The roots of the Christmas tree: Pagans celebrate Yule

In preparation for the Yule celebration, Darcy Higgins asks a tree for permission to cut it down so it may serve as the Yule tree at Oak Spirit Sanctuary in Boonville, Mo., on Dec. 16, 2017. Higgins said that she always asks permission before harvesting plants or trees and that her own feelings let her understand the plant’s response, as do ecological indicators — such as how well the plant is thriving in its current environment and how well the environment would do without the plant. RNS photo by Mikala Compton

Brian Stanely dresses as Father Yule in preparation for ritual. Father Yule is a symbol to pagans as a combination of gods from different pagan cultures and practices that focus on the changing of the seasons. RNS photo by Mikala Compton

BOONVILLE, Mo. (RNS) — The pagans at the Oak Spirit Sanctuary decorate their trees, hang wreaths and tell the story of Santa Claus. But unlike Christian Americans this time of year, pagans are celebrating Yule.

Yule honors the winter solstice — the longest night of the year — when pagans focus on the sunlight to come after a season of dark, and engage in rituals that predate Christianity’s adaptation of these practices.

To pagans, the Yule tree, wreath and candles remind that spring is around the corner.

Though the longest night of the year falls on Dec. 21, the celebrations at Oak Spirit came early this year — on Dec. 16 — when more people could participate.

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Mikala Compton


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  • Christmas is based on pagan festivals held on December 25 that took place around the time of the winter solstice to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. The Roman Saturnalia, a festival to Saturn, the God of agriculture and to the renewed power of the sun also took place then (The Encyclopedia Americana (1977), Vol. 6, p. 666.

    Mostly based on that fact, but along with the fact that there is no Santa Claus, that the shepherds who visited Jesus (Luke 2:8-20) at the manger (and not the Magi who visited Jesus (Matthew 2:11) when Jesus was a “young child” and living in a home) did not bear any gifts to Jesus, I refuse, as a Christian, to celebrate Christmas, a pagan holiday, in any way. And I prefer that trees remain living in the forest, where they truly belong!??

    I will, however, observe, every year, the memorial of Jesus’ death on Nisan 14 C.E. of the Jewish calendar, the ONLY EVENT Jesus instructed his disciples to memorialize (Luke 22:14-20).

  • Now THIS is the true meaning of Christmas! So, eat your hearts out, my fellow born-again Christian brothers and sisters. And thank you, sister Mikala Compton, for reminding me & them this Christmas 2017 that:

    (1) “The roots of the Christmas tree [are] Pagans celebrat[ing] Yule”. … The Christmas tree derives from the tradition of pagans, who brought evergreen trees inside their homes as a reminder of the coming spring, when other flora will bloom again. … Yule … [is] when pagans … engage in rituals that predate Christianity’s adaptation of these practices.”

    (2) “Different deities are called upon, usually depending upon the season and the celebration. … Father Yule is a symbol to pagans as a combination of gods from different pagan cultures and practices that focus on the changing of the seasons.”

  • Sigh…how boring…Christians know that this is not a real celebration and we all know that Jesus wasn’t really born in December. We simply go along with the commercialized celebration that we do mostly for our kids….Pagans….just a bunch of hippies looking for anyway to avoid having to face a fiercely intelligent God who we are all accountable to. Sure make Christmas a pagan festival, but we’ll continue to honour the One who really doesn’t need dumb-ass hippies and Pagans to tell us what is what….

  • There is a big difference in pointing out the roots of the Christmas tree and equating that tree with the roots of Christmas. The tree entered Christmas celebrations a few hundred years ago. Christians have acknowledged the advent of Christ for + or – 1750 years in the Christian Church’s festal calendar. For the first 200 years after the time of Christ’s advent commeration of his death & resurrection was the important festival celebrated by the Church. As the Church’s festal calendar grew the Annuciation of Mary was added on 25 MAR. But Christians in various parts of the world were of different opinions as to the date of Christ’s birth. Finally, Pope Julius set the festal date as 25 DEC, 9 months following the announcement to Mary that she was pregnant. Easter is the only date in the Church’s calendar that is anywhere close to it’s actual date, but that isn’t what is important about the calendar. It is a teaching tool about important events in the life of Christ and in between, remeberance of his teaching ministry.

    Many traditions have been adopted into the celebrations of Christmas in many different areas of the world. Evergreen trees, greenery, wreaths and logs are accoutrements in Northern Europe. They don’t hold a lot of meaning for folks in the Southern hemisphere who celebrate Christams at the beach sun tanning, because it’s summertime!

    It’s time to move on with this, “Aha, we know the real truth about Christmas,” because it’s fake news.

  • I can’t see that it matters if some Christmas or Easter customs came from pagan roots. After all, every Christian came from non-Christian roots if you go back far enough.

  • Mglass,

    It matters whether a “religious event” is approved by God and based on truth and pure worship…or not (John 4:23,24).

    The Almanac in my local newspaper every December 25 states the following under “Today’s highlight in history”:

    “On Dec. 25, A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on December 25 took place in Rome.”

    It should be noted that it happened some 300 YEARS AFTER JESUS DIED on Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar in A.D. 36.

    Just because some “event” is celebrated over a long period of time by a majority of people does not make it right, especially in God’s eyes, and that is where it matters the most.

    Even the early Puritans who came to America refused to celebrate this “holiday” because of its pagan origins.

  • I am an atheist and I celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family because it has become a tradition to sit down with the family on the darkest days of winter and color it up and be thankful to be alive and well. For others it is a stressful holiday where rich kids get great presents and those with very little money wrestle with finances. Others just eat and drink to the point of brain damage. It is up to each individual to give meaning to life. The concept of God does not care either way, or else he would balance the scales a little. I lost two family members tragically just before Christmas and was very depressed the following Christmases. I would be happier to just share a can of beans with them on Christmas if I could have them back. I spent one Christmas fighting in the jungles of Vietnam against rice farmers. Whose side was God on as we fought over the concept of communism vs. capitalism?

    “especially in God’s eyes, and that is where it matters most” — In the Middle East, the birthplace of David, Solomon, and Jesus, the banner of Islam flies over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass. Is that because they pray to God five times a day for favor and guidance? Please give an honest response.

  • Christians.. just a bunch of high-and-mighty band-wagoners who think any religion or belief system outside their own will result in a one-way trip to an eternity of fire falling. Faith means many things to many people…we can respect your view even though 90% of Christians judge the hell out of everyone not without the same “Book” subscription. Oh, and I am no “hippy” either.

  • “looking for anyway to avoid having to face a fiercely intelligent God”

    As the inventor of the platypus, avocado, and giving sapience to a species which can’t even breathe in 3/4 of the earth’s surface, I strongly object to your characterization of God being fiercely intelligent.

    BTW nobody had to make Yule a