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Christmas: Pagan Origins / Should Christians Celebrate?

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3 Part Series // gotquestions.org (article source)

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

The true meaning of Christmas is love. John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

The real Christmas story is the story of God's becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love itself (1 John 4:8). Why do we celebrate Christmas each year? Out of gratitude for what God did for us, we remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved His own and provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love. "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).[LEFT]
Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

The debate about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians?

First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism. While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.

Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees.

Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25 may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are legion, some relating to climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking. None of these points are without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.

Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas—although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays”—Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.

As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.[LEFT]
Do some Christmas traditions have pagan origins?

There is no doubt that some of what we now refer to as Christmas traditions can be traced back, in some form, to pagan cultures and celebrations. The ringing of bells, for example, is generally thought to have had its origin in the early pagan winter celebration of ringing of bells to drive out evil spirits. In later centuries, bells were rung on Christmas Eve to welcome in the spirit of Christmas with joyful noise (Psalm 95:1). When Christians enjoy the beauty of a glorious bell choir ringing Christmas carols, we are reminded of the coming of Jesus into the world, not the driving out of evil spirits.

Similarly, there was an early pagan tradition of lighting candles to drive away the forces of cold and darkness. However, is it likely that our hearts are drawn to those early pagans rather than rejoicing in our Savior, the Light of the World (John 1:4-9) as we light candles? Of course not. Nor is it likely that when I give gifts to my loved ones at Christmas, the gifts will have less significance to either of us because some Druid somewhere in time offered a gift to his goat as part of some pagan ritual. No, we remember, as we should, the gifts given to the Christ-child by the Magi (Matthew 2:11). Jesus was the greatest gift ever given, and therefore His birth is worthy of celebration.

So obscure are the beginnings of many Christmas traditions that reference books and internet sites contradict one another on the details. Some of our most popular and beloved Christmas symbols are entirely Christian, and were never part of any pagan religion anywhere. At the same time, some Christmas traditions undoubtedly do have their origins in the pagan past. What is important is not the origins of traditions, but their significance to us today as believers in the Son of God. December 25 was not mentioned in the biblical narrative as the day Jesus was born, and, as such, we cannot be dogmatic about it one way or the other. But even if the date is completely wrong, there is still the opportunity for thousands of people who wouldn’t go to church any other time of the year to go on Christmas day and hear the gospel of Christ.

If you are fully convinced that you cannot, in good conscience, observe a particular Christmas tradition, do not observe it. If you are fully convinced that a particular tradition is too steeped in paganism to honor God in any way, by all means forsake that tradition. At the same time, if you are fully convinced that you can honor and worship God through a particular tradition, honor and worship God (Romans 14:5)! For Christians, Christmas traditions can be an important part of the celebration of the birth of our Savior, and they remind us of that momentous event that changed the world forever. More importantly, they bring to mind the miracle of new birth He created in us when He came into our hearts, saved us from our sins, and made us children of God by the shedding of His blood on the Cross (Colossians 1:20). It is this amazing truth that enables us to say with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
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Member
People sometimes confuse Christmas with Christmas customs. They argue that because people of northern European decent integrated part of their culture into the way they celebrate Christmas, it makes Christmas pagan. Christians in Egypt celebrate Christmas in a way totally different than what people of the US do.
 
Member
Nothing wrong with a simple observance of Christ's birth, it is a crucial part of the gospel story.
 
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Member
Ancient pagan religions didn't start due to a committee meeting. They didn't come to a consensus for the number of gods,
what their names are, what they are a god of, religious practices, etc.... They just haven't found any ancient pagan
mission statements. Their belief system was satanically and/or demonically inspired. The very same spiritual forces
behind the practices then are still behind it today. Be aware, they don't have to give anyone the same reason
for committing the practices today, as they gave ancient pagans thousands of years ago. Today's Christian isn't
going to accept a practice because it worships a false god, but they might fall for, "your not a pagan, that was for back then,
you're not doing it to worship a false god, its just a celebration, its harmless..." And if you do it, then the individual submitted
to the authority of a spiritual force or being. Eph 6:12 comes to mind. Today's modern Christian seem to focus on the
physical or intellectual reasons to decide if something is ok. The spiritual is where it starts and from there inspire people
to comment acts with whatever bait works. If the origins were pagan, well the same forces inspiring it then will attempt
to inspire you today. If acts and practices were of a spiritual nature then, you can believe they are still of a spiritual
nature today, because the spiritual forces behind it, haven't been sent into the lake of fire yet.
 
