Is Christmas Pagan?

is-christmas-paganI watched a video recently that used a lot of Scripture to show that Christ couldn’t possibly be pleased by our celebrations of Easter and Christmas. The man narrating the video actually had compelling evidence. I always thought that people who propounded this idea were killjoys who didn’t believe in having liberty in Christ. But I don’t have my ears plugged. I’m not threatened by listening to people who believe the opposite of what I believe. I actually like it. That’s because I like thinking. And I want to grow. Stagnation is boring. And God is bigger than anything I could ever have in my mind. If I’m wrong, I want to know.

The fact that Spurgeon, Martin Luther, and the Puritans all believed the Christmas celebration was morally wrong is astonishing. I’ve read over a hundred of Spurgeon’s sermons, and I have grown spiritually through his writings for years. For one of my spiritual mentors to poo-poo Christmas causes me to pause for a moment.

So I actually gave it a chance. I listened. One of the Scriptures used was, “You shall not worship Me in this way,” referring to the golden calf that the Israelites worshiped, which supposedly represented the real God. The Israelites were worshiping the true God in the way that they felt like, with pagan junk. But God didn’t want to be worshiped that way. He was wounded. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Moses, and Moses (through the Spirit) was so furious about this that he smashed the precious 10 Commandments.

In other words, we shouldn’t do things just because we feel like doing them in a certain way. We shouldn’t do them because “our ancestors have always done it this way.” Throwing pagan junk into our worship of the Christ child at Christmas — why would that not wound the heart of God in the same way?

Then I had weird flashbacks from the religion classes I took in college. I studied all the major religions, and sometimes when I was reading for the religion classes, the Holy Spirit grieved in me. I felt a crushing pain in my chest and actually wept as I read some of the sacred writings of other cultures. One day when I was reading Ezekiel, I saw (in my mind) people wailing for Tammuz, and parents burning their children in fire to appease the gods. When God showed Ezekiel what the Jewish leaders were doing in the temple, God’s heart was grieved. God was hurting. My soul is often knit to the heart of God so closely that I feel what He feels. I was actually on the floor sobbing because of the spiritual pain I felt through the Spirit.

And this was the exact same Tammuz mentioned in the video, which is why I give it credence. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to do things in a pagan way. I just don’t. I don’t give a flip about what everyone else is doing. I want to please God. He is my master and Lord. Who the heck cares about anything else?”

HOWEVER…

The video went on to say that Christmas trees were Asherah poles or phallic symbols. After watching the video, I talked to my husband about it, and he burst out laughing that a Christmas tree could possibly be a phallic symbol. “That’s ludicrous,” he said. After speaking at length to my best friend Christie (who has studied God’s Word for over 30 years), this was her reaction, “Regarding a Christmas tree being an Asherah pole, that is non-sense.  If you buy that, you have to agree that God scattered Asherah poles all over the mountains!”

My husband said that Christmas was actually a success story for Christianity because the nativity is at the center. People sing about Christ coming to earth. And we can proclaim the gospel this time of year because Christ is lifted up everywhere. I don’t think it’s a sin to give presents to each other. And who says a tree has to be evil? God made the fir tree. It’s God’s, not Satan’s.

My husband said that the other Scriptures mentioned applied to actual killing of children, fornication, and other idolatrous practices, none of which we observe.

The video went on to mention that celebrating Jewish traditions is much more biblical. I love the idea of celebrating Passover and other celebrations that Jesus, the Son of God, observed because the Jews had been commanded by God to observe them. God is not stupid. He must have had a reason for giving the command to celebrate these traditions.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t feel that Jewish traditions are a requirement for Christians. Paul was furious at Peter for putting the traditions of the Jews onto the new Christians. (Acts 15:10-11, 28-29) Paul knew that the Holy Spirit didn’t want Peter to do this, and a church council met in Jerusalem over it. Peter repented of his sin, and now we have freedom in Christ NOT to do Jewish traditions.

So what’s the final verdict? My husband and I are celebrating Christmas, because we celebrate the birth of our Redeemer. We focus our minds on Christ, and why He came to earth. We teach our children to honor Christ, and we magnify Him in our hearts as we sing the Christmas songs. And that’s what matters.

“One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord…” (Romans 14: 5-6)

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15 Responses to “Is Christmas Pagan?”

  1. Teresa says:

    My family and I have studied and gone over much of the same ground you guys have. Should we or shouldn’t we? We love thinking and talking about who Christ is and why he came to Earth the way he did. We talk about it all through the year but this time of year we can talk about Christ all the more and openly. Why not celebrate and keep the center on Christ?

