Dec 7, 2018

Why I Will No Longer Celebrate Christmas

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas 

This has been coming for awhile now, years in fact. I feel the need to explain my position to family, friends, strangers about why I choose to no longer participate in one of the biggest traditional holidays on the planet – next to Halloween.  But more than anything, share the truth.

Christmas as a child was much like any other when I was growing up and of all the gifts I received there are only two that stand out – A hamster I named Charlie who, when he passed away, was buried in a cool whip container, wrapped in bounty paper towels buried just below our kitchen window because that’s where my mom was often and it felt “safe” for Charlie to be there, next to our home, just below that window where mom would be watching over him. The second gift I remember was an electric organ. Apparently I had shown an interest in music and playing on a piano keyboard. That gift represented more than I realized until I was older. It was a vehicle for creativity, it was a statement by my parents that “its ok” if you want to play, we support you”. Little boys typically were into other things back then and getting this as a present was a big surprise and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was for me at least, a unique gift, not conforming to the traditional gifts little boys received. 

Through separation and divorce – Christmas became something I can’t put into words, difficult, weird and something in between. I don’t recall celebrating it twice or any awkward times, its all a blur and every one since then except for the last one we celebrated as a family with my mom, who passed away in May of 1998.

Foundation
Before I go any deeper I want to establish some truth that I think we can all agree on. That is, anyone professing to call themselves a follower of Jesus Christ (not a Christian) there is a big difference in today’s world. Calling ourselves a Christian without following Christ doesn’t set us apart, doesn’t separate us from the world. In fact its deceptive and defames Christ and all He accomplished and has called us to do and be.

First of all, we find in 2 Timothy 3:16 that All (not some) but all scripture is profitable for correction for all who want to accept it and truly serve God. Reaffirming that the scripture is the truth by which we should live our lives if we are to follow as disciples of Christ. The bible also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to prove all things… ask God to guide you to help you prove what He says in His Word. If we are not doing this at the most basic level, we are going to be led astray by every doctrine there is.

I began scrutinizing the tradition, because it was bittersweet to me. Surely I like giving gifts and sometimes I like receiving them, but the older you get the more you realize the things you really want can’t be bought and if they could, most of the people you know don’t have that kind of money or generosity or both. And everything I need, God provides through the work of my hands or the kindness and generosity of others, especially that of my dad.

I began to study the holiday in my scrutiny, its origins and history as compared to the bible and I was a bit surprised, but not really. I started to develop some type of hatred, yes hatred, for the holiday and the commercialized chaos that surrounds it. The detriment it brings to so many bank accounts, the debt to others, the despair that many feel during this time and the obvious absurdity of causing children everywhere to believe in a lie. Call it what you want, package it up, make it look pretty, tell all kinds of stories it all comes down to lies if you follow the tradition as is custom and the practice of pagan worship or some variation of it.  Why would we want to have any part of that knowing the truth?

I will stop here and say I understand how this may offend you, may ruffle your feathers, may cause you to think differently of me – its ok, that’s how you choose to react and its expected. Some may totally agree with me but be afraid to speak up fearing ridicule or rejection on some level. Again its ok, it is what it is. I am confident in His Word to stand firm on it, regardless of your reaction, but not without some compassion and that’s why I hope what I write will shed some light on the truth, of which many have no desire to seek, to know and therefore be liberated by – no, most want to continue to be bound by lies in the world we live in today and holding to a manmade tradition that has absolutely no support in the Word of God. That’s unfortunate not just for you, but so many others especially in a time when we need the Truth more than anything, i.e. God the One True God. We need Him more than anything right in this very moment, whether you the one reading, realizes it or not.

Interestingly enough, “Christmas” was the very time, event or period that made me keenly of aware of just how much I wanted to know the Truth. So much so, that I would carefully take a razor blade and slice through the tape on the wrapping paper when no one was around and methodically open up my presents and likewise rewrap them once the “truth” had been revealed. Surely, Mom figured this out at some point, not sure how, but she did. That uncontrollable desire to know the truth has gotten me in trouble in many ways throughout my childhood as well as my adulthood. There are some truths I wish I had never experienced.

Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 “So I set my mind to know wisdom and madness and folly; I learned that this, too, is a pursuit of the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow, and as knowledge grows, grief increases.”

Alongside this appetite for truth, I am curious. That curiosity has also led me down many paths I may have been better off not traveling.

History of Christmas 
Centuries before Jesus was born early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of Winter. It was only in the third century that December 25th was appointed (by man) as His birth, most likely because it already coincided with pagan traditions and is most likely incorrect. Christmas as we know it really didn’t begin until the 1800’s. There is no place in the scriptures that mentions December 25th. Early Christians didn’t celebrate “Christmas”. By the 8th century, this holiday was widely celebrated in Europe and for many centuries people marked the holiday with wild parties much like Mardi Gras. This led to many religious purists such as the Puritan Settlers in Colonial America to oppose Christmas celebrations. In 1644, the Massachusetts Legislature fined anyone who observed Christmas, 5 shillings, which was a lot of money back then!

