The origin of Christmas.
Christmas is celebrated around the Earth on December the 25th and is regarded as a sacred religious holiday by some, and by others as a commercial holiday. People gather as families. There is the exchanging of gifts along with greetings. The commercial side of things really came to the fore during the 20th century.
Many people are taught that Christ Jesus was born on December the 25th in Bethlehem. This idea being reinforced by nativity plays that play out in churches around the world. What is the truth as far as Christmas is concerned? The fact is that people were celebrating December the 25th back in Jesus’ day. The Romans used to celebrate certain holidays designated around December the 25th, as did the Assyrians and the Egyptians
Jesus Was Born Near The Start of October
Jesus himself was born either at the end of September or on October the 1st or the 2nd, so there is no correlation whatsoever between December the 25th and Jesus Christ. This was introduced by the Catholic Church in the fourth and fifth century. As they spread the idea of Christianity, in the process they incorporated into Christian tradition the things that had already been celebrated for many years by people of other religious faiths.
The reality is that December the 25th is the date of birth for a character in the Bible who is described as a mighty hunter in opposition to God. His name was Nimrod. Nimrod was the first king and the first person to hold political office. He is described in the Bible as a character who expressly chose to go against God’s direction. God had decreed that people should spread out over the earth rather than go together in cities. Nimrod chose to do exactly the opposite and he founded a great city and began building a great tower, the tower of Babel, which is well known to many people because there it is said that there was the confusion of the languages.
Nimrod was born on December the 25th. Nimrod was a man who did several vile things, and then he was executed. Tradition has it that a well-known figure put him to death, possibly a character connected to the family that built the ark famous in Noah’s day. When he died, his wife was particularly concerned that this dead husband should be deified, and so she was the one that started the practice of cutting down an evergreen tree and introduced the idea of the exchanging of gifts and the decorating of that tree. The idea being that, unless appropriate honor was given to this dead king, Nimrod, there was every chance that winter would not give way to spring. Therefore, it was important to honor Nimrod by cutting down an evergreen, decorating it, gathering together to eat, drink, and feast, and to exchange gifts.
The Tree – The Gifts – The Date – All Honors Nimrod.
This concept was translated into other nations other than the Assyrians. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans incorporated these ideas, but as it was absorbed and reached Roman times, it became the feast of Saturnalia. Thus, it was very likely that in Jesus’ day, Jesus would have been aware of Romans, who were Garrisoned in the city of Jerusalem and the Castle of Antonio. They would celebrate the feast of Saturnalia, possibly by bringing in trees, exchanging gifts, and decorating the tree.
It was certainly not something that Christians ever did, and there is no reference to Christians ever celebrating Christmas in either the first, second, or third century. In fact, they were counseled to reject anything that had a pagan origin. However, Rome needed to solidify its strength, and by the time of the Council of Nicaea, it was recognized that there were some 300-plus variations of Christianity, all with different ideas and different beliefs. It became necessary to somehow designate a standard set of ideas, a standard set of beliefs. And because they had to harmonize what was generally accepted in the realm of the Roman Empire, and then also harmonize that to some degree with what was being recorded in the gospel accounts that were being gathered together into what was to become the Christian Greek scriptures or the New Testament of the Bible, there was a fusion or mixing of ideas.
From the Bible, they took the idea of Jesus and the historical account of Jesus and, of course, the later accounts written by the apostles and close associates of the apostles as the preaching work in the first, second and third century developed. But by the end of the first century, many churches were already incorporating into their beliefs ideas that were familiar to the land where they were. For example, when the preaching went down into Egypt, the congregations also incorporated Egyptian ideas. When it went into Greece, they incorporated Greek ideas. For example, the immortality of the soul. That idea was not in the Bible, but it was incorporated into Christian belief that the soul was immortal as a result of beliefs found in Greece and Egypt.
Then too, there was the feast of Saturnalia. Though it had developed from the original idea having to do with Nimrod and the deifying of this king who was a direct opponent of God, and not even remotely like Christ, the gradual development of this idea had become so important in the Roman world that it was impossible to overlook it. And so, it was the Catholic Church that decreed that the same celebration would continue, but it would be called the day of the Christ mass, the mass of Christ. Mass of Christ became Christ mass. Of course this was abbreviated to Christmas, and that is the day that we know today.
But many of the ideas that were incorporated having to do with things like Yule logs, trees, gifts, and so forth were all taken from false religious ideas and incorporated into what became the Universal Church or the Catholic Church. Of course, today, this has continued. So, people today decided to incorporate the idea of Christmas in a big way, particularly following the World Wars. Christmas at different times through history was a greater or lesser celebration. Christmas at one time was just an excuse to get drunk and to engage in debauchery with very little reference to Christ.
Then there were wholesome traditions like the singing of songs, which apparently revered the Christ. Of course, there was the nativity scene which managed to compress events that extended over two years down into a single night. Bearing in mind that the wise men did not arrive on the night of Jesus’ birth, but rather they arrived some year or two years after Jesus’ birth. The whole thing was compressed and created and given a narrative that is recognized today.
