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WHERE DID CHRISTMAS COME FROM?

Some details about Thor from ancient German mythology will show the origin of the modern Santa Claus tale:  Thor was the god of the peasants and the common people.  He was represented as an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build, with a long white beard.  His element was the fire, his color red.  The rumble and roar of thunder were said to be caused by rolling of his chariot, for he alone among the gods never rode on horse back but drove in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracker and Gnasher). 

He was fighting the giants of ice and snow, and thus became the Yule-god.  He was said to live in the Northland where he had his palace among icebergs.  By our pagan forefathers he was considered as the cheerful and friendly god, never harming the humans but rather helping and protecting them.  The fireplace in every home was especially sacred to him, and he was said to come down through the chimney into his element, the fire [Note 70: H.A. Grueber, Myths or Northern Lands, Vol. I, New York, 1895, 61.]

HERE, THEN, IS THE TRUE ORIGIN OF OUR “SANTA CLAUS”.  IT CERTAINLY WAS A STROKE OF GENIUS THAT PRODUCED SUCH A CHARMING AND ATTRACTIVE FIGURE FOR PAGAN MYTHOLOGY.  WITH THE CHRISTIAN SAINT WHOSE NAME HE STILL BEARS, HOWEVER, THIS SANTA CLAUS HAS REALLY NOTHING TO DO -Francis X.Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc. 1958), 113-114.

CHRISTMAS TREES –Green trees were cut down mounted, and then decked with offerings of food and precious gifts to Mithra.

The Christmas tree is from Egipt, and it originally dates from a period long anterior to the Christian Era.  [Frederick J. Haskins, Answers to Questions].

Evergreens, because of their ability to remain fresh and green throughout the year, symbolized immortality and fertility.  Egyptian priests taught that the evergreen tree sprang from the grave of their god Osiris, who, after being murdered by another god, was resurrected through the energy in an evergreen tree.

Even the Bible speaks about the pagan custom:

“Thus saith the Lord.  Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not.”    (Jer.10:2-4)              

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WHERE DID CHRISTMAS COME FROM?

SANTA CLAUS

St. Nicholas is thought to be a fine old saint in the church, but not so.  It is true that there may have been a Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who lived in the fourth century and was said to have helped the poor.  But Santa Claus was named after another “old Nick”.

The legend of Santa Claus is quite similar to those of the ancient Egyptian god, Bes.  Bes was a short rotund god who was said to give gifts to children.  They were told he lived en the far north, where he spent most of the year making toys for them.

The Roman god, Saturn, was similar- and probably copied from Bes. He too was said to live in the northern most part of the world, making gifts for children who were good.  The Romans said he was the one who, each December, brought them the gifts of the New Year.

The names, “Santa Claus” and “Kriss Kringle.”do not go as far back into history.  “Sant Nikolaas” (Sant-Ni-Klaus) and “Kriss Kringle” are from German “Christ Krindl” or “Christ Child”.   So we have here a counterfeit Christ.

Parents punish their children for telling falsehoods, and then tell them this big one in December!  Later, when their children are grown, they wonder why they question the existence of God.

Teach your children about JESUS CHRIST- their best friend, their only Saviour, and the only One who can really bring them the gifts they need.  Do not waste time telling them myths; lest, when they grow older, they will not believe the realities you tell them of.

THE ORIGIN OF SANTA CLAUS   “When the Dutch came to America and established the colony of New Amsterdam, their children enjoyed the traditional ‘visit of Saint Nicholas” on December 5; for the Dutch had kept this ancient Catholic custom even after the Reformation.  Later, when England took over the colony and it became New York, the kindly figure of Sinter Klaas (pronounced Santa Claus) soon aroused among the English children the desire of having such a heavenly visitor come to their homes, too.

The English settlers were glad and willing to comply with the anxious wish of their children.  However, the figure of a Catholic saint and bishop was not acceptable in their eyes, especially since many of them were Presbyterians, to whom a bishop was repugnant.  In addition they did not celebrate feasts of saints according to the ancient Catholic calendar.

