Exposing the Most Common Myths about Christmas
By Scott Rohter, December 2015
Here are two of the most common myths about Christmas exposed. They illustrate the enormous power of peer pressure, tradition, and social conditioning on our lives.
Jesus was born on December 25th?
Was Jesus born on December 25th? In all truth he probably was not. The odds are about 365 to 1 that Jesus was not born on Christmas Day or anywhere near Christmas Day. There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th. The Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was actually born, but the important thing to know is that he WAS born, not WHEN he was born. There is absolutely no one who knows either the exact date or the time of his birth.
So why do people in the West celebrate his birth on December 25 if there is no proof that he was actually born on December 25? That is a good question. The answer is because of the overwhelming influence the Roman Catholic Church has had on western civilization and culture. The Catholic Church established December 25, just a few days after the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 as the day to celebrate Christ’s birth. December 21 is the shortest day of the year and just a few days later is when ancient people first began to notice that the days were actually getting longer again. That was cause for a celebration. To the Catholic Church December 25 seemed like a logical day to remember that God brought light back into the world in the person of his son, Jesus Christ. It is a day that symbolizes both the return of Spring and the hope of new life as well as the promise of eternal life through Christ Jesus.
There was also another important reason that the Catholic Church decided to make December 25 the day to celebrate Christ’s birth. The pre-Christian world observed a popular pagan festival, called Saturnalia around that time to mark the Winter Solstice. The roots of Saturnalia go back even farther in time to the ancient Persian cult of Mithraism. The early Church fathers wanted to coax pagans into the Church in order to Christianize them so they coopted their pagan festival and replaced it with a holiday of their own choosing at approximately the same time.. That way they thought it would make their attempts to proselytize the heathen much easier. Unfortunately their efforts have proved to be quite a mixed blessing…
There is an old saying that only the names and the faces keep changing, but everything else remains the same. So instead of pagans becoming more Christianized… the Catholic and Protestant Churches have both been getting more and more paganized over the years as well… That’s what happens when you mix the truth with lies. Everything gets confused. The Bible says, ” What fellowship hath light with darkness?” While the early Church fathers may have had nothing but good intentions, their decision to celebrate Jesus birth at the same approximate time as the Saturnalia has had rather mixed results and some of them have actually been quite bad for the Church.
So why do we keep perpetuating the myth that Jesus was born on Christmas Day if he was not? That is a tougher question to answer, but it has to do with our stubborn allegiance to social and cultural customs, the power of peer pressure, and our insistence on following false doctrines. The Bible says that “God brought light into the world but the people preferred to walk in darkness.”
The fact that we still hear songs on the radio about reindeer pulling sleighs through the snow in Southern California, or about Santa Claus riding on his heavenly sleigh in the sky while being tracked by NORAD every year around this time are good examples of how that long after the relevance of something has ceased to exist we as a society just can’t seem to rid ourselves of irrelevant vestiges of our cultural heritage that no longer have any real meaning in our lives.
Christmas is a Time for Us to Give Gifts to Each Other?
Is the celebration of Jesus’ birth an occasion for us to exchange gifts with one another? While there is certainly nothing wrong with giving gifts to each other on Christmas Day it is actually a secular diversion and there is no reason to associate this custom of exchanging gifts with the Savior’s birth. The custom of gift giving during the month of December is associated with the gift giving that occurred in December during the pre Christian observance of Saturnalia. On the contrary the birth of Jesus should be a time to remember that God’s gift to us is eternal life through the shed blood of his Son on the cross, and that no gift of our own is ever able to redeem our soul nor to make atonement for our sins. The celebration of Jesus birth is a day to remember that nothing we can provide to ourselves or to each other can ever redeem our souls from the power of sin and death.
There are many symbols that we are all familiar with around this time of the year which pertain to the celebration of Christmas. All of these symbols are cultural rather than religious in nature and they generally have nothing at all to do with the birth of Jesus…
Here are just a few such symbols: Christmas trees, holly, wreaths, yule logs, and mistletoe.
Some of the annual Christmas customs that we are all acquainted with include setting up and decorating the annual Christmas tree, decking the halls, hanging stockings over the fireplace, stringing lights along the eaves of our houses, watching IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE on T.V., the annual Christmas Day baked ham, and making Christmas cookies especially the proverbial gingerbread man.
Is there anything wrong with celebrating Christmas? That depends and it is a question for every individual to decide for themselves… God wants us to know the truth though and the truth shall make us free.. If you learn the truth and you lift up the name of Jesus Christ then God can use anything for good, even a confusing day like Christmas.