Loyal
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."" Col 3:17

If we are doing it all [and does this not include any observance of the Lord's birth and/or death and/or resurrection] "in the name of the Lord Jesus", who can say we are in error? The question that perhaps should be asked and answered is what does it mean to be "in the name'?
 
Member
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."" Col 3:17

If we are doing it all [and does this not include any observance of the Lord's birth and/or death and/or resurrection] "in the name of the Lord Jesus", who can say we are in error? The question that perhaps should be asked and answered is what does it mean to be "in the name'?
Who can say someone is in error? The Lord.
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then
will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Spiritual deception can cause a Christian to think what they are doing and believing to be right when in fact
they might be in direct rebellion against the Lord. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the
latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking
lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

1 Tim 4:1-2 is talking about born again believers. Having their conscience seared with a hot iron. The danger they are
in is they have no idea they are in that condition and they will debate scripture with anyone who tries to point out why they are
wrong. It will take an act of God to pull someone out of that condition. I think we are in the last days, as mentioned in 1 Tim 4:1-2.
I keep stating for Christians to go to the Lord and ask what is wrong with their spiritual walk. Its only after He pulls a person
out of a seared conscience that they realize they were in error. Many have gone into apostasy and many are standing in line
waiting their turn. I may sound like a broken record, but Christians are dealing with spirit beings who are experts at deceiving.
All Christians need to stop and go to the Lord and find out.
 
Loyal
Trax: Who can say someone is in error? The Lord.
Absolutely but who is it that is hearing what the Lord is saying? Who but his own listening sheep! Herein is the trouble when a person claims to be a sheep, but is actually a goat. Are not the two to be separated?
 
Member
Chad said: The ringing of bells, for example, is generally thought to have had its origin in the early pagan winter celebration of ringing of bells to drive out evil spirits. In later centuries, bells were rung on Christmas Eve to welcome in the spirit of Christmas with joyful noise (Psalm 95:1

TRUTH BE TOLD replies: wait your adding a bit to pslams arent you? It is Not about ringing in christmas, it may have been turned into that but Psalms has nothing to do with it....

Christ MASs is a catholic started tradition so run.... you simply cannot rename or reuse things of the devil for God... tell me does israel get away with re-naming the star of renpham the star of david? Acts 7:43 says no....
 
Member
Where is scripture does anyone celebrate his birth or mention it?

Catholic mass is the answer..... the harlot brings the pagan ways unto the virgin and Christmass is just one of them.

in mass Christ offers no salvation and is filled with sin and helpless and dead.... the worst way to have him in shame with no salvation is the work of the devil.... same reason the pictures of Christ all have long hair yet paul says a man with long hair is a shame and Jesus didnt have long hair... but they have him this shameful way Also....
 
Loyal
Any one born into a non-Christian family or even into a very Christian on very likely have been engaged in some pagan ways even if it was done in ignorance. Ignorance in the end of a matter with God is hardly an excuse although it may grant us room to improve before a final negative end to us arrives.
 
Member
Yes but when we find out that are ways are pagan then God hopes through His teachings that we take no part in them anymore.

Paul doesnt mention it nor do any others.... they knew nothing of it and so should we.... the devil always loves to give christians a false positive.. its about celebrating his birth - positive but the negitive is its a pagan celebration of attis (roman version of Christ).

Your call but its not for me anymore when I know what it is.
 
Active
Ancient pagan religions didn't start due to a committee meeting. They didn't come to a consensus for the number of gods,
what their names are, what they are a god of, religious practices, etc.... They just haven't found any ancient pagan
mission statements. Their belief system was satanically and/or demonically inspired. The very same spiritual forces
behind the practices then are still behind it today. Be aware, they don't have to give anyone the same reason
for committing the practices today, as they gave ancient pagans thousands of years ago. Today's Christian isn't
going to accept a practice because it worships a false god, but they might fall for, "your not a pagan, that was for back then,
you're not doing it to worship a false god, its just a celebration, its harmless..." And if you do it, then the individual submitted
to the authority of a spiritual force or being. Eph 6:12 comes to mind. Today's modern Christian seem to focus on the
physical or intellectual reasons to decide if something is ok. The spiritual is where it starts and from there inspire people
to comment acts with whatever bait works. If the origins were pagan, well the same forces inspiring it then will attempt
to inspire you today. If acts and practices were of a spiritual nature then, you can believe they are still of a spiritual
nature today, because the spiritual forces behind it, haven't been sent into the lake of fire yet.
God tells us in the Bible, through the Apostle Paul, that it is perfectly fine to eat food that someone else sacrificed to an Idol.

