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50 Questions for Anti-Christmas Crusaders

Essay 2014 15 Pages

Theology - Miscellaneous

Excerpt

“FIFTY QUESTIONS FOR ANTI-CHRISTMAS CRUSADERS”

A Word of Explanation:

One of the many attacks that are made against the Christian faith involves the blessed holiday of Christmas. However, this type of attack is not only made by those who oppose Christianity altogether, but it is also made by certain groups who profess to follow the path of Christ. I’m referring, of course, to the claims that Jesus could not have been born on December 25th because “Bethlehem would have been too cold and too snowy at that time of year for shepherds to have been out in the fields with their sheep at night.” I’m also referring to the various claims that Christmas is loaded with paganism and that Jesus would oppose birthday celebrations and man-made holidays.

Now, instead of composing a series of essays with which to address these fabricated fables, I have decided instead to present my Christmas-defending facts in the form of questions to ask our Christmas-opposing neighbors. The enemies of God have so often used this technique themselves that I figured it was time to put them on the receiving end for a change. Hence, I have composed a list of “50 Questions for Anti-Christmas Crusaders.”

The first third of these questions are designed to defend the possibility that Jesus may very well have been born on or near December 25th. Now, of course, the facts presented here do not prove that this is the authentic date, but they do prove that a birth in December is by no means impossible. In the remaining questions, I will address a variety of issues including the false claims of pagan-incorporation into Christmas, the celebration of birthdays and man-made holidays, and the various good and charitable things that have come as a result of the Christmas season. After the questions, I’ve included some “Closing Remarks” where I speak directly to those who originally opposed the holiday. It is my hope and intention that these questions will not only enable anti-Christmas crusaders to reconsider their stance, but will also increase the faith and charitable spirits of those who already favor this blessed time of year.

The 50 Questions Asked:

