Is Christmas becoming the ...

Festival for the World?

Should a "world festival" ever be proclaimed, then Christmas Day is a prime candidate to be the chosen date!

If one religious festival generates almost universal acclaim it must surely be Christmas . Christians, of course, lay claim to it. They say that it marks the birth of Jesus Christ. The Jews also observe a time of festivity - Hanukkah - at about the same time as Christmas. Hindus, too, observe a festival that overlaps the end of December. Muslims celebrate the birth of Muham- med the Prophet in a Christmas-like festival, Mawlid an-Nabi . The Chinese tradition was to worship Shang-ti - the sun-god - in the dark days of winter. Even communist Russia couldn't suppress an end-of-year celebration. And few today (reli- gious and non-religious alike) object to the jollity and excesses of the Christmas season, coming as it does at a dreary time of year in our northern hemisphere!

Celestial Origins

This isn't surprising, for it's a well-known fact that since earliest times the dark days of late December have hosted festivals galore. There's even a book titled Four Thousand Years Of Christmas !

The origins of the festival are not difficult to trace. When Adam sinned and was driven from Eden, all but a few of his progeny turned from the worship of the true God. A whole system of idolatrous worship evolved.

Originally the sun was a visible reminder of the Messiah, the Deliverer promised to our first parents. He was the Creator and sustainer of life on earth, and referred to in Scripture as "the Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2). But as the darkness of godlessness - instigated and encouraged by Satan - blinded the minds of mankind, they came to view the sun in symbol for a substitute rebel Messiah. The "mighty hunter" in the Sky was incarnated post-Flood in Nimrod, who was "a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord" (Genesis 10:8-11), and the events surrounding his supposed miraculous birth at the winter solstice. His worship spread worldwide - in Egypt, in India, in China and wherever man dispersed. In the Roman Empire the celebration was known as Saturnalia .

Israel's Apostasy

Ancient Israel had followed the same path. They "worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal [the sun-god, Nimrod, Tammuz]". The sun, of course, was dedicated to him, and so were its "days". As a direct result, "the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight" (Read II Kings 17!). They had abandoned the only form of worship God ever instituted or approved - outlined in Leviticus 23 - and changed the times He had appointed for it.

The Israelites even introduced the "Christmas tree" into their idolatry (Jeremiah 10:1ff)! The first king of the Ten Tribes, indeed, was throughout their history branded as the one who "caused Israel to sin". This because he had appointed a religious festival contrary to what God had revealed (I Kings 12:32).

As the Christian church. growing up in the Roman Empire, gained temporal power and turned away from sound Biblical teaching, it absorbed the same ancient rites into its own festival calendar: the yule-log (yule = child), the turkey (anciently, the goose), mistletoe, the evergreen tree (Nimrod re-born), the boar, the wassail bowl (drunkenness was a feature then as now!) - even carols, and the "Mother and Child" motif.

Birth of Antichrist

Christmas celebration is no harmless "official birthday" of Jesus Christ. It's the replication of the ancient worship behind which stands Satan. And it celebrates the birth of an antichrist, a substitute Messiah. When, therefore, a great religious deceiver - himself merely a front for Satan - in the near future grabs world dominion, mankind will happily unite behind the times and seasons he will impose.

Christmas, then, is not for those who truly desire to be followers of Jesus Christ! It is idolatry and has no place in the Christian calendar. You are invited to write for our free explanatory leaflet The Feast of the Nativity , which pinpoints when Jesus our Savior was really born. Also request Christian Holy Days which examines the round of Festival worship which God instituted for Christians to observe.

To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.

For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 1 Issue 6, November/December 1997. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.

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