    WE have mind you taught the kids why Christmas is in December because of old pagan practices. They do need to be aware of why and how the date came to be on the 25. We also do not participate in outright pagan observences like the yule log tradition, we don’t believe in Santa, and we make sure we don’t go overboard with buying presents. Only three per kid. It helps them not to be greedy and helps them to realize the gift of family, that Christ’s love and forgiveness is much more important.

    You are not alone and I am encouraged we are not alone either. Merry Christmas. May your family continue in His Grace and Mercy this season and be blessed by Celebrating his Birth.

  2. Rashida says:

    Well said!! We celebrate Christmas as a day our savior was born not the Tree! The tree represents for our family everlasting life that is in Christ Jesus and the Lights are what we are supposed to be ,the light of this world! GREAT POST!!

    • Susan says:

      Symbols can be different for different people. For example, God commanded the Israelites to pile up stones as a monument to remember an event. But people who piled up stones to offer sacrifices to idols were not pleasing to God. Both people have a stone pile as a symbol, but it’s what happens in our hearts that matters.

      Thank you for your encouraging words.

  3. Tina says:

    December’s Charisma magazine has a great article on this subject.

  4. Kaye Swain says:

    I struggled over this when my kids were young as well. I had been raised on Santa and when I wanted to outlaw him my folks all thought I was crazy. After much prayer and Bible study, we came to the decision to minimize Santa, but since so many friends and family had him, we purchased a couple of the cute ornaments showing Santa kneeling in front of baby Jesus. I often shared the stories with my kids then, and now my grandkids, of how Santa started – with Nicholas, a man of God, helping others. I learned to surrender all of my life and all of my days to God, and that included holidays like Christmas. It’s a sweet opportunity to share God’s word through books, calendars, and music with others at home and abroad. And I also use it as an opportunity to teach my children and grandchildren that not all Christians agree on everything – BUT there is a time to disagree and there are times we must NOT disagree, such as the Virgin Birth, the inerrancy of Scripture, etc. So this is just how I feel, but we respect the choices others make for this as well. 🙂

    Another encouraging Bible verse I appreciate for this is Colossians 2:16 – Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.

    Have a blessed week.

  5. Dear Susan,
    Wonderful post! Christmas may have started as a way for Christian celebrations to merge with pagan cultures, and certainly today’s commercialization and focus on shopping and materialism would not be pleasing to Christ. However, Christmas can be a wonderful celebration of God the Son coming to earth as Emmanuel, God-with-us, to be the perfect sacrifice to pay our sin debt in full and reconcile sinners to holy God. Christmas can also be a wonderful time to spread the Good News, as hearts of unsaved people are more open to hear it in Christmas hymns and messages. God knows the hearts, and whether or not our celebration honors Him.
    May you have a blessed Christmas!
    Laurie

  6. Charlotte says:

    There is so much controversy over just about anything you can imagine or talk about. I think it is good to keep studying the subject, and pray about it. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I think the last scripture from Romans that you shared sums it up pretty good. There is no way everyone is going to agree on everything. It is totally impossible. I learned that many years ago.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

  7. Susan says:

    The reason I wrote this is that most Christians don’t care if they are wounding the heart of God. They don’t even consider that what they are doing might be wrong. I just wanted people to think about it for real, and not go through the pagan motions without regard to God at all. Just because we have freedom doesn’t mean we can disregard God’s heart. Most people’s ears are completely plugged.

  8. I’ve written a number of articles on this subject and have endured the ostracizing that takes place by fellow “believers”. The way is narrow, the cross of suffering is painful, but obedience to Christ must be absolute. The reason Christmas is wrong to celebrate is not only because it was a pagan holiday, but it still is. For both reasons, it is wrong. How can a true believer take something pagan and use it for GOD when GOD is absolutely clear that we are not allowed to take pagan festivals, implements, beliefs, practices, or things of the world and use them for Him? Do you think GOD allows you to take pagan elements and use them for Him? Answer this question and you’ll have your answer.

  9. Victoria says:

    Great post Susan. I appreciate your thoughts. 🙂 Blessings, from Victoria

  10. Deborah says:

    I have to respect any Christian who sits down asking themselves, “Am I doing this to the glory of God?” and seeking His Word for an answer with the purpose of pleasing God. We are all in a state of learning in our walks, which is why we as believers must not tear each other down.

    I don’t think there is much debate if Christmas is a pagan holiday–we know it is.

    But although there is much “evidence” that Jesus couldn’t have been born on December 25, there is also much “evidence” that he was.

    Glad to hear people are looking into it. (And if you are still looking into it, google Christmas trees & Nimrod reincarnation).

