by Steven Grunstein P.
Christmas carols, colored lights, decorated trees. Everyone know
that Santa's on his way. Everyone loves Christmas, including most
Christians. But, where or how did Christmas begin?
Software Toolworks Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1990 Grolier
Electronic Publishing, Inc. - CHRISTMAS:
"Christmas is the feast of the birth of JESUS CHRIST celebrated on December 25."
Primitive Christianity regarded the birth of Jesus as a significant moment, important for the understanding of His person.
This conviction was expressed in narrative form in the birth stories
(Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2). Despite the beliefs
about Christ that the birth stories
expressed, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of
the event until the 4th century. The date was chosen to counter
the pagan festivities connected with the winter solstice; since 274,
under the emperor Aurelian, Rome had celebrated the feast of the "Invincible Sun" on
December 25. In the Eastern Church, January 6,
a day also associated with the winter solstice, was initially
preferred. In course of time, however, the West added the Eastern date
as the feast of the EPIPHANY, and the East added the Western date
of Christmas. Thus, the West subsequently divided the Christmas
celebration between December 25 and January 6. In medieval
Europe, folk customs connected with the winter solstice were
perpetuated together with the church celebration. The Puritans in England and in New England tried to
abolish Christmas, but that move was unpopular, and Christmas survived and
has been developed commercially since the Industrial Revolution.
This has had the effect of pushing back the Christmas festivities to
the period before Christmas.
"Mithraism, the worship of the ancient
Indo-Iranian god of light, Mithra, became
early Christianity's most serious rival as the mystery cult rapidly
spread from Syria and Anatolia throughout the western Mediterranean and
into Gaul and Britain. Its cultic origins remain obscure.
Although the Persian god, Mithra, the chief
ally of Ahura Mazda, the force of good in later ZOROASTRIANISM,
is identical with the Roman deity, Western worship of Mithra had few connections with Zoroastrianism apart from its
emphasis on the eternal struggle between good and evil. There
were seven grades of initiation into the cult, completion of which
conferred immortality. The most important ritual was the slaying
of the bull, a reenactment of Mithra's killing of the
cosmic bull of creation, which symbolized the conquest of evil and
death. Astrology and sun worship also played a role in Mithraism.
Introduced into the West in the 1st century AD by Roman soldiers
who had fought against the Parthians, the cult remained
particularly popular among the military -- the god embodied
such soldierly values as victory, courage, and loyalty -- and
merchant classes. Women were excluded from the cult. One of
the most powerful religious movements in the Roman Empire by the
4th century, Mithraism, along with other
non-Christian sects, suffered persecution after the conversion of
Constantine and gradually died out. Significantly, Mithra's birth
was commemorated on December 25."
The New Book of Knowledge, 1980 Edition
No one is certain why December 25 was chosen. There is nothing in
the New Testament to indicate that this is the date of
the Nativity. It is believed that the efforts of the early
Christians in Rome to change pagan customs into Christian rites
led, in the 4th century A.D., to the adoption of December 25
as the date of the Christ Mass, or feast, in honor of the
birth of Christ. This day was probably
chosen because, according to the calendar then in use, December 25
was the winter solstice, the time when days begin to grow longer in
the Northern Hemisphere. The sun-worshiping pagans had
celebrated this day as the promise of spring.
The Christmas tree is the symbol of the spirit of the Yuletide in many homes. The custom came from Germany and dates back to
primitive people and their reverence for trees, particularly
evergreens. These trees did not die or fade in winter and
seemed to be a sign of immortality. The Christians changed
the custom into one honoring Christ.
The Northern peoples of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (where the
forests are plentiful) adopted the custom of bringing small trees
into their homes at Christmas time.
Many Christmas decorations used today were once pagan symbols.
The Romans used flowers and leafy boughs in their rites.
Records show that the Saxons used holly, ivy, and bay in their
rites. The Druids gave the world the tradition of hanging the
mistletoe in the house. When two enemies met under a sprig of
mistletoe they would drop their weapons and embrace in friendship. It
is thought that the modern custom of young men and women kissing
under the mistletoe comes from this old ritual.
