The Origin of Christmas

We are in the Christmas season now, and everyone is going about like busy bees, getting gifts, putting up Christmas trees, decorating the house with lights and other seasonal ornaments. Well, that’s tradition. However, have you ever thought about where all this tradition comes from? Why the date December 25th? Why the tree? Why the jolly old fat man dressed in red and white who comes through the fireplace to leave presents for kids?

While I don’t desire to dampen the holiday spirit, I feel I must tell the truth about this, and divide as one can say; “truth from tradition.” The truth may hurt, toes may be stepped on, but no matter. The truth of the matter should be told, shared, and what you do with the truth is your decision. But let’s investigate. Yes, Jesus/Yeshua (his Hebrew name) is celebrated during this time, his birth in a manger in Bethlehem, but was it December 25th?

December 25th has been considered the time of the “Winter Solstice” in accordance to pagan tradition. It was the time when the so-called “sun gods” were created. The sun gods had their origin with “Baal Nimrod”. He was the great-grandson of Noah. The names differ in different countries.

In Persia, it was “Mithras” ; in Egypt, it was “Amun-Ra”; in Rome, it was “Attis”. In Rome this time was celebrated during the 12 day period known as “Saturnalia.” Does that sound familiar? The 12 days of Christmas compared to the 12 days of Saturnalia? The Chaldeans called the 25th of December “Yule Day” or the “Day of the infant.” This was not the Christ child, it was the infant “Tammuz” who was the son of Nimrod. The so-called “halo” around the head was the “sun-disk” indicating his relationship with the sun.

In ancient Rome, the 12 days of Saturnalia were celebrated with drunken parties, orgies, and they decorated their homes with all kinds of greenery, “mistletoe” etc. Any time we mix the profane with the holy, we get “profanity.” You can mix good apples in a barrel of bad, rotten apples, and the good apples will never correct the bad ones, it is always the opposite.

During the time of the Roman emperor Constantine, he decided that “Christianity” was the way to go, Yet there were still many pagans and pagan beliefs in Rome, so, in order to accommodate pagan idolatry, Constantine decided to move the true time of the birth of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus to December 25th. So, more or less around 350 C.E. the so-called “December 25th Christmas time” was begun.

Yet many still ask, if not the 25th of December, then when was Messiah Yeshua/Jesus born? Does anyone really know? We have a general idea although know one knows the exact date and time.

In Second Chronicles, it talks about when King David divided the service time of the priests into 24 periods of two-week service commitments. Therefore, each priest would serve in the temple for two weeks.

In the New Testament, it says that Zachariah’s turn to serve in the temple for two weeks. He was of the division of “Abijah” (Read Luke chapter 1) . He was to offer incense. The division of Abijah was the 8th division. The divisions started on the Hebraic new year which was and still is on the 1st of Nissan. (14 days before Passover). This correlates to the month of Abril in the Gregorian calendar. The Hebrew calendar is based on the phases of the moon while the Gregorian calendar is based on the sun.

This means that Zachariah’s turn came 4 months into the Hebrew calendar, which means that his serve was during the end of July or mid August. He was promised by the Angel Gabriel that his wife Elizabeth would have a baby, whose name would be “Yochanan” (John) He was also Yeshua’s cousin. Yochanan was 6 months older than Yeshua. It is believed that Yochanan was born during the time of Passover, 9 months from August.

Six months from August, Mary was overshadowed by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) and our LORD Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach was conceived. This was probably in the end of January or early February. Nine months including February end with October. In October we have the “Feast of Tabernacles” or “Sukkot” which was one of the major Biblical festivals, or “Moedim” (appointed times). All males had to go to Jerusalem to celebrate this festivity from all over Israel, no wonder that “no room was found in Bethlehem” it was very crowded. Bethlehem is a fitting name for the birthplace of Messiah Yeshua. It means “House of Bread” (Beit-Lechem) it is fitting that the “Bread of Life” be born in the “House of Bread.”

Caesar Augustus took advantage of this and ordered a census, since everyone was on the move during that time. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to respond to that census, and there our Messiah was born during this time. When Jesus was born, his official and registered name was most likely “Yeshua Ben Yosef” (Yeshua, Son of Joseph). So, there we have it, Yeshua was probably born during the end of September or early in October. Remember that the lunar calendar changes by the phases of the moon. This year, Sukkot came early, on September 24th.