    Blessings Susan,

  11. Debbie says:

    Hello….about 35 years ago I was faced with the same question, when My sister stopped celebrating “Christ-mass”….. I went to the concordance of my Bible and was shocked to NOT find the word Christmas. So, it sparked an intense study. But, I used many articles, not just one. I opened the Encyclopedias (before we had Internet) and was shocked at what I read. It happened in the 4th century. Constantine wanted to convert the Pagans to Christianity, so he allowed them to being their customs….you can read it. If you also read Jeremiah 10 you will see a scripture that is no doubt about the Xmas tree. I think there are quite a few more explanations other than a “phallic” symbol….And ask yourself this, WHY do “Christians” LIE to their children about a figure, Santa (Satan if you switch the letters), who can do Only what God would be able to do….Perform this Miracle of flying around the world in one night and reading minds, and so on. One thing is for sure, you must decide for yourself. Not what your husband or girlfriend “think” but instead what God says is most important. Revelation is right on when it says “Satan the devil who deceiveth the whole world” ….I tried and tried to DISPROVE the Truth. Jesus was born when the Shepherds were still in the field, which was sometime in September. If you know that Jesus and John were 6 months apart, and you know when John was born, you will get a better picture. Plus, Dec 25 is tied into the Winter Solstice, there is no denying that. Look at the other explanations of the origins of Christmas and Easter…..God may be calling you for a purpose. Do you really want to Lie to your children, just for the sake of some warm fuzzy feeling. Satan certainly is crafty and cunning and deceives with things that are bright and shiny and enticing! Some of the words are not translated right. For instance the word Easter is translated from the word meaning Passover. There ARE Christians who keep Gods Holy Days, which he gave to be kept “forever throughout your generations” ……I kept Christmas for 25 years of my life, I have family and friends who keep it…I understand the lure of it. I understand what people do not want to give up. But you have to know what is important to you and YOUR relationship with your Lord and Savior! Not your Husbands, your friends, or anyone else. Be sure to read the King James Version, some of the other translations are not as accurate. And remember what God said about keeping in vain the “traditions of men”……This country has gotten so far away from God. It is already spiraling down due to a lack of obedience. We are a generation of “Buffet Christians”….People who say they Love God, but they pick and choose his word. He clearly said….”If you love me, keep my commandments. If you do not keep my commandments you are a. Liar, and the Truth is not in you.” He never would say it’s ok to LIE to your children about some character, (read the origins of Santa!) who could “magically” do what we tell them. While you’re at it you need to check into the Easter Bunny (goddess is Astare) they had sexual orgies and used colored eggs, as they were the symbols of fertility! Trust me, I DIDN’T want this to be true…..but it is, and God is serious. His son Jesus, was no wimp either. He is NOT the shallow faced artist rendition you see. He was a rugged, outdoorsman. A carpenter with typical Jewish features. He did NOT have long hair. He was not weak and pale and feminine looking. Isaiah’s prophecy said he was uncomley and could get lost in the crowd. There are a lot of people who will live their lives and refuse to even study the subject. For every question I had, there was an answer. Time distorts history, people forget their history…..Even the fact that Christmas was ILLEGAL in this country and people who celebrated it were fined. It was changed due to “freedom” of religion. This is part of what’s wrong with the country. We think Everybody is due a “right” …..Next thing you know, Pedophiles will be wanting “rights”…….Good luck to you in your inquisitive desire to question what you were probably just taught to believe without question…..I wish you well. For all of you who want to attack me, if this gets posted, I’m used to it. In fact one day, I may even be martyred for being a true follower of the word of God one day….Especially since I keep the true Sabbath. I started with the Commandments, got to the 4 th and narrowed down the Churches. I am not 7th day Advent, or Jehovah Witness….I am a non denominational, like the Apostles and early church. (in fact research the word “Christian” and where it came from. .Growing up, I accepted what I was taught, but Now I’ve already proven it. Worship God in Spirit and Truth…..may you find Spiritual peace, wherever your road leads you. Just remember, “No man can come to the Father, except the Father draw him….” Sorry for the length. If you don’t post this it’s ok, I am writing to you. There is enough info out there today, that if someone is interested, they can search…..Most people will not even entertain the thoughts, they have it too comfortable in their customs and traditions ….

    • Susan says:

      I agree with so much of what you’ve said. Jesus said really rude things to the Pharisees. He was definitely not a sissy! I agree with you that people shouldn’t lie to their children about Santa. In the New Testament, by the way, the believers met on the first day of the week, which is why believers have church on Sunday.

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