Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Hanukkah vs. Christmas, the Alternative?

For numerous Biblical reasons, our family stopped celebrating Christmas many years ago.  Our relatives didn’t understand our reasonings, but accepted the decision as best they could.  One side still sent Christmas presents that we reminded our children to accept with gratefulness because ‘every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).   The other side began wrapping Christmas gifts in Hanukkah paper.  Though that was their way of respecting our decision, Hanukkah is not a Jewish substitute, replacement or alternative to Christmas.  Hanukkah and Christmas have two very different historic, spiritual backgrounds and have nothing in common with one another.

The roots and traditions of Christmas can be found in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia on which the Catholic church sprinkled holy water. They incorporated the birth of a non-Jewish Jesus and created the Christ Mass (which ironically means ‘death sacrifice’).   Those who embrace Christmas believing it as Jesus’ birthday  are doing nothing more than acknowledging catholicism as the roots of their faith (even if they are protestants who reject everything catholic).   In fact, all of Christiandom and secular society for this one day of the year become catholic in their celebrations and promote the idolatrous Saturnalia with a holiday of stars, wreathes and greenery, and gift giving.  

The events surrounding Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22), are found in the Apocrypha and have their roots in Jewish history during the time of Alexander the Great when he wanted to Hellenize the world.  It was during this time that the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to the Greek/Latin Palestine in order to expedite the destruction of the nation and people of Israel.  Alexander’s cohort Antiochus Epiphanes (means ‘antichrist manifest’) went about ‘Palestine’  forcing the Jewish people to renounce their faith in the God of Israel or die.  He sought to destroy the people and the lineage through whom the Messiah would come. The Jewish people were not allowed to circumcise their children, celebrate Passover or any of God’s other holy days, or offer sacrifices in the Temple.  As Antiochus’ armies entered Jerusalem, they desecrated the Most Holy Place in the Temple with pig’s blood.  This is the same Temple that today Muslim world leaders claim never existed; the same place where an Islamic mosque stands.   

Our family is not nor ever was catholic thus we do not celebrate Christmas by taking part in the Christ Mass.   Our children were raised to understand the historically pagan roots of Christmas and have never felt as if they were missing some great holiday. Once we learned that the prophet Jeremiah warned God’s people about cutting down a tree and bringing it into the house, we stopped having a Christmas tree with all its trimmings. We stopped doing church traditions like Advent and candle wreaths.

Instead, we taught our children about Hanukkah and the anti-semitism of the Greek/Roman world, the same anti-semitism that exists today in the church due to its catholic-rooted heritage along with the growing ideology of hatred for Israel in the much-tolerated religion of Islam.  We taught our children that obeying the commands of God are more important than traditions of men and the culture in which we live.

Our children are grown and have their own lives, but each still remembers the Maccabees and their fight to free the Jews from being Hellenized with paganism.   They light their menorahs for eight days to remember the re-dedication of the Temple Altar back to Elohim.  Each night with the candle light they remember the prophecies for when the Messiah Yeshua returns and sets His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will enter the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and the Temple area and will cleanse a newly-built Temple from the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:15-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Yeshua will restore Jerusalem and the nation of Israel to the Millennial glory promised in the Holy Scriptures.  

Hanukkah is not a Jewish alternative to Christmas.  Changing the wrapping paper on a present or saying “Happy Hanukkah” rather than “Merry Christmas” changes nothing about the deeply rooted differences. One is a celebration with unBiblical roots and decorated to entice the world into idolatry; the other is a memorial to those who fought against anti-semitism and stood against the destruction of  their faith in the God of Israel – the very thing the catholic Christ Mass has done for centuries. Unlike the Roman catholic-based Christmas, Hanukkah is a reminder from a century before the birth of Messiah that nothing and no one, especially a modern ‘antiochus’ will destroy the Lion of the Tribe of Judah through whom the final redemption of the world will come.

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing,  all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Christmas is Not My Holiday and They’re Just Fine

Year after year, family and friends struggle with our decision that we do not celebrate this Christmas nor do we give or receive presents.  A few relatives have accepted our decision and send their gifts at Hanukkah.  Others insist that everyone NEEDS Christmas presents and they show up in the mail.   Well, we don’t NEED presents!

Christmas is not our holiday.  It just isn’t.  It hasn’t been for over 30 years.  It’s just that simple.   Every year when one of my adult children tells 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.

Now that they are adults, it has been interesting to listen to their responses to those who wonder about their Christmas-less-ness.   One said they ‘love’ this time of year because they aren’t stressed out like everyone they know trying to buy gifts, getting them wrapped and attending parties.  Another said she has enjoyed 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 segued into conversations they have had with different individuals and not one ever mentioned a spiritual connection to the holiday – not one. 

Now that there are significant others in the family, it has been interesting to watch their responses as well. When they learned about the ties of Christmas to Saturnalia, they are initially shocked. Because they have hearts to serve God, they are relieved they no longer have to take part in a pagan holiday. Though their families continue to celebrate the mass of Christ, they understand the roots of the holiday from cutting down trees to embracing a catholic mass and have chosen to ‘come out from among them and be separate.’ Unfortunately, there is still one whose soul is still tied to the ‘warm fuzzies’ which allows for the holy and profane to be in the home.

Though I know everyone who wishes me “A Merry Christmas,” means well, I wonder what they think when I say, “YOU have a Merry Christmas, our family does not celebrate.”  Generally from their silence, they appear dumbfounded.  They probably think,  ‘Who would be so humbug as to not celebrate this holiday of cheer?’  But then, I wonder how has not celebrating Christmas and all its trimmings affected the Jews? How has not celebrating Feast of Tabernacles, Hanukkah or Passover affected their children?

We have never felt comfortable about lying to our children about a hopping rabbit that lays chocolate eggs (?), a little lady with fluttering wings who steals teeth 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?

With the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, we realized that we would begin a subtle cycle of teaching our children lies. When they grew up and realized that each of these entities had been a make-believe sham, they would begin to question our authority in speaking the 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 Messiah 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 false witness is a commandment.  There is someone other than mommy and daddy who can claim to be the ‘father of lies,’ but not us.

Some  may choose not include the Christmas clown and his reindeer in their holiday festivities because they honestly want to honor the time as Jesus’ birthday.  But was Jesus really born at Christmas? At one time we believed he was, but then we learned that is another lie based on the misconception 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 older two children (4 and 2 at the time) about our own fall into deception.  We repented and removed that lie from our lives and began remember the birth of our Savior at the proper time on God’s calendar. 

For over 30 years, Christmas has not been our holiday and our children are just fine. In fact, they are better than fine. They are free from the bondages attached to a holiday that consumes time and money. More importantly, they are free from the ‘father of lies.’

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

The Night Before Christmas Poem

This was posted by Passion For Truth Ministries and ‘says it all.’

Twas the night before Christmas; and strange as it seems
I wasn’t indulging in covetous dreams;
But reading my Bible, I searched for a clue
Why Christians take part in this holiday too.

I plainly could see that it carried His name,
But the spirit behind it just wasn’t the same.
The songs spoke of wise men, of virgin and child,
Of shepherds, of God, and all men reconciled;

But nothing was said of the blood and the cross;
Of repentance, and faith, and of counting the cost.
They sang of the babe, His miraculous birth,
But not of the day when He’ll judge the whole earth.

My Bible said nothing of Santa, or toys,
Of Frosty the Snowman, and small drummer boys.
A reference to Rudolph not once did I see.
But it seems Jeremiah did mention the tree.

I sat and I pondered this curious matter,
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter
That I knew in a moment he soon would be here;
So I prayed in the Spirit and stood without fear.

He slipped down the chimney, quick as a flash,
And stepped from the fireplace all covered with ash.
There stood St. Nick with his bag and his beard,
He looked at the Bible I held, and he sneered,

“Another fanatical Christian, I see;
No stockings; no holly, no pictures of me.”
I asked him if Jesus was God in the flesh,
He said that was something he couldn’t confess.

He said, “I am Santa, I come from afar.”
I stood in the truth – “The Devil you are.
That suit and that beard doesn’t fool me one bit.
Your jolly deception is straight from the pit.

Beneath all your Ho Ho Ho’s Lucifer lurks;
With your all-seeing eyes and your gospel of works
Like a thief in the night you impersonate Christ,
Returning to judge the naughty and nice.”

“So call Christmas pagan,” he said, “That’s O.K.
‘Cause that’s what my sons at the Watchtower say.
You’ll look like a pagan or like a deceiver,
But none will suspect you to be a believer.”

I said, “I don’t care what your servants will say,
My loyalty lies with the Ancient of Days.
No matter how many abuses are hurled,
My Bible says be not conformed to this world.

You have no power, and no part of me,
So I stand on God’s Word, and command you to flee.”
He squealed like a pig that was stuck with a knife.
He ran to the chimney and climbed for his life.

And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Xmas to all, and a long, dark night.”

– Unknown

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.’

Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.