[1] Did you know that the actual birth date of Christ is ultimately irrelevant since we are not celebrating a day, but an event?
[2] Why is it that when people spend Christmas Eve in Jerusalem or Bethlehem, they often come back claiming to have seen shepherds with their sheep in the fields at night? I quote Dr. Harry Mulder of the Netherlands: “During our brief Christmas vacation, my wife and I traveled from Beirut to Jerusalem . . . On Christmas Eve, in Shepherds Field, a crowd had gathered to sing Christmas carols. We joined this crowd and took part in the singing. Right near us, a few flocks of sheep nestled. Even the lambs were not lacking. It was a moving sight. It is therefore definitely not impossible that the Lord Jesus was born in December.” [Hendricksen, William. Matthew (NTC; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973), p.182]
[3] Did you know that, according to the Misha (Shekalim 7:4), the shepherds of Bethlehem were outside with their flocks all-year-round and that sheep were in the fields thirty days before Passover? This would be as early as February – one of the coldest and rainiest months of the year. Therefore, a December date for the nativity is certainly possible.
[4] Did you know that The World Book Encyclopedia (copyright 1974, volume 10, page 390) says that, in January, which is the coldest month in Israel, temperatures average 45ºF (7ºC) in Northern Galilee, and 60ºF (16ºC) in the Rift Valley? This temperature may be a little cool, but it is not so cold as to prevent a warmly robed shepherd from being out in the fields at night. Also, the same Encyclopedia says that: “The Northern uplands have some days of freezing weather almost every winter. Rain falls almost entirely in winter, and generally decreases from North to South. Snow sometimes falls in the northern and central parts of Israel.” Would it therefore shock you to learn that Bethlehem is located in the southern part of Israel?
[5] Did you know that Padanaram, which is where Abraham’s grandson Jacob use to reside (Genesis 28:5), is located in the northern part of the Holy Land? And did you also know that Jacob worked there as a shepherd for twenty years and stayed outside with his flocks day and night all-year-round? See Genesis 31:38-40 where he complains about having suffered from frost by night. In other words, Jacob did precisely what you claim the shepherds of Bethlehem could not have done.
[6] Did you know that if you sat by a roaring campfire during a cold Canadian night in January, you would soon be so warm that you would want to take off your winter coat and roll around in the snow? Thus, if the Israeli shepherds knew how to build and maintain a campfire (and it’s safe to assume that they would), they would have been toasty warm on even the coldest of winter nights.
[7] Did you ever consider that winter would have been a logical time for Rome to take its census since that’s the only time when people would not have been bound by their agricultural duties to remain at home?
[8] Did you know that the early Christians had access to the Roman census records that were taken at Bethlehem? For instance, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), in his noted Apology (a detailed explanation of the Christian faith addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius), stated that Jesus was born in Bethlehem “as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing” (Apology, I, 34). Similarly, Tertullian (160-250 AD), spoke of “the census of Augustus – that most faithful witness of the Lord’s nativity, kept in the archives of Rome” (Against Marcion, Book 4, 7). Are you also then aware that when Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386 AD) asked Julius to assign the true date of Christ’s birth “from the census documents brought by Titus to Rome,” Julius assigned December 25th? As well, did you know that John Chrysostom (c. 347-407 AD) had also claimed that this date was supported by the actual census/tax records of the Holy Family when they registered in Bethlehem?
[9] Did you know that the early Christians believed that Jesus was crucified on March 25th (according to the Julian Calendar, that is) and that they also believed that this was the very same day that He was conceived in Mary’s womb about thirty-four years earlier? Apparently, it seemed most fitting to them that the first day of Christ’s earthly mission be the same day as His last, thereby connecting the mystery of the Incarnation with that of the Redemption. As a result, Christians celebrated March 25th as the Feast of the Annunciation – which is a commemoration that still continues today. And since December 25th falls exactly nine months after the Feast of the Annunciation, it seemed the most natural day on which to celebrate Christ’s birth.
[10] Why do you suppose that the three most popular given dates for the birth of Christ (i.e., December 25th, January 6th, and January 19th) are all in winter? Could it be that the people of the early Christian world had access to information that we no longer have today? Also, did you know that Pope Liberius officially moved the official birth date of Christ from January 6th in 353 AD to December 25th in 354 AD? Liberius must have had strong evidence not available to us today to have made such a move – something beyond the supposed intent to coincide with a pagan festival or the calculations of a few theologians.
[11] Did you know that December 25th, which falls just a few days after the winter solstice, is the point in the year when the length of the daylight hours slowly starts to increase? Did you also know that the traditional birth date of John the Baptist, June 24th, which falls just a few days after the summer solstice, is the point in the year when the length of the daylight hours slowly starts to decrease? Remember that John was conceived six months before Jesus according to Luke 1:26,36. Bearing these facts in mind, I recall what the Baptist said about the Christ: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Hence, as a means of complementing this prophecy, does is it not seem fitting that Jesus and John have their birthdays on these dates? Saint Augustine certainly thought so: “The day He chose was that on which the light begins to increase, and it typifies the work of Christ who renews our interior man day by day. For the eternal Creator, having willed to be born in time, His birthday would necessarily be in harmony with the rest of creation” (Sermon: On the Nativity of Our Lord iii).
[12] Many have pointed out that December 25th was originally the date when pagans celebrated the birth of their sun gods. This date was, I admit, a logical choice for the pagans seeing how that is the date when the sunlight begins to increase again. But when we observe how Christ is referred to as “the Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2 and as “the light of the world” in John 8:12, and observing how Psalm 84:11 says that “God is a sun and shield,” can we not also see logic in Christ being born at this time as well? We may also observe how God proved that He was the true “Sun God” in Exodus 10:21-23 by blotting the sun out in Egyptian territory for three days. This was done to denounce and discredit the pagan sun god, Ra, whom the Egyptians had been worshipping up to that point, and to take back worship for Himself. Hence, can we not also see logic in Christ discrediting pagan sun gods and taking back worship once again by being born in late December?
