Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

The Christ Mass Around the World

Every year there is a great American push to put the word “Christ” back in Christmas.  The date for the birth of Jesus Christ has been believed and accepted without much question by people for many centuries as December 25.  The date was probably selected by the church leadership in Rome in the early 4th century in order to meld together Christians and non-Christians, believers and pagans in the Roman Empire.

As this date was selected by the Roman catholic church for the birth of Jesus, it is also known as the Christ Mass. The word ‘mass’  in religious terminology means a ‘death sacrifice.’ How ironic that the very day that the church chose to commemorate the birth of the Savior  is named with a term implying death and sacrifice!

Because we are not catholic, we do not take part in the Christ Mass with its roots in Saturnalia.   Unfortunately, most of Christiandom does celebrate this holiday even while they claim to be anything but catholic.  Many honor the Reformation and breaking away from the Roman catholic church while continuing to celebrate the  traditions incorporated by that same church authority.

The whole Christ-mass concept is catholic and has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus nor is it found in Scripture, but I wanted to see if “Christ” is in Christmas in other languages or just English.

Only a few languages like the Greek Kala Christougenna or Russian С РОЖДЕСТВОМ actually use some form of “Christ”  in the phrase.  Other languages acknowledge a ‘holy birth’, ‘a general birth’ but do not get specific about the birth of Jesus Christ thus making the ‘holy birth’ possible for any ‘god’ one chooses.  Some languages use a phonetic rendering in their alphabet or avoid it altogether with commemorating Yuletide. The few languages that have translated the phrase into Merry Christmas do so because of  missionary influence into their culture, but do not try to put ‘Christ’ back into Christmas.

Arabic – Eid Milad Majeed means ‘Glorious Birth Feast.’  

Armenian – Shnorhavor Soorb Tsnund  means ‘Congratulations for the Holy Birth.’

Chinese Mandarin –  Sheng Dan Kuai Le or 圣诞快乐 means ‘Holy Birth Day, Be Happy.’

Czech – Prejeme Varn Vesele Vanoce

French – Joyeux Noel means  ‘Joyful Birthday.’

Noel comes from the Latin word meaning ‘birthday’.

Danish –  Glaedelig Jul means ‘Happy Yule.’

Yule or Yuletide was a mid-winter 12-day festival observed by Germanic people and some neighboring peoples and became absorbed into and equated with the Christian festival of Christmas.  Scholars have connected the celebration to the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht.  Yule log, Yule goat (a sacrificial goat for Yuletide), Yule boar (the boar with apple in its mouth) and Yule singing (carols) come from the Yuletide.

German – Frohe Weihnacht means ‘Happy Holy Night.’

Weih is a church-word meaning holy or special.  Nacht is night.

Hawaiian – Mele Kalikimaka means ‘Merry Christmas.’

‘Mele Kalikimaka’  is only a phonetic rendering of Hawaiian sounds, but not a literal translation because there is none in the language.   Christmas is not indigenous to Hawaii.

Hindi (Urdu) – Bade Din ki Mubarak means ‘Happy Nativity.’

Indonesian – Selamat Natal means ‘Happy Birthday.’

Hebrew – Mo’adim Lesimkha, Chena tova means ‘Happy Times.  Happy Week.’  

Italian – Buon Natale means ‘Good Birthday.’

Korean – Sung Tan Chuk Ha means ‘Seasons Greetings.’

Norweigan – God Jul means ‘Good Yule’.

(See Danish above).

Philippines (Tagalog) Maligayang Pasko means ‘Happy Christmas’.

Pasko is the word for Christmas, but actually comes from the Spanish word, Pascoa.  Pascoa refers to Easter, but is a corruption of the word, Pesach or Passover.

Polish – Wesolych Swiat means ‘Happy Holidays.’

This phrase can be used to wish anyone any ‘happy holiday’.

Portuguese – Felize Natal or Boas Festas means ‘Joyous Birth’ or ‘Good Celebration.’

Russian – С РОЖДЕСТВОМ means ‘For the Nativity of Christ,’

Rwanda – Noheli nziza means ‘Good Birthday.’

Scotland – Blithe Yule means ‘Cheerful Yule’.

(See Danish above).

Spanish – Feliz Navidad means ‘Happy Birthday.’

Swedish – God Jul means ‘Good Yule’.

(See Danish above).

Switzerland – Schoni Wiehnachte means ‘Happy Holy Night.’

Turkish – Mutlu Noeller means ‘Happy Birthday.’

Welsh – Nadolig Llawen means ‘Merry Christmas.’

 

Saying “Merry Christmas”

Recently I was asked an interesting question.  “Since I do not celebrate Christmas, am I offended when someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas?”

My initial answer to that question is: No, I am not offended if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas.  It is that season of the year and everyone has the liberty in this country to celebrate whatever, whenever.  Most people who know me, know I don’t celebrate the holiday and don’t wish me a Merry Christmas.  Others, like checkers in the grocery store or Walmart, are just being friendly this time of year and doing their job.   The deeper answer to that question is a little more complicated and doesn’t involve the greeting, but how I respond to who is wishing me a “Merry Christmas’?

To my friends or family who have a minimal relationship with God or no relationship and range from atheists to agnostics, I will say, “YOU have a Merry Christmas.”  For them Christmas is nothing more than a beautiful, warm cultural celebration and they are free to celebrate it.  The lights, the delicious foods, the gatherings of family, the parties, the decorated trees, the snow, the gift buying, wrapping, and giving, and everything else that this time of the year entails.  I call these things warm fuzzies.  For them it is a happy holiday season and I wish them all a  season filled with wonderfully made memories.

If it is a Christian who professes faith in Jesus Christ, I’m a little more contemplative with my response.   For people who love the Lord, Christmas is their time for celebrating the birth of Christ.  It is usually these  Christians who are concerned with “Jesus being the Reason for the Season” and putting “Christ back into Christmas.”

Apart from these cute clichés, the activities of most these people don’t seem to express what happens in their lives for weeks before the Christmas celebration.  Seldom, if ever, do I hear Christians talk about Jesus as the central theme to the holiday.   Rarely, if ever, does any Christian I know share their ideas about how they are bringing Jesus more profoundly into a celebration literally void of anything resembling him.  They have their trite explanations for manmade, non-Biblical traditions, but nothing that actually sets the day apart and where Jesus is the central Reality.   Mostly,  I hear about all the shopping they have to do or have done, the gifts they are buying for their family and friends, how busy they are trying to ‘get everything done’, all of the programs at church that fill their schedules, how this year’s tree is more beautiful than last, and some Christians will shock even me by saying, “I just hate this time of year.”

These little clichés  don’t resemble any Christian-themed party I have ever attended.  I remember going to a Christmas party many years ago at a pastor’s home.  The family had napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths, hanging decorations that all said, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”  Yet, no one at that party ever even mentioned Jesus. No one talked about their walk with him.  No one even even mentioned God.  The conversations centered on secular music concerts, the rat race that has become culturally accepted at Christmas, and the stress of the season.

I celebrated Christmas as a child and into young adulthood.    I loved all the warm fuzzies that made this time of the year special.   My family went to a Lutheran church and celebrated Jesus’ birth and sang “Silent Night” with candles at midnight.  I took part in Christmas cantatas and helped plan Christmas cookie exchange parties.   Even my youngest son, because he was an infant, had the part of baby Jesus in a Christmas program.   It was all so beautiful and each year brought more precious memories.  Still, all thoughts of Jesus were somehow lost by the time Christmas morning arrived with revelations of newly fallen snow and a mountain of  gifts under a tree.

Entymology – Word Study

‘Christmas’  comes from two words, Christ and Mass.  These are Roman Catholic terms defining a catholic holiday.  Protestants, such as Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Penecostals will all say that they reject much, if not all, of catholic theology, yet this is where the Christ Mass originated and each denomination embraces the holiday wholeheartedly without a questionable thought.

A deeper look into the word mass is very enlightening.  A mass is a re-presentation of the crucifixion and is a memorial to Christ’s death .    In other words, the Christ Mass has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, but focuses on his death.   According to Scripture, Christ died once for all;  and he does not offer himself over and over for sins as implied through a Catholic mass. Could this be the reason why Christ-mass was outlawed in America during the years of the Pilgrims until more modern times?   Could it be the early settlers in America understood the catholic connection or that it was not a Biblical celebration?   Could it be that early Christians understood the power of the resurrection and did not want a dead “Christ” always hanging on a crucifix as Jesus is depicted in catholicism?

Again, I am not offended if a Christian wishes me a Merry Christmas, but I do not know how, in good conscience, to respond. Should I be polite and wish them one back?  Should I respond with “Happy Holiday to you?”  Should I enlighten them to some of the truths I’ve learned?  Probably not because I have learned that most, if not all Christians, have no interest in having their minds renewed (Romans12:3).  They love the status quo of their religious lives.

It is sad to me that they have no clue what they are saying – Merry Death to Christ! If they do know, then they deny the very holiday they claim to celebrate.  How unfortunate it is they do not realize the catholic history they reject as Protestants is the same theology they embrace on Christmas.  If they do know, they compromise their own faith.   How tragic it is they are ignorant to the idolatrous roots of the holiday and have succumbed to the ancient cultural trappings that keep the ‘other gods’ alive.  If they aren’t ignorant, they justify themselves with personal platitudes, not Biblical views.  If they know and understand all of these truths and still choose to celebrate, then it’s depressing and heartbreaking.

There is a third group of people to whom I have to respond.  These are the Christians who have asked at one time or another why I do not celebrate Christmas.  I try to answer politely, but they respond to my answers rudely with a condescending attitude and comments like “You have fallen from grace!”   “You have put yourself back under the law!” or “You are Judaizing!”  These comments are very offensive and lack the grace, grace, grace, they preach in my face and shout in my ears.   It  takes an enormous amount of God’s grace and mercy for me to remain polite:

“You don’t celebrate Christmas?” 

No, I don’t.  It’s not in the Bible.

“If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what DO you celebrate?

I celebrate Hanukkah.  Hanukkah is not a substitute for Christmas because they are very different celebrations.  One is about a confused date of  birth; the other is about the Jews fighting the Syrians for religious freedom.

“Well I’m not Jewish.”  

Jesus was Jewish and I have put my faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.

“You don’t celebrate the birth of Christ?” 

Yes. I just don’t honor his birthday at Christmas.  The gospel of Luke explains the timing of events and so I remember Jesus’ birth according to this account.

“I know Christmas isn’t Jesus’ birthday, but that’s when the church has decided to celebrate it.”

What if the church has been deceived?   I have never seen anywhere in the Bible that the majority is right.

“I know Christmas isn’t Jesus’ birthday, but it doesn’t matter to God. He knows my heart.”

God is a jealous God and He wants your heart – your whole heart.  This is why He gave you a new one so you would not follow after ‘other gods’ and their holidays.

“I understand there are pagan roots, but that’s not how I celebrate it.  I focus on  Jesus’ birthday.”

There is no record that the Jews, the early Church or even Jesus celebrated Christmas as his birthday in the Bible or historically.

“Yes, but we don’t exactly when he was born so I celebrate it at the time the church has decided to celebrate his birthday.”

It is outlined in the Gospel of Luke, Chapters 1 and 2.

The conversation list could go on indefinitely about Biblical commands (other gods), manmade traditions that nullify God’s word  (cutting down trees), and historical background (Saturnalia) that all negate honest dialogue.   Christmas with all of its glitter, commerce, sleighs, elves and Santa is not in the Bible.

Biblical Birth

In the Scriptures, the birth of Jesus is a season of joy blended with tranquility.  In Bethlehem, Jewish women and children fill rooms in the overflowing inns because of a census taken near the harvest time.   They catch up with family and friends who have gathered for the Feast of Tabernacles near Jerusalem.    Somewhere outside the murmuring city,  in a sukkah, a young woman moans in labor until the cries of a newborn are muffled as she brings him to her breast to nurse.  On a hillside near Bethlehem called the Midgal Eder, there are shepherds quietly watching sheep in the deep hours of the night.   These were the shepherds who raised the sheep for the Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.   The serenity is broken only by a message from angelic beings who break into the natural world and speak a message:  “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!”

