Posts Tagged ‘Christ Mass’

What Christmas Means to Me

This was a ‘meme’ someone posted this morning and the responses were numerous. They ranged from Jeremiah 10 and the cutting down of a tree (the commandments say that we’re not to even make images of creation so fake ones still fall into that category) to the roots being pagan. A few days ago I received a song via Messenger from someone who was reminding people WHOSE birthday it really is. This all goes back to the battle of putting Christ back in Christmas and I wonder all the time if he ever was really in the Christmas from its inception, and if so, in what capacity. So what does Christmas mean to me?

I was raised with a mom who had attended Bible college and made Christmas totally about the birth of Christ. We had trinkets that we put onto a felt Advent Tree every night before we went to bed. We were taught that Christmas was the birth of Jesus and we lived out the holiday to that end. We were involved in our Lutheran church singing in choirs, playing handbells and even recorders. Christmas eve services were so beautiful when thousands who never came to church packed the sanctuary and with lit candles sang, “Silent Night.” I embraced that belief system wholeheartedly because from an early age I had embraced God and Jesus wholeheartedly. I loved God and prayed to Him all the time. I loved His Word and learned Scriptures without ever attending AWANA or preparing for Bible Bees.

Because of my child-like faith, I always had questions about why, if my Bible was filled with accounts of Jewish people and Israel, there were no Jews in my church. My dad worked for Jewish people and we always took his boss a Christmas turkey because ‘they didn’t eat ham.’ Of course, my dad couldn’t explain why so I just ‘knew’ Jews didn’t eat ham, but never considered they also didn’t celebrate ChristMass?!

I was also taught by my mom, strangely enough, that someone cannot be both a Christian and Jew or be a Jew who believes in Jesus. That never sat right with me because I read my Bible and knew it was written by Jewish people, prophets of Israel and the disciples who were all Jewish. The Bible taught me about the greatest Jew I ever knew – Jesus. Then, of course, as I read the New Testament, I learned from the disciples about the greatest Jew who ever lived – the Messiah of Israel, Jesus.

My questioning went on through high school and college until God took me to a Messianic Jewish synagogue. It was there that I heard a Messianic Jewish Rabbi say, “I am not catholic so I don’t celebrate the Christ Mass.” It was such a simple statement, but such a profound one that I had to look up what a Christ Mass was because I was not catholic either. Remember Martin Luther distanced himself from catholicism (not far enough) and from him was birthed the Lutheran denomination. He eventually became one of the most rabid anti-semitic church fathers, but that’s another story.

When I learned the truth about the ‘mass’ being a ‘death sacrifice,’ I was shocked. I had already observed that Jesus was still on the crucifix in catholicism – no wonder my catholic friends were always going to the priest to confess their sins and to mass because their hope was not in Jesus’ resurrected life, but steeped in his death. Oh, ask any catholic what a ‘mass’ is and they can tell you that it does mean ‘death sacrifice.’ Thus, the Christ Mass is nothing more than a memorial to the ‘death sacrifice’ of Jesus while being sold to the world as the day of his birth. Of course, his death is important because through his blood we receive forgiveness of sin and restoration back to God, but this holiday is not being celebrated during the season of Passover when he actually did die on the cross and was resurrected three days later.

From this point in my life, I began to question everything that I did in the church setting. Where were its roots? Were they like Sha’ul taught – rooted in the holy things of God or unholy things of the nations? As I studied honestly, I learned that everything churchy was rooted in unholiness. According to Sha’ul in Romans 11, the roots of the faith are very important for the Body of Messiah because from holy roots come holy branches; from unholy roots come unholy branches. He warned the Romans about becoming arrogant over the Jewish people from whom comes salvation, Yeshua. Yet, the Romans continued in their arrogance, including ignorance through keeping the Scriptures from ordinary people, and effectively separated the Truth from an unholy lie until the branches of lies are so thick that rationalizations are made for each individual lie.

The prophet Isaiah says “Many nations will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya‘akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Isaiah 2:-3).

