4 Biblical Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

It's been quite a while since I stopped celebrating Christmas, and no I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. Christmas is America's favorite holiday, and as the season dawns I am inevitably asked to explain why I don't celebrate Christmas. I have several posts on the blog about the history of Christmas and it's pagan origins, I'll list them in references for those who are new to the site. However after overhearing a church leader who knows the history of Christmas "explain" to members of the church why he thinks they can celebrate the holiday, I realized I needed to approach this topic from a Biblical basis not a historical one.

The leader's main point was from 1 Corinthians 8:
4As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 7Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.1 Corinthians 8:4-7 KJV

His argument was that because we know that the pagan deity originally worshipped on this day is not real, we are free to celebrate the holiday as we choose. I can see how if you have a strong attachment to the holiday and are looking for support, this quote would seem to do the trick. However, we can't just take one quote from the Bible and transplant it into our modern world. We have to look at context and scripture as a whole. It is for that reason, I want to present my reason for not celebrating it from a Biblical context.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Did Not Bow To The Idol

In Daniel 3, the king of Babylon creates a golden statue of himself meant to be worshipped—an idol. The king declares that anyone not bowing to the statue would be thrown in the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not bow to this statue when the time came and were thus thrown into the furnace, but were saved by God, Who joined them in the midst of the furnace.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were obviously loyal followers of God; they had strong faith and trusted in God to see them through their situation. They knew that the idol set up before them was not a god and had no power over the true God. However, it would have been a sin for them to bow before this statue and would have revealed much about them:
  • Their fear of death
  • Distrust that God protects those who stand for Him
  • A desire to fit in
  • False witness: pretending to worship and thus giving credence to a false god
  • and many more
So, what's the difference between bowing to an idol and eating meat offered to idols? That's what we need to know to understand how this applies to us today.

Historical Context

Today, when you want meat, you go to the local grocery store and buy it. In Biblical days, that's not how things worked. Animals were always slaughtered as an offering to some deity. Sometimes it meant the animal was reduced to ashes, but sometimes it was probably closer to a cookout or a barbecue. If you read the beginning of Leviticus as well as the passages on the Feast Days, you'll notice that the priests and the offerers, were meant to eat the meat of the sacrificed animal. The most well known example of this is the Passover lamb. They were to kill the lamb as a sacrifice to God, and then eat the meat of the lamb in celebration of the Passover. Animals weren't just killed and consumed because someone had a craving for chicken the way we do now. Wether a person had their own animals to kill or had to buy meat from a marketplace, that animal was killed in a sacrifice before it made it to the table.

So, if you lived in Israel, the meat sold in town or served to you at your neighbor's house was probably offered to God first. However, if you lived in the city of Corinth, as the recipients of Paul's letter did, the meat around town was probably sacrificed to some pagan god worshiped by the Romans or the Greeks. This is why people were concerned about consuming that meat.

The difference in consuming this meat and bowing to a statue is active and direct participation in worship of an idol versus an indirect participation. There's a major difference in me taking an animal to a pagan temple and offering it to this false deity then eating the meat and me simply accepting meat offered to me at my neighbor's dinner table. The former being closer to what the king of Babylon was attempting to get Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to do, requires the person to go through the motions of worshipping a false deity, whereas the latter is simply a consequence of living in a fallen world.

Modern Examples

Because it is the season, most things in the store have Christmas packaging. Just the other day I saw Walgreen's had made an aisle for "Christmas" candy. If I go to the store and buy a piece of chocolate that has Santa on it, that's a consequence of the fact that I live in America (Rome). I'm going to tear the wrapper off and throw it away, because I just want the chocolate inside. That's different from purposefully buying decorations and decorating my house.

God Does Not Change

One of the arguments the leader brought forth was that Christmas isn't associated with paganism today. I imagine that was brought up in rebuttal to Jeremiah 10:2-4 or 1 Thessalonians 5:22. These verses tell us not to participate in pagan customs and to maintain an image of goodness. The logic put forth here only holds in a select circle. I disagree with the concept that Christmas isn't associated with paganism, or rather I would argue that Christmas isn't associated with Christ.
  1. If Christmas was associated with Christ, there would be no reason for the slogan "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"
  2. If Christmas was associated with Christ, there would be a massive uproar and breach of separation of church and state in that it is a federal holiday
  3. Many of my friends who are atheist, agnostic, or members of an entirely different religion love and celebrate Christmas
  4. Every Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movie is about finding love, magic, and enjoying the season, but has not a single mention of Christ
I could go on for days, but I think the above list should suffice. Besides, I want to look at this point as though the assumption that Christmas is associated with Christ and Christianity is true. Would it be ok for us to celebrate it now just because it's no longer associated with paganism?

