Posts Tagged ‘Christ Mass’

Chrismas is Yours, Not Mine and They’re Okay

Christmas is not our holiday.  It just isn’t.  It hasn’t been for over 20 years.  It’s just that simple.   Every year when one of my adult children says this to someone who does celebrate the holiday, they are invariably asked, “How has that affected you?” making them feel like they have been deprived of something grandiose or that their parents are mean green ogres.

This year has been interesting to listen to their responses and reactions.  One said they ‘love’ this time of year because they don’t have to be stressed out like everyone they know trying to buy gifts, getting them wrapped and attending parties.  One specific one said she has LOVED wrapping gifts at her job knowing she’s helping to relieve some of the stress of those who do celebrate!?   Another one said, they’ve never really thought about what they missed because there’s nothing to miss.  The discussion drifted into the conversations they have had with those people and not one person ever  mentioned a spiritual connection to the holiday – not one.  And, we live in a town where there’s a church on every corner!

Though I know that everyone at the doctor’s office yesterday meant well when they wished me, “Have a Merry Christmas”, I wonder what they thought when I said, “YOU have a Merry Christmas, our family does not celebrate.”  I know from their silence every one of them was dumbfounded.  Probably in their minds they were thinking,  ‘who would be so humbug to not celebrate this holiday of cheer?’  But then again, “How has not celebrating Christmas historically affected the Jews?”

You see, we have never felt comfortable about lying.  We especially have never felt comfortable lying to our children about a hopping rabbit that lays chocolate eggs, the little lady with fluttering wings who steals from them while they sleep, or the jolly man from the north pole who flies a sleigh through the sky led by eight wingless mammals with antlers.  And, really, he comes down the chimney?  We don’t even have one!

More than feeling uncomfortable, we realized we would begin the cycle of lying.  With the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, we were subtly teaching our children that when they grew up and realized that they’ve all been a make-believe sham, they would begin to question us as an authority on truth or lies.   As parents, we wanted to set an example – a lifetime example.

The most important Truth to us was our faith in the God of Israel and the birth, life, death. resurrection, and soon return of our Messiah.  To think that someday our children would doubt Yeshua as the Savior of the world, His Lordship in their lives because we fabricated cutesy games about other beings they couldn’t see, feel, touch, or hear was just not worth the price of their spiritual well-being – now or in eternity.  Lies are lies.  Not bearing a false witness is a commandment.  And, there was going to be someone other than their mommy and daddy being the ‘father of lies.’

Some celebrants may not include Santa and his reindeer in their holiday festivities because they honestly do want to honor the time as Jesus’ birthday.  If you have read my other blog posts about Christmas, you’re  probably already aware that we don’t celebrate Yeshua’s  birthday at this time of year.  At one time we did, but then we learned that’s another lie based on the lie that ‘we don’t know when he was born.’  When we were made aware of the timing of the Messiah’s birth through Scripture, we were honest with our first two children at the time  (4 and 2 at the time – now 26 and 24, 19 and 16) about our own deception.  We repented and removed the lie from our lives and our hearts.   So, Christmas became ‘not our holiday’.  It may be yours, and our children are okay.

Back to the original question from a different perspective, “How has not celebrating Hanukkah, Passover or Feast of Tabernacles affected your children, spiritually?”

©2013 Tentstake Ministries

The Spirit of Christmas

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Messiah Yeshua has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

“What is the ‘spirit of Christmas”?  Many will respond with ‘warm fuzzies,’ family and a sense of emotional well-being.  However, it is during the Christmas season that people incur huge debt and the rate of suicide escalates.  How can a ‘spirit of emotional well-being’ breed debt and death?

The spirit behind Christmas has actually deceived the masses while perpetuating a false god worship that began in Mesopotamia with the god, Marduk.  It progressed through early Europe and the Celts with the Yuletide and Scandinavians and “the Prodigal Sun”.   As time passed Persians celebrated it centered on the god Mithra, and  eventually in Rome, it was commemorated as Saturn’s day or the Saturnalia.

“For how many years shall this festival abide! Never shall age destroy so holy a day!  While the hills of Latium remain and father Tiber, while thy Rome stands and the Capitol thou has restored to the world, it [Saturnalia]  shall continue.”

Originally, Saturnalia was celebrated for one day on December 17, but then grew into a week-long spectacle of pleasures culminating on December 24.    Rome borrowed most of its cultural celebrations from primarily the Greeks.  However, the Saturnalia has its roots in Egyptian culture with Osiris and Isis, two gods that were judged when Israel was delivered from Egypt. 

The Saturnalia began by dedicating the temple to Saturn through human sacrifices, especially children. Saturn was connected with the Greek Kronos, also known as Father Time, who looks a lot like Santa Claus, and ate small children.  Could this be why small children fear Santa?  Could this be why so many people take their lives at this time?  Could it be they are the human sacrifices that the ‘spirit of Saturnalia’ requires?

After the human sacrifices were completed, celebrants would shout “Io, Saturnalia!” and the week-long festivities would begin.  Huge public banquets were prepared. Cookies were made with simple face shapes.  People would eat,  drink, and be merry.  It was a time for friends and relatives to exchange gifts especially wax candles and little dolls.  Slaves would be set free and wore peaked woolen caps that symbolized their freedom.

Many of the Saturnalia decorations involved greenery, swathes, garlands and wreaths, being hung over doorways and windows. Sigillaria or figurines made out of clay were hung on pine trees.  A Saturnalia tree was common in Egypt and Rome long before Christianity incorporated it into Christmas observance.  In Egypt it was a palm tree to honor Baal-Tamuz (Ezekiel 8:14).  In Rome,  the fir was used to honor  the same god, but then called Baal-Berith.  It was from a branch of these trees that the Yule Log evolved.  Trees in these cultures were not cut down and brought inside,  but remained outside where they were  decorated with sunbursts, stars and faces of the God Janus.

The Sol Invictus, the god of the sun,  was the main god of the Roman Empire.  The Roman emperor Aurelian made Sol Invictus the official religion of the empire combined with their other  gods: Jupiter (supreme diety), Apollo (destroyer), Sylvanus (guardian of the flocks, shepherd).     The image of the Sol Invictus appeared on coins minted by Constantine in spite of his supposed conversion to Christianity.   After the weeklong celebration of Saturnalia and the end of the solstice, December 25 became known as the “Birthday of the Sun.”  

In the fourth century, the Roman church united all religions and their gods under a catholic vision.  Religious observances were given new names and the Saturnalia was transformed into the Christ Mass.  The word ‘mass’  in catholic terminology means a ‘death sacrifice.‘   How ironic that the date for the birth of  Jesus Christ which has been believed and accepted for many centuries as December 25, is actually the death sacrifice part of the Saturnalia.

Throughout the centuries these catholic holidays and their traditions became deeply rooted into the church and church doctrines.  Even the Protestant Reformation through Martin Luther did nothing to remove itself from the pagan practices in which it was steeped.  Today all Christian churches no matter what denomination embrace the roots of the Saturnalia as Christmas.  Remember, if the root is unholy, so are the branches. 

Unfortunately most Christians celebrate this holiday while claiming to be anything but catholic.   Many honor the Reformation and the breaking away from the Roman catholic church, but continue to celebrate many traditions that have their roots in unholy catholic  practices. Yeshua warns in Mark 7 that if a tradition nullifies a command of God, it should not be adhered to.  There is one Christmas tradition specifically mentioned in Jeremiah that needs to be addressed. 

“Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel.  This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not learn the ways of the nations … for the practices of the peoples are worthless.  They cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.  They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:1-4).

Many people read these verses in Jeremiah and say that cutting down a tree and decorating it has nothing to do with a Christmas tree.  They argue that they don’t shape it into an idol, however, let’s look at the verses in context.  Cutting down a tree is a way of the nations, a way of the gentiles, that Israel was not to imitate.  When gentiles enter a covenant relationship with the God of Israel, they are to leave their pagan ways behind so they do not mix the holy things of God with the idolatries of the nations. 

