Is Christmas Christian?
'What a strange question,' you may exclaim. 'Of course
Christmas is Christian: it commemorates the birth of the
Saviour of the world - Jesus Christ - the Son of God!'
Stunning as the following facts may appear, it is essential to
bring them to your notice.
This article will first answer the question: When, according to
Scripture, was Jesus Christ born? It will then go on to quote
various historians who wrote concerning Christmas, then list the
scriptural alternatives to Christmas, Easter, All Saints day etc. and
the customs associated with them. It will end with a challenging
question which all true believers - of whatever faith - must answer.
- Christmas is a PAGAN not a Christian festival.
- The 25th December was celebrated in ancient days as the birthday
of the unconquerable SUN god, (variously know as Tammuz, Mithra,
Saturn, Adonis or BAAL) centuries before Jesus Christ was born in
- Nowhere in the Bible are believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob required to celebrate Christmas.
- The early Christian church did not celebrate Christmas. Instead it
celebrated the sacred festivals mentioned in the Bible, in Leviticus chapter 23.
- In order to win Gentile converts to the Christian faith, the Roman
Church, centuries after the apostolic era, adopted this ancient pagan
winter festival of the SUN god and renamed it 'Christmas' mistakenly
thinking that it would honour the SON of God.
- Scholars have for centuries known these facts. They can be
confirmed in any reference library.
To begin with let me plainly state that the Scriptures do not
give the precise date of the Saviour's birth. However, by close
examination of various passages in the Bible we are able to conclude
that most certainly he was not born on the 25th December (mid-winter in the northern hemisphere)
but at some time in the autumn of the year. Here is how we arrive at
2. Scriptural Evidence
The story of the Saviour's birth is well known; but for those who do
not have Bibles here it is.
||5: There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.|
6: And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7: And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8: And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
9: According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10: And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11: And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12: And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13: But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14: And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15: For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16: And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17: And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18: And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19: And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
This passage tells us that the angel Gabriel visited Zacharias
during the course of Abia. What is meant by "the course of
The "course of Abia" (Abijah in Hebrew) we learn from
1 Chronicles 24:7-10, was the 8th of 24 courses during a 12 month
year. Each group of priests (all except the most senior who were on
duty more often) officiated in the Temple for two weeks every
year. Zacharias' turn of duty came when the 8th group
(Abijah's) attended; which was during weeks 15 and
16 after the start of the year.
A year in the sacred calendar begins with the new moon nearest
the spring equinox. Consequently the new year starts in March or
very early April. For the purpose of this study we will work with the
equinox date of 20th March.
Fifteen weeks (105 days) after the 20th March bring us to early July.
In other words, in early July the angel Gabriel told Zechariah
that his aged wife Elisabeth would conceive and bear a son, whose name
was to be John.
Six months into Elisabeth's pregnancy, that is in early
January, Gabriel informed the virgin Mary that she also
was to conceive and bring forth a son, the Son of the Highest - the
Messiah! When Mary said that this was not possible as she
had never had sexual intercourse with a man, Gabriel told her
that the aged Elisabeth, who had been barren for many, many
years, was already six months pregnant - another apparent
impossibility with man, but not with God. For with God nothing
shall be impossible!
||26: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,|
27: To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28: And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29: And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31: And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36: And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37: For with God nothing shall be impossible.
From the above passages we learn, amongst other things, three vital facts:
From the above scriptural evidence it is certain that Jesus Christ was
not born on the 25th December but in the autumn of the year.
Now this is an amazing fact because late September/early October
coincides with the Week of Tabernacles, the most sacred week in
the sacred calendar. (Leviticus 23:23-44) The Week of
Tabernacles is a memorial of Israel's 40 years in the wilderness
when the nation lived in 'tabernacles' (booths or tents) and when Jehovah
took up residence in a 'tabernacle' which was pitched in the centre of
the camp. That is the low-level memorial of Tabernacles. The
high-level reality of Tabernacles was when Yeshua the Son of the
Highest, the Messiah, GOD INCARNATE, took up residence in a frail
human body. In other words, God 'tabernacled' with mankind in the
person of His Son - Jesus Christ!