In essence as I read these words over and over, I was not going to the mountain of the LORD to learn about His ways and to walk in His paths. I was going to Rome, to the Vatican. That realization actually convicted my heart deeply. It is not out of Rome that the Torah of God is taught nor does the Word of the LORD come from the Vatican. It comes out of Tzion and Jerusalem. I had to choose a path for my life: continue embracing the things of Rome and the vain imaginings of the Pope’s divine calling or come out from among them and embrace the holy days of the LORD coming out of Tzion and Jerusalem and the divinity of Yeshua (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

Though the choice was easy, the tearing away of warm fuzzies and cherished traditions was not and took several years. Christmas is more than cutting down a tree and decorating it as spoken by Jeremiah. It is more than the materialism that has transfixed western cultures and made everyone selfish and covetous. It is more than the heart-warming carols being sung that may or may not have a truthful Biblical message. It is more than having to separate oneself from friends and even family.

It is ‘counting the cost’ of our faith. Each of us must choose to live out the new covenant with a circumcised heart as prophesied by Jeremiah with the power of the Spirit or remain stuck on the ‘crucifix’ and the idolatrous ways of the catholic church. We must choose obedience to God’s Word and His commands over the traditions of men that effectively nullify His commands (Mark 7:13). As Peter and the apostles said, “We must obey God, not men” (Acts 5:29).

Today, Christmas means nothing to me. It is not part of my walk of faith because it is not the birth of Jesus. It is rooted in a catholic mass and I have never been nor ever will be catholic. And, neither will my Savior, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries

Chrismas is Yours, Not Mine and They’re Okay

I wrote this five years ago, but again this year had a discussion with one of my children about gifts at Christmas.  Once again, family and friends struggle with the idea that we do not celebrate this holiday nor do we buy or receive presents.  A few relatives have accepted our decision and instead send their gifts at Hanukkah.  Others insist that everyone NEEDS Christmas presents.  Well, we don’t.

Christmas is not our holiday.  It just isn’t.  It hasn’t been for nearly 30 years.  It’s just that simple.   Every year when one of my adult children says to someone who celebrates Christmas that they don’t, 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.   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.  Another said she has LOVED wrapping gifts at her job knowing she’s helping 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 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 everyone I saw yesterday meant well when they wished me, “A Merry Christmas,” I wonder, however, what they thought when I said, “YOU have a Merry Christmas, our family does not celebrate.”  From their silence, they were dumbfounded.  They were probably thinking,  ‘Who would be so humbug as to not celebrate this holiday of cheer?’  But then, “How has not celebrating Christmas affected the Jews?”

We have never felt comfortable about lying especially 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.  Really?  He comes down the chimney?  We don’t even have one!

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

The most important Truth to us is our faith in the God of Israel and the birth, life, death, resurrection and soon return of Yeshua.  To think that someday our children would doubt Yeshua as the Savior of the world and 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 eternal life.   Lies are lies.  Not bearing a false witness IS a commandment.  There was someone other than their mommy and daddy that could claim the ‘father of lies,’ but not us.

Some  may not include Santa and his reindeer in their holiday festivities because they honestly do want to honor the time as Jesus’ birthday.  We also don’t celebrate Yeshua’s  birthday at this time of year.  At one time we did, but then learned that is 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 (4 and 2 at the time – now 29 and 31) about our own deception.  We repented and also removed that lie from our lives.   Christmas is 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

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

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’ like 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 Scandinavia with “the Prodigal Sun.”   As centuries 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 it grew into a week-long spectacle of pleasures culminating on December 24.    Rome borrowed most of Saturnalia’s cultural celebrations primarily from the Greeks.  However,  Saturnalia has its roots in Egyptian culture with Osiris and Isis, the two gods who protected the dead and mummies.  These two gods were judged  with the ‘death of the firstborn’ when Israel was delivered from Egypt. 

Saturnalia celebrations began by dedicating the temple to Saturn through human sacrifices, especially children.  Saturn was affiliated with the Greek god, Kronos, who ate small children.  He is also known as Father Time and looks a lot like our modern-day Santa Claus.  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, similar to modern-day Santa hats, 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 the bows of pine trees.  A Saturnalia tree was common in Egypt and Rome long before Christianity incorporated it into Christmas observance.  In Egypt,  a palm tree honored Baal-Tamuz (Ezekiel 8:14).  In Rome,  the fir was used to honor  the same god, but who was known as Baal-Berith.  From a branch of these trees came the Yule Log.  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 deity), 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 week-long 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 multiple gods through a catholic vision.  Pagan religious observances were given new names and Saturnalia was transformed into the Christ Mass.

