More on Christmas

We are again in that time of the year which is usually referred to as "the holidays," mainly consisting of Christmas and New Year's. And, even though it is supposed to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, a most solemn and joyous occasion, every year we see blatant immorality commonly associated with this festive season. Instead of a time of reflection on what His coming means to us personally, it seems all too many are concerned with a general licentiousness; partying, getting for the self, and an undue preoccupation with a character appropriately named "Santa Claus." More on him later.
Each year at this time, we read short articles in newspapers and magazines that explain where many of the customs of the season come from. Most of them have nothing at all to do with the nativity of our Savior, but originated in pagan religions that had their beginning hundreds of years before the Messianic age. The symbols and customs that we see around us today were once used by the pagan peoples to worship their false gods and idols.
For example, trees were extensively used in idol worship down through the ages. Much is said in the Bible about this practice. Bonfires, lights, Yule logs, bright decorations, are all associated with sun worship, also condemned in Scripture. These practices originated in ancient Babylon during the time of Nimrod (Gen. 10).
This is fairly common knowledge today, even among the so-called "laity," or ordinary church-going people. Most read these accounts, nod approvingly, and go right on partaking of them anyway. It just doesn't seem to soak in that the Creator might not want to be worshipped the way the pagans worshipped their gods.
But what does He say about it?
Exo 23:24 you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces.
Deu 12:29 When Yahweh thy El shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
Deu 12:30 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.
Deu 12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto Yahweh thy El: for every abomination to Yahweh, 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.
Deu 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Ezek 11:12 And ye shall know that I am Yahweh: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.
Jer 10:2 Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3 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.
Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Jer 3:13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you have rebelled against Yahweh your El, and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and have not obeyed my voice, says Yahweh.
We can see plainly from the Old Testament Scriptures that our Heavenly Father is not pleased to be worshipped as we see fit, especially if it involves practices that were used to worship idols and false gods.
Remember, these traditions and customs are acknowledged to have come down to us from false religions, even by those who are in favor of continuing in them. It just doesn't seem to register with the vast majority of us that there could be anything wrong with taking part in th33em today.
We think of the ancient ones carving faces on rocks and tree trunks, then bowing down to worship them, and we think, "Wow! I certainly don't do that!" Or we read where they worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, and we think, "Well, I certainly don't do that!" And it's true, hardly anyone thinks of it in that way today.
But that is faulty thinking. If we use the same rituals and the same symbols, at the same times of the year as the ancients did, then how are we different than they? Maybe we say, "Well, I certainly don't bow down and worship my X-mas tree." Or, "I don't worship the sun." And that's true, you don't consciously do it.
But, by ignoring Yahweh's clear instructions NOT to worship him like the heathen worshipped their gods, and trying to pay honor to Him or His Son with the same symbology used by the heathen, we are, knowingly or not, defying the Creator of the Universe.
Every year, we hear the cry of the more devout, "Let's put Christ back in Christmas! But the sad truth is, He NEVER WAS in it, and you can't put something or someone "back in" if it never was there in the first place.
Briefly, here are the facts. Yahshua our Savior was born in the fall of the year, around the time of the fall Harvest Festivals of ancient Israel; Feast of Trumpets - Atonement - Feast of Tabernacles time. These festivals, all listed in Leviticus chapter 23 and other places, occur near the end of the harvest season, around late September to mid October.
This can easily be proven by the Scriptural accounts of the births of John the Baptist and Yahshua. John's father was a priest who served in the Temple, "in the course of Abia," Luke 1:5.
This is Abijah, who served in the eighth course. Read about this in I Chron. 23 and 24. Also read Luke 1 carefully. You will note that John was six months older than Yahshua (verse 36). The eighth course that John's father served in, and the events surrounding Elisabeth's pregnancy, was such that John would have been born in the springtime, likely during the spring festivals, which is late March to mid April. Six months later brings us to the Fall Festival season.
The traditional date men have selected to observe Yahshua's birth is at least two months later than He could have possibly been born. Several other facts support this, as well.
First, they were going to Bethlehem to be "taxed," and "counted." It was also the time of the fall festivals as mentioned above, just after completion of the fall harvests. This would have been the logical time for the authorities to conduct a census and collect the "tax," since most of the people would be going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles anyway.
Second, by December, the winter rains had begun. The roads would have been muddy. Travel would be extremely difficult, and almost impossible for a 9-months-pregnant girl like Mary was at the time.
Third, no shepherds would have been in the fields with flocks. According to historians, flocks had been brought inside at least two months before Dec. 25th. No flocks were left out in the cold winter snows and rains that late in the year. Historians report that no flocks were to be found in the open fields later than around October first.
Fourth, the 25th of December had been observed by pagans as the birthday of the Sun god, for 2,000 years before the Savior's birth. When ancient Rome finally adopted Christianity as the state religion, they forced all the people living in the Roman Empire to profess the new religion. But they refused to give up their pagan celebrations. So the church authorities allowed them to retain their festivals, and simply changed the names of some to sound "Christian."
Thus, December 25, the supposed birthday of the Sun-god, became Christmas, the supposed birthday of the Son-OF-God. So we see that a birthday WAS celebrated on December 25 (originally the time of the winter solstice), but WHOSE birthday was it?
