The True Meaning Of Christmas

When I was a child I loved the Christmas season. Mom would bake cookies and candy. Garland and mistletoe hung all around. The highlight of course was Santa bringing gifts. As an adult I continued to enjoy the traditions of the holiday; trimming the tree, hanging lights, exchanging gifts. That is until I became a Christian about 15 years ago. Then my righteous anger rose up and I felt like I had to defend Christmas-that is Christ and His birthday. I would get mad when others would say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. I couldn’t stand the fact that society had materialized, commercialized this holy day.

Over the next few years I became determined to make Christmas only about Christ. I quit hanging lights. I stopped baking Christmas treats. I put away the cute little Knick knacks that represented the nonspiritual aspects of Christmas. The only thing left was the tree. Then one year, just the thought of it became repulsive to me and I knew God did not want that as part of my celebration anymore. In the garbage it went. After all, what do Evergreens have to do with the birth of Jesus? What does most of Christmas have to do with Christ? Nothing. Most if not all of our Christmas traditions can be traced back to pagan beliefs.

I will only touch on one example—Santa. Many believe he is harmless because he was birthed out of St. Nicholas, a patron saint of goodness and generosity. That is inaccurate. He began as Odin, a Scandinavian god of intoxicating drink and death. Odin was the god of wisdom, magic, and occult knowledge. He traveled on a white horse with 8 legs (which later became 8 reindeer). Odin had “dark helpers”—who beat the children if they weren’t good. Odin eventually morphed into St. Nick, then Sinterklaas, and then into the Santa Claus of today. Thankfully the dark helpers became cute little elves that make toys.

For the next couple years I was feeling pretty satisfied with my Christ-only Christmas, which consisted of displaying my nativity set and going to church to celebrate the birth of my Savior. That didn’t last long. The Holy Spirit prompted me to look deeper into what I was really celebrating. I started reading about the history of Christmas. What I learned has forever changed my definition of the true meaning of Christmas. I no longer say, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” because I found out that Christ was never in Christmas. Let me lay out the history.

Noah had a great-grandson named Nimrod. He built the Tower of Babel and the city of Ninevah. He was married to a woman named Semiramis. They were the king and queen of the then-known world. When Nimrod died he became deified. The people made him the sun god, which we know as the god Baal in the Old Testament. According to Babylonian legend, after Nimrod died, Semiramis became pregnant by the rays of the sun and gave birth to Tammuz. The Bible only has one reference to him, in Ezekiel 8:14, “Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.” Historically, the birthdays of Nimrod and Tammuz were celebrated on the first day of the year when the sun is “reborn,” that is around the time of the winter solstice, December 25th.

It’s no coincidence that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is the Son of God, on the same day the ancients celebrated the birth of Tammuz, who was the son of their god (Nimrod the sun god). How did this happen? How did December 25th get chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, especially when most Bible scholars believe that Christ was born in the fall, most likely during the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)? Well history tells us that many of the early Christians came right out of paganism in Rome. They had been worshipping the sun gods (Nimrod and Tammuz) on Sundays and celebrating their birthdays on December 25th. To make it easier for people to convert to Christianity, Constantine (in the 300’s) marked Jesus’ birthday on the same day as the sun god’s that they were already worshiping.

You may be thinking, well so what if we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on the same day they celebrated their god’s son. That’s not what it means to me, I’m celebrating Jesus, not Tammuz.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what it means to us. It only matters what it means to God. Does He want us worshiping Christ on the same day and in the same ways ancient pagans worshiped their gods? Your heart may be sincere, but it can be sincerely wrong. The Bible says our hearts are deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

God requires obedience from His children today just as He did from the Israelites long ago. When they were about to take possession of the Promised Land God spoke to them about their worship. Deuteronomy 12:29-31 says, “The LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.”

It is really a spirit of rebellion to think we can worship God the way we want. We can’t. We have no right to use anything used to worship other gods and Christianize it to worship God. It may be pleasing to us but I don’t think it’s pleasing to Him.

Now that I know the truth, I have been set free. Free from the busyness and futility of decorating, baking, shopping, and spending. Free from the traditions of man that came from pagan sources. Free from defending the birth of my Savior-on a day He wasn’t even born on. Free to worship my King every day of the year, in ways that are acceptable to Him.

Peace and joy to you,


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