What Is Christmas
 E. G. Cook
Former Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Birmingham , Alabama
 (Now In Glory)

    As we approach the time in which so many people spend so much of their next year's hard earned money to celebrate Christmas it appears to me that we should consider well why we are doing it. If Christmas is our Lord's birthday, and if He has asked us to celebrate it, all of His saints should go all out to do His will. But, if it is not His birthday, and if He has not told us to celebrate it all of His saints should ignore it. However, many Baptists in our day are afraid to investigate it for fear they just might find out the truth concerning it. So many of them are more afraid of the truth than they are of God. But let us remember, Psalms 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But Romans 3:18 speaking concerning the wicked says “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” And so often it appears there is no fear of God before the eyes of His own people.
    The hard cold facts about our Lord's birthday are: No man on earth knows when it is, and furthermore He said absolutely nothing about our celebrating it. He wants us to celebrate His death by our observing the Lord's Supper, and He wants us to celebrate His burial and His resurrection by means of Scriptural baptism. But, I say without any fear of contradiction, there was never anybody who even called themselves celebrating His birth until the Bishop of Rome, the head of the Catholic Church, set December 25th as His birthday. He knew no more about when it was than you know about the birthday of your ancestors who lived 350 years ago. I want to say that if our Lord had wanted us to celebrate His Birthday He would have told us when it was. No one living today knows the exact year of His birth much less the day of it.
    In John 7:7 Jesus said the world hates Him, and in John 15:19 He says the world hates us. Since that is true how could the world get so much joy out of celebrating His birth. If it is His birthday. If December 25th were His birthday the world would care no more about that day than they do about the Lord's Supper. But, if you notice, the lost people will tackle you, and elbow you just as hard as the saints do if you get between them and some article they are trying to get to in order to give it to cousin Mary, because she will be sure to give us something.
    We need to see just where and when the Catholic Church, or religion, had its beginning, because the beginning of Christmas is embodied in that religion. Soon after the flood Noah's great grandson Nimrod, a type of the soon coming antichrist, started a religious system known as Babylonian Mysticism. The main characters in this religious system were the wife of Nimrod, Semeramis and her son Tammuz. These two became the Catholics’ queen of heaven, and their Jesus. When Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:30) the capital of the Babylonian Mysticism was moved from Babylon to Pergamos. Later when Attalus III died. Pergamos fell to the Romans in 133 B.C. and the religious capital was moved to Rome. It remained there as the Babylonian Mysticism until the division in the church in 251 A.D.. As a result of this division one branch continued as our Lord's true churches. The other branch became the apostate church which merged with the Babylonian Mysticism and became the Catholic Church in the sixth century. It was the Bishop of Rome, the head of the apostate church, the Catholic Church in embryo, who set December 25th as Christ's birthday.
    We also need to see just why it had to be December 25th. The Romans celebrated a feast, or festival at this time of the year known as Saturnalia. During this time even the slaves were permitted to eat at the first table, and be served by their masters. This Saturnalia was dumped into Christmas. As a result of that you can, if you look closely, see people going into the saloon, called in our day the Liquor Store, who never go near it at any other time. And if you look close enough you may even see some of the members of your own church slipping into it. Why do people feel that they can do things at Christmas time that are not permissible at any other time? Is it because of the spirit of Saturnalia? Another reason for Christmas having to be at this time of the year is because the apostate church, the Catholic Church in embryo, had brought into their church a host of heathen Britons who were not about to give up their winter festival. They were just as much heathen after they were brought into this church as they were before. The Catholic Church says that if she cannot stop the heathen practices of her people she will Christianize them. That is what she did in this case. These heathens were determined to continue their heathen festival at this time of the year. So by calling December 25th Christ's birthday the Romans could continue celebrating their Saturnalia, and the Britons could continue their winter festival just as they had been doing and still be good Catholics, because the head of their church had set that day as Christ's birthday. That made it sound like a Christian celebration. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says that in order for the Shepherds to be out in the field with their flocks the night Christ was born it would have been necessary for His birth to have occurred sometime between March and September, because the nights were too cold for them to remain out there, and besides the frost killed the grass about September. I recall seeing a picture on the front page of our paper some years ago showing the snow so deep on Christmas day in Jerusalem that the police had to deliver milk to the hospitals, because the milk trucks could not do it. But in spite of all that, Christmas had to be on December 25th whether there were any shepherds out that night or not.