Alexander Hislop, in his book, "The Two Babylons," writes, "Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth, was held at the Natalis Invicti Solis, the birthday of the the unconquered sun" (p. 98).
The pagans who lived north of the equator observed the sun going south every year, starting after the summer solstice, and assumed it was leaving them permanently. So they lit bonfires, yule logs, and other light displays, and prayed fervently for the sun to be "re-born" and come back north once again. And, lo and behold! That's exactly what it did, year after year. After the winter solstice (then Dec. 25th), it began to strengthen and start its annual trek back toward the northern skies. And these pagans thought their prayers, light displays, etc., had caused its return.
Raymond Capt, in his book, "The Traditions of Glastonbury," on page 85, writes: "Long centuries before the Christian era, the 25th of December was celebrated as a pagan holiday in honor of Nimrod, the 'virgin-born' son of Baal, the sun-god. His mother was worshipped as the queen of Heaven, and Nimrod as the (false) Messiah. Eventually this pagan holiday (Christmas day) was incorporated into the Christian calendar with Christian overtones."
So here we have witnesses, both from Scripture and from secular history, that this holiday season which millions of people think gives honor to the Son of the Most High, actually honors these false gods. And, since Satan is the great deceiver, the power behind false religions and the idols they represent, it is none other than he who receives this adulation (vicariously).
Paul wrote that there are "gods many and lords many" (1 Cor. 8:5), and that Satan's ministers appear as "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
What about "Santa Claus?" How does he fit in with all this? What is the purpose in teaching our children that there is a being, other than our Savior, who brings good gifts? Little children are taught that he is immortal, that he knows everything (whether you've been naughty or nice), and that he is the giver of good gifts. We hear far more about "Santa Claus" at this time of year than we do our True Savior, Yahshua the Messiah. Did you ever consider that Santa Claus might be an idol? Along with the decorated tree and the other paraphernalia we associate with this season? And did you ever consider the consequences of teaching children a lie? "Oh, it's harmless," many say. But Scripture doesn't agree. Scripture says no liar will be saved.
And it is not harmless. After our first child was born, my wife told me that she did not want to teach our children the "Santa Claus lie." She related how she felt as a child, after learning the truth about "Ole Santa." She thought her parents had betrayed her, and felt for a long time afterward that she couldn't trust them.
And what about his name, Santa? By transposing one letter, we have "Satan." Is this a coincidence? Maybe. But consider this: Santa Claus is an American corruption for Saint Nicholas, or Saint Nick, which is also an appellation for Satan.
The first time I heard these truths, I was outraged. You may be, too, if you are reading about it for the first time. My eldest daughter, who was 11 years old at the time, had a school chum named Becky. She came home from school one day, shortly before the "holiday season" of 1960, and announced that Becky and her family did not observe Christmas.
My reaction was immediate. "What's the matter with those people? Don't they believe in God?" I bellowed. We were attending a main- stream Protestant denomination at the time.
But irony of ironies! In less than a year, after duly studying the subject, we, too, gave up these days, and began to keep the Biblical Holy Days as outlined in Leviticus 23 and other places. We found that these Biblical days had been kept in both the Old and New Testaments. Yahshua our Savior kept them, the apostles kept them, and we read prophecies which affirm that they will be kept in the future Kingdom of Yahweh.
And we found no authority anywhere in Scripture for Christmas, Easter, or any of the other religious festivals commonly observed by the churches of today.
I invite you to investigate these things, just as I did. Maybe Yahweh will lay it on your heart to stop following the world's traditions, and step out in faith to follow Him and His teachings. It is not easy. The traditions of society and religion are so strong that cutting loose can be difficult. No one wants to be different.
But Yahshua said, "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Conversely, lies enslave us. Satan wants us to be his slaves. He has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). Paul wrote that we are slaves to whom we yield ourselves to serve.
Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
We are freed from the whirl of activity that accompanies this season every year, from October or November through the first part of January. We are freed from the debt incurred by thousands of families every year, shopping for mostly useless items to exchange with family, friends and co-workers. Then spending the better part of the new year struggling to pay off Christmas debts, only to start the cycle over again the next year.
Some point, rightfully, to the good that is done at this time of year. People helping people. Sharing with the less blessed. Seeing that children are cared for and fed and sheltered.
These things are well and good, but we ought to be doing things like this all year long - not just at one season of the year. If we have truly needy, hungry people, they need a lot more than a sack of groceries once a year.
Yahshua addressed this problem throughout His ministry. He laid great stress on charity; doing good works, and sharing with others.
Mat 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
Mat 25:32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
Mat 25:33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Mat 25:34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
Mat 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Mat 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me"
Mat 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
Mat 25:38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
Mat 25:39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'
Mat 25:40 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'
Mat 25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
Mat 25:42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
Mat 25:44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?'
Mat 25:45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'
Mat 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Yahshua inspired Paul and others to write about the importance of doing good to others.
1 Tim 6:17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on Yahweh who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Tim 6:18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,
1 Tim 6:19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
Heb 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to Yahweh.
There are at least two ways to share what we have. We are to share our physical goods with the less blessed, those who have fallen on hard times. And, more important, we are to share the Words of Life with those who don't know the real Yahshua and the truths He brought.
And we are to do these things all year long, not just during a certain "season." Break the mold! Step out on faith! Yahshua will bless you for it. ~FB

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