Whether you are a believer or not, your timetable, schedule for work and holidays, in fact, the world calendars have holiday dates which have been implemented to ‘supposedly’ reflect Christian holidays.
When I was growing up, we were taught that England was a Christian country and that the holidays we had reflected that.
After learning (at very early age) that father Christmas, or Santa clause was a myth which originated in Europe, I held onto the belief that England and the UK’s roots were steeped in Christianity until I started (as I usually do) to look deeper and do my own research.
What provoked me to do some digging was the odd TV documentary (which would be shown every now and then) which had Wiccans and Druids speaking about the history of Europe and Britain.
Having done my own research through books and later on the Internet, I began to piece together the migration of Judaic Christianity from North-East Africa (AKA the Middle East) to East Africa, Mediterranean Europe and then the rest of the world.
Northern Europe (and everywhere else for that matter) was predominantly populated with people who held Pagan beliefs.
Humankind had taken to making their own gods, worshipping lower forms of deity/spiritual beings as well as the worship of nature, animals and the elements, rather than the creator.
Further research revealed that the ‘other’ nations (which surrounded the children of Israel) were performing ‘seasonal’ pagan worship of nature and specifically the ‘gods’ of the trees.
One of the earliest mentions of this (around 500-625BC) was given by the Prophet Jeremiah.
“Hear the word, which the Lord speaks to you, Oh house of Israel.
This is what the Lord says: Do not learn the ways of the heathen nations and do not be dismayed at the signs of the heavens, though they are dismayed by them.
For the customs of their people are false, empty and futile.
A tree from the forest is cut down (to make a god) and worked with an axe (or tool) by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field and they cannot speak.
They have to be carried for they cannot walk…” Jeremiah Chapter 10 verses 1-5
Sound familiar?…When I was young and I heard other pagan religious people speaking about the Christmas celebrations belonging to them, it would annoy me.
I heard a statement that this celebration/worship pre-dated Christianity and I would be offended but after doing my research I realised that, although it didn’t pre-date the ‘Relationship’ God wanted to have with humankind as recorded in Genesis and the Apocrypha, concerning his relationship with Adam & Eve.
It did pre-date the agreement God made with Abraham to birth the nation of Israel and it obviously pre-dates the time God put on flesh and walked amongst humankind…AKA the new Covenant (dispensation of Grace) AKA Christianity.
Further research lead to me understand that this pagan worship was embraced in Northern Europe, including Britain and when Christianity spread to this part of the world, it was a practice which was still going strong.
The religious organisations, which were established (the Catholic Church and the Church of England) along with the Monarchy, all knew that the practice was against the Judaic-Christian teachings of the Bible.
However, because they could not stop the worship, they decided to adopt it and change the meaning to include the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Thereby, appeasing those who didn’t want to drop their historic pagan religions, as well as those in positions of influence who had a belief in the Bible and God.
Remember my definition of Religion in my previous post…this definition covers all forms of belief systems.
Most people would accept the fact that the exact birth-date of Jesus Christ was not recorded.
I believe that if it were, humankind would find a way to ‘religiously’ worship the day and thereby make an idol out of it…well; they have done it with other things, so why not with that very important event?
Again (speculation on my part) but I assume some of those who have pagan beliefs must find it amusing that religious Christians look to December 25th, a date/time pivotal to their pagan worship, as the birth date of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.
Those, with any sense, who would have researched the weather conditions of Israel and in particular the region of Bethlehem, would obviously realise that Jesus would have been born at a time when it would be warm enough for Shepherds to be out at night watching their flocks of sheep…That would ‘not’ be near the ending of December.
Religious Christians, have differing views on this time of year, depending on where you go, you will have those who rightly understand the origins of Christmas celebrations but would even go as far as verbally chastising members of their organisations or congregations for taking part in, what was, pagan idol worship.
Other Religious Christians, whether they study and understand the origins or not, look at this time as a great way to try to promote Jesus to those who have not yet accepted his Grace and Salvation, in an attempt to get their buildings (and organisations) filled and the possibility of new converts.
An argument I’ve heard is, that “It’s one of the few times a year that we can get the attention of those who are non-believers”.
The masses (some of which who have studied history and understood the origins) who are not Christians or pagans, understand that there are many differing opinions being voiced at this time of year.
They are bombarded with information…the Government wants them to spend to apparently ‘help the economy’, advertising and commercialism, religion , family time, a break from work, a chance to fill the belly etc. etc.
Easter is another celebration, which is supposed to represent the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I’m not going to go into details of the origins of Easter (as I would like to keep this a family post) but I will say that Pagan origins of Easter concerned the observation of seasonal changes, sex and “fertility”.
It was about the fertility of the land, animals and people, focusing on pro-creation and the ability to have children to farm the land.