Germany’s, Prince Albert brought his country’s tradition of decorating evergreen trees to England after his marriage to Queen Victoria. When an image of the Royal Family’s forty foot Christmas tree was published in “American” magazine in 1848, that’s when this tradition caught on here in our homeland. The tradition of sending Christmas cards also started around the same time. Gift giving goes back much farther and started as a reminder of the gifts brought to Jesus upon His birth, but has turned into the commercial holiday it is today.

Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, a dutch saint famous for giving gifts and nicknamed or known as “Sinterklaas”. “Santa Claus” has been portrayed in many different ways, but the traditional perspective we have of this fictional character today started with a Coca Cola ad from the 1930’s. Pretty much everything about this holiday has its roots in Paganism. From the decorating of evergreen trees, to gift giving, holly, mistletoe, tinsel, lights, caroling and many other popular traditions. Here is what Charles Spurgeon had to say about Christmas – “We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” - Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871.

In the 5th century the Western church ordered a feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the Sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, since there was no certain knowledge of Christ’s actual birth. In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17th) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25th was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1) houses were decorated with greenery and lights and gifts were given to the children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule Rites when the Teutonic tribes infiltrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian.

The Christmas tree is from Egypt and its origin dates from a period long before the Christian era. Christmas is not mentioned in the bible because its not from God and certainly not the way God says for us to worship Him.

What I have shared so far is a very broad summary but if one would take the time to research this tradition and its roots, much more is to be learned at just how pagan it truly is and a mockery to the Most High. There are many other “takes” and “opinions” on the origin of Christmas but do your own research. The times above may vary depending on the source you get your information from but all will reveal pagan roots of this man-made and celebrated holiday. In most accounts, the early church protested this celebration and traditionally celebrated the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth, because to them, true birth came at death.

Most don’t know this information because most haven’t concerned themselves with the truth of it because the truth would warrant a response, a change of mind, an about face if you will – if you truly want to follow the Word of God. Which is to not follow the way of the world:

Jeremiah 10:1-3 “Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by the signs in the heavens, although the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut down a tree from the forest; it is shaped with a chisel by the hands of a craftsman. They adorn it with silver and gold and fasten it with hammer and nails, so that it will not totter. Like scarecrows in a cucumber patch, their idols cannot speak. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, and neither can they do any good.”

And if you already know this truth, which I have for some time, it’s a difficult thing to break away from. It is very difficult to make a stand especially if your family and friends, coworkers and acquaintances all celebrate it and expect you to do the same. I know, I have been there, and been silent on the matter for quite some time, but this post ends that.

Some will say its ok, because we are honoring God. The fact is there is very little honoring anything but ourselves and others, which to many, will still seem ok, but in reality its self seeking pleasure.  We give very little if any credit to God for anything.  How many times when you gave gifts did you say to the receiver something along the lines:  "I am giving you this gift to honor God, because it was God who provided me with the ability to work and earn the money I used to purchase this for you, and I am doing this as a token of my love for you.  When you use this gift or see it, I want you to think about God and all He has done for us, especially the sacrifice He made through His only begotten Son".  Hmmm, I never did.

Some will continue to say its ok because we acknowledge Christ and what He did for us in the celebration, which for some is the only time the word “Christ” actually leaves their lips, its hypocrisy. Furthermore, most people say they are honoring someone they have no clue of, rarely attempt to communicate with and rarely immerse themselves in the Word of God and the only time they pray is when crisis strikes. I have done it myself so while this may feel judgmental, its not but it is the truth. And we know the truth is a two edged sword.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Again I have been guilty of the same. “ The truth hurts sometimes and it hurts because when we hear it, when it enters into our hearts it separates us from the lie that has made its home in our spirits, our minds. But once the pain subsides, joy comes because then we experience the liberation that truth brings and our relationship with God grows stronger.

Put Christ back into Christmas? He was never there!!!
I will take a stand on one thing I see more and more and each time I do – I guess you could say I get a righteous anger and I have to hold my tongue. What am I speaking of? What is it that sets me off? I will tell you… anyone, and I mean anyone friend, family, foe or complete stranger who vehemently defends putting “Christ” back in “Christmas” because they are offended at the word X-Mas, or the fact that some people prefer “Happy Holidays” rather than “Christmas” … educate yourself, study to show thyself approved!

He was NEVER a part of this man-made, pagan, evil rooted tradition to begin with and just because tradition mandates it and because we have been foolish by refusing to know the truth for ourselves, we want to argue with others about something that has absolutely no foundation other than lies? The truth be told, those who oppose “Christ” in “Christmas” are more truthful than those defending it. It’s a vain argument!

