Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas banned?

“Are you decorating for Christmas this year?” I asked my Christian friend, knowing that they were still working on various projects in their newly constructed home. With cabinets to hang, painting to do, flooring to lay, I thought perhaps the task of putting up a Christmas tree might be too much to consider.

“No, I don’t think so...” she answered, although her reason caught me by surprise. She went on to say, “..I am conflicted about putting up holiday decorations...do you know the origin of the Christmas tree? There’s so much pagan influence. I feel that God is testing me every time I go out to shop...” “Did you know Christmas was outlawed in the U.S. for a time?” she asked me.
“What? ...no..” I replied, and then added somewhat flippantly, “Well, if it was, it probably had something to do with Puritan influence.”  

I listened to her thoughts and concerns with wonder. I knew that decorating her home for Christmas had been such a pleasure in years past for her and a Christmastime staple for her kids. I recognized that her Christian heart and attitudes were reflected in the beauties of their home during the holidays.

I stammered a bit when she finished explaining about her convictions to leave all trimmings in the closet this year and asked if I could relate. “Uhhh....well, no, honestly I can’t relate. I don’t see anything wrong with putting up a tree, especially with our symbols that point to Christ. And I don’t think the pagans have any claim to our joyful celebrations of Christ’s birth; the Feast of the Nativity has been observed for centuries! I can understand the frustration with the commercialization in the U.S., but to abandon the idea all together because of ancient pagan practice....well, no. I don’t understand.  

Do you know that when St. Patrick converted the pagans, many of their lands, sacred hills and groves were reclaimed for Christ?! “

Before hanging up, I promised I would look into it further, specifically the issue of Christmas being banned in the U.S., while curbing my desire to sway her opinion thus disrespecting her stand.

It’s true that Christmas was banned in Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681 and sure enough, it was Puritan influence that accomplished it. With a motive to purge and reform the Church of England, religious art was condemned as idolatrous, ritual kept to a minimum and absolutely no feasting, decorating or keeping of the “old superstitious customs of England” in celebrating Christmas.

Interesting how Tradition may be manipulated and justified by the hands of those seeking to purify Christ’s Church. The Puritans are a curious lot to me, they sought freedom from religious tyranny (although, from what I’ve read, the Church of England was, for the most part, tolerant of their extreme views) and yet, as soon as they were liberated in the new land, enacted one of their own.

"For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county."


From the records of the General Court, 
Massachusetts Bay Colony 
May 11, 1659


To be fair, in some regard I can understand this misguided Puritan view, inasmuch as I dislike witnessing overindulgence in food/drink/commercialism associated with Christmas and other holidays, but must we throw the baby out with the bath water? Can we not discern the spirit of vanity and indulgence with the spirit of joy at Christ’s coming in the flesh?

The Feast of the Nativity has been celebrated since the 4th century! I don’t think it’s significant that historians cannot accurately identify Jesus’ birthdate, what is important is that we have occasion to look to His coming - to observe Advent - every year. A cycle of the liturgical calendar that brings a time of reflection, fasting and joyful feasting as we proclaim “God has come in the flesh! The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace has come to dwell among us!!” How can we NOT celebrate the Incarnation?!

The pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice during Samhain, the Romans held the festival of Sol Invictus (“Unconquered Sun”) on December 25th and so, it is argued that because of these wicked idolatrous rituals, Christians are partaking of pagan worship by adorning trees, lighting candles, using a yule log or the colors of red and green, decorating with evergreen or mistletoe or even feasting on this day. The Puritans would say it was “a pagan festival with a Christian veneer”.

Does God not have authority over creation? Is it not Almighty God who makes the trees to grow and blesses the hands who fashions the beeswax candles? Does He not bless us through their fragrance so pure? Did St. Brigid not build a great community of Christians in ancient druid oak groves? She had no fear of former ties to those who practiced magic because she knew it was a land being converted, a place of transformation with God the Creator at the helm, bringing a people out of darkness to Light.

I have no qualms about decorating for Christmas, in putting up a tree with lights and ornaments that are both sentimental and religious or the Nativity scene which graces our mantle every year. I enjoy setting out our Advent wreath and letting the children light a new candle each Sunday. These are adornments used in celebration of Christ which have inadvertently forged bonds and created family traditions. They are not objects of worship, yet they remind us continually of our joy and wonder in our God who came in the flesh.

18 comments:

DebD said...

Yes, I've seen this around before. Its even made its way to Easter.

amy said...

How sad... it seems to me such a misguided notion.

DebD said...

Yes, I agree. I've tried to discuss the issue with people who adopted this belief, but they are convinced that the church has been adulterated by paganism. It's very puritanical in its roots.

E.B. said...

Great post. Sometimes I wonder why some people's zeal for wanting to serve the Lord can surpass what seems practical, good and even holy.

Amy, I read your comment on my blog the other day and have been praying for your family since then.

amy said...

Thanks, E.B.

I'm going to post something on it tonight...I attended the funeral today. Thanks so much for your prayers. I am keeping you and yours in prayer too.

In Christ,
amy

Barbara Martin said...