Most people would agree that we don’t craft the tree into a literal idol, but that’s because we’re either too busy or too lazy.   Then there are fake or artificial trees.   These are poles with branches fashioned by the hands of man to  represent  something on earth that God created.  This is called idolatry in Exodus 20:4. 

The tree,  whether cut down from the forest or not, is central  to a holiday from the nations  that was never meant to honor God or His Son.  It cannot stand on its own; it needs some sort of tree stand.   Both inside and outside trees are adorned with gold ornaments and silver icicles.  They are lit up with strings of lights.  On top of it is the face of an angel or a star.  Beneath it is the visual sacrifice of finances through extensive gift giving.   The decorated tree becomes the holy place in a home, central to the celebration of Christmas and adored by those who erect it and those who visit the home .

The most common argument for having a Christmas tree is that we can transform something pagan into something holy because we have sanctified it and given it to the LORD.  With this rationalization, the Christmas tree sounds like a modern-day golden calf.   

The Golden Calf

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us…. 

Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’  So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.  He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool.  Then they said, ‘These is your god, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, ‘Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD’” (Exodus 32:1-4).

This passage is about the infamous golden calf.  It is important to recognize several things.   First, Aaron who was chosen as one of the leaders of Israel guides the people into the worship of a false god.  They had no excuse for listening to Aaron.  They had just been miraculously set free from slavery in Egypt.   They had witnessed the destruction of Egypt’s gods by the power of Yod Hey Vav Hey.   Yet, with their new-found freedom, they did not listen to the Words of the LORD.

We must always be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and make sure that what our leaders have been taught and are telling us to do lines up with God’s Word.   The Israelites had already had their encounter with God at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  They had experienced His presence and heard His Words from the first of the Ten Commandments.

“I AM the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:1-2).

Second, Aaron created an idol; he cast in an image.  The image was of a calf and something worshipped in Egypt.  Having been enslaved for 400 years, the Israelites had lost their understanding of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and had absorbed the concepts and ideas of worshipping other gods. They knew they had been brought to the mountain to worship their God, Yod Hey Vav Hey,  but they had no idea how to do that. While Moses was getting the details from God on the mountain, they became impatient.  They made their own way according to what they had learned in slavery.   There was immoral revelry, dancing and celebration around the golden calf.  So much so that Moses had to ask Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” (Exodus 32:21).

Third, Aaron built an altar and dedicated the golden calf to the God of Israel.  He took a pagan symbol and sanctified it to God.  The result of this was that God struck the people with a plague and many died (Exodus 32:35).  What had they done?  They had worshipped and reveled around an idol and claimed they did it for the One True Living God.  They mixed the holy and the profane, the hot and the cold and became lukewarm. 

Moses took the calf the people had made and burned it the fire.  He scattered its powder on their water.  He made the Israelites drink the contaminated water?  Is this the same water you are drinking, water polluted with the remains of pagan gods?

“If it seems bad to you to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you are going to serve! Will it be the gods your ancestors served beyond the River? or the gods of the Emori, in whose land you are living? As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!” (Joshua 24:15).

Today many Christians want to put Christ back in Christmas.  Their voices in the ears of God sound much like that of Aaron and the Israelites. The salvation of the world was never in Christmas.   It is a great deception led by a false priesthood that has turned true believers in the Messiah away from the worship of the God of Israel in the ways He outlined. Generations have accepted this unholy rooted festival because the Word of God was not available to them.   Today, however,  there is no excuse.  Everyone has access to the Word of God, and  to whom much is given, much is expected.

Several years ago I came across a poem about Saturnalia.  Even though our family had stopped celebrating Christmas for many years, the shock of the words in the poem brought the whole deception to a brighter light.  There are those who are alive and well on planet earth today who worship Saturn and celebrate Saturnalia.  The poem thanked Christianity for keeping their pagan holiday alive for millennia. The unholy roots of the holiday became even more clear when that particular year we received a “Happy Saturnalia” card from friends.

©2010 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)