[13] Did you know that, typically, the only time shepherds would have been out with their flocks by night at all is when the sheep were giving birth? Did you also know that the normal gestation period for sheep is five months and that their mating cycles begin in early January and then again in late June? This reveals that the ewes of Bethlehem mentioned in Luke 2:8 would have been giving birth in early June and then again in late December. Thus, anyone wishing to prefer a June-date for Christ’s birth must acknowledge that December 25th would be fairly close to Christ’s half-birthday.
[14] When attempting to propose an alternate birth-month for Christ, most anti-Christmas crusaders tend to go with September (and completely ignore the facts about the mating cycles for sheep). Yet, if Christ was indeed born in September, then is it not logical to rationalize that His conception by the Holy Spirit would have taken place nine months earlier on or near December 25th?
[15] If you believe that the Holy Spirit preserved and guided the Scriptures into the 21st century, then why can’t you also believe that the Holy Spirit was able to preserve and guide the authentic birth date of Christ?
[16] Even if there was no real evidence to support a December-birth for Christ, I would still see no reason for opposing this traditional date so long as there was no strong evidence to support its unlikelihood – which there isn’t. According to Islamic tradition, Mohammed’s Hegira (flight from Mecca) occurred on Friday, July 16, 622 AD. Although there is nothing in the Koran or any other early Muslim writing to support this date, no Muslims dispute it as far as I know because it does not contradict facts or logic. Similarly, Buddhist tradition says that the Buddha lived from 563 BC to 483 BC. Again, there is no historical support for this, but Buddhists do not oppose it as far as I know and they just simply believe it. There are hundreds of traditions all over the world that are accepted without any factual support. So, why not accept the tradition that Jesus was born December 25th? It does not harm anybody and it does not contradict fact, logic, or the Bible. So why do you go to such great lengths to oppose a Christian tradition but not the traditions of the Muslims and Buddhists?
[17] Still on the topic of tradition, Christmas tradition typically refers to “three” wise men coming from the East to visit the infant Christ. These wise men are also occasionally referred to as the “Three Kings.” From a logical and historic viewpoint, however, it is a rather safe assumption that there had actually been more than just three wise men visiting, and that they certainly were not royal kings. But are these really reasonable grounds for abolishing Christmas as a whole? We typically limit the traditional number of wise men to three for a couple of reasons. The first is because the wise men brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). The other reason is because when producing a painting of the wise men’s visit, or putting the Christmas story on stage, having more than three wise men would make the scene look too crowded. As for the “king” issue, the fact that the wise men had gold and expensive perfume invites a real possibility that they were men of some wealth who had subordinates. So perhaps the word “king” can be used in more loose context here (e.g., a husband/father can be referred as a “king” in his own home, as can a millionaire who has butlers and maids). In short, I can see some mild logic in having these unhistorically-based traditions, but I fail to see what harm these traditions may bring. As long as we clarify to our children that the Bible does not provide the actual number of wise men nor state that they were kings, and as long as we explain that these are mere traditions for the sake of convenience, I don’t see anything worth complaining about. If we make reference to the “Three Wise Men” or the “Three Kings” during our Christmas celebrations, do you really think God will send us to Hell just for that?
[18] Another anti-Christmas thought concerning the wise men argues that they gave gifts to Christ and not to each other (Matthew 2:11), and hence there is no scriptural support for families and friends to give each other presents at Christmas time. In response to this claim, one may argue that if we do good unto others for Christ, like giving them gifts so as to show our love for them, we do good unto the Lord (Matthew 10:42, 25:40). What else can you get for the Lord who now has everything (Matthew 28:19)?
[19] You claim Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it were not important to the early church, and hence should not be important today, because the Apostle Paul never mentioned them in any of his epistles. Now using that so-called logic, would you then argue that the multiple parables that Jesus taught were also not important to the early church? For Paul never mentioned any of them either. In fact, if you never read any of the Gospels and only ever read Paul’s writings, you wouldn’t know that Jesus used parables at all. Secondly, it is not true that Paul never mentioned the birth of Christ. In Galatians 4:4b, Paul states that the Son of God was “made of a woman.” If this is not a reference to the Virgin-birth of Christ, then what is it?
[20] Still on the topic of Paul, some critics may ask why he never made any other references to the birth-story apart from the half-verse mentioned above. The answer is that most of Paul’s letters were written with the purpose of resolving various issues that were in dispute among the early Christians. The purpose of Luke’s Gospel, meanwhile, was to document “those things” which were “most surely believed” among Christians “from the beginning” (Luke 1:1-2). Hence, the fact that Luke reports the birth-story in detail, whereas Paul practically never mentions it all, provides ample evidence that the entire first-century Church accepted and believed the birth-story, and never had any disputes or doubts about its authenticity. With this being the case, what would be the point in Paul spending precise time, paper, and ink to tell his original target audiences something that already knew perfectly well and believed?
[21] You criticize the word “Christmas” for being the combination of “Christ” and “mass” to thereby mean “the mass of Christ.” But do you know what “mass” really means in the compound word of “Christmas”? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term “mass” evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin word missa – a form of the verb mittere, meaning “to send.” Consequently, the root meaning of “Christ-mass” (or “the mass of Christ”) is “the sending of Christ,” or “Christ is sent.” Is God against describing the sending of His son with a word that means just that? Did not Paul refer to the Savior’s incarnation as the sending of Christ? (See Galatians 4:4a – “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son. . .”). Did not Jesus often speak of “him that sent me” (John 6:38, 40)? In short, there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with the word “Christmas” because it actually represents quite accurately what the holiday is, or should be, all about – the sending of Christ.
[22] Some of you claim that Jesus, being a Jew, would never have celebrated His birthday because birthdays were never celebrated in the ancient Jewish world. But what scriptural verse can you quote to support that claim? If the Jewish people were truly opposed to the celebration of one’s birth, then why did the leaders of first-century Galilee attend, and not protest, the birthday celebration of King Herod (Mark 6:21)? Also, have you ever heard of a Bar Mitzvah? It’s a modern Jewish ceremony that marks attainment of religious adulthood by a boy on the Sabbath immediately following his 13th birthday. Jewish girls have a similar ceremony, called a Bat Mitzvah, when they reach the age of twelve. Hence, if the ancient Jewish people were truly opposed to the celebrating of birthdays, then why don’t you go and lecture the modern Jews as much as you lecture us?