Do you know what that means? God says we can eat food from an animal that was killed in an act of worship to Satan.

God says its ok to eat food sacrificed to idols, but you say we cant worship Christ while having pagan decorations in the room?

Which one is more influenced by the forces of Hell.... food sacrificed to idols or an evergreen tree (which symbolizes the eternal God) ?
 
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Staff Member
Greetings all specifically @amadeus2 @TaylorDonBarret @TRUTH BE TOLD

This is a thread to discuss Christmas it's pagan origins and to look at the question Should Christians celebrate Christmas

The thread had gone totally off topic and was becoming a hot debate/argument regarding 'judging'

Those posts have been deleted, please start a new thread if you would like to discuss this topic.

Thank you.


To bring this back to topic..... Christmas is a man-made pagan celebration
It has no biblical grounds and Christians aren't called to celebrate this worldly commercial festival
 
Loyal
As far as Christians celebrating Christmas......Let each seek out Gods answer on this...Seek Him until you get a clear cut answer from Him....You can do your own research and your conclusions will always be tainted by your own feeling on the subject. What does God say about Christmas?
The whole thing about celebrating Jesus' birthday is moot really...We celebrate that He came to save us from eternal damnation, He gave His life for us, made us the righteousness of God in His anointing, Gave us the power to become sons/daughters of God That's what we should be celebrating every day we live.

LOL I'm sure we Christians are the most bickering people ........
 
Loyal
My Lady and I no longer celebrate Christmas....We looked into the Word to see what God says about it.....Still In hearing so much STRIFE about the subject I listened to a friend talk about his view on it....It struck me that my friend Tim was speaking from an emotional base and not Word....Many on this chat site speak from an emotional base too....What does God say about Christmas?
We will say "But its a time of Love and togetherness!" That's good right? But are we not to live in Love and togetherness all the time? What's wrong with us the rest of the year? We celebrate His birth, but seldom think of WHY He was born.....And the bible talks a good bit about that....He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1John 3:8 for example... Wouldn't it be better to walk in Love all the year through, and celebrate His setting us free from the wages of sin and the fact that He made us the righteousness of God in His anointing?
Of course if you choose to celebrate Christmas....NOBODY has the right to judge you.
 
Loyal
My Lady and I no longer celebrate Christmas....We looked into the Word to see what God says about it.....Still In hearing so much STRIFE about the subject I listened to a friend talk about his view on it....It struck me that my friend Tim was speaking from an emotional base and not Word....Many on this chat site speak from an emotional base too....What does God say about Christmas?
We will say "But its a time of Love and togetherness!" That's good right? But are we not to live in Love and togetherness all the time? What's wrong with us the rest of the year? We celebrate His birth, but seldom think of WHY He was born.....And the bible talks a good bit about that....He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1John 3:8 for example... Wouldn't it be better to walk in Love all the year through, and celebrate His setting us free from the wages of sin and the fact that He made us the righteousness of God in His anointing?
Thank you for sharing this.
 
Loyal
As far as Christians celebrating Christmas......Let each seek out Gods answer on this...Seek Him until you get a clear cut answer from Him....You can do your own research and your conclusions will always be tainted by your own feeling on the subject. What does God say about Christmas?
The whole thing about celebrating Jesus' birthday is moot really...We celebrate that He came to save us from eternal damnation, He gave His life for us, made us the righteousness of God in His anointing, Gave us the power to become sons/daughters of God That's what we should be celebrating every day we live.
Agreed! We should celebrate Jesus every day. And, we should thank him and praise him for what he did for us in setting us free from slavery to sin and giving us new lives in Christ to be lived to his righteousness. I know I am so thankful that he rescued me!
 
Loyal
My family, and I have no problems in celebrating Christmas because we know why we do. It is the "intent" that is important, not the act, because that is what the Lord God is seeing!!! I have no knowledge of or how it was started, and I really don't care. Everyone must discern for themselves why they celebrate Christmas. Jesus was "crucified", and hung upon on a "tree" for me, and when he ascended up on high he gave gifts unto man. God is a gift giver, as all the promises of God are gifts given to people who do not deserve it. Jesus was God's greatest gift of all to man, and he came wrapped up in a swaddling blanket, laid in a manger. How cool is that? Who would not want to celebrate that? Who would not want to experience the blessing of giving to others? As it written, "it is better to give than to receive"
 
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Staff Member
That was a beautiful statement brother Curtis . Truth be told.
 
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