In December, it is cold and damp in Israel and the shepherds would not have had their herds of sheep outside. Also, there are not major “moedim” in December, only Hanukkah, which is not a major festival, yet still important, important enough so that Yeshua even attended the celebration (John 10)

Now, how did this fat guy named “Santa Claus” come into being? He started out as the Scandinavian god “Odin”. He was the god of intoxicating drink, ecstasy, pleasure, war, magic, and knowledge of occult powers. He was worshipped by those living in the countries of Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland). “Odin” means “inspired one”

In time, he became popular in the Netherlands and in Germany. His name became “Sinter Klaus”. Odin would travel around the world on a white horse with 8 legs, this is where the 8 reindeer came into being pulling Santa’s sleigh. Santa Claus has a long white beard, so did Odin. He wears a red and white suit. Red, the color of war and blood, and white, imitating purity. Also, the “Ancient of days” in Daniel 8 had “Hair as white as wool.”

Odin would travel with his “dark helpers” or “black-jacks” or “Krampus” They were really demonic entities which were half goat, half human. This is where Santa’s elves came into being. They would travel visiting houses where children were and they would give gifts to obedient children and whip the disobedient children. Towns would hear of their coming because they wore “bells” around their necks, thus the song “jingle bells” came into being.

Santa Claus enters the house by a chimney, through the fireplace. The Druids believed in the goddess “Hertha” who also entered the homes through the fireplace. From the name “Hertha” we get the word “hearth” The Druids also placed “milk and cookies” by the fireplace as gifts to Hertha. Do you not see how paganism passes into modern tradition around this time of year?

Santa Claus is known to say “Ho, Ho, Ho”. Well, during the time of Shakespere, when the devil made his appearance in dramas and plays, he would announce his arrival with those same words. One of Satan’s nicknames was also “Old Nick” (sound familiar?)

Now, how do Santa Claus and Jesus/Yeshua compare? Contrast? Let’s see;

Santa Claus Yeshua/Jesus

Spirit of Christmas The Spirit of God/YHVH
All knowing (who’s been bad or good) All knowing
Writes names in a book, keeps a list Writes names in the Book of Life
Hair and beard, white as snow Hair, white as wool (Daniel 8)
Santa travels by night (darkness) Yeshua is “Light”
Gives you what you want Gives you what you need
Has mystical tree (Christmas tree) Tree of Life,
Loves children Loves children and ALL of us

Odin’s symbol was the Fir Tree, YHVH’s symbol is the Menorah (looks somewhat like a tree)

The Christmas Tree also has pagan origins. (Read Jeremiah 10:2-3). It talks about cutting down a tree in the forest, putting it on a stand and decorating it with gold and silver, and the pagans sang songs to the tree. Today, the song “Oh Christmas Tree” is popular. The prophet Jeremiah warns us NOT to follow these customs and traditions.

In America, the Puritans prohibited the celebration of Christmas, as they knew of these origins. This was put in writing on May 11th, 1659, and there was a 5 shilling fine for anyone found celebrating Christmas in any form or fashion. The first time Christmas was permitted was in the state of Alabama in 1836.

All in all, we know that the celebration is for the coming of Messiah Yeshua. Many people say “It isn’t the date, it’s the event” and that’s true. It makes more sense to understand that God made bare his “Holy Arm” (Isaiah 52:10).

“The LORD has made bare his Holy Arm, in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the YESHUAH of our God” (Salvation).

This happened in Beit-Lechem of Efrata. It isn’t about some big jolly fat man coming down the chimney into your house, rather the Creator of the Universe coming down dressed in flesh, bone, and blood and entering your heart.

I’m not saying to go over to grandma’s house and throw kerosene on her tree and burn it up shouting; “paganism!” No, that wouldn’t go over very well. This is a time to get together with family and friends, share a warm meal together, and listen to soft music. It isn’t a time to argue over Christmas traditions unless you are asked to do so. If that happens, you might share this, yet with love and not condemnation. Always pray that the LORD opens hearts to accept the truth and to dispel pagan traditions. Always remember that Yeshua is the reason for the season.

Yes, this is the season to remember Yeshua’s coming to earth from his kingdom above, even though it is celebrated a few months late. The best gift He gave us was himself, the gift of Salvation, available to ALL who reach out in faith and accept Him as LORD and Savior.

Please read; Leviticus 18:30; Deuteronomy 12:3-4; Mark 7: 7,8

Blessings. Ben Avraham