The Origin and Practices of Christmas: Christian or Pagan ?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by lifeandliberty, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. lifeandliberty

    lifeandliberty
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Origin and Practices of Christmas: Christian or Pagan ?

    RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS AND CALENDARS - AN ENCYCLOPAEDIC HANDBOOK, 1993

    Christmas Day
    December 25

    Christmas is the day on which Christians celebrate the birth of
    Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church designates it as a day
    of holy obligation on which members of the Church must attend
    services.

    Originally, the birth of Jesus was commemorated in the East on the
    Feast of Epiphany (January 6) but by 354, the Christmas Feast had
    taken hold in the West and was observed on December 25. Since the
    fifth century, most Eastern Orthodox Churches have celebrated the
    Nativity on December 25; however, some Eastern congregations,
    called "Old Calendarists," still use the Julian calendar and honor
    the birth of Christ thirteen days later, on January 7. The Armenian
    Church continues to celebrate "Old Christmas" on January 6.

    As with many traditions surrounding Christmas, the selection of
    December 25 as a commemoration of Jesus' birthday may be an example
    of the blending of Christian ideas and the pagan traditions they
    replaced. December 25 was the date of the Mithric observance of
    the "Birthday of the Invincible Sun." This also coincided with
    Saturnalia and the Winter solstice during the period when Mithraism
    was practiced in Rome. Since the day was already being kept as a
    holiday, Christians may have adjusted the symbolism of the day,
    declaring it the birthday of their "Invincible Son." According to
    events in the Gospel of Matthew, the date of Jesus' birth may
    actually have taken place much earlier in the year.

    The word "Christmas" means "the mass of Christ," and originated in
    the 11th century as a name for this feast. It was one of the most
    popular and universally celebrated holidays in Europe during the
    Middle Ages. During the Reformation, however, the celebration of
    Christmas began to decline in importance. Reformers engaged in
    complex doctrinal arguments in an attempt to prove the celebration
    of Christmas was unscriptural.

    In some countries, the Protestant reforms brought about a ban of
    Christmas celebrations. By the time of the Restoration in 1660,
    however, the celebration of Christmas as a much more secular holiday
    was revived in these countries. In New England, Christmas remained
    outlawed until the mid-nineteenth century, and in Boston classes
    were held in the public schools on Christmas Day until 1870, with
    pupils who missed school that day being punished or dismissed. The
    mass immigration of Irish Catholics to New England brought about the
    reinstitution of Christmas celebrations.
    _________________________________________________________________
    "Christmas.", DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA, 1990
    Both the northern European and North American custom of exchanging
    gifts at Christmas... are possibly related to pre-Christian celebrations
    at the close of the year. The celebration of Christmas has sometimes
    been opposed as pagan by religious leaders. New England Puritans*
    considered Christmas "popish" idolatry, and the Massachusetts General
    Court in 1659 passed an act against its celebration, though the law
    was repealed in 1681."
    _________________________________________________________________
    "Christmas", THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol. 3, "C-Ch", 1997
    "The first mention of December 25 as the birth date of Jesus occurred
    in A.D. 336 in an early Roman calendar. The celebration of this day
    as Jesus' birth date was probably influenced by pagan [unchristian]
    festivals held at that time. The ancient Romans held year-end
    celebrations to honor Saturn, their harvest god; and Mithras, the [sic]
    god of light... As part of all these celebrations, the people prepared
    special foods, decorated their homes with greenery, and joined in
    singing and gift giving. These customs gradually became part of the
    Christmas celebration."
    "In the late 300's, Christianity became the official religion of the
    Roman Empire... The popularity of Christmas grew until the Reformation,
    a religious movement of the 1500's. This movement gave birth to
    Protestantism. During the Reformation, many Christians began to
    consider Christmas a pagan celebration because it included nonreligious
    customs. During the 1600's, because of these feelings, Christmas was
    outlawed in England and in parts of the English colonies in America."
    _________________________________________________________________
    "Christmas", COLLIER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol. 6, 1992
    "... The suppression of the Mass during the Reformation led to a sharp
    change in the observance of Christmas in some countries. In England,
    the Puritans condemned the celebration and, from 1642 to 1652, issued
    a series of ordinances forbidding all church services and festivities.
    This feeling was carried over to America by the Pilgrims and it was not
    until the nineteenth-century wave of Irish and German immigration that
    enthusiasm for the feast began to spread throughout the country.
    Objections were swept aside and the old traditions revived among
    Protestants as well as Catholics."
    _________________________________________________________________
    "Christmas," COMPTON'S INTERACTIVE ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1997
    THE CHRISTMAS WREATH
    The use of evergreens and wreaths as symbols of life was an ancient
    custom of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews, among other peoples.
    Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and
    Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to
    Christianity. They decorated houses and barns with evergreens at the new
    year to scare away demons, and they often set up trees for the birds in
    winter. For these northern Europeans, this winter celebration was the
    happiest time of the year because it signified that the shortest day of
    the year--about December 21--had passed. They knew the days would start
    to get longer and brighter. The month during which this festival took
    place was named Jol, from which the word yule is derived. Yule has come
    to mean Christmas in some countries.
    THE CHRISTMAS TREE
    Trees and decorations. Ancient, pre-Christian winter festivals used
    greenery, lights, and fires to symbolize life and warmth in the midst of
    cold and darkness. These usages, like gift giving, have also persisted.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVING
    Gift giving is one of the oldest customs associated with Christmas: it is
    actually older than the holiday itself. When the date of Christmas was
    set to fall in December, it was done at least in part to compete with
    ancient pagan festivals that occurred about the same time. The Romans,
    for example, celebrated the Saturnalia on December 17. It was a winter
    feast of merrymaking and gift exchanging. And two weeks later, on the
    Roman New Year--January 1, houses were decorated with greenery and
    lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. As the Germanic
    tribes of Europe accepted Christianity and began to celebrate Christmas,
    they also gave gifts.
    Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia
    Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc.
    All Rights Reserved.
    _________________________________________________________________
    "Christmas," THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1966 Edition
    THE CHRISTMAS TREE
    There are several stories about the origin of the Christmas tree. People
    in Scandinavia once worshipped trees. When they became Christians, they
    made evergreen trees part of Christian festivals.
    The Custom of decorating homes and churches with evergreens began in
    ancient times. The Romans exchanged green tree branches for good luck
    on the Calends (first day) of January. The English took this custom over
    for Christmas.