The Encyclopedias did not go deep enough into the why's and who's of
how Christmas came into being. So, let's look a little farther
between the lines and we might find some startling things to think on.
Genesis 10:8-10: "And Cush begat Nimrod: he
began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the
Lord: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the
Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad,
and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."
A simple Bible text? Look again. The key word here is
"before." The original Hebrew uses this word
in this position to mean "in place of" or
"rather than." As Nimrod used his God-given talents and strength to protect the people he had
clustered together in little bands, he gained the admiration and
appreciation of the people he defended and this adoration started to do
things in his mind. So he started his own worship services as
he gazed upon his own attributes, including physique. It was not
long after his kingdom of Babel was established that he allowed the
people to call him a god.
Going back to the word "before" in the Bible text,
we can now see where it is used also as meaning "against."
Nimrod turned the people against God.
What about Nimrod's wife? Her
name was Semiramis. She was also his mother!
Nimrod had one thing in common with all
living things, he died! But that wasn't the end of it. His
wife called the people together and told them that Nimrod was now serving his people in an exalted position as the sun-god! She further told the people that the earth was shaped like a dinner plate,
round, yet flat, and on the underside there were all manner of
gigantic, devouring demons trying to creep and crawl up over the edge
to destroy them. But Nimrod, every evening,
as he plunged over the edge of the plate went to fight back those demons
to protect his people. Furthermore, he wanted to insure that they
had warmth and light and he reappeared every morning from the other side
of the plate. So you see how the sun, moon, and stars became gods.
So, every morning, the people bowed prostrate before Nimrod,
the sun, as he came up, fresh from battle in their behalf. A
substitute, a counterfeit religion, carried on through the centuries.
There is more to this story, but let 's get back to the discussion of
Colossians 2:8: "Beware lest any man spoil
you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men,
after the rudiments (customs) of the world, and not after Christ."
Almost everything about Christmas is based upon the traditions of men,
not after Christ. Christ could not have been born on December 25th. Most place His birth
as late as September or early October. This was the
customary time to pay taxes, and would be about the final days
of shepherds watching their sheep at night in the open fields,
as recorded in Luke 2:8.
December 25th was the date of a major Pagan festival. The Roman Bramalia. The final day of
the week long Saturnaliain honor of the sun god, then
called Saturn. The day of the
invincible sun. A pagan holiday to honor the rebirth of the
sun, the winter equinox. The Babylonians,
before the time of the Romans,
celebrated on December 24th and 25th in honor of Ishtire,
son of the Babylonian queen Estarte.
They called that day "Yule Day,"
meaning "child day." Babylon was the
seat of the first great apostasy against God after the flood, established by Nimrod, ruled
by himself and his wife/mother, the queen, Semiramus.
This incestuous relationship led to the many forms of pagan
fertility worship in Babylon's culture. The sun was worshiped
as the "life force" which was the supreme sex-god!
As the sun set earlier in the winter, the Babylonians feared
that this sexual force would leave them forever. These ancients
lit festive fires late in December to encourage the rebirth of the
sun just as Christmas bonfires, candles, and colored lights burn in
December today. But about December 21st, the winter solstice
, the days began to grow longer, so they tried to cheer the sun back by
their vile and base celebrations in honor of the sun-god. They
feasted because the sun-god, the light of the world, had been reborn and
this celebration took place from December 24th through January 4th
What about the tree? The Encyclopedia told us that tradition came
from Germany. True, but it came to them via the ancient pagan
religions. Because the trees are always green they were viewed as
being inbred with special life forces. They were a sign of
fertility to the pagans, as were branches of holly and mistletoe. These
plants actually bear fruit when everything else is dead. The pagan Romans trimmed these trees with trinkets and toys during their sun feast orgies
in December. These customs have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.
They are a celebration of another sun. "Sun!"
The sun-god of pagan antiquity.
What about gift giving? We give gifts just like the wise men
did. But, the wise men didn't give their gifts to each other.