The dilemma was solved by transferring the visit of the mysterious man whom Dutch called Santa Claus from December 5 to Christmas, and by introducing a radical change in the figure itself.  It was not merely a ‘disguise’, but the ancient saint was completely replaced by an entirely different character.  Behind the name Santa Claus actually stands the figure of the pagan Germanic god Thor (after whom Thursday is named). 

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WHERE DID CHRISTMAS COME FROM?

 

HOW DID MITHRA WORSHIP BRING THESE THINGS INTO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH?

In order to understand how and why Christmas came into the Christian church back in those early centuries, we need to understand the tremendous influence of pagan Mithraism in the first few centuries after the time of Christ-and how Christian leaders decided to adopt the customs of paganism in order to win the battle against it.

The following information is vital and comes from an earlier study:

THE PLANETARY WEEK -The various days of the week were, in ancient times, called the first day, second day, etc; for these were their Biblical names.  But about the time of Christ they were given new names.  The non- Christians began calling them ‘the Day of the Sun, (Sunday) the Day of the Moon, (Monday) etc. in honor of different heavenly bodies.  This was known by the pagans as the ‘planetary week.’

Each day was ruled over by a different god; but the most important of all gods was given the rule of the first day of the week, (Sunday), with the idea in mind that the first is always more important than that which follows it.  The most important of all the heathen gods was given the rule over the first of the seven days.  It was his day, the day of the sun.  And Mithra, the Sun god was worshiped each week on his day, the Sun day.

Now although these names for the days of the week were new, the day devoted to the Sun god was not new.  The worship of the sun arose from a devotion to that most powerful of natural objects.  It was one of the most ancient forms of worship and is represented by solar-disk images found on nearly every continent of our world.  (”Sun worship was the earliest idolatry”—A.R. Fausset, Bible Dictionary, page 666.)

The Arabians appear to have worshiped it directly without using any statue or symbol (Job: 31:26-27).  Abraham was called out of all this when he went to the Promised Land.  Ra was the Sun god of Egypt; and On (Heliopolis, which means “city of the sun’ in Greek) was the center of Egyptian Sun worship (see the Hebrew of Jer.43:13).

Entering Canaan under Joshua, the Hebrews again encountered Sun worship.  Baal of the Phoenicians, Molech or Milcom of the Ammonites, Hadad of the Syrians, and later the Persian Mitras or Mithra.

Shemesh was an especially important Sun god in the Middle East. Later, in Egypt, Aton was the name of the god of the Sun Disk.  The temple at Baalbek was dedicated to Sun worship.

By associating with Sun worshipers, the Israelites frequently practiced it themselves (Lev. 26:30, Isa. 17:8).  King Manasseh practiced direct Sun worship (2Kings. 21:3, 5).  Josiah destroyed the chariots that were dedicated to the Sun and worship processions (2Kings. 23:5, 11-12).  Sun altars and incense were burned on the housetops for the sun (Zeph. 1:5).  And Ezekiel beheld the “greatest abomination”: direct Sun worship at the entry way to the temple of the true God.  This was done by facing east-ward to the rising sun (Eze.8:16-17).

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WHERE DID CHRISTMAS COME FROM?

HOW DID CRISTMAS GET INTO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH?

In one brief paragraph, the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge tells us how the December 25 holiday entered the Christian church:

“How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia [The December 25 celebration], following the Saturnalia [an eight-day December 17-24 festival preceding it], and celebrating the shortest day of the year and the ‘new sun’ cannot be accurately determined.  The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia 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 the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.”- New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, “Christmas”

Church leaders adopted a pagan holiday, in spite of the protests of some godly local pastors.  It was considered idolatry to do this, since it was nothing more than a heathen day of worship had been selected in honor of MITHRA, THE SUN god.  December 25 was dedicated to the keeping of his birthday.  Therefore sincere Christians considered it to be a form of sun worship.  The sun had reached its lowest angle in the sky on December 21 (the winter solstice), and the 25th was the first observable day in which it began rising in the noon sky. So December 25 had, for centuries, been celebrated as the ‘BIRTH OF DE SUN god.’