Well, first and foremost, ignorance is bliss (until it gets you in trouble). I don't believe God holds us accountable for things we have no way of knowing. Information hasn't always been easily accessible; that's one of the reasons traditions stick better than the actual Word of God. I know people today who truly believe Christ was born on the 25th of December, and without a doubt over the centuries many people truly believed this. I don't think God is going to say them "hey, you didn't know, but eternal death to you anyway." What I'm discussing concerns those of us that do know or have the ability to learn but choose not to because we don't want to change.

For I am the Lord, I change not;Malachi 3:6

Malachi 3:6 says God doesn't change. When you think about the verses I mentioned earlier (Jeremiah 10:2-4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:22), it's easy to say that it is wrong to participate in pagan festivals. Most Christians today would agree that they have no business playing with a Ouija board or trying out voodoo. Many would still tell you it's wrong to celebrate Halloween, for the same reasons. When Christmas was Sol Invictus or Saturnalia, the early Christians would have known not to go near it. If it was not ok then, how can it be ok now when Malachi 3:6 tells us God doesn't change?

Murder was wrong when Cain killed Abel. Murder was wrong when David had Uzziah killed. Murder was wrong in Jesus' day (Matthew 5:22). Murder is wrong today. The same is true of worshipping idols. To quote Shakespeare, "a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet" and a pagan holiday by any other name is still a pagan holiday.

No Other God

Let's go back to the idea that we know there are none in the same league as God. The pagans actually thought their gods could defeat the Most High God—we see these examples throughout the Bible—but we know there is only one God in Heaven and He reigns supreme. Knowing that God is the only God and only serving God seem to be different things sometimes, though.

Unfortunately, we create our own gods and give them power over us. This is precisely what Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3. Remember, the word "lord" means master. The Lord God is our master. By listening to someone or something over Him, we have chosen a new master. Even though that person or thing may not be a god, we have made them a god in our life. That is, by definition, what consumerism has done to Christmas. People have to have the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect presents, etc. There's a concept of a "good" Christmas vs. a "bad" Christmas. If Christmas is about worshipping God, how do you have a bad one? It's only possible if you let other things creep in.

The fact is, the holiday was created for a pagan deity. Even though he is powerless in the face of the Most High God, people have given this deity power and no matter how hard you try to Christianize the holiday, that pagan deity is lord over it. That's why it's so easy to fall into the trap of consumerism. When asked about the meaning of Christmas, most Christians (and non-Christians) do not say Christ. I've heard "it's about giving" and "it's about family" the most.

My question is, knowing that God never told us to celebrate birthdays (Ecclesiastes 7:1), knowing that Christ was not born on December 25, could you skip Christmas? Whatever it is you do traditionally for the holiday, could you put it aside and treat that day like a regular day? Can you imagine doing it for one year? For two? For ever? If the idea of abstaining from the holiday for even one year bothers you, a false god has power over you. If the idea of giving it up for a little while seems doable, but you could never give it up forever, a false god has power over you. The reason I can tell you this is because I struggle with giving up things too. It took me 4 years to start keeping Sabbath after I started coming to the realization of its importance. I still haven't given up cheese or soda. I'm not judging you, because just like Christmas has power over you, cheese has power over me. I'm simply making you aware of the fact, because you can't combat it until you admit it's a problem.

False Witness

There are plenty of passages telling us not bear false witness, though usually specified against a neighbor, there are also passages telling us not to add or subtract from the Word of God (re: don't bear false witness against God, either). Bearing false witness against God is the devil's greatest tool. How do you take down a leader? Defame his character, and make him look unreliable. I could write a whole book on ways the modern church bears false witness to God, but let's stick to the topic at hand...

For Those Who Engage in Santa

Among Christians who choose to celebrate Christmas, some allow Santa and some don't. I have a whole blog post on the trouble with Santa, so I won't go into detail about that, but I want to reiterate the harm of lying (bearing false witness) to your children about Santa. In an episode of 7th Heaven, when the youngest daughter discovers that Santa (along with the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc.) aren't real, she assumes her parents lied to her about God too. A growing portion of society believes God is a fairy tale like Santa. We, as Christians, have a responsibility to treat God differently, to take Him seriously and to make clear distinctions between fantasy and truth.

Discovery of the Truth

I remember being about eleven or twelve when I discovered that the name I call my uncle is not his name. It's not his first name; it's not his middle name; it's not descriptive... Imagine you've known someone your whole life thinking their name was Robert and you find out their name is actually William John (names are completely random and not my uncle's actual names). I was so confused.

I recognize this confusion in my friends who have abandoned God due to the lies of the church. Let's face it, most people aren't steeped in the Word. Most people don't read the Bible monthly, let alone weekly or daily, not to mention digging deeper to be able to understand context or correlating across books and chapters. A lot of people's entire world has been shattered by the revelation that Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus (among other things). When people discover the religion of the antichrist, the mother god, father god, and son god worship that began with Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz,[14] they see parallels in the modern church and decide the whole thing is false. They've been taught their whole life that pagan worship is false, and now what they've been worshipping all their life is the same as what they were taught to reject.