[23] You claim that God is opposed to birthday celebrations because John the Baptist was killed on Herod’s birthday (Mark 6:21-28). But what you are forgetting is that Herod was an evil man. It is only natural that a bad thing would happen when someone celebrates the birth of a bad person. But did anything bad happen when the angels and the shepherds rejoiced over the birth of Christ (Luke 2:6-20)? Did anything bad happen when John the Baptist was born and his mother rejoiced with her neighbors and cousins (Luke 1:58)?
[24] Still on the topic of birthdays, did you know that the children of Job, who was one of the godliest men in the Bible, celebrated their birthdays with grand feasts? See Job 1:4 which says that “his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day, and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.” [Note: For evidence that the phrase “his day” in Job 1:4 is indeed referring to the day of one’s birth, observe the use of the same phrase in Job 3:1 (KJV) and the speech that follows. Also, in verse 3:4 of that speech, we can get the impression that God Himself had been regarding the birthday of Job up to this point.] If God was against the celebration of birthdays, then you’d think Job would have known this and taught his children that too. Are you now going to argue that Job was a bad father?
[25] Further to the above, you might try to argue that Job’s children were killed while they were celebrating the birthday of their eldest brother – Job 1:13, 18-19. In reply, I would argue that, unlike Job 1:4, there is not enough evidence to support that the aforementioned verses describe a birthday feast. For verse 1:13 simply says that this “was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.” It does not say that they were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house “on his day.” Also, if this were a birthday feast, then why weren’t Job and his wife attending? Yet, even if this was a birthday feast, it ultimately makes no difference. For it is clear that Job’s children were not killed because they were celebrating a birthday, but because the Lord gave Satan permission to test Job’s faith. The reason Satan chose to kill the children at this particular time is because they were all gathered in one place, thus providing the opportunity to annihilate them all at once. But what’s the difference between this and when a terrorist blows up a church on Sunday morning to kill all the Christians who have gathered inside for worship? Lastly, when Job was conversing with his friends trying to figure out why he had been ruined, none of them ever considered the possibility that God was angry with Job for celebrating birthdays. Any idea why?
[26] The only other mentioning of a birthday in the Bible is the Egyptian Pharaoh’s in the Old Testament story of Joseph. Here, we have yet another account of a man being killed – namely, the Pharaoh’s baker (Genesis 40:20-22). But was this particular death a bad thing or a good thing? If we review the events leading up to and then following this death (i.e., Genesis 40:1 to 41:57), we see that this baker was executed in fulfilment of Joseph’s prophecy. Just prior to prophesying the baker’s death, Joseph had also accurately prophesied that the other prisoner, the butler, would be set free on the same day. Now, suppose that Joseph had predicted that both men would be set free, and that both men were released. If this had been the case, the Pharaoh would probably not have taken Joseph seriously as a prophet because Joseph would have been perceived as someone who simply told people what they wanted to hear. Hence, in order for the Pharaoh to see that Joseph was a true prophet of God, Joseph had to demonstrate that he could predict both good and bad futures. This is why, on the Pharaoh’s birthday, one man had to die while the other was set free. In other words, what truly happened on this particular birthday was an event that later triggered another event that ultimately allowed Joseph to save the world from a deadly famine. Keeping all this in mind, I ask again: Was the baker’s death on the Pharaoh’s birthday ultimately a bad thing or a good thing?
[27] Upon further examination of the story surrounding the Pharaoh’s birthday, we see a story which parabolically reflects the day of Christ’s Second Coming. As the fortieth chapter of Genesis begins, we see that the Butler and Baker (who represent the human race) were men who originally held respectable positions, but offended the Pharaoh (who represents God) and fell from grace. But on the Pharaoh’s birthday, the Butler was forgiven of his offence and restored to his pre-sin position, whereas the Baker was condemned and executed. In the same way, on the day that Christ returns, the repented Christians (represented by the Butler) will be forgiven and restored to their pre-sin state of grace, whereas the unrepented sinners (represented by the Baker) will be sent to their destruction. So now, when seeing how this biblical birthday of the Pharaoh’s can elegantly represent the day of Christ’s Second Coming, how can anyone claim that the Bible opposes birthday celebrations?
[28] You claim that celebrating Christ’s birth is wrong simply because there is no mention of people celebrating it in the New Testament. But the concept that something is wrong simply because it is not mentioned in the Bible – a “Bible only” position – can easily be taken to the point of absurdity. For even the word “Bible” is not found in the Bible, nor is the word “Trinity” or “Rapture.” There is no Bible basis for a minister performing a wedding ceremony, and neither is there any New Testament verse that says to use a crucifix as a symbol for the Christian faith or even to construct a church building. There are also ministries that go beyond the four walls of a church (youth camps, retreats, crisis centers, etc.) that are likewise not supported by any verses. But has not God used all of these things to touch lives? What’s the difference between creating a youth camp to teach children about Christ and creating an annual festival to perform the same function?
[29] Some of you also claim that it’s wrong to celebrate man-made holidays. But a careful interpretation of Romans 14:5-6 reveals that exalting a certain day over another is acceptable so long as the day is regarded unto the Lord. Why would God give His people full-blown permission to exalt one day above another unless there was something major to be benefitted from it? Also, adding verses 1-4 to the interpretation of verses 5-6 shows that while it is wrong to despise those who do not celebrate a holiday, it is equally wrong to despise those who do. Hence, when you attempt to abolish Christmas and condemn people for regarding December 25th unto the Lord, are you not in direct violation against the word of God? [Please note that while people like myself certainly invite and encourage people to celebrate Christmas, we do not attempt to force the holiday on anyone, nor do we condemn those who turn our invitations down. Thus, we do not violate Romans 14:1-6 as you do.]