- Elisabeth conceived in early July.
- Mary conceived some 6 months after Elisabeth, in early January.
- Therefore Jesus was born just over 9 months later; which
brings us to an autumn date in late September/early October.
2. Authoritative Quatations
Now that we know that the Saviour was not born on the 25th December
but in the autumn of the year, probably during the Week of
Tabernacles, let us consider what various historians say
about how the 25th December came to be celebrated as the Saviour's
Pause a while and consider the stunning truths you have just read.
Here are famous scholars and historians revealing amazing facts:
- "The festivals of Rome are innumerable; but five of the most
important may be singled out for elucidation -viz., Christmas-day,
Lady-day, Easter, the nativity of St. John, and the Feast of the
Assumption. Each and all of these can be proved to be Babylonian."
(The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hyslop, page 91)
- "... within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas
was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth
century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did
the Roman Church fix on December 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus:
Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era
itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise
time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian
queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that in order to
conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal
adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman
Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part
of the Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed
... Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their
efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of
a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That
Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt.
The time of the year, the ceremonies with which it is still
celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian
title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, 'about the
time of the winter solstice.'" (Ibid. page 93)
- "Even where the sun was the favourite object of worship, as in
Babylon itself and elsewhere, at this festival he was worshipped not
merely as the orb of day, but as God incarnate. It was an
essential principle of the Babylonian system, that the Sun or Baal
was the one only God. When, therefore Tammuz was worshipped as God
incarnate, that implied also that he was an incarnation of the
Sun. In the Hindoo mythology, which is admitted to be essentially
Babylonian, this comes out very distinctly. There, Surya, or the Sun,
is represented as being incarnate, and born for the purpose of
subduing the enemies of the gods, who, without such a birth, could not
have been subdued.
"It was no mere astronomical festival, then, that the Pagans
celebrated at the winter solstice. That festival at Rome was called
the feast of Saturn, and the mode in which it was celebrated there,
showed whence it had been derived. The feast as regulated by Caligula,
lasted five days; loose reins were given to drunkenness and revelry,
slaves had temporary emancipation and used all manner of freedoms with
their masters. This was precisely the way in which, according to
Berosus, the drunken festival of the month Thebeth, answering to our
December, in other words , the festival of Bacchus, was celebrated in
Babylon... The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally
common in pagan Rome and pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the
palm-tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm tree denoting the pagan
Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as
Baal-Berith." (Ibid. 96-97)
- "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church
... the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt." (Catholic
Encyclopaedia 1911 edition)
- "Christmas customs are an evolution from times that long
antedated the Christmas period - a descent from seasonal, pagan,
religious and national practices, hedged about with legend and
tradition... In the beginning many of the earth's inhabitants were sun
worshippers because the course of their lives depended on its yearly
round in the heavens, and feasts were held at its return from distant
wanderings. In the south of Europe, in Egypt and Persia the sun-gods
were worshipped with elaborate ceremonies at the season of the winter
solstice, as a fitting time to pay tribute to the god of plenty, while
in Rome the Saturnalia reigned for a week...The exact day and year of
Christ's birth have never been satisfactorily settled, but when the
fathers of the church in A.D. 340 chose the day of the winter
solstice which was firmly fixed in the minds of the people and
which was their most important festival." (Encylopaedia Britannica
article Christmas page 642)
- "In a famous letter to Augustine, Pope Gregory directs the
great missionary to accommodate the ceremonies of the Christian
worship as much as possible to those of the heathen, that the people
might not be startled at the change, and in particular the Pope
advised Augustine to allow converts to kill and eat at the Christmas
festival a great number of oxen to the glory of God, as they had
formerly done to the Devil." (The Story of Christmas by Michael
Harrison, page 28)
- "It is nevertheless almost certain that the 25th of December
cannot be the nativity of the Saviour, for it is then the height of
the rainy season in Judaea, and shepherds could hardly be watching
their flocks by night in the plains ... Not casually or arbitrarily
was the festival of the nativity celebrated on the 25th of December.
