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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, December 07 2023

Does Christmas really honour Christ?

The month of December has arrived and on December 25 many will get together with family and friends and observe the birth of Jesus Christ. But the problem is that the origins of Christmas have little to do with the real Jesus Christ, and Christmas customs are rooted in the ancient worship of pagan gods.

The website which describes itself as "a research and education provider specializing in the areas of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic (Magick) and the Occult" says the following regarding Christmas: “The truth about Christmas is that it is not Christmas at all. It is the Winter Solstice, a Pagan holy day observed around the world … from the Native American tribes, to the Norsemen, to the ancient Romans, and today by modern Pagans, Witches and Wiccans."

Given this information could observing Christmas actually be dishonoring Christ? Ancient Corinth was known for its multiculturalism, lucrative business opportunities, religious diversity and seamy pleasures. The majority of people in Corinth were pagans, worshiping the traditional Greek and Roman gods and goddesses and sacrificing in the temples of one of the various "mystery religions."

As people from this pagan-Greek background converted to Christianity some continued to practice these pagan customs, viewing these rites as celebrations imbued with a new Christian spirit honoring Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote to these early Christian exhorting them: "The things which the Gentiles [pagan nations] sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons" (I Corinthians 10:20).

The prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born of a virgin named Mary just as the Old Testament prophets foretold, but his birth was nowhere near December 25—which at that time was a major pagan celebration in several ancient cultures. With just a little research online or in a decent encyclopedia, anyone can learn that the Yule log, mistletoe, the Christmas tree and the date of Christmas are rooted in paganism and not the Bible.

A common response to this information is that, "It doesn't matter since I don't use the Christmas tree to worship Scandinavian gods but to show love to Jesus Christ.” But the Apostle Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 10:21: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons." We are forced by the Scripture to ask a hard question: Why do we believe we are showing Jesus love and respect by throwing a party originating in paganism and pretending it's His birthday?

The Gospel of Luke records a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans claimed to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but rejected many of the teachings of the Old Testament. They refused to worship at the temple in Jerusalem and mixed pagan customs with the worship of the true God. As Jesus confronted the Samaritan woman with the reality of who He is, He told her, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23).

Scripture tells us not to try to honor God the way people formerly honored false gods (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). Worshiping Jesus in the trappings of the ancient pagan Saturnalia, Mithras and the gods of ancient Scandinavia is not worshiping Him in “spirit and truth”. Let's strip the pagan customs from our worship of the great God and His Son Jesus Christ and show them honor and respect as the Bible directs. There are annual Holy Days that God has sanctioned and wants us to observe, which reveal God’s plan of salvation for humanity. See our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan.