December. Here we are again. You just can't escape it. A woman in a shop once turned to me and said: 'I hate Christmas. I have to buy TWENTY presents!'
My favorite Christmas was in 2011. We were in Israel and one day we were out shopping, crossing a main street, and I suddenly thought: 'Hey, isn't it the 25th today?' It was! Wow, and we had escaped all the hype and hassle. What a great Christmas.
I always loved Christmas as a child, and my parents made it so special. Then I grew up and I loved making it special for our kids, but it really had no spiritual element. It was supposed to be a celebration of Jesus' birthday, but no one ever mentioned Him.
Then, when I was 36 years old, I came to know the One whose birthday the world was supposed to be celebrating. Not a helpless baby, but the Lord of heaven and earth who had become a man and died for me so that I could be forgiven and be acceptable to God forever.
The carols came alive for me. I could not sing them for the lump in my throat and the tears pouring down my face. But as the years went by and I learned more, Christmas lost its shine, to say the least.
Why was everyone celebrating when so few of them would give five minutes to Jesus, even on His supposed birthday? Why the warm family gatherings, when the mention of Jesus' name was like a bad smell in the room to many of them.
The more real Jesus became for me, the more difficult Christmas became. I remember hearing a talk by the Rev David Pawson many years ago. He said he and, I think, two other ministers prayed and asked the Lord to show them things He hated. They all got a surprising answer: Christmas.
I found out that Christmas was never celebrated by the early church. Something called Saturnalia was celebrated throughout the Roman Empire by pagans at the end of December.
They loved it. It was fun. They brought trees and greenery into their homes; they put up decorations; they hung green wreaths on their front doors; they sent cards and gave presents; they had parties and ate and drank a lot. All in honor of the god Saturn.
When Constantine became emperor of Rome, he stopped the persecution of Christians and declared the empire Christian instead of pagan. The people were not about to give up their beloved Saturnalia, so it was renamed Christmas and said to be a celebration of Jesus' birth.
I doubt that the emperor or any of his counsellors consulted the Lord about this. Did Jesus want a secondhand pagan feast day in His honor? And anyway, no one knows when He was born.
Most importantly, He never told us to celebrate His birthday! He told us to remember His death until He comes! if we do anything at all on Dec 25, that is what we should do!
For the story of how I told our daughter the truth about 'Santa Claus' when she was four, click on: http://thefreepressonline.co.uk/news/1/911.htm
She has five children of her own now, in Israel, and I don't think they have ever heard of Christmas, although they celebrate Hannukah (Feast of Dedication), which Jesus also celebrated. She told me once that one reason she loves living in Israel is that the holidays are biblical*. Chistmas, of course, is not.
The very word is wrong, a joining of two words - Christ and mass. Mass is a sacrifice, the sacrifice of the mass in Catholicism. But the Bible tells us there is to be no more sacrifice.
Calvary was it, the one and only sacrifice, sufficient for everyone who believes, sufficient for all time. Jesus cried on the cross: 'It is FINISHED !' Please read the book of Hebrews, chapters 9 and 10. No more sacrifice! How many times does God have to say it to get it into our heads?
The very idea of the 'sacrifice of the mass' is revolting to God, because He has made it very clear - no more sacrifice is needed. Once was enough. Jesus paid it all.
When the Catholics go to church, the priest 'performs mass'. When Christians go to church, it is to praise the Lord; to learn more of the Bible, God's Word; to pray; to have fellowship with each other.
In the Catholic Church we just went through the ritual of the mass, and very glamorous it was at Christmas. There were dozens of candles glowing, flowers, specially shined up candlesticks, the priest in especially gorgeous vestments. The large statues of Mary and Joseph were washed and clean (they never told us the 2nd Commandment - no statues!).
The priests never mentioned that the priesthood was a concept which finished at the cross of Calvary. Every believer now is a priest who can go direct to God, not needing anyone except Jesus as our High Priest and intermediary.