They gave them to Jesus. So where
does this custom of giving gifts to each other come from? The
practice of exchanging presents at Christmas comes from the ancient Roman custom called Strinnea. During the Saturnalia, Romans used to give good luck gifts to their friends and on the eve
of December, Yule logs were cast into a tree from which divine
gifts appeared. They were supposed to be presents from the gods for
the new year.
Jeremiah 10:22-24: "Thus says the Lord,
Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of
heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of
the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of
the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver
and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move
Have you noticed the well laden tables everywhere at that time of year?
The impulse to spend seizes everyone. He who through the whole
year has taken pleasure in saving, suddenly becomes extravagant.
And then, there is the fireplace. It was believed to be the
natural entrance and exit of the fire and solar gods. People
swept and scoured their chimneys in preparation for these gods' visits.
They are fire gods and are pictured in the history books
as being dressed in pointed red caps and red jackets! This
costume has not changed over the years. Only the influence. Parents
reinforce this ho, ho, hoax in their children with lies and
deceptions of every sort; reindeer fly, Santa lives at the North Pole.
We force them to believe a lie. Because Mom and Dad said so,
this becomes reality to our children.
Colossians 3:9,10: "Lie not one to another,
seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on
the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that
Why does a child believe in God and His
supernatural powers? Because his parents tell him to. What
happens when that child begins to question the existence of God,
just like he does the existence of Santa Claus? Those
little white lies we told about Santa suddenly become giant
obstacles to our children's faith. How can we practice such
deceptions on our children while trying to teach them perfect honesty?
How can we support them in their fables on things of this earth when
we tell them the importance of thinking of things of heaven?
Now, let's do a comparison. You will need your Bible, and your
Isaiah 44:8: "Fear ye not, neither be
afraid: have not I told you from that time, and have declared it? You
are even My witnesses. Is there a God beside Me? Yes, there is NO
God; I know not any!"
God, Jehovah God,
is the only God. He Himself says that
He knows of no other. But Santa is a king. One of a
kind. There is not another being like him anywhere in the world.
Unique. No! Equal.
Revelation 1:14: "His head and His hairs
were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire."
Revelation 2:18: "And unto the angel of the
church in Thyatira write; these things says the Son of God, who has His
eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass."
Who are these texts talking about? Jesus! Of course! But Santa has curly white hair, like wool,
and a "twinkle in his eye."
Isaiah 14:13,14; "For you have said in your
heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the
stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,
in the sides of the North: I will ascend above the heights of the
clouds; I will be like the Most High."
Psalms 48:2: "Beautiful for situation, the
joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North,
the City of the Great King."
Exodus 26:35: "And you shall set the table
without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side
of the tabernacle toward the south: and you shall put the table on the
Where is Christ's throne? In the
North of the Temple. Where does Santa come from? The
North Pole. Why not South Pole?
Jeremiah 32:27: "Behold, I AM the Lord, the
God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?"
So, God has unlimited power. But
what about Santa? Children believe that they can ask for
anything and they get it!
Psalms 139:1,2: "0 Lord, You have searched
me, and known me. You know my down sitting and my uprising, You
understand my thought afar off."
2 Kings 19:27: "But I know your abode, and
your going out, and your coming in, and your rage against Me."
God knows everything you do. He is
omniscient. "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows
when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for
goodness sake." For goodness sake? Why not for Jesus sake?
Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus
Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever."
Jesus is ageless. He is and has been
and will be forever. Has Santa aged? How old is he?
Is he subject to death? Evidently not. He's still living
after countless centuries.
Isaiah 45:5: "I AM the Lord, and there is
none else, there is NO God beside Me: I girded you, though you
have not know Me."
There is no other God. Jehovah is Boss. There is no one above Him. Santa has no boss. There
is no one else. He does his own thing.
Isaiah 64:6: "But we are all as an unclean
thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade
as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Hebrews 4:15: "For we have not an High Priest
which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Jesus was not, is not a sinner. He
is the only one without sin. But what about Santa? Does
he have any faults? Deformities? Wrongs?
Revelation 20:12: "And I saw the dead, small
and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book
was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged
out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Jesus has books of judgment. Our
deeds are written down. Santa has a list. He checks it
John 5:30: "I can of mine own self do
nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not
Mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me."