The gift of an ‘egg’, represents “fertility” and new birth and has nothing to do with the price Jesus paid for us all, on the cross.
As with Christmas, the Religious establishments of the time, could not have that worship continuing and decided to adopt and change the meaning to represent the crucifixion and resurrection.
The new imposed meaning of both religious celebrations (Christmas & Easter) were not always embraced by teaching the pagan masses.
As with the nature of religion (remember my definition) those changes also came about by force and violence.
I haven’t seen everything but I’ve seen a lot, I understand why some religious folk shone away from both celebrations.
I also understand why some religious folk would attempt to use these two holidays to get the attention of those they know and love, who are not yet believers.
News Flash to the latter (the religious adopters) : – Please understand, you’re intentions are good, your non-Christian acquaintances, friends and family members might hear you proclaim Jesus Christ but remember, they are also listening to many different voices at this time and will ultimately choose to think of this time, however they want to.
Besides, a person will only decide to really listen or read the Bible and accept the full love, grace and salvation of Jesus Christ when they have their own personal revelation, their ‘wake-up moment’.
Newsflash to the former (the religious in disagreement) : – You are right in thinking that the celebrations have nothing to do with Christianity but look at it this way.
I do not put up decorations or a tree, why would I? I’m a non-religious disciple of Jesus, who has studied and understood the origins of pagan beliefs.
I’ve acknowledged that it’s a pagan ritual and that God dislikes pagan rituals.
However, I will not condemn those (non-believers or the religious adopters) who decide to follow those pagan practices…whatever floats their boat, I’m not intimidated and neither do I feel I’m missing out.
You have to remember what God told Jeremiah to tell his people…
“Do not be afraid of them”. Jeremiah Chapter 10 verse 5.
There is no need to fear that some form of pagan spirit will be jumping on you from their trees.
There is no need to act ‘super righteous’ or ‘super spiritual’ over those, who may or may not be ignorant, of how and what they are actually celebrating.
There is no need to rename Santa Clause, Satan Clause in a bid to force others from believing what they want.
You don’t have to follow the advertisers, who preach a message of spend, spend, spend.
Equally, there’s nothing wrong with giving gifts to loved ones, if you choose to… giving a loved one a gift, is not a sin.
You could look at this time as I do, a time to rest and slowdown from busy hectic schedules, a time for love and appreciating what you have in your family and friends (whether they are believers or not, religious or not).
It’s a time to socialise and share with others…that is how I view all the holidays.
My wife and I have taught all our children to see the holidays in the same way, but obviously when they were young they had to come to terms with the ‘it’s not about the presents’ aspect.
Our youngest came to me (as she does) and asked me what Christmas was and why we were not celebrating it as others do (with the trees, decorations and wrapped presents).
I explained to her that this is a time for family and friends to be together to enjoy time off school and work.
She then asked me how we celebrate Jesus coming into the world…
I explained to her that there is nothing written in the Bible concerning Christians having to celebrate a specific day called Christmas.
I told her that Jesus doesn’t want us to be bound to celebrate his birth on one day of the year, that Jesus wants his people to celebrate him every day of the year, through our actions and attitude towards him and others.
That he wants us to remember to love him and to love others as we love ourselves.
She responded with a “Oh”, I asked her if she understood and she responded with a a clear “yes” and a big smile.
We also have the reverse situation, our eldest, who was brought up like his other 5 siblings, apparently, didn’t really share our view or belief.
He waited until he was old enough and when he left home, he embraced the celebrations (just like other religious adopters) even going as far as posting social media messages claiming his best holidays ever…To each their own.
Many (who have obviously not studied) are confused when they meet a true believer (disciple of Yeshua) who does not celebrate these holidays, as the commercial/materialistic or religious adopters do.
However, I’m hoping that if you are reading this (especially if you have a belief), you will see that there is a middle ground, you don’t have to shun those who do (we haven’t shunned our son or others we know) and at the same time, you don’t have to embrace the paganism or materialism aspects either.
Yes, you may be looked at as odd, however, there is nothing wrong with be odd for God and refusing to bow to peer pressure is also an admiral quality and shows strength of character.
I’m thankful for everyone in my life and grateful for those who make the time to listen/read.
I personally don’t say the “Merry Christmas” chant but I will tell people to enjoy their holidays.
These days I stay away from relative gatherings, as most of them don’t appreciate ‘real-talk’ and prefer to avoid being open and honest with each other, smiling and laughing while hiding what’s on the inside…not my thing.
In saying that, I will be taking a bit of time to slow down with my family and I hope your holidays are restful, peaceful, sharing; communicative & loving.
Enjoy your holidays and your time with your loved ones.
Original post date: December 2015
Post revision: January 2018
Last update: August 2019