One of the principal causes that co-operated in fixing this period was
that almost all the heathen nations regarded the winter solstice as
the turning point of the year - the beginning of the renewed life and
activity of the powers of nature, and of the gods who were merely the
symbolic personifications of these. In more northern countries
this fact must have made itself peculiarly palpable - hence the Celts
and Germans, from the oldest times, celebrated the season with the
greatest festivities. At the winter solstice the Norsemen held their
great Yule-feast in commemoration of the fiery sun-wheel, and
believed that during the twelve nights from the 25th December to the
6th January they could trace the personal movements and interferences
on earth of their great deities, Odin, Beretha, etc. Many of the
beliefs and usages of the old Germans, and also of the Romans,
relating to this period, passed over from heathenism to Christianity,
and have partly survived to the present day." (Chambers
Encyclopaedia 1908 Edition Vol.111 page 222, article Christmas)
- "There is no authoritative tradition as to the day or month
of Christ's birth ... The winter solstice was regarded as the
birthday of the sun and at Rome a pagan festival of the nativity of
'sol invictus' was introduced by the Emperor Aurelian on 25th
December 274. The church, unable to stamp out this popular festival,
spiritualised it as the feast of the Nativity of the Sun of
Righteousness. When Christianity spread northwards it encountered
a similar pagan festival also held at the winter solstice - the great
Yule feast of the Norsemen. Once again Christmas absorbed
heathen customs. From the various sources came the Yule log, the
Christmas tree introduced into England from Germany and first
mentioned in 1789." (Chambers Encyclopaedia 1970, page 538,
These are truly eye-opening facts. Remember them.
- That each year on the 25th December the pagans held a festival in
honour of the SUN god.
- And that centuries after the Saviour's birth in Bethlehem this
selfsame festival of the SUN god was adopted by the Christian Church,
given the name Christmas and thereafter celebrated as the birthday of
the SON OF GOD!
4. Bible Festivals, What Are They?
Christmas is not merely a Pagan festival, its adoption into the
ecclesiastical calendar along with several other heathen observances
(Easter, Ash Wednesday, Halloween etc.) has almost blinded the church
to the sacred Sabbaths of Yahweh mentioned in the Bible: sacred
days the whole Christian church is commanded to keep. What are these
sacred times? They are:
Yes, these are the sacred Sabbaths of the Almighty God, which we are
now proclaiming to you.
- The Passover: This service commemorates the death of Jesus
Christ, the Passover Lamb of God, who gave his life to purchase our
- The Feasts of Unleavened Bread which commemorate Israel's
hurried departure from Egypt when they lived on unleavened bread.
Unleavened Bread also foreshadows the time when the Almighty
will totally rid His household - the Church - of the leaven of sin,
hypocrisy and false doctrine.
- Pentecost: This festival commemorates the out-pouring of
the Holy Spirit: not just the event that happened on the day of
Pentecost in apostolic times (Acts 2), but also when the Most High
will pour out His Spirit on His people in these last days, after we
have been cleansed of every vestige of sin.
- Trumpets: This feast still awaits even partial fulfilment.
It foreshadows the time when cleansed, Spirit-filled believers will
proclaim the final warnings to mankind; warnings which will be
preached when the terrifying events described in the book of
Revelation are in progress.
- The Day of Atonement: This day of fasting prefigures
a time of judgement and atonement when the church will
finally be brought into the very presence of the Almighty and be
at-one with Him.
- The Feast of Tabernacles: This festival commemorates
Israel's 40 year stay in the wilderness in temporary dwellings
(booths/tents). Tabernacles also commemorates the incarnation, when
the Almighty God took up residence in the human body of His Son
- The Last Great Day: This feast prefigures eternity; when
through the ages to come the ransomed will live with Yahweh the God
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His Son Yeshua - our Redeemer!
||1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,|
2: Speak unto the children
of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD,
which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my
These are the only sacred festivals in the Bible which believers are
commanded to observe.