[30] If you still plan to harass people for celebrating the man-made holidays of Christmas and Easter, then why don’t you also harass the Jews for celebrating the man-made holiday of Hanukkah? [Note: Hanukkah is the yearly anniversary of when Judas Maccabee liberated the Jews from the Greeks, just as Easter is the yearly anniversary of when Jesus Christ liberated the world from sin.] In addition, why don’t you also harass anyone who celebrates the man-made holiday of Thanksgiving or Independence Day? Perchance is it because those holidays have nothing to do with Jesus? If Thanksgiving were a holiday that celebrated the time Jesus fed the 5,000 people, would you then oppose it just as strongly as you oppose Christmas and Easter?
[31] Still on the topic of man-made holidays, let us observe the man-made annual custom of commemorating Jephthan’s daughter (Judges 11:39b-40) or the man-made feast of Purim where gifts were exchanged (Esther 9:19). Can you show me a verse where the Lord shows opposition to either of these? Also, as I already stated in the question above, another man-made holiday was the Feast of Dedication – better-known today as Hanukkah. And if you turn to John 10:22-39, you will notice that Jesus Himself took advantage of this feast and used it as an opportunity to preach in the temple. What’s the difference between Jesus embracing Hanukkah as an opportunity to preach the Gospel, and us embracing Christmas as an opportunity to do the same thing?
[32] If God did not want us celebrating Christmas, then why did He preserve the stories on which Christmas is based? Now, I acknowledge that the events reported by Matthew were preserved to show how certain Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. Yet, regarding the events reported by Luke, where in the Old Testament is it prophesied that angels would appear to shepherds when the Messiah was born, or that the Boy’s mother would lay Him in a manger? And for that matter, where in the Old Testament is it prophesied that John the Baptist would be the son of a Levite priest whose wife had past the age of childbearing? Luke could very easily have left out the first two chapters of his book and not caused the rest of the New Testament to suffer. But God made sure that Luke left them in. Think about it.
[33] Did you know that Jeremiah 10:2-5 is not referring to the condemnation of those who decorate Christmas trees? Rather, these verses refer to the condemnation of the heathen people who created idols out of trees and worshiped them as gods. (Compare those verses to Isaiah 40:18-20). Does anyone today worship the Christmas tree as a god?
[34] Did you know that the Christmas tree first originated in medieval Christian Germany, and not paganism, and was intended to represent the Tree of Life which we shall freely eat from in the Kingdom (Revelation 2:7, 22:2, & 22:14)? Did you also know that the medieval Christian Germans decorated their Christmas trees with wafers to represent Christ as the “bread of life” (John 6:35), and also with candles to represent Christ as the “light of the world” (John 8:12)? Likewise, did you know that the colorful lights that we put on our Christmas trees and around our homes were originally intended to honor God who is the “Father of lights” (James 1:17)? Also, did you know that the star which we place on top of the Christmas tree represents both the Star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2,9-10) and the Lord Himself who is the “bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16)? In short, the original purpose of the Christmas tree and its decorations was to remind us of our loving Savior and the gifts He has promised us. They are not pagan by any means and are completely Christian in origin. [Note: the reason an evergreen tree was chosen to represent the Tree of Life is because a tree which never loses its color makes a good symbol for immortality. Another reason is because the evergreen’s triangular shape serves to remind us of the Trinity.]
[35] Did you know that candy canes are shaped like a shepherd’s staff to represent Christ who is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-17)? Did you also know that the white stripes on the candy canes serve to remind us of Christ’s perfect sinless life, and that the red stripes serve to remind us of His precious blood that was shed for our salvation? It may also be observed that when you flip the candy-cane upside down, it resembles the letter J. Any idea whose name that stands for?
[36] Did you know that snow is a symbol of the highest purity and stands for the condition of the redeemed soul (Matthew 28:3, Revelation 1:14, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:7)? Does it not then seem appropriate to use the image of the snowflake or the snowman in our Christmas celebrations?
[37] There are many other images, symbols, and practices associated with Christmas (and Christianity as a whole) that people claim have been taken from paganism. But have you ever wondered where the pagans got all their ideas from? The Old Testament worship system is full of similarities to that of the Israeli’s pagan neighbors. Some examples include the fact that both the pagans and the Israelites had a temple and a priesthood, they both used incense in worship and offered animal sacrifices, they both had spring and fall harvest feasts, they both had water cleansing . . . the list is nearly endless. From these observations, we must conclude that either the Jewish and Christian customs are just ripoffs from paganism or that it’s the other way around. If the former is true, then both Judaism and Christianity are just worthless cults. But if the latter be true, then practically everything pagan is, in fact, ripped off from the monotheistic religion that God established with Adam and then re-established with Noah after the Flood. If that be the case, then Christians didn’t really take anything that originated from paganism at all, but rather simply took back and “uncorrupted” what was originally sanctified by God.
[38] Did you know that food banks, homeless shelters, and clothing drives get far more donations at Christmas time than at any other time of the year? Thus, without this holiday, a great many more people would be shivering, sick, and starving during the winter months.
[39] Did you know that many people who only go to church on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday probably wouldn’t go to church at all if these holidays didn’t exist? But thanks to the celebration of these holidays, God is given an opportunity to bring these unsaved sinners into a church where they can hear a life-changing Gospel message that might (just might) put them on the road to redemption and enable them to eventually come to Christ.
[40] Did you know that during the rest of the year, many businesses just barely break even or actually lose money, and that it is only during the Christmas shopping season that they actually make any kind of profit? Thus, without this holiday, many of these businesses would either go bankrupt or be forced to lay off numerous employees. In other words, without Christmas, there would be even more unemployment and homelessness than there is today.
[41] Although it’s true that some churches in the past tried to outlaw Christmas, this does not necessarily mean that they were on God’s side in this matter. After all, the Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose Christmas, but they also oppose the Trinity and numerous other core Christian doctrines. The same is also true for the followers of Herbert Armstrong. We know those groups are wrong about these and many other things, so why should we listen to them, let alone believe them, when they claim that Christmas is wrong?