If you want to continue to celebrate the holiday do so, but don’t add insult to injury by defending this vain pursuit of putting “Christ” back into Christmas. If you know the truth, then live by it, but for Christ’s sake and His holy name, literally, do not continue to promote the lie that He was or ever will be part of this pagan celebration, no matter what you or others say. No one is above Him, not your argument or mine and certainly not man-made traditions. This self righteous act of defending a lie and practice rooted in paganism reminds me of that show that aired in the eighties called “That’s Incredible” with Fran Tarketon, remember it? In one particular episode, as I recall, they had a woman who was a “stripper for Jesus”. I remember thinking to myself when I watched it how absolutely backwards and ridiculous it was. I thought to myself – “does this woman think just because she says she is doing it for Jesus, that it makes it right?” She was justifying it in her own mind and telling herself a lie, while encouraging others to believe it. That is exactly what “Christmas” was and is today moreso than its ever been before, especially when people are protesting to put “Christ” back in “Christmas”. Its foolishness, ignorance and sin, yes sin, keep reading.

We profane the name of God, by following after the way of the heathen and say it is honoring Him. Do you not realize He is disgusted by this? God expressly told us how to honor Him, how to love Him. Taking pagan practices and practicing them ourselves, applying then to Yahweh our God and calling it an honor to Him then defending it in the name of Christ is completely backwards and detestable to Him!

Jesus made a stunning statement in Matthew 15:9: “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Also in Mark 7:9 we find: “…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.”

Yes, these scriptures apply to certain practices and different scenarios back in the day, but the truth of what is being communicated still applies and we have already read above in the "Foundation" section of this post, that ALL scripture is good for correction.  If you have issue with this, take up with God in prayer.

Consider what God warns the people of ancient Israel in Deuteronomy 12:29: “When the Lord your God shall cut off the nations from before you… and you succeed them, and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you be be not snared by following them… and that you inquire not after their gods, saying .. how did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. You shall not do so unto the Lord your God…for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, have they done unto their gods…”  (Did you get that? The way they serve their gods, He considers an abomination and says you shall not do the same)...

Furthermore to put it bluntly – Deuteronomy 20:17-18 “You must completely destroy them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they cannot teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods and cause you to sin against the LORD your God. He clearly tells us above that doing the detestable things that others do for their gods, to Him is sin.

Geez, He commanded those that serve other gods be destroyed SO.. they would not/could not teach them to do all the detestable things they do for their gods AND cause them to sin against Him.... I am not sure anyone would be left on the planet if that took place today.  God help us!

Other scriptures condemning the practices of false gods can be found at Exodus 34:10-17, Exodus 23:23-33 and Leviticus 20:22-26.

This same issue is found with the current observance as Sunday for worship which most “Christians” adhere to. But that is an entirely different post for a future time.

Self Serving Practices
We want to observe our own holidays and traditions that we have inherited from pagan gods and cultures and fail to do what He has commanded us by observing His appointed times and festivals.  I am guilty, but I desire to learn these and follow them because I know it will produce a greater relationship with Him.    Most “Christians” don’t even know what they are (I admit myself I am still learning) but we should be pursuing this knowledge and practice. God doesn’t want us to mix foreign pagan ways with His ways.  Let us seek His ways!

Notice what He says in Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” 

God hates pagan customs associated with pagan celebrations in honor of pagan gods.   If we are to worship God at all, we must do it in spirit and in truth – John 4:24 If we know the truth of this pagan holiday no matter what we call it or what we say it represents, how much fun it is, or how nice it feels spending time with family and friends and continue to observe it, then I have to ask you – are we worshipping in spirit and in truth?

Do I think its wrong to give people gifts, certainly not – we are to bless others with the provisions God has blessed us with. That includes blessing others with the truth so they realize they have a choice and what they choose is up to them. So they can be liberated from the lie and if they choose to cling to the lie rather than the truth then so be it. That’s what I am doing here and I am taking a stand.  Ignorance is not an excuse (you just read the truth) and blatant disregard for what God says, conveys we are a child of disobedience.

I love my family and friends and while I have this stance and position on this holiday, it doesn’t mean I won’t wish you well during this time, praying for your peace and safety, for special time spent with those you love, but I will defend the Truth of God’s Word, Christmas is not something God approves of, is nothing He advised us to observe and it is a sin to Him because we have taken pagan practices worshipping other foreign gods and applied it to Him!

Imagine your husband or wife has an affair, you forgive them and get past it, but one night during an intimate moment your partner calls you “sweetcheeks” (or some other pet name) and you say “What?” and his/her reply is “Well that’s what (insert person’s name affair was with) liked for me to call him/her, I thought you might like it to.” How absolutely repulsed and disgusted would you be? Does that paint the picture?  We don't get to decide what God likes or approves of and if we know Him and therefore love Him, we should be eager to know what it is He does like, what He requires of us, what He wants from us.  We should seek obedience, sanctification and holiness, just as He is holy.

Satan deceives the whole world.

Don’t ask me my opinion on this, my opinion isn’t relevant, but the Word of God is and God wants His people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. He wants His people to come out of her! To no longer be conformed to this world, but to be transformed, to be His people, to be His Bride. The time is growing short.

Romans 12:2 "Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God."