Christmas or Christ-Mass
For the vast majority of people the question is really no question at all.
Is Christmas Christian? "Of course it is! What could be more Christian than Christmas? Isn't it Jesus' birthday?"
For many others there has been an increasing uncomfortableness with the celebration of Christmas. There is an uneasy feeling that something is not quite right. And yet they keep telling themselves, "Christmas is Jesus' birthday -- The world has corrupted Christmas, but underneath it's still a wonderful holiday." Yes, there is a sentimental appeal of the "holiday spirit." There is a certain charm about the season. No one with even a touch of sentimentality could escape a twinge of nostalgia when there's a feeling of "Christmas in the air." What is the "true" meaning of Christmas?
Where did it come from? What does it stand for now? The real question is the nature of the institution itself. We are so snowed under by a century of tradition and nostalgia that it's almost impossible for most people to look at the issue objectively. Look honestly at this institution of Christmas and keep in mind that the Word of God is the only true and sufficient guide for the child of God. Many say we need to put "Christ" back into "Christmas." But Christ never wanted to be part of a celebration of Christmas. The fact is that there is nothing Christian about Christmas, either in its present observance or in its origin, Christmas is basically and essentially pagan. Who is it that celebrates Christmas? The whole "civilized world" celebrates it. Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who "despise and reject Him," and millions more who while claiming to be His followers, yet in works denying Him, join in the merry-making under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Can we really believe that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world's joys? "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." (Ex. 23:2).
Whatever the world practices ought to be held in suspicion by the believer in Christ, for "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world," (I John 2:16) "and we know we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." (I John 5:19). Sadly, too many Christians are badly misled by men's traditions and blind to the importance of receiving guidance only from God's Word, to take a godly stand against Christmas.
"Christmas" is a word which embodies an idea that is unknown in the Bible. To say that it is biblical, is of private interpretation and the Bible is not for private interpretation. "Holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Pet 1:20, 21). "All Scriptures is given by inspiration of God." (II Tim. 3: 16). "Christmas" is excluded from all of Scripture. The apostle Paul tells us "though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8). The Roman Catholic Church claims authorship of choosing the name "Christ" to connect with their "mass." The very idea of joining Christ to the mass is an abomination. Christ came to earth to die once for sin, but according to Roman Catholic teaching each mass is "a true sacrifice, in which the risen Christ becomes bodily present on the altar as a victim who is offered anew by the church to God the Father as expiation for the sins of men." They re-crucify Christ at every celebration of the mass Here we see that Christ-mass is of human invention, therefore not scriptural, nor spiritual. Christ-mass belongs to that "other gospel," for Paul knew nothing of linking Christ to a mass. And John makes clear the consequences of adding to Scripture: "If any man add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." (Rev. 22: 18).
There is no indication in the New Testament that the early Christians observed Christ-mass at all. It can be shown in church history that for over 300 years after the birth of Christ, Christians knew nothing of celebrating Christ-mass. It was only as the church began to drift from apostolic doctrine and practice into corruption that Christ-mass began. The source of most of the basic forms of paganism in the ancient world can be traced back to the Babylonian "mysteries". In the Old Testament Babylon stands as the epitome of everything that is godless and perverse. The greatest indignation suffered by God's people for their sins is to be carried off into Babylonian captivity, into the heart of the heathen world. In the New Testament "Babylon" becomes Rome. The Roman Empire embodies the pagan beliefs and practices of ancient Babylon and is seen as the arch-enemy of God's people. In 313 A.D. the Roman Emperor Constantine claimed to become a Christian and declared Christianity to be the official religion. His embracing of the Christian Church proved detrimental to true Christianity. Constantine retained the traditional pagan titles, and all his coins still bear the figures and names of the old Roman gods. The church became "the Roman Catholic Church" and its methods became compromise with paganism. Since then, the Roman Catholic way of converting pagans to its style of worship has been to absorb them gradually, along with their idolatrous observances. The church was content to swell in "converts" by meeting paganism halfway. The Roman Catholic Church has continued the same approach until this day. It can be seen particularly in Central and South America, were idols have simply been replaced with statues of the saints. In the book of Revelation, the apostatizing church is called "the great harlot" who is seated upon many waters, "with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. She was "a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colors, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication; and upon her forehead was a name written, mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." And John says that she was "drunken with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." (Rev. 17:1-6). "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4). The Roman Catholic Church did the very opposite. They compromised with her and became contaminated with her corruption.
No one really knows the time of Christ's birth and December 25th is a highly unlikely time.
However, at the time of the year that the days begin to lengthen again, the Babylonians celebrated the victory of their Sun god. The Roman copy of this Babylonian custom was called Saturnalia, the feast of the birth of Sol. For centuries it was an abomination to Christians. The celebration was an orgy of pagan revelry. But the church, instead of standing firm against paganism, began to compromise. It wanted to "help" weak young Christians who didn't want to give up the fun and merry-making surrounding the winter solstice. So the church said, "Go on with your fun and celebration. Only now we'll call it a celebration of the birth of the Son of God. Instead of losing people to paganism, we'll combine the two and gradually even win some of the pagans to profess Christianity. Let's not force men to choose between the two." It was for this very reason that in Calvin's Geneva you could have been fined or imprisoned for celebrating Christ-mass. It was at the request of the Westminster Assembly that the English Parliament in 1644 passed an act forbidding the observance of Christ-mass, calling it a heathen holiday. The Westminster divines said: "There is no day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian sabbath. Festival-days vulgarly called 'Holy-days;' having no warrant in the work of God, are not to be continued. "When the Puritans came to America they passed similar laws. The early New Englanders worked steadily through December 25, 1620 in "studied neglect" of the day. About 40 years later the General Court of Massachusetts decreed punishment for those who kept the season: "...anyone who is found observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting, or any other way, any such days as Christ-mass Day, shall pay for every such offense five shillings."
From ancient times trees have played an important role in pagan religion and were even worshiped. Trees were used to ward off witches, evil spirits, and ghosts. In Egypt the palm tree was prominent but in Rome it was the fir. Jeremiah warned the Old Testament people of God: "Thus saith the Lord: 'Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of the 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 an axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (Jer. 10:2- 4). Even the nativity scene, which some regard as the most "Christian" symbol of Christ-mass, originated in paganism.
Nearly every recorded form of pagan worship which is descended from the Babylonian "mysteries" focuses on a mother and the birth of her child. Different cultures used different names, but the concept is the same. In Babylon it was the worship of the queen of heaven and her son Tammuz, the sun god, who was thought to be the incarnation of the sun. The birth of the sun god took place at the winter Solstice. "Yule" was the Babylonian name for child or infant, and "Yule Day" was celebrated long before Christ's birth. The next time you see a manger scene on a Christ-mass card, and Mary and Jesus have a halo around their heads, know that this Roman Catholic concept is borrowed from the Babylonian "mysteries." And, remember that God forbids any to make for himself "any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20:4).