By Willard Willis
    An article appearing in the Middletown (Ohio) Journal under the date of December 17, 1978, read, in part, as follows:
    “When it comes to fighting, shooting and stabbing, Christmas is anything but a silent night. In fact, the entire month of December is the worst in terms of violent crimes.”
    “Oh tidings of comfort and joy ... ”
    “More people are murdered in the month of December than any other month, according to the FBI. And not only are more people killed, but the majority of them are killed by the family and friends they spend the holidays with.”
    “Oh there's no place like home for the holidays ... ”
    “Of the 821 murders committed in Ohio last year (1977), nearly 500 were committed by friends or relatives of the victim, according to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.”
    “Faithful Friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more ... ”
    It was against the law in early America and at the same time in England to observe Christmas. The main reason for this action was because it had originally been celebrated by the Catholic Church as Christ's Mass. An article appearing in the National Inquirer under the date of December 26, 1978 read, in part:
    “Because it had long been observed as Christ's Mass, the Puritans claimed that Christmas was a Roman Catholic holy day - and therefore, detestable. Sermons and speeches labeled it ‘antichrist mass, and idolatry.’
    “And many of the rituals of Christmas were nothing more than leftover pagan practices associated with old Roman holidays, according to the Puritans.”
    The above paragraph ends by stating:  “according to the Puritans.” I desire, however, to point out that even the Catholics admit that it was not the custom of the early churches to observe Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, which is published by the Catholic Church reads as follows:
    “Christmas was not among the early festivals of the church ... the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. Pagan customs centering around the January calendar gravitated to Christmas ... in the Scriptures, sinners alone, not saints, celebrated their birthday.”
    The Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia also stands behind the action taken by the Puritans. It reads as follows regarding Christmas:
    “How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia (December 25) following the Saturnalia (December 17-24), cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Brumalia and Satrunalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence ... The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the west and near east protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while the Christians of Mesopotamia accused their western brethren of sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan Festival.”
    We must state again that the Puritans were correct in that they did not observe Christmas.
    The following article taken from the Middletown Journal, under the date of December 18,1977, shows that the early Americans knew what they were talking about. The following article was marked Chicago (AP)
    “A near sacrifice to a pagan god: a gentle bishop of Asia Minor; a poisonous plant under which foes could gather in peace, if only briefly. They are the bizarre but mostly forgotten origins of three of the most popular symbols of Christmas: the fir tree, Santa Claus and mistletoe ... the English missionary Winfred, who later became Saint Boniface, is said to have come upon some Druids who were about to slay a young prince as an offering to their god Thor. Winfred called a halt to the proceedings and cut down the sacred oak tree against which the human sacrifice was to have taken place. Legend has it that a young fir sprang up where the oak had stood. The missionary told the Druids to adopt the fir as their new holy tree and explained to them that it was the tree of peace and of Christ.
    “The belief that Santa delivered his gifts to the home via the Chimney stems from an old Norse legend according to the encyclopedia. The Norse believed that the goddess Hertha would bring good luck to a home if she appeared in the fireplace.
    “It was from the Norse also that the mistletoe so commonly found in homes at Christmas time gaining wonderful ‘kissing’ properties.
    “A parasitic and poisonous plant which grows on the trunks of trees, mistletoe, had been used ceremoniously by early Europeans. The ancient Celts used it as a charm and northern mythology has it that an arrow made of mistletoe killed one of their gods. But it was perhaps the early Scandinavians who gave the plant its sociable qualities. They considered it a plant of peace. Warring factions would declare a truce if they met under it. It is thought that the modern custom of kissing under it began here, according to the World Book.
    “The Scandinavians are also believed to have bequeathed to us the Yule log and the term ‘Yule’ to describe the holiday season.”
    “The pagan festivities included the burning of the huge log in honor of the god Thor. With the arrival of Christianity the custom of burning the log spread throughout Europe and included the dragging of the log into the home. Using an unburned portion of it to light next year's Yule log would bring good luck.”
    It becomes more and more obvious as we proceed that the people of early America were correct by their refusal to observe Christmas.
    The following article taken from the Middletown Journal, under the date of November 23. 1961, shows that Christmas was even illegal in early America.
    “Colonial New England did not celebrate Christmas, according to the researchers, because the stern Puritan colonists believed that such activities were wholly pagan and forbade them by law. Christmas came to the American colonies while it was the subject of strenuous controversy in England. English Puritans condemned it as ‘popish’ and the secular celebration as a ‘wanton bacchanalian feast.’
    “Opposition of the English Puritans to the festival culminated in the act of Parliament in 1647 which abolished the observance of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide. This action was echoed in the American colonies in 1659 when Puritans enacted a law in the general court of Massachusetts to punish those who ‘kept Christmas.’
    “The law read ‘whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or in any way ... shall be subject to a fine of five shillings."
    “The law was repealed in 1681 but many of the Puritans were not reconciled to this action. Secular reveling at Christmas had often interfered with religious devotions and offended the Puritans’ moral sense. This intensified their sectarian hostility to the religious observance of Christmas, an attitude they maintained for the better part of two centuries (until 1881) in parts of New England.
    “The latter half of the eighteenth century saw a swing of attention to the realm of economics and politics and religious controversies became of less importance ... ”
    Denominational opposition to the ecclesiastical observance of Christmas, however, continued into the second half of the nineteenth century. An account in the New York Daily Times for December 26, 1855 read: “The churches of the Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were not open on December 25 except where some mission schools had celebration. They do not accept the day as a holy one ... ”
    Scholars are not agreed regarding the exact date of our Lord's birth. One thing, however, which they do agree on is that He was not born on December 25 or even close to this date.