5. What Now?
If you have read thus far, you will no doubt be wondering, How does
this information affect me? Believe me, I sympathise with you if you
are now in a dilemma. Many years ago I was in just such a situation.
If all this about Christmas is correct, then how must I react? To
ignore truth is obviously not a safe policy to follow: especially when
it concerns the choice between Baal worship on the one hand and
obedience to the commandments of God on the other. Perhaps you should
do what I did when I first learned the truth about Christmas: Go to
the library and check it all out. Read as many encyclopaedias,
dictionaries and other reference works to see if all this is true.
Also read Stewarton Bible School's booklets on the
Feast days of the God of
Israel and The Sacred
Calendar of the God of Israel. And, when you have really studied
the matter, make your choice to:
There really is no other option.
- Go along with the pagan festival of Christmas.
- Or obey the Almighty's commandments.
6. What About My Family?
Many sincere folks will nervously ask: What about my family, my
children, my friends? How can I possibly stop keeping Christmas; it's
a family day for us and the children and grand-children all expect
presents; they'll all think I've gone crazy! Well let me tell you that
it was exactly the same for me and my family. I have 4 children and
now 8 grand-children. Did they suffer? Do the children feel deprived.
Did they understand? I can tell you that the children are the least
problem. They'll understand faster than you think. Besides you no
longer need to tell them all those lies about Santa Claus visiting
millions of homes each Christmas with presents for good little boys
and girls. Just tell them the truth: that Xmas is not a
festival the Almighty wants Christians to keep and that they will get
their presents on His Feasts or on their own birthdays. Incidentally,
the patriarchs of old remembered their birthdays: that's how all of
them knew how old they were.
Is it possible to stop keeping Christmas? Yes it is: tens of
thousands of Christians the world over have already done so. What's
more they are now keeping the Festivals of the God of Israel.
Believe me, and I can speak from experience, their children and
grandchildren are in no way deprived.
I'll end this article with a prayer that the Holy Spirit will grant
you the humility, understanding and courage you will need in order to
brake with paganism and take your stand for the Truth of the
Almighty God as revealed in His Word.
- According to the Scriptures Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah
was born in the autumn of the year; probably during the Week of
Tabernacles. This extremely important Biblical festival
commemorates and foreshadows two important events:
- Israel's 40 year wanderings in the wilderness when the
nation lived in temporary dwellings (booths/tents)
- And the incarnation! when the Almighty God took up residence in
the person of Yeshua the Messiah - the SON OF THE LIVING GOD!
- The early apostolic Church did not celebrate Christmas. You may
read the New Testament again and again and you will find this to be
- Only after several centuries did the Roman Church begin to
celebrate Christmas: which was - and still is - a pagan festival
commemorated in honour of the SUN god, variously known as
Tammuz, Mithra, Saturn, Adonis and BAAL! In order to win
converts to the Christian faith the Catholic Church adopted this pagan
festival, renamed it Christmas and now celebrates it in honour
of the SON of GOD! Alas! the whole Christian world, with the
exception of a few believers, has followed suit. But Christmas is
still a pagan festival through and through. Its change of name
from Saturnalia, the birthday of the Sun god, to Christ's Mass
has not altered its true character one iota: and the evil spirit
behind its celebrations still produces the deception, debt,
drunkenness, misrule and licentiousness that characterised the pagan
revelries of bygone days.
- The sacred festivals listed in the Bible (Leviticus chapter 23)
are for Jewish as well as Gentile believers in the God of Israel.
These divine festivals constitute the Signature (Sign) of Yahweh
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- True believers must give up celebrating the heathen festivals of
Christmas, Easter, Ash-Wednesday etc. and begin keeping the Bible
feasts listed in Leviticus chapter 23. There really is no other
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
1997 ... Reformatted: December 1999