The antichrist isn't a single person that acts in a blatant sinister and evil manner. The antichrist is a power, a fusion of government and religion that seeks to take the place of God's true kingdom. That's always been Satan's goal: to replace God. It's not that this religion is the exact opposite of what God has commanded us, it's that it is being followed in place of God. Some of it will be true and very compelling, but the way we can spot the difference is by identifying the lie.

Here is the lie:
  • Replacing Semiramis with Mary and then elevating Mary. Examples include claiming that Mary was a perpetual virgin, praying to her, creating and bowing to statues of her
  • Asserting that Mary's miracle birth coincided with Semiramis', essentially demoting Christ to the role of Tammuz (who was not a miracle birth and is not the Son of God).
  • Including all the original sun worship elements, such as aligning the date with the winter solstice, halos, and traditions of Sol Invictus/Saturnalia/Yule
Then, before you know it, you're celebrating the false religion in place of the true Word of God.

So many people have trouble separating Christ's birth from the pagan holiday, that understanding the above negates His entire birth in their mind. The first time someone told me Christmas was not in the Bible, I could not differentiate between the holiday we celebrate and the narrative of Christ's birth in Luke 2. It takes a strong foundation and understanding of scripture to learn the truth about Christmas and understand that it has no bearing on Luke 2 because Christ wasn't born on December 25 and Satan has been trying to counterfeit God's promise of salvation since it was prophesied in Genesis 3:15. The reason this is so hard for most people? The church is bearing false witness against the God they claim to serve. In doing so, we endanger the souls of many.

What Does it Mean?

Primarily, it means you will never hear me telling people "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." I am not going to be shouting lies from the rooftop. I am not putting up a tree in my house or "decking the halls" with garland, because I know why that tradition exists. I am not out spending all the money I don't have to buy gifts for people because the world has said that is what Christmas is about. If I see something I think you'll like, I'll buy it when I see it and give it to you when I see you. Giving is 24/7/365.

Do I watched the hallmark movies? Sometimes. Like with the Nutcracker (which I'm going to see a variation of this evening), the story isn't always about Christmas, it just takes place during Christmas. If the focus of the movie is pagan (like The Santa Clause series, Elf, etc.) I'm not going to watch it. You have other examples like This Christmas, which is about a family coming together and it just happens to be set around Christmas. Or the Nutcracker (I just love the music), which is simply about the dream the main character has on Christmas Eve. In those cases I let the Holy Spirit determine what is and is appropriate. Who knows, 5 years from now I may look back at this post and say the god of Christmas still had it's hooks in me and I shouldn't have been watching any of this either.

Am I rude to people who do celebrate Christmas. Not at all. I know that most people celebrate the holiday and most are not aware of the complex history of it. Think of how long this post is, and I have numerous posts that go into more detail and discus things I haven't mentioned here listed below. That's a lot of research, a lot of time, and a long journey. I don't expect people to be in the same place I am. I also know that when the cashier at the grocery store says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" they don't want a dissertation. I have no problem with "Happy Holidays" as it includes Hanukkah, which Jesus celebrated (John 10:22). When people say "Merry Christmas", I simply say "I don't celebrate it but thanks, and I hope you enjoy yours."

References

  1. Ree Hughes. "Day 1: The Etymology of Christmas. PSALMS to God. December 25, 2015
  2. Ree Hughes. "Day 2: The Origin of December 25. PSALMS to God. December 26, 2015
  3. Ree Hughes. "Day 3: The History of Santa Claus. PSALMS to God. December 28, 2015
  4. Ree Hughes. "Day 4: Giving Gifts. PSALMS to God. December 28, 2015
  5. Ree Hughes. "Day 5: Lights of the Season. PSALMS to God. December 29, 2015
  6. Ree Hughes. "Day 6: The War on Christmas. PSALMS to God. December 30, 2015
  7. Ree Hughes. "Day 7: Carol of the Bells. PSALMS to God. December 31, 2015
  8. Ree Hughes. "Day 8: Depression and Christmas. PSALMS to God. January 2, 2016
  9. Ree Hughes. "Day 9: Why Red & Green?. PSALMS to God. January 3, 2016
  10. Ree Hughes. "Day 10: Frosty the Snowman & Co.. PSALMS to God. January 5, 2016
  11. Ree Hughes. "Day 11: Christmas Was Un-American Once. PSALMS to God. January 5, 2016
  12. Ree Hughes. "Day 12: The Meaning of Christmas. PSALMS to God. January 6, 206
  13. Ree Hughes. "Is Santa Claus Replacing Jesus". PSALMS to God. December 5, 2015
  14. I found a claim online that the idea the idea of Semiramis, Nimrod, and Tammuz is actually made up. (See here) I did not research the claim so I cannot speak to it's legitimacy, but regardless of where the the trio of mother god, father god and son god came into being, you can in fact see this pattern repeated in many religions. The History of Religion series by TruthUnedited on YouTube is a great way to learn about this deception.

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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