[42] If you continue to exploit the fact that early Christian Americans once declared Christmas illegal, then you should be reminded that early Christians in Great Britain also once declared it illegal to have an English version of the Bible. It’s an historic fact that before King James gave his authorization, certain men were executed for translating the scriptures. Such was also the case in other European countries when someone would try to translate the Bible into his native tongue. Hence, if the Lord automatically disapproves of anything that was ever once declared illegal by Christians, then, by your own logic, should God not be furious with us for using English Bibles today? [Note: It should be rather obvious today that the early church leaders who violently banned English Bibles were either seriously misguided or were willing satanic in their attempts to hold control over the Church. So perhaps is it rational to speculate that the modern objectors to Christmas can be classified in a similar category?]
[43] It is true that both the world and the church have abused Christmas, along with the Christian religion in general, and used them for evil purposes. But does such abuse dictate abandonment of the whole Christmas holiday or the entire Christian faith? We would have very little left if we gave up everything that is abused or misused. We couldn’t grow corn for instance because distillers misuse it in making whiskey, which robs families of food, clothing, and shelter. We would have to prohibit all fires too because arsonists employ them for criminal ends. We would even have to eliminate knives from the kitchen because murderers use them to kill. And we would certainly have to ban all forms of medicine because many people have gotten seriously ill and even died from taking the wrong kind or too much of the right kind. Christians certainly deplore the modern and sinful manner of celebrating Christmas, but that does not mean we must discontinue the entire holiday. We do not do away with all birthday parties because some of them become drinking bouts, and we certainly do not discard the Bible because false cults abuse it or because madmen manipulate its words to justify genocide. No more does the abuse of the Christmas season dictate its repudiation by Christians. God is certainly against the gross commercialization of the birth of His Son. But millions of believers celebrate Christmas reverently. Is God against this?
[44] During the holiday season, which message do you think is more likely to help non-Christians embrace Christianity? Is it (a) the message that Christ came into this world, born of a virgin, to save sinners, or (b) the message that celebrating Christmas makes God angry and wrathful? I’ll put it another way: Suppose a non-Christian is walking down the street and hears a preacher shouting “Christmas is evil! It’s pagan to the core! God wants us to have nothing to do with it!” Do you think that, after hearing this kind of rant, the non-Christian will suddenly realize that he is a sinner and rush into the church to give his life to Jesus? Or rather, do you think he’ll view Christians as being in a civil war and decide to avoid Christianity all together?
[45] As was demonstrated by the earlier questions in this list, there is more than enough evidence (both biblically and historically) that a December birth for Christ is not only possible, but that December 25th could very well be the authentic date of Christ’s birth. The only reason for objecting to this possibility is because of the day’s supposed link to paganism. Consider that every day of the year can be linked in some way or another to paganism. Should the fact that pagan rituals were held every day of the week cause us to disregard the historical facts of Christ’s birth? Should we stop worshiping on Saturday because the name “Saturn-day” honors the pagan god Saturn? Should we stop worshiping on Sunday because the name is linked to ancient heathen sun-worship? Is it impossible for God to do sacred acts on these days because they had, at one time or another, been associated with some sort of pagan ritual? Must God prevent His Son from being born because, no matter what day the birth occurred, someone would find some cause to link it to paganism? I think not.
[46] Although there is some solid evidence that December 25 did actually carry a pagan festival before being designated as the birth date of Christ, I really don’t see what difference that ultimately makes. Suppose you discovered that your church had been purposely built over the ruins of a pagan temple where vile heathens once offered human sacrifices to their gods. (There are many churches like that all over Europe, by the way). Upon learning this, would you apostatize from that church or demand that the building be relocated? If your answer is no, then could you please explain the difference between replacing a pagan temple with a Christian temple and replacing a pagan holiday with a Christian holiday? If your answer is yes, however, then you are literally expressing the viewpoint that the God of the Bible is not welcome in any time or place where pagan gods were once exalted. But did you know that the Holy Land was once inhabited by heathens before Moses led the Israelites there? How then, by your own logic, can that land be regarded as holy?
[47] Are you aware that the Lord does not want us to utter the names of the ancient pagan gods? See Exodus 23:13 which says to “make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” But you are constantly doing this when you claim that Christmas, along with Easter, is pagan in origin. As a result, you are turning these ancient false gods into well-known household names and are making people want to learn more about these pagan gods and festivals than they do about Christ. The fascination that some of you have with ancient paganism certainly discredits Christ and gives far too much credibility to the pagans. Generally speaking, most modern Christians would probably never have even heard of the ancient pagan gods if it were not for the people like you who crusade against Christmas. By publicly objecting to Christmas, you bring greater glory to the pagan gods than to the blessed Savior of mankind. You ignore the Savior’s birth and come across as too ignorant and selfish to give good gifts in His memory.
[48] If Christmas was truly a pagan festival that the “corrupted Roman Catholics” simply incorporated into their religion, then why did Protestant reformer Martin Luther continue to embrace it and even write a number of Christmas hymns to accompany it? Luther may have disagreed with the Catholic Church on a fair number of issues, but Christmas was not one of them – and neither was the issue of the Trinity by the way.
[49] Have you ever actually listened to the lyrics of the many Christmas carols that ring out all December long? The lyrics of these songs glorify Christ in the highest regard, and if it were not for the existence of Christmas, most of them would probably never have been written at all. For example, the final verse of “Away in a Manger” goes as follows: “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay / Close by me forever and love me, I pray. / Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, / And take us to Heaven to live with Thee there.” How can you not want to teach your child this song at Christmas time?
[50] When reading the works of those who oppose Christmas, I frequently observed that these texts were written with a very bitter, angry, and hate-filled tone. In Ephesians 4:31, Paul says: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul says that “hatred” is one of the works of the flesh, and that those who carry it will not inherit the kingdom of God. How can you call yourself a true Christian or expect to be saved if you’ve got negativity like this inside you?