    With Christmas literally loaded down with the world's religion it is easy to see why the world loves it. But why is it that so many Baptists seem to try to out give, out shine, and out spend the world? It is easy to see that the world does it through ignorance, but Baptists really have no excuse for it. Every Baptist preacher in this country knows Christmas is nothing in the world but a pagan holiday. Still they will lead their people in a big Christmas program in order to get more people to come to the church on that day. I often wonder if they have a good reason ready to tell the Lord when they stand before Him as to why they did it. The first Christmas card appeared in 1846 the next year after the Southern Baptist Convention came on the scene December 27th, 1845. Even though the first Christmas card went out 134 years ago it takes extra help today to get the tons of them delivered. It may be that if we turn to Jeremiah 5:30 we might get an idea as to why all this paganism is so popular. There we read in our every day language, “The preachers preach false things, and the priests run things their own way and my people love to have it so.
    The Baptist people run after the false gods and false religion connected with Christmas simply because they love it. Another reason might be that they do not want to be called a far out strange person. They seem to be so afraid of persecution. In II Corinthians 12:10 Paul said, “I take pleasure in persecution for Christ's sake.” O, that we had more Baptists who could take pleasure in persecution for Christ's sake. Baptist people know full well that if they turn their backs on Christmas, and all the paganism that goes with it they will suffer persecution. All too many of us think more of now than we do of the soon coming day when we must stand before the judgment seat, or throne, and tell our dear Lord why we did not suffer persecution for His sake. And, believe it or not, that day will be here sooner than many of us expect.
    No doubt there are Baptist men today who are already planning to do just what Jeremiah said they do. In Jeremiah 10:3-5 we read, “For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the nails and with hammers, that it move not.” Then no doubt there are Baptist women who are planning to do what we see in Jeremiah 7:18. There we read, “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods that they may provoke me to anger.” In former years I would say you cannot find Christmas in the Bible, but I have learned that there is quite a lot in it about this infamous pagan feast. O, the beautiful Christmas trees, and the delicious Christmas cakes. But what does our dear Lord think about them? That is what we need to consider. We are reminded of the Tabernacle we see in Exodus 26. All the world saw was the skins of animals. But to those who were permitted to go inside, the beauty was wonderful to behold. But the world sees the beauty of Christmas. Why the difference? If the drunkard refused to drink on Christmas, and the harlot became virtuous for the day we might be able to see the Spirit of Christ in Christmas. But so long as we see just the opposite we are forced to say it must be the spirit of Saturnalia. But still many Baptist people love it.
    If anyone has any real evidence that would justify Baptist people in their participation in this ungodly thing I sure would like to know about it. I am not able to find any evidence of any kind. For twenty years I taught the men's Bible class in a rather large Baptist Church. Every year when it came time to elect teachers for the coming year no other name was even considered. But after my article came out in The Alabama Baptist in the December 22nd 1955 issue the class found another teacher. One dear old Brother said in class that “Christmas was good enough for his parents, and that it is good enough for me.” But it seems to me that his reason for loving Christmas was because of the commandments of men. And in Matthew 15:9 our Lord said, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” It seems that He did not have as much respect for the commandments of men as this dear old Brother had.
    My article that came out in The Alabama Baptist twenty-five years ago was put into tract form, and more than fifty thousand copies of it have gone all over the world. We still mail it free of charge to anybody anywhere in the world whether you want one copy or a hundred. If it can be used to stop one more family from celebrating this infamous pagan holiday it will be well worth the time, effort and expense. If you wish to have it before Christmas just let us know about how many you can use. Just remember, Christmas is just one of the abominations that we see in the old whore’s golden cup in Revelation 17:4.
    In Revelation 18:4 we hear our dear Lord saying, “Come out of her, my people.”

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