The word ‘mass’ may come from the Latin word missa meaning a ‘death sacrifice.‘   How ironic that the date for the birth of Jesus Christ, believed and accepted for many centuries by the Christian church as December 25, is actually the death sacrifice part of Saturnalia.

Throughout the centuries these catholic holidays and their traditions became deeply rooted into the church.  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 which denomination embrace the roots of Saturnalia as Christmas.  Remember, if the root is unholy, so are the branches. 

Sadly, most Christians celebrate this holiday while claiming to be anything but catholic.   Many acknowledge the Reformation and Martin Luther’s breaking away from the Roman catholic church, but continue to embrace many Christmas traditions that have their roots in unholy catholic and Saturnalia practices.

In Mark 7, Yeshua discusses traditions of men and commands of God.    If a tradition nullifies a command of God, it should not be embraced because the commandments are greater than the traditions.  One holiday tradition, specifically mentioned in Jeremiah, that nullifies a command of God 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).

Some may 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 embrace.  When gentiles enter a covenant relationship with the God of Israel, they join the commonwealth of Israel and are to leave their pagan ways behind . Just like Israel, they are not to mix the holy things of God with the idolatries of the nations. 

Of course, 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, 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 a tree stand.   Both inside  and outside homes, trees are adorned with gold ornaments and silver icicles.  They are lit up with strings of lights.  On top 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.  If you disagree, then I challenge you to remove it from your home.  If you can’t, then check your heart for idolatry.   

The most common argument for having a Christmas tree is that we can transform something pagan into something holy because we can sanctify it and give it to the LORD.  With this rationalization, the Christmas tree begins to sound 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, ‘‘Here 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 and it is important to acknowledge several details.  First, Aaron, who was chosen as a spiritual leader of Israel, guides the people into worshipping a false god, an idol.  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 LORD, they listened to man.

We must always be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and make sure that what our leaders have been taught and subsequently teach 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, especially the first of the Ten Commandments, but they didn’t test Aaron’s leadership with that of God’s Word.

“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 cast an image; he created an idol.   The image was of a calf, an animal worshipped in Egypt and judged with one of the plagues. After being enslaved for 400 years, the Israelites had lost their understanding of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They had absorbed the idolatry and concepts of other gods. They knew they had been brought to the mountain to worship their God, Yod Hey Vav Hey,  yet they had no idea how to do that.

While Moses was on the mountain receiving the details for worshipping their Deliverer, they became impatient.  They made up their own ways according to what they had learned in slavery.  They embraced idol worship.  There was so much immoral revelry, dancing and celebration around the golden calf 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, and most importantly, Aaron built an altar and dedicated the golden calf to the God of Israel.  He took a symbolic pagan idol and sanctified it to Yod Hey Vav Hey and set an ‘appointed time’ to worship it.  God did not look at the intention of anyone’s heart; He struck the people with a plague and many died (Exodus 32:35). 

What had they done?  They took a manmade image, an idol, and then claimed they made it  to honor the One True Living God.  They mixed the holy and the profane, the hot and the cold and became lukewarm. 

Moses took the calf and melted it in the fire.  He scattered its powder on the Israelite’s water.  He made them drink the contaminated water, non-living water.  Is this the same water you are drinking, water polluted with the remains of pagan gods?

Today many Christians crying out for the world to put ‘Christ’ back into Christmas. They  fight to sanctify a pagan holiday that became a catholic mass.   Their rationalizing voices in the ears of God sound much like that of Aaron and the Israelites. 

The salvation of the world that came from the Jews was never in the Christ Mass.  It is a deception created by a false priesthood that has turned believers away from the God of Israel into worshipping an   abominations of the nations.  Generations of catholics accepted this unholy rooted festival because the Word of God was not available to them.   Today, however,  there is no excuse.  Everyone, in any and every language, has access to the Scriptures; and,  to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

“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.

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Several years ago, I came across the poem above regarding Saturnalia.  Even though our family had stopped celebrating Christmas, the shock of the words in the poem brought a different light to the whole celebration.  There are those who are alive and well on planet earth who worship Saturn and celebrate Saturnalia. Notice the poem thanks Christianity for keeping their pagan holiday alive for millennia! The reality of this holiday became even more clear when that particular year we received a “Happy Saturnalia” card from friends.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on