This is a troubling topic for many; even in Canada Christians are cautioned against saying "Merry Christmas" to someone who is not for fear of retribution of an accusation of being racist. It is no longer Christmas for the religious holidays in December, but seasonal holidays. I am beginning to feel like an outsider in my own country, and I'm a 5th generation Canadian with English and Scottish ancestors.

There are certain customs the Roman Church accepted to make outsiders welcome, such as lighting candles, ringing bells, bringing evergreen branches into the churches at yuletide, incense and the laying on of hands. All these had pagan beginnings where the people had a strong belief in nature.

It is more important for people to believe in God and good works than symbols.

Personally, I'm all for Christmas trees, decorations, being merry and wishing neighbours "Merry Christmas".

Amy, thank you for commenting on my blog.

amy said...

Hi Barbara-

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience in Canada. Well, at least here I may wish you and others a very Merry Christmas and know that you will receive it with all good intentions and joy =-)

Blessings to you!

venusian9@hotmail.com said...

This is ludicrous! Christianity stole pagan traditions and changed them a little to try and convert pagans. It's an atrocity to civilization that such a hateful community can be so intolerant of pagans and others! You think because your culture can rewrite history for so long that its just fact. Christmas isnt the only holiday at the end of December. Kwanza, hannakuh, yule, all important. That is why we say happy holidays and not merry Xmas.

amy said...

Merry Christmas to you, Venusian9! Although I concur, that Christianity altered some pagan traditions, I would say it is more correctly a reclamation of creation by our Benevolent Creator, for He is the origin of all things.

History would also agree with you that such harm came to others through those who claimed to follow Christ, but that is only partially correct. History would also tell you that much care, both physically and spiritually has come from those who follow Christ in Truth and through His Church.

God Bless †

judah said...

These 5 Satanic holidays like Christmas, Valentine, Easter, Halloween, and All Souls Day are turned into church festivals. God gives us specific instructions in the Bible: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen ... (Jeremiah 10:2 kjv).


We know very well that December 25 is not the birth of Christ. Is it okay for you that your love ones will celebrate your birthday on another day? Of course no!


Celebrating Christ's birth is a form of worship. But since Christmas is a mixture of truth and lie, those who celebrate it are not worshipping in spirit and in truth.


To commemorate the birth of Jesus is not Scriptural (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:19), but to commemorate His death is Scriptural. Where in the Bible do Christians have the right to add a new holy day?


God deemed it unwise for us to celebrate the birth of Christ. Why? Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the God of eternity who has no beginning or ending.

judah said...

The Christ of X'mas is antichrist! Christmas is a lie! Any half-truth is not truth at all. God hate christmas!

I’m very sure there will be no Christmas celebration in Heaven. It is irrelevant to greet Jesus, “Happy Birthday!”


Nativity scenes are a common sight during the month of December in churches, offices and homes. In these nativity scenes, there is a figure of a baby in a manger and it is a graven image that is supposed to represent the Son of God. Such image is a violation of the second commandment (Exodus 20:4).


The Bible does not record what date Jesus was born. Nowhere in the bible will you find a commandment to "celebrate Christmas."


The Bible says that we are to remember the Lord's death and resurrection. The apostles never celebrate the birth of Jesus or the first Church in Jerusalem.

The truth is that no followers of Christ in the New Testament celebrated Christmas. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ was a recorded historical event in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.


Most likely Jesus was not even born on 25 December. To commemorate Christ’s birth is unholy and not biblical whether one chooses 25 December or any other day.


How can we have the shameless boldness before our Heavenly Father to teach our children paganism and the Word of God at the same time? This once-a-year celebration of Christmas is stinking in the nostrils of God.

judah said...

The golden or molten calf and the dancing in Exodus 32:19 is more than a sufficient evidence to prove that the feast proclaimed for God was a Satanic celebration.

Celebrating the birth of "another Jesus" during Christmas Day which is 25 December is a Satanic holiday!

The Words of God below emphasized that the molten calf was built and the celebration declared a "feast to the LORD" (Exodus 32:5 kjv) was a Satanic feast or ploy.

The people of the Old Testament had declared a celebration to honor the God of Israel that God Himself did not recognized as being in His honor.

In the Old Testament, God pronounced a curse on Israel for adopting pagan feast days: Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. (Malachi 2:3 kjv).

The Lord God Almighty declares, So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. (Hebrews 3:11 kjv).

judah said...

A cult member was asked to crack a joke and she said, “Look at the people everywhere especially in the church, they are giving presents to one another but they always forget to give the celebrant a gift during X’mas. Maybe they forgot their Christ since He’s not around, so why bother give him a gift?”

Yet billions of people unwittingly observe Christmas, and defend that Christmas are for the children. People will often assert what they want!

Majority of them claimed that approximately there are 3 billion Christians that can’t be wrong or that it doesn’t matter how they worship God so long the intentions are good.

One famous man said, “If 3 billion people believed a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing!”

Satan had blinded the mind of these people and the true meaning of Christ’s birth is lost in the hearts of men.

Jesus said to those who appeared religious but denied the power of His true teaching, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46 kjv).

judah said...