Please read our Table of Truth: the Catholic Church vervus the Bible, top left hand of our home page. Here's the link: http://www.thefreepressonline.co.uk/news/4/1406.htm Our pastor, Father XXX, never told us that Jesus commanded: "Call no man 'father' ." (Matthew 23:9) He may not even have known it himself.
Feel free to copy our Table of Truth and any other article and print it out, because it will not be on the internet forever. The United Nations and the governments of the world want control of the web, and if that happens, every site that tells the truth will be gone overnight. Please get hard copies of any article you might need.
ALAN adds: For clear insights into false beliefs, including pagan practices like celebrating “Christmas” and “Easter,” get our book, Cults and Isms: True or False? One particularly worthwhile chapter is called “Some Things Every Christian Should Know”.
Here is a sample of the chapter, which Pat wrote: “ Jesus is God
“When you encounter someone who denies the deity of Christ, possibly on your own doorstep, be ready to contend for the faith. Write some scripture references down at the front of your Bible so you can quickly turn to them. Here are a few scriptures:
“ ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1,2
“All things were made by Him (the Lord Jesus); and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3
“In Him was life…” John 1:4
“My Lord and my God.” Thomas worships the risen Lord Jesus and Jesus accepts his worship. John 20:28
“The First Commandment – “I am the Lord thy God…thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:2,3; Deut 5:6,7 Since the Lord Jesus was and is and will be worshipped on earth and in heaven, He is God. There are to be no other gods, none.
“In the Old Testament:
“…a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).” Isaiah 7:14
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
“In the epistles:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…” Titus 2:13
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 It gives the Father glory when we worship His Son!
“…he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. 1:6
“For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written (in Isaiah 45:23), as I live saith the LORD, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12
“….that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” Colossians 1:18, 19
“In the Book of Revelation:
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13 The Father and the Son are worshipped together in heaven.
“The Pharisees of Jesus’ day knew that He was claiming to be God, and they totally rejected Him. People today in the cults are doing the same thing.”
This is the book we wished we had been able to read when we were young Christians, prey to false doctrines. It took years of study, hearing good and bad teaching and much regret before we found that the Word of God is clear and sharp as a two-edged sword!
Our book on Cults and Isms should be widely available through churches, but isn’t, as it is not what most itching ears want to hear.
It is on sale through our web shop on this site. Our other book in print is also packed with information which helps believers make sense of this seemingly rudderless, mixed up world: Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain. This also in available through our web shop.
* As for the Jewish holidays, we do not have to celebrate them. We are not under the Mosaic Law, thank goodness! Jesus fulfilled the Law, being the perfect sinless sacrifice. As Christians we have liberty in Christ, and can choose. We had a Passover meal at our church once, and once at our house when our son-in-law Michael showed us how the Jews do it. Very interesting. As for Christmas, Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapels, said on one tape - you can celebrate or not celebrate Christmas; it is up to you.
Of course Paul warns against celebrating special days in his letter to the Galatians. If we would all stick together on this, it would be a lot easier, but most Christians just go along with the traditions of the world, and it is hard to be the odd one out.
As for the Jewish feasts, most Christians haven't got a clue! Most churches would never teach anything about them, thereby missing out on their obvious prophetic message about the First and Second Comings.
- Meanwhile, here's what one reader in Denmark wrote to us when he read Pat's article: Hello Alan and Pat
"Thank you for letting me hear from you again and for the great articles. I agree completely your view of christmas. I'm so happy every year when we reach January. It's so empty with all this celebrating without Jesus. It is going worse and worse.
Well, I wish you a happy new year too, and God bless.
Greetings from Aashild (Denmark)"
Here's what a Welsh Christian activist - a man who makes things happen - had to say:
"We do not celebrate Saturnalia, the same as you, but can we take this opportunity to thank you for all of your excellent ministry, and to wish you and Pat a happy and peaceful time these next couple of weeks as the year draws to a close.
Every Blessing In Him,
Neville & Hazel."
Here are some links to other Christmas articles.