The Christian Cloak of Respectability
This cloaks events of long ago with a ‘Christian Cloak of Respectability’ while retaining the pagan concepts. One of the main ideas was that if there was not proper respect for the deity of the now immortal God, Nimrod, there was a good chance that the winter would continue and that there would be no spring and no spring harvest. So today, unwittingly, people cut down trees and bring them into their house and they honor Nimrod. When they decorate the tree, they are celebrating the deity of Nimrod, someone entirely different from the Christ. When they exchange gifts, they’re following the pattern of Nimrod’s mother who, interestingly enough, became a much closer relative of Nimrod during his life, she married him. From this woman who is known by the three names Semiramis, Ishtar and Isis, we get the ideas of reincarnation and ideas that fed into the trinity doctrine. Her son Horus was said to be the reincarnation of Nimrod after the now dead Nimrod visited her in spirit form and gave her a son.
And so, the perpetuation of the celebrations put in place 2,000 years before the birth of Christ continues down to our day. For the most part, Christianity has replaced the pagan ideas, at least to some degree, but they have retained the date, the birth date of Nimrod, which we know as December the 25th. As we said, Jesus was born towards the end of September, and some historians feel that it was very possibly October the 1st or the 2nd. So, there is absolutely no connection between Christ and the date December the 25th.
What should Christians do with this concept of Christmas? It’s a good question. It’s important for Christians to understand the distinction between Christmas and what it purports to be. It is definitely not a celebration of Christ as all of the customs do not relate to Christ, but relate to Nimrod who, essentially, is the opposite of Christ. The Bible tells us that Christ was obedient to God. Nimrod was disrespectful to God. The Bible tells us that Christ died and had to wait to be resurrected. He wasn’t an immortal soul and simply lived on at his death. That concept of immortality of the soul was attached to Nimrod and later incorporated into the Christian tradition.
So Jesus was a very different person to Nimrod. Christians need to think very carefully then about the celebrations that they engage in. While not being necessarily being a spoilsport for people who want to get really involved in this sort of thing given that, for the most part, it’s a commercial celebration and not a religious celebration, Christians need to balance what they do with this time. Christ himself never asked that we remember his birth, but rather he directed that we remember his death. On the night that he was to be handed over for execution, Christ inaugurated the last supper or the Lord’s evening meal and specifically commanded his followers, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”
Nowhere do the scripture suggest that he said to commemorate his birth. In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that Christians celebrated birthdays in the first or second century. Even the concept of birthdays was taken from other cultures and incorporated into Christian ideas at a somewhat later point. Each year where between 50 and 100 million Christmas trees are sold around the world in addition to the plastic or replica trees that people put up in their house. They are unwittingly supporting the memory of the birthday of Nimrod.
So on the one hand claiming that it is Christian, while on the other hand actually following through on a celebration of a character who is nothing like Jesus. It presents an interesting conundrum, but it helps us when we understand that the Catholic Church recognized that unless there was some sort of standardization of ideas, the Christian faith would continue to develop in so many different ways and with so many different ideas that it would be actually almost impossible to define anything as being purely Christian.
Thankfully, we have the Christian Greek scriptures of the Bible, which give us the opportunity to read about and get to know the character of the Christ. Perhaps on reflection, at some point during the Christmas holiday, since many of us will have an enforced holiday from work anyway, might it not be a good idea to perhaps sit and reflect on one or two favorite accounts in the Bible? Or if you’re a person who’s never read the gospel accounts, or perhaps only heard a little bit about the birth of Christ with the idea of the nativity, you might like to read some of that account and recognize that, yes, Jesus was born with the animals, because there was no room at the inn. And yes, the angels did appear and, yes, shepherds did come and there was a celebration of the fact that Christ, the savior, had been born in Bethlehem just as the Bible had foretold some several hundred years earlier.
You may also read of the wise men who came to inquire of the birth of this person between one and two years after the actual birth of the Christ. And how they went first to the house of Herod, who asked them to inform him of where they were going and when they went there, then ordered the execution of all of the boys in Bethlehem under the age of two. If Christ had just been born, he certainly would not have given that command to kill children under the age of two. He could just as easily have given a command to kill all the children under the age of one, if the wise men had got to Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. But before any such despicable action could be taken, Joseph, recognizing the danger from Herod after the visit of the wise man, immediately took his family south to Egypt. Which is where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived, and where many of Jesus’ siblings were born during the lifetime of the Herod that ordered the execution of the children before they returned from Egypt and move north to settle in Galilee. There the young man Jesus would grow, learn to be a carpenter, grow to be a fine, mature man, and then finally go to John the Baptist for baptism to begin a ministry that quite literally changed the face of the Earth.
Reflecting on such wholesome things is this, the actual truth about the Christ is perhaps one beneficial thing that all of us can do as we stop the working year and think seriously about family, friends, the meaning of life, and await the lords return.