This time of year, like any time of year, is perfect for sharing the message of peace and good will that comes only through Jesus/Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.   Without his birth in Bethlehem, he would have had no childhood in Nazareth, become a Jewish rabbi teaching the Word of God throughout Israel, died on Passover in Jerusalem as the King of the Jews or risen from the dead on Feast of Firstfruits to show us there is life after death.   Without his birth, we would not have the hope  this world needs today – hope of salvation, hope of peace, hope of fullness of life here and eternally.

If this is what Christmas is all about, then there should be no rat race, no stress, no credit card debt, no mascots, but peace and tranquility as we fellowship with the family of God and make Jesus central to the season apart from paper plates and cups.   If this is what the Christmas story truly is then we should see Yeshua being embraced by millions around the world at this time of the year.    We should see hope in the world; we should see lives changing.  Words like joy, peace, love and hope should bring revelation of divine intervention into a lost and dying world instead of being catch phrases used by humanists who seek world peace without the One who brings peace.  Yet, every year the holiday period grows longer and longer, multi-colored light shows at homes and church buildings become brighter and more intricate with sounds and music; evergreen trees become more elaborately adorned.  Every year I see less and less of the religious aspect of the holiday not only in the world, but especially among those who embrace Jesus.

Why does ‘the Reason for the Season’ continue to disappear  – now behind the limelight of  elves sitting on shelves? If “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, why has Christmas decayed into a cultural celebration rather than a growing spiritual powerhouse holy day?  Has Christianity  become so culturally religious that it can no longer be a  spiritual expression of God’s true salvation?   Could all of the manmade traditions be pointless and have no connection with Christ at all?  Why are people who claim love Jesus blending the birth of the divine with a cultural holiday mixing the holy with the profane as was the golden calf?  Why do Christians vainly cry out for putting Christ back into Christ-mas while they involve themselves in the cultural trappings of Christmas and neglect the ‘reason for the season?”  Could God be tiring of the ignorance and trying to reveal the real ‘reason for the season’ in these last days?

I am not offended when I’m wished a ‘Merry Christmas’, but I have had to think seriously and deeply about my response.  In light of the understanding that I have been given, I have to keep a clear conscience between myself, God, and men.

Yeshua, my salvation, my Messiah, the King of the Jews was not catholic. He did not celebrate this holiday culturally nor did he institute it Biblically.   There is no ‘shadow’ of him as the substance;  he’s just not ‘in it’.   There are no references in the Scriptures and there are no outlines  for its celebration.  Consequently, I have concluded that I must respond the same way Yeshua did, individually, to those who did not know him, accept him, understand him, follow him, learn from him, and even to those who overtly reject him:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other … and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace….  Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…. (Colossians 3:12-16).

Finally … 

For those who celebrate Christmas with a cultural focus, ‘May the snow fall, the elves dance, and your stockings be more stuffed than you (with delicious desserts).   As you spend your holiday with family – children and grandchildren –  and friends,  may your gatherings be blessed with new and fun moments that become cherished memories.”

For those who celebrate the Christ-mas as the birth day of Jesus, I am going to quote from an article about Christmas written by Marcello M. Guimaraés a Messianic Jewish Rabbi in Brazil:

“Fique, portanto, no coração de cada um esta mensagem. Ore a D’us, peça para entendê-la bem. Julgue também a palavra. Mas, tenho certeza que grande libertação virá na sua vida e com certeza você se sentirá mais livre das tradições mundanas, não sendo cúmplice e nem comungando com outros “espíritos” os quais não testemunham da verdade, que é o próprio YESHUA !  Seja sábio! Não saia agora por aí condenando tudo e todos. Você nasceu para ser luz onde há trevas.

No Verdadeiro Shalom do Messias, Yeshua HaMashiach. Amém.”