    _________________________________________________________________
    EXTERNALS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1917, page 134,
    authored by John F. Sullivan

    SOME CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS
    "When we give or receive Christmas gifts, and hang green wreaths in our
    homes and churches, how many of us know that we are probably observing
    pagan customs? We do not wish to assert that they are not good customs;
    but they undoubtedly prevailed long before Christian times. The Romans
    gave presents on New Year's Day, and our bestowing of gifts at Christmas
    is a survival of that practice, as well as a commemoration of the
    offerings of the Magi at Bethlehem. The Yule-log, a feature of Christmas
    in old England, goes back to the days of the pirate Norsemen. Holly and
    mistletoe and wreaths of evergreen have been handed down to us by the
    Druids. And even our friend Santa Claus, that mysterious benefactor of
    our childhood days, existed in one form or another long before
    Christianity had attributed his virtues to St. Nicholas; for the god
    Woden, in Norse mythology, descended upon the earth yearly between
    December 25 and January 6 to bless mankind.
    But, pagan though they be, they are beautiful customs. They help to
    inspire us with the spirit of "good will" even as the sublime services of
    our Church remind us of the "peace on earth" which the Babe of Bethlehem
    came to bestow. May that spirit fill the heart of each of us on every
    Christmas Day!"

    I preached this sermon at Dayspring Christian Fellowship on Christmas Day, 2005. It is an important message for the body during this season.
    Check it out at www.lifeandlibertyministries.com
     
  2. David Michael Harris

    David Michael Harris
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    1
    Christmas is where we celebrate Christ's birth, whether it is accurate or not does not matter. Thing is, everybody goes over the top.

    It's not important with regards to the Gospel.

    I think it is safe to say we all like a celebration from time to time.

    I must admit that Christmas bugs me a bit.

    David
     
  3. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess it all depends on what your purpose is, what are you celebrating, where is your heart. None of us can say about another person, only ourselves.
     
  4. Not_hard_to_find

    Not_hard_to_find
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    0
    According to my Jehova Witness sister-in-law, it is, and she does not celebrate.

    I prefer to honor my God by celebrating His birth -- whether the origins were Christian or not, His birth is.
     