John 5:27: "And has given Him authority to
execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man."
Ephesians 2: 8,9: "For by grace are you
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
not of works lest any man should boast."
Jesus judges fairly. Jesus give s good gifts. He offers eternal life through
Him, through faith alone, not by our works. Santa gives good
gifts, doesn't he? "He's making a list, checking it
twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice." Santa judges,
doesn't he? But according to our text, who only has the right
Romans 14:10: "But why do you judge your
brother? Or why do you set at naught your brother? For we
shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
John 14:3: "And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I
am, there you may be also."
Revelation 22:12: "And behold, I come
quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his
work shall be."
How often is this reward given by Jesus?
Once. How often does Santa give his gifts? Once --
1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and
one Mediator between God, and men, the man Christ
1 John 2:1: "My little children, these
things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we
have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Jude 24: "Now unto Him that is able to keep
you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of
His glory with exceeding joy."
Psalms 103: 2,3: "Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your
Matthew 9:6: "But that you may know that the
Son of man has the power to forgive sins, ..."
Who can forgive sins? Who is a mediator? Who is our
Mediator? But Santa takes the children on his lap while they
tell him they are sorry for being naughty during the year and promise him
that they will be good from then on. Is Santa playing the
role of forgiver of wrongs?
Psalms 25:8: "Good and upright is the Lord:
therefore will He teach sinners in the way."
Matthew 17:19: "And He said unto him, Why do
you call Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God: but if
you will enter into life, keep the commandments."
Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things
through Christ Who strengthens me."
Ephesians 6:1: "Children, obey your parents
in the Lord: for this is right."
Through Christ's strength we can do all
things. We can obey with the strength of Jesus.
If we sin, He is there to strengthen, forgive, uplift and present us
to God. We obey in the Lord.
Does Santa tell the children to obey their parents, for his
sake? Be good, obey, or you won't get any presents.
Matthew 18:2: "And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them."
Mark 10:14,16: "But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, "Suffer the
little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the
kingdom of God." And He took them up in His arms, put his
hands upon them, and blessed them."
Jesus took the children in his arms,
seated them on His lap, blessed them. Who else does that?
Hebrews 1:8: "But unto the Son He says, Your
throne, 0 God, is forever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of
Daniel 7:9: "I beheld till the thrones were
cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as
snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was
like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire."
God's or Jesus' throne
is beautiful beyond words. Have you ever seen Santa sitting
on a plain old chair? Usually he is depicted as sitting on a
throne-like looking chair. God's throne
is forever. Santa's has been too, so far.
Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at
the right hand of the throne of God."
Psalms 141:8: "But mine eyes are unto You, O
God the Lord: in You is my trust; leave not my soul
Who are we to keep our eyes focused upon? Jesus.
But when Santa comes, once a year, on the night that is
supposed to be Jesus' birthday, who do
we see? The picture of Jesus becomes very dim.
Luke 12:40: "Be ye there fore ready also:
for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not."
Mark 13:33: "Take ye heed, watch and pray:
for you know not when the time is."
Matthew 25:6: "And at midnight there was a
cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes, go ye out to meet him."
When does Christ say His return, coming,
will be? At an hour when you least expect it, when you know it not.
At midnight. When is Santa supposed to come?
At midnight , or sometime after. Exactly when is not
known. But he will come, so it is said.
Revelation 18:8,9: "Therefore shall her
plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall
be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who Judges
Christ's judgments come swiftly, in one
day! Santa delivers his gifts-judgments, if you will, in just
Psalms 139:7: "Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?"
Amos 9:2,3: "Though they dig into hell,
there shall Mine hand take them, though they climb up to heaven, there
will I bring them down: and though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel,
I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from My
sight in the bottom of the sea, there will I command the serpent, and he
shall bite them:"
Proverbs 15:3: "The eyes of the Lord are in
every place, beholding the evil and the good."
Jeremiah 23:24: Can any hide himself in secret
places that I shall not see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill
heaven and earth? says the Lord."
No matter where you go or what you do the Lord is there to see. Can you hide from Him? Santa makes the
same claim. No man can do that. But Santa wasn't
made to be just an ordinary mortal.