But, back in those earlier centuries, earnest believers recognized that Christians dare not accept pagan practices or pagan holidays.  These heathen customs are not found in the Bible as being used by Christians, so they ought to be shunned by conscientious Christians.

The Roman world was essentially pagan.  Many converts to Christianity had come to enjoy those festivities and did not want to forsake them after baptism into the Christian church.

But when half-converted church members rose to positions of leadership in the Church, they made policy changes in agreement with contemporary heathen customs.  And that is how we got Christmas.

‘A feast was established in memory of this event (Christ’s birth) in the fourth century.  In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol (the Latin word for sun), as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”-Encyclopedia Americana (1944 edition).  “Christmas”

If the Bible contained no certain knowledge of when Christ was born, then we should not try to select a definite day on which to worship Him.  Instead, we should remain with the only weekly worship day God ever gave us, the Sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodo 20:8-11)

The above quotation spoke about a pagan feast back then, in honor of the yearly birth of Sol.  That word means “sun” in Latin and was another name for Mithra, the sun god. A strong controversy arose in the Christian church over this apostasy by Western church leaders:

“Certain Latins, as early as (A.D.) 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to December 25, which was then a Mithraic feast …..or birthday of the unconquered sun…The Syrians and Armenians accused the Romans of sun worship and idolatry.” –Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946-

IT WAS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS THAT THIS PAGAN HOLIDAY SHOULD NOT BE ADOPTED AS THE MEMORIAL DAY OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

 

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WHERE DID CHRISTMAS COME FROM?-

 

Yes, where did Christmas come from? It did not begin at the birth of Christ; it began earlier! The December 25 celebration had nothing to do with His birth. It is an interesting story; one I think you will be interested in.

WHEN WAS JESUS BORN? – It is well-know among Biblical scholars that Jesus was not born in December, because the shepherds were never out in the fields with their sheep at that time.

“There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”-Luke 2:8.

Shepherds always brought their sheep in from the mountainsides and field and corralled them no later than October 15, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed.  (Also read Songs 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, 13.)

“It was an ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring), and bring them home at commencement of the first rain. During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day.  As…the first rain began early in the month of March, which answers to part of our October, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during de whole summer.

And, as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks (when Christ was born in Bethlehem), it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25Th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night.  On this very ground the nativity en December should be given up.  The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”  (Adam Clarke)

The census of Caesar Augustus is mentioned in Luke 2:1-2, but historians are not certain when it was issued.  But it is improbable that he would call for the citizens of Roman Empire to return to their native homes, to be enrolled in the census in the middle of winter.  Even his own armies avoided marching during the hazards of winter weather.

Many authorities believe that Christ was born in the spring of the year; but, in the wisdom of God, the date of Christ’s birth has been hidden from us.

Why, then, does all the world celebrate the birth of Christ-not merely in December- but on a certain day in December?

We need to know (1) What is “Christmas” (2) How did Christmas get into the Christian church? And (3) why did it enter back in those early days? Here are answers to these questions:

WHAT IS “CHRISTMAS”?  The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ” or, as it came to be shortened, “Christ-Mass.”.  It came to the modern world from the Roman Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, they did not get it from the Bible, but from paganism. Read this:

“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.  Pagan customs centering around the January calends (the pagan calendar) gravitated to Christmas”—Catholic Encyclopedia, 1011 ed., “Christmas.”

Origen, an early Christian writer, said this about celebrating birthdays in the Bible:

“In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept the feast or held a great banquet on his [Christ’s] birth-day.  It is only sinners [like Pharaoh or Herod] who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world”-Origen, quoted in Catholic Encyclopedia, 11th ed., “Natal Day.”

 

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