Closing Remarks:

Please note, dear readers, that my intention in composing these sometimes harsh-sounding questions was not to force you to start celebrating Christmas, but only to make you think twice before ranting against it. If you don’t wish to set up a Christmas tree or sing Christmas carols or believe that Christ was born in December, then that is your choice. It is only when you publicly crusade against such things that people like myself feel the need to become the “Christmas Police.” For by attempting to destroy Christmas, you are, most likely without realizing it, attempting to destroy a major opportunity for us to preach the life-saving Gospel message of Christ. As I have already expressed, ranting against Christmas during the holidays will not help any non-Christians embrace the Savior’s love, but rather will most certainly help to keep them away from it.

When reading some anti-Christmas writings as part of my research, I noticed that one writer began his arguments with the statement that: “If Christmas was of God, the world would want nothing to do with it.” This statement had more truth to it then the writer realized. For there are two versions of Christmas: one that keeps Christ in and one that kicks Christ out. The former is the one that the world wants nothing to do with because the world hates anything that promotes the Lord’s Truth (John 15:18-20). The latter version, however, is the one that the world loves because it replaces Christ with sinful people singing non-worship party-songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and having sexual encounters under the mistletoe.

Much like the Church, Christmas is something that the Devil would rather control than destroy. And the fact remains that Christmas is here to stay whether we like it or not. It’s simply a matter of which version we let thrive. If churches elect to abolish Christmas from their Christian lives, then the non-Christian version of the holiday will continue to remain in the world serving as a tool for promoting sin. Thus, the only way to prevent this is for us to keep the Christ in Christmas and continue promoting what the holiday is truly about.

