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The reason for the "season"

December 4, 2011 4 comments

No, that’s not a real sign. But I sure wish it was….

As a follow up to last year’s postingabout this season that everyone else is now in the throes of, I thought I’d share some more thoughts about why we have chosen to opt-out. Again, I am not preaching why you should or shouldn’t do anything, merely presenting our family’s views with supporting facts.

Most people never wonder what all the symbols of X mas; Santa Claus, reindeer, decorated trees, holly, mistletoe and all the rest of them, have to do with the Christ. The truth is (and you can verify this yourself in books, encyclopedias and on the internet) that all these symbols come from ancient pagan festivals.

Even the date, Dec. 25, comes from a festival celebrating the birthday of the ancient sun god Mithras. Jesus never told His followers to celebrate Christmas, but He did warn us not to adhere to false, man-made religious doctrines:
“And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark:7:7).

The truth is, Christmas and other non-biblical religious “holydays” like easter are really vain and empty worship of Christ.

The Catholic Encyclopedia indicates that the Christmas season came from an old pagan midwinter festival that occurred at the time of the winter solstice. Tertullian, a Catholic theologian who lived from 155-230, referred to compromising Christians then beginning to join in the pagan midwinter festival celebrated in the Roman Empire, which eventually evolved into what is now Christmas:
The Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians” (Tertullian in De Idolatria, quoted by Hislop, p. 93). In time Roman religious leaders added solemnity to this pre-christian holiday by adding to it the Mass of Christ, from which it eventually came to be known by its common name of “Christmas.”

From The Pink Triangle Trust web site:
Why December 25?
For millennia, the promise of spring and summer has been more important than we can easily imagine today. Perhaps that is why early cultures introduced evergreen decorations (laurel or holly) into their homes – they are hope- filled symbols of life in the winter gloom.
In ancient Egypt the birth of the god Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, was celebrated on December 25.
In the Roman world, there was the Saturnalia, the festival of Saturn, the god of harvests. Originally this took place on December 19 but it was extended for seven days. It was the merriest festival of the Roman year. All business stopped. Slaves were given temporary freedom to say and do what they liked, and certain moral restrictions were eased (the modern equivalent being the office party). The holiday concluded on December 25 with a great feast, when presents were exchanged. In addition, towards the end of the Roman empire, there was the celebration of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (natalis solis invicti), on December 25 of course. The god Mithras had a large following in the empire, particularly amongst the military. After midnight, on the first moment of December 25, the Mithraic temples would be lit up, with priests in white robes at the altars, and boys burning incense, similar to what happens today in Roman Catholic churches. At sunrise the priests would declare: “The god is born”. Mithras was the principal Persian deity by the 5th century BCE. He was rock-born of a virgin goddess on December 25 and shepherds were the first to learn of his birth. He came from heaven and redeemed believers from their sins.
Among Celtic and Germanic tribes, the winter solstice was held in veneration from earliest times. And for Norsemen, too, the time had a special meaning. Their deities were active on earth from December 25 to January 6.
Trees and Logs
A tradition which stems from the old Norse custom of burning oak logs in honour of the god Thor is the yule log. It survives today as a chocolate-covered cake for Christmas teas.
Originally a log was placed on the fire as the yule log. It was one of the most important parts of Christmas Eve. It burnt throughout the night, and it was held to be unlucky if the fire went out. On Christmas Day morning the log was replaced by a young fir tree to represent rebirth.
From this tradition may stem the idea of decorated Christmas trees brought to Britain from Germany in Victorian times.
Mistletoe
Mistletoe was a sacred plant for the Druids, while for Romans it was a symbol of peace. Enemies were supposed to discard their arms and declare a truce under it; hence the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.
Greetings Cards
These date from the 1840s and became popular from the time of the introduction of stamps and the penny post.
Father Christmas
The jolly fat man with long white beard, in a red outfit and shiny black boots, who gives presents, is the result of a collection of traditions. Father Christmas, a character from medieval mummers plays (The Mummers’ Play is a folk tale developed from a pre-Christian fertility rite or pagan ritual), has merged with St Nicholas, the Christian patron saint of children, to become Santa Claus. His sleigh was first shown by illustrators in the 1860s.
Christmas Abolished
Onto deeply loved festivals Christians superimposed the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Christmas’ means the day on which a mass is said for the soul of Christ. The takeover is often brazen, and it is extremely unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25.
In fact in 1652 Christians decided to scrap Christmas altogether and passed a law forbidding any observance of it. The festival was restored in 1660.

It’s sad that a site like the Pink Triangle Trust has more factual information about the practices of christmas than the average “christian” does. It’s true, the early colonists prohibited the celebration of the Christ-Mass, realizing that it was a pagan and ungodly practice. Here are some historical preachers’ sermons and writings on xmas.

Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest of the Protestant preachers of the 1800’s, had this to say about the “Christ Mass”:
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 any mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English: 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. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there in no possibility of discovering when it occurred. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the birth of our Lord; and it was not till long after the western Church had set the example, that the eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known. Probably the fact is that the ‘holy’ days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which our Savior was born it is the 25th of December. Regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”

A.W. Pink – a puritan writer had the following to say on the subject of Xmas:
Christmas is coming! Quite so: but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote it’s source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. It is without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” 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 deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on it’s lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under the cloak of honoring the Savior’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little one with you OUT of Egypt (Ex. 10:9-10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb. 11:25) Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little one a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask THE LORD’S blessing?”

The Presbyterian minister Abraham Anderson wrote:
Christmas, or the Nativity, is unauthorized. The time is utterly unknown, being left in impenetrable darkness by the Holy Spirit in the divine records; and no doubt this was done because the knowledge of it was unnecessary, and in order to repress will-worship. In a word, while fast-days are appointed on account of the duty to be performed, in set days, or periodical days, the duty is observed on account of the day; and therefore the day must be of divine appointment, or it is sinful.”

Robert Nevin, a reformed minister said this in 1893:
If the Apostle Paul were permitted to revisit earth, we might imagine him addressing them somewhat after the following manner: — ‘Ye men of a half-reformed Church, ye observe days and times. Ye have a whole calendar of so-called saints’ days. Ye observe a Holy Thursday and a Good Friday. Ye have a time called Easter, and a season called Lent, about which some of you make no small stir. Ye have a day regarded especially holy, named Christmas, observed at a manifestly wrong season of the year, and notoriously grafted on an old Pagan festival. And all this while many of you refuse to acknowledge the continued obligation of the Fourth Commandment. I am afraid of you, lest the instruction contained in my epistle, as well as in other parts of Scripture, has been bestowed upon you in vain.”

I hope this has been informative, and maybe even helpful. As always it is your choice whether or not to participate with the rest of the world in celebrating this pagan season. But as for me and my house, we will opt-out.

Until next time…..

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