as you should, you would call upon the needy poor, and if they are in want of anything, supply that want.”
3LtMs, Ms 8, 1880, par. 10
“If we celebrate it only in seeking to give pleasure to our children and one another, our offerings are diverted from the true object.”
Review & Herald, December 11, 1888, Art. A, par. 19
“How stinted are the offerings that on this day go into the Lord's treasury! how large the sums that are spent in presents to one another! Yearly those who have means, have put God from their remembrance, and bestowed their gifts upon those who have no need of them, and who could repay them again. How many of you have thus needlessly expended time and money, while close under the shadow of your own homes the poor and needy have been neglected, and while the message of truth has been restricted in its work. The means that was devoted to gratify pride and foster vanity would have been a great blessing to the needy, and would have carried the gospel light to those who sit in darkness.”
Review & Herald, December 9, 1890, Art. A, par. 5
“The desire for amusement, instead of being quenched and arbitrarily ruled down, should be controlled and directed by painstaking effort upon the part of the parents. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels, and made to result in good to our fellow men by supplying the treasury in the great, grand work for which Christ came into our world. Self-denial and self-sacrifice marked His course of action. Let it mark ours who profess to love Jesus; because in Him is centered our hope of eternal life.”
Adventist Home, p. 478
What if the gift is not costly? Are we instructed then not to give gifts at all?
“The holiday season is fast approaching with its interchange of gifts, and old and young are intently studying what they can bestow upon their friends as a token of affectionate remembrance. It is pleasant to receive a gift, however small, from those we love. It is an assurance that we are not forgotten, and seems to bind us to them a little closer.”
Review & Herald, December 26, 1882, par. 1
“I would not wholly condemn the practice of making Christmas and New Years gifts to our friends. It is right to bestow upon one another tokens of love and remembrance if we do not in this forget God, our best friend. We should make our gifts such as will prove a real benefit to the receiver. I would recommend such books as will be an aid in understanding the word of God, or that will increase our love for its precepts.”
Review & Herald, December 26, 1882, par. 18
“As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose.”
Adventist Home, p. 478
“The desire for amusement, instead of being quenched and arbitrarily ruled down, should be controlled and directed by painstaking effort upon the part of the parents.”
Review & Herald, December 9, 1884, par. 5
“The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking, in amusements which will be detrimental to their spirituality. Parents can control this matter by turning the minds and the offerings of their children to God and His cause and the salvation of souls.”
Review & Herald, December 9, 1884, par. 5
- Make it about Jesus
- Make it about others
- Avoid spending money which could be used for ministering to the poor
- Give gifts which edify and bring us closer to God
- Remember temperance
“Let your works be in accordance with your faith.”
Review & Herald, December 9, 1884, par. 9