Translation – 

“Stand therefore, each of you in the heart of this message.   Pray to God,  ask to understand it well.  Judge also the word.  But I’m sure that great deliverance will come into your life and certainly you will feel freer from worldly traditions, and not be complicit or communing with other “spirits” which do not testify to the truth, which is itself  YESHUA!  Be wise! Do not go out there now condemning everyone and everything. You were born to be light where there is darkness.

In the true Shalom of Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach. Amen”

©2012 Tentstake Ministries

Don’t Go Home for Christmas

Quote from an article by David J. Meyer:

“If you are an honest, sincere and discerning Christian, please read on; if not, you might as well stop right here.  The World Book Encyclopedia defines “Christmas” as follows:  “The word Christmas comes from “Cristes Maesse”, an early English phrase that means “Mass of Christ.” (1) It is interesting to note that the word “Mass”, as used by the Roman Catholics, has traditionally been rejected by the so-called Protestants, such as Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and so on.  The word “Mass” is strictly a Catholic word and thus, so is “Christ-Mass.”

It would stand to reason that since all of these denominations love and embrace Christ Mass,  December 25th is the greatest homecoming day of all time when every Protestant become Catholic for a day.  All of the so-called “wayward daughters” of the Rome-ish church return to their mother, the scarlet harlot.  All of the Protestant churches should be singing to the Pope, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

The word ‘mass’ in religious catholic usage means a ‘death sacrifice.’   The impact of this truth is horrifying when the millions of people are saying, “Merry Christmas,”  they are literally saying “Merry death of Christ!”  When the fat man in the red suit laughs boisterously  and says, “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas”, he is mocking the suffering and bleeding Saviour who died for our sins.  He ‘ho ho hho’s’ while parents place little children into his waiting arms to hear his false promises of gifts.

Read the complete article from Last Trumpet Ministries that details the meaning of ‘mass’ and the deeper meaning of the words  ‘Merry Christmas’, The True Meaning Of Christ-Mass .

©November 2011 Tentstake Ministries

Io Saturnalia!

The traditional greeting at a Saturnalia celebration is, “Io, Saturnalia!”, with the “Io” being pronounced as “Yo.” So next time someone wishes you a happy holiday, feel free to respond with “Io, Saturnalia!” After all, if you lived in Roman times, Saturn, not Jesus was the reason for the season!

What is wrong with us?  Why are we so fanatical?  Why don’t we celebrate Christmas?  Why do we not see the whole pagan history as some crazy myth?   Years ago while researching the roots of Christmas, we stumbled across the following poem.  It deeply affected us because we wanted no part in keeping alive a pagan god’s festival.   The Spirit of YHVH convicted us of any further participation in the holiday and the season.  To those who would scoff,  the very next year we received our first Saturnalia card.

Saturnalia

by Selena Fox

It is the middle of December

The nights are long the weather is colder, winter comes.

Celebration is at hand.

Renewing bonds of friendship.

Visiting with family and friends.

Exchanging gifts with loved ones.

Candles, Dolls, Cookies, Sweets, Holly, Wreaths of Green.

Surprises.

Courts close.  Battles stop.

Time off from school and work.

Holiday break.

Singing, Dancing, Games, Merry-Making.

Food … Lots of Food and Drink.

Great Feasts and Parties.

To celebrate the Sun, the Land, the Ancient Ones, the great Circle of Nature.

To welcome in the Winter and the New Year.

To bring forth renewal, peace, and joy.

Solstice Present … Solstice Past.

This is the legacy of Saturnalia.

Weeklong Pagan Winter Solstice Festival of Ancient Rome.

Saturnalia, your spirit and these traditions live on

in the world today

in Christmas feasts and New Year’s parties,

in our Winter Solstice celebration tonight.

Bless our connection with the ancients.

Bless our connection with each other.

Bless our connection with future generations.

We rejoice.

Io, Saturnalia!

Io, Saturnalia!

Io, Saturnalia!

Selena first publicly shared this poem on Solstice night 1994 during Circle’s public Winter Solstice Celebration in Madison, Wisconsin.

Contents © 1998-2010 by Circle Sanctuary. All rights reserved worldwide.

For more information on Circle Sanctuary and Selena Fox:  http://www.circlesanctuary.org/

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