  5. abonmarche'

    abonmarche'
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    That was a wonderful history extracts from different references of man's enlightnement about Christmas. I see two things amiss here for your fellow believers. In Ephesians 2:8, we are told that by Grace we are saved and it is a gift. Jesus birth is the gift. He was life, not the evergreens that were living in the coldness of our earth because Jesus created them, therefore they did not understand. Who are the they that are not understanding? It is us, as you said in your history report, it was also Irish. Well let us look at what I was. Was I Jewish? No, I was a heathen as well as being identified in Ephesians 2:11, that I was to remember the former things:such as the trees. evergreens, holly and other greeneries of Gods creation to celebrate life. I was a gentile in the flesh, and was also called that nasty man of being uncircumcised! What a slam, Hello? Read Eph. 2:12, again I am told to remember as well as that I was excluded as a stranger of having NO hope! What a sword cut that is to a pagan/gentile! Gee, I thought by living in USA I was a Christian. Did I want to excluded in flesh from this party?: called a Joyous time or anybody else in my position--NO! I heard no alter call at your history sermon to the gentiles. You neglected the Eph.2:13 thru 15 verses, please include this at your finalization oralizationing. Why? To make these gentiles Whole in the LORD. Gentiles are bound by the law of commandments. Was the Law of God nailed to the cross or part of a new covenant? Did the Roman Catholic authority over rule Gods rule? You described the history of Christmas from all these encylopedia's and other books, as if it was a new way of life. I believe that the law of ceremonies has ended on the cross. Col. 2:13 thru 14.KJV. I also heard in your report that things could entrap us in even greater sin--tenth commandment in Exodus 20:17, that God instructs us not to covet. Are these heathen/gentiles giving unacceptable offerings to God, that they are giving to each other for atonement of sins? Good Will to others rather than God? Thank you for trying to edifying me as part of the body of Christ--but I read a lot of division in that report and we are ordered by God to keep unity with each of us thru Our Lord Jesus Christ.
     
    #5 abonmarche', Dec 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2006
  6. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    Every year I preach the same Sermon. In it I argue Christmas is not day, it's a season. It's a season where all men, rather you call it Kwanza, Hannukah, Jesus Birthday or whatever can get on one accord, pause just long enough for God's will to be done.

    My subject?

    The reason for the season.​

    Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (KJV)
     
  7. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,395
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am so tired of the phrase "reason for the season" I could vomit. It's trite and overdone.

    I'm sure the sermon is a fine one, though.

    :tongue3::tongue3:
     
  8. dispen4ever

    dispen4ever
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just rejoice that HE replaced pagan traditions with himself, for all who believe, regardless of what day it fell on, or what they did there on December 25th eons ago. Let the pagans pagan. I'm content to celebrate :jesus: 24/7/365.
     
  9. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe I'll thunk up a new subject this year but I believe in making sure my folks understand the true meaning of the season... Hey, maybe that could be it, "The Meaning of the Season".
     
  10. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,458
    Likes Received:
    0
    The key is that God never told us what the birthdate of Jesus was in the Bible, and so it doesnt matter what day you celebrate it on.

    If witches decided to make a tradition of bringing in some flowers and setting them in a vase and placing them on their coffee table would you therefore stop setting flowers on your coffee table?

    I would hope not.


    Claudia
     
  11. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    hummmmm Before I answer....What color are the flowers? :)
     
  12. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,458
    Likes Received:
    0
    They are Plaid.


    ...a very "Witchy" sort of a Plaid.
     
  13. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,395
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why rhyme at all?

    "Why Christmas?"
    "Christmas: What's the Big Deal?"

    Those come to mind...
     
  14. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like those, I was also considering, "What's in a Season? or "Why this Season"

    With the later I can borrow and/or tie to Ecl 3:1. That's a direction I've never gone before.
     
  15. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,395
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm lovin' it a lot. Can we see the finished product?
     
  16. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    Christmas is pagan, which celebrate the birth of pagan god Horus.
    Nobody in the bible celebrated the birthday of Jesus
     
  17. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,395
    Likes Received:
    0
    Or drove cars, or watched TV, or listened to radio, or shopped at SafeWay.
     
  18. bound

    bound
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    The idea of 'Christ Mass' being pagan seems a bit absurd on first blush. Perhaps we can discuss particulars of Practice and follow their origins to the Cultures that practiced them?

    What about 'Christ Mass' do we think is pagan?
     
  19. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eli, one of the angels would like to see you now. (Luke 2)

    :laugh:
     
  20. Chemnitz

    Chemnitz
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cookies, cookies must obviously be pagan in origin as they taste so good they must be bad for us Christians. Therefore, they must be pagan. Besides, aren't they the traditional offering to Santa Claus who is based on the pagan god iwanahocaloogi? Are we not to avoid eating sacrifices given to idols lest we cause another to sin? Christians should take particular care to avoid rum cookies as they contain alcohol beverages and alcohol is forbidden by the bible.

    So anybody with more than three braincells forming a shortcircuit should be able to understand that cookies are pagan and so must be chucked out of Christmas.

    :smilewinkgrin:
     

Share This Page

Loading...