If the Holy Spirit is in us and God convicts us of His Word, why are we willing to enjoy a lie and mixed Christ’s birthday with pagan mythology like Santa Claus, fairies, elves (actually, these are evil spirits) and his flying reindeers (only insects, birds, aircrafts, etc. fly but not the reindeers), mistletoes which are not part of Christ’s birth?

When the season is over, people also conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) by dismantling their Christmas tree and other pagan symbols.

When a live tree is cut, few weeks will pass, the truth of its death will be evident. Man’s relationship was cut, the same is true of all humans that is empty of God. Plastic X’mas trees are replicas of a live tree, a picture of man without God.

Are we endorsing a lie and our ministry became a part of Satan’s tool in deceiving the nation? Santa Claus has become one of the most popular and widely accepted and unopposed myths ever to be successfully interwoven into the fabric and framework of Christianity.

Even the atheists celebrate Christmas by renaming it "X’mas." X in algebra is unknown! To them, it is unknown because they have no relationship with God and they are not born again in the family of God.

So many Christmas songs do not give honor to Christ, among them is “Santa Claus is coming to Town.”

Children everywhere have been told from an early age that there is someone who "knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake." This song is a big lie!

Santa Claus is portrayed as a god to the children. He supposedly "knows all" as does God. One day that child's "god" is discovered to be non-existent.

Another X’mas song that is corrupted is “Silent Night, Holy Night.” God has no pleasure to hear the song of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:5). How come the night was all calm or silent when there were an angel and a multitude of the heavenly host praising God? They were declaring, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14 kjv).

Nowhere in the Bible are we informed about the 3 kings in the manger. The Bible tells us that they were wise men and found Christ in the house (Matthew 2:11). Jesus was no longer a new born babe but already a young child.

And as for the tradition of three kings, the Bible never mentions their numbers, only the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Almost all sorts of literature, cards, books, songs and programs of celebrations utterly confuse the facts written in God's Word about the birth of Christ.
Satan’s desire is to confuse people.

People have Christmas tree, Christmas decorations and Santa Claus in their homes, offices and everywhere which entirely has nothing to do with the birth of Christ!

judah said...

In Revelation 18:4 Christ said, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

But, you may say, “It is not an easy thing to come out of her.” Many will say that Christmas has become a part of our way of life, and that is so true.

It has become a part of our way of life as idolatry had in the Jew's way of life in Israel and Judah, and it took the destruction of their country and the enslavement of the Hebrew people to tear them away from their idol gods.

Idolatry is considered paying homage or an admiration similar to God. So many people admired Christmas with their decorations. Idolatry is a sin that recurs throughout the history of God’s people.

Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! God is pleased when idols, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored.

God wants you to eliminate forever the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry.

judah said...

Does not our seared conscience accuse us as we combine the story of the birth of Christ with the roman heathen idols and the worship of their sun god?

You may say, I’m not offended by pagan traditions and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ’s birth, particularly the month of December. But God is seriously offended.

God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism.

Would you be offended if your spouse kept and cherished something special from her former lover?

Sometimes, we reason out that it is part of redeeming what the enemy corrupted.

If your spouse was immoral before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her former lover? Would it bother you, if she celebrated the birthday and various anniversaries relating to her past relationships?

Of course, you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than ours. He is a jealous God!

judah said...

The Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of Christmas is not the same because the Jesus of the Bible is full of grace and truth while the Jesus of Christmas is filled with half truths. Any half truth is not truth at all. To have truth of the Lord’s Words intertwined with the lies of the devil is fatal, toxic and deadly.

Christmas is purely a commandment of men and corresponds directly to what the Lord Jesus says in Mark 7:7, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." God has concealed the time of his birth.

Why do we continue to imitate the ways of the heathen? Why have we allowed the purity of the Gospel of Christ to become a demon-inspired celebration?

Having demonstrated that 25 December could not have been the birth date of Christ, the choice of that date was due to Satan deception.

The Scripture says, And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9 kjv).

Jesus Christ was not born on 25 December, and, if He were on earth today, He not only wouldn't keep Christmas but He would rebuke any who would.

God finds Christmas offensive because it blinds mankind from Him and His truth.

We certainly rejoice that Christ was born and lived among us as a man. But if we truly want to glorify God and bear testimony of who He is, let us put away all of the mixture of pagan customs and show the confused world that salvation was only made possible through His death, blood and resurrection and not His birth.

amy said...

Peace to you, Judah. I hope you feel relieved now that you've had the opportunity to write your profuse opinions here.

On many things you stated I respectfully disagree with you, but at least a few, I should think you would want to learn further about: ICXC is an ancient Christogram, not an atheists way of using an algebraic expression to signify "unknown". ICXC is from traditional Greek, the initials that represent "Jesus Christ" and you will often see these letters along with NIKA "Jesus Christ Conquers" in ancient icons or other religious symbols.

Santa Claus, at least the origin in Orthodoxy (the ancient Christian faith) is from St. Nicholas, the 4th century archbishop of Myra (in present-day Turkey) whose life shone forth an uncommon light toward Christ in this world. That our children would learn from his life is a very good thing, indeed.

I would encourage you to examine the source of your information and weigh it against a historical study of Christianity.

God's blessings to you.

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