    We know from the biblical record that the shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. This could never have occurred on December 25, since the shepherds always brought their sheep from the mountain side and corralled them no later than October 15. They did so in order to protect them from the cold rainy season which followed. Volume five and page 386 of Adam Clark's Commentary states:
    “It was an ancient custom among the Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring) and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.”
    An article appearing in the Middletown Journal in 1961, read: “True date of Christ's birth a mystery ... the exact date of Jesus’ birth has been disputed by scholars for centuries. In fact, about all they agree on is that it is not December the 25th ... Most scholars estimate that the true date falls in late August or early September. It is not even certain why December 25 was chosen, though there is generally one accepted reason. Saturnalia was the great Roman holiday and it came the third week of December. Christian leaders hoped that celebrating Christmas at this time would lessen the impact of the pagan festival. Also, December in all civilized lands in the early centuries was the time of many winter festivities.”
    That which also brands Christmas as not belonging to the followers of Christ, is the fact that the entire Christmas program is a lie. We learn from Proverbs 6:17 that our Lord hates lies: Why then would we celebrate His birthday with lies?
    We have already noted that it is a lie that December 25 is the Lord's birthday. Let us now note some of the other lies which surround Christmas. Santa Claus is a lie. It is a lie that Santa Climbs down chimneys; that he fills stockings with good things; that he places toys under trees; that he has a sleigh and that it is pulled by a team of reindeer; that he sees, hears and knows the thoughts and actions of boys and girls throughout the year; that he visits the home of every boy and girl in the world, etc.
    The question arises as to why people will not hear and heed the truth regarding Christmas. The answer is found in Jeremiah 5:31The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”
   The name “Christmas” should cause each of us to take a long hard look at it. Christmas, in fact, comes from the observance of Christ's mass by the Catholic Church. This is the main reason the early American Puritans refused to observe it. An article appearing in the National Inquirer, under the date of December 26, 1978 read, in part:
    “Because it had long been observed as Christ's mass, the Puritans claimed that Christmas was a Roman Catholic holy day - and therefore, detestable. Sermons and speeches labeled it ‘antichrist mass, and idolatry.”
    The very word “mass” should cause us to beware of Christmas. My reason for saying this is the fact that the mass, which is observed by the Catholic Church denies the all sufficiency of the atonement which our Lord made at Calvary. Their teaching is that the mass is not a mere representation of the sacrifice of Christ, but that it is a continuation of the same offering. The priest even commands our Lord to come down from glory and become a piece of bread. The Catholic Church even teaches that the mass adds to and improves upon the sacrifice which our Lord made at Calvary.
    It becomes more and more obvious, as we proceed, that the early Americans and the people in England were correct in their condemnation of Christmas.
    One Christmas party however, was of great value to early America and to us today. It was the celebration that occurred on December 25, 1776. You may recall that this was the night in which George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware to surprise and defeat the Hessian troops who were stationed at Trenton, New Jersey. It is believed by many that Washington's bold venture succeeded because the Hessians were enjoying their customary Christmas revels and failed to maintain the usual watch and patrol.
    We have already noted that Christmas is built upon a platform of lies. Christmas, in fact, would become just another day if all the lies were removed from beneath it.
    One of the lies which I have not mentioned is the one which states that three wise men followed a star to Bethlehem on the night in which our Lord was born. The Bible, in fact, does not say how many wise men there were and neither does it state that a star guided them to Bethlehem. The wise men, in fact, did not need a star to guide them to Bethlehem, since they were wise men; that is, they were wise concerning the Old Testament prophesies which stated that He would be born in Bethlehem of Judea.
    A careful study of the matter shows that the wise men did not visit Christ on the night in which He was born. We, in fact, learn from Matthew, chapter two, that our Lord was living in a house when the wise men came to visit Him. It was at this time that the star, which they had previously seen, guided them to His abiding place. The fact that His abiding place at this time was a house, is confirmed by Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their Treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
    You will observe that the passage of Scripture speaks of the Lord Jesus as a “young child and such is what He was at this time rather than a babe in a manager. This fact is confirmed further by verse 14 where we are informed that Mary was able to travel. This, of course, would not have been true if the visit by the wise men had been on the night in which our Lord was born. I'm convinced that He was living in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem when the wise men visited Him. It is to be remembered that Joseph and Mary had only gone to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. They however, returned home to Nazareth soon thereafter. I'm also convinced that Joseph and Mary had already taken their new son to Jerusalem before the wise men visited them at their home in Nazareth. Their visit to Jerusalem, in fact, had to have occurred before they fled into Egypt. I draw this conclusion because Luke 2:39 states that they performed all things according to the law: “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own city Nazareth.”
    The question now arises as to what the law required. Our answer is found in Leviticus 12:1-4: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised and she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
    We know from Luke 2:39 (above) that Joseph and Mary did according to that which was laid down in Leviticus 12:1-4 (above). This means that the Lord Jesus was at least 41 days old when the wise men came to visit Him. I say this because He was living in a house, and, according to Luke 2:39, He did not abide in His home in Nazareth until after they had performed all things according to the law.
    The second chapter of Luke shows that the shepherds rather than the wise men visited our Lord on the night of His birth. They did not follow a star as they did not even see the one which the wise men saw. We know from Luke 2:10 that the angel informed the shepherds of His birth.
    It becomes very obvious from that which we have written that Christmas does not have Heaven's blessings upon it. It was invented by man and is only of this world, therefore, we must not conform to it.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil ... ” (Exodus 23:2)

(The Baptist Examiner - 12/29/1979)

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