As for the “pagan-incorporation” issue, I suspect that you were afraid that Christmas was going to become a pagan-promoting festival, and so (with perhaps honorable intentions) you attempted to prevent that by crusading against the entire holiday. But by doing so, you inadvertently triggered the events that you were trying so hard to avoid. If you had just done nothing and left us “Christmas Christians” in peace, then Christmas would still be a time of love and worship instead of a time of bitterness and feuding. Fortunately, if you and your anti-Christmas crusades were to discontinue right now, Christmas could once again be the time of love and worship that God originally intended it to be. In short, I implore you to either help keep the Christ in Christmas this holiday season, or quietly hide in your room until after New Year’s. For by ranting against Christmas, you are just being counterproductive to the preaching of Christianity and are causing unnecessary heartache for everyone. Merry Christmas.

Works Cited:

“Are Christmas and Easter ‘Pagan’?” http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/pagan8.html

Boger, Richard E. “When Was Jesus Born?” http://www.stnm.org/meditation/jan03.html

Bowman, Robert M. “Answering the Top Ten Objections to Christmas.” http://www.atlantaapologist.org/Top_Ten_Christmas.html

Clanton, Robert. “Christmas is Celebrated in Heaven and on Earth” http://www.truthorfables.com/Christmas.htm

Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia. Computer software. The Learning Company Inc., 1998. [Headings: “Christmas” & “Easter”].

Cox, Raymond L. “Is God Against Christmas?” http://answers.org/Issues/IsGodaginXmas.html

Derksen, Mario. “Celebrating the Birth of the Son: The Truth About Christmas” http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/adventism/christmas.htm

Doig, Kenneth Frank. “New Testament Chronology.” http://doig.net/NT_Chronology.htm

Farah, Joseph. “Was Jesus Actually Born Today?” http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30176

Hoh, John L. Jr. “Review – Martin Luther’s Christmas Book” http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/lutheranism/97293

“In Defence of Christmas” http://www.catholicism.org/pages/wdcatp.htm

New Compact Bible Dictionary, The. Ed. T. Alton Bryant. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967. Page 559.

Passantino, Gretchen. “Celebrate Christ’s Birth!” http://www.answers.org/holidays/celebrate.html

Rockwood, Pastor Perry F. Studies in the Book of Jeremiah, No. 2. Halifax, Nova Scotia: The People’s Gospel Hour, n.d. Page 9.

“Saying that Jesus Could Not Have Been Born in December is a Lie.” http://www.bibleserralta.com/JesusbornDecember.html

“Was Christ Born on December 25?” http://www.christiancommunitychurch.us/cruci0.html

“What About December 25th? Could Jesus Have Been Born on ‘Christmas’ Day?” http://www.baptistpillar.com/bd0557.htm

“When Was Jesus Born?” http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/corner/read1/r00372.html

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15
Year
2014
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9783656865353
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English
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v285589
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Title: 50 Questions for Anti-Christmas Crusaders