Revelation 19:13: "And He was clothed with a
vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God."
1 Peter 1:18,19: "For as much as you know
that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but
with the precious blood of Christ, as of a
lamb without blemish and without spot."
Revelation 7:14: "And I said unto him, Sir,
you know. And he said unto me, these are they which came out of
great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb."
Jesus shed His own blood to buy our
freedom from sin. What color is blood? Red!
Revelation tells us He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood.
What color is Santa's suit? Red!
Why not blue or green or another color? Could it be that this
color is mocking Christ's sacrifice?
Mocking His shed blood? Mocking our ability to be cleaned
by Christ's blood?
Ezekiel 1, entire chapter.
Revelation 4, entire chapter.
Descriptions of God's throne. It is a living throne. It moves!
It is surrounded by beings that are described as well as the
limitations of our language can. It seems mystical, magical. Surrounded
by mystical, magical, creatures. Attended by a leading being, the
covering cherub, Christ's right hand.
We know him by the name of Gabriel.
What about Santa's sleigh? It moves, magically,
powered by magical creatures, led by one special magical creature we know
Revelation 1:7: "Behold, He comes with
clouds and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him:
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen."
Daniel 7:13: "I saw in the night vision,
and, behold, One like the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near
What are clouds? If you enter a cloud, you say you are in a fog.
Right? So can we say clouds are fog? Certainly! Is
it an accident that Santa comes on a foggy Christmas eve?
Christ comes in clouds. Santa comes in clouds-fog!
Revelation 21:18-23: "and the building of the wall
of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear
The next verses describe the jewels in this wall and city.
Hebrews 12:22: "but you are come unto mount Zion,
and unto the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to
an innumerable company of angels."
God and Jesus,
live in a beautiful shining city filled with so many angels, we can't
count them. We know that the angels do God's bidding. They
are His messengers, His helper. Where does Santa live? In
a city that shines like ice crystals. Pretty, dazzling, bright.
Happy? He is surrounded by an uncounted number of beings that
are his helpers. The origins of each of these cities and their
inhabitants are unexplainable.
Romans 3:10: "As it is written, there is
none righteous, no, not one."
Romans 5:19: "For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall
many be made righteous."
God is the giver of righteousness. There
is no one who is righteous of and in himself. Only Jesus.
What is Santa's knick name? St. Nick. Saint!!
Does he imply that he is holy? Thus is he righteous in
and of himself?
Zechariah 2:6: "Ho, Ho, come forth, and flee
from the land of the North, says the Lord: for I have spread you abroad
as the four winds of the heaven, says the Lord."
This text begins with the words, "ho, ho." Interesting!
God is calling to come forth and flee
from the land of the north. The land of the North was known as Babylon.
God is calling His people to come out
of Babylon. Why does Santa use these words before he
announces his arrival, or his message of ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas?
Could it be that this simple ho, ho, ho, is a lashing
out at God? No, you say? It's just laughter.
He's a jolly fellow. Well, think about it!
Who's picture is plastered everywhere that time of the year? Whose
face appears in every magazine you read? Whose plastic body is
displayed on, in and around so many houses? This
is image worship. If we were willing to display our
adoration of Christ as openly as we do our
blind love for Santa Clause perhaps more people would have
heard of His precious name by now.
Ask yourself, how many times did I mention the name of Jesus last Christmas? Not the trite mentioning of it but the praise, and
honor and glorifying talk of uplifting His Holy Name. Can you
not see how Santa and Christmas have totally eclipsed the
true object of worship from our lives? Isn't it obvious how Christmas and Santa are designed to weaken or even totally destroy the
spiritual perceptions of our most precious possessions, our children?
No doubt Santa will continue to grow fat on the adorations of
the youth, but he ought to be starving to death in God's churches.
Tell your children the true story. Don't lie to them.
Santa is a myth. Tell them the real origins of
Christmas. Teach them to adore Jesus Christ,
the giver of every good gift, the Friend of every child, the Savior of all
man kind. Suffer the little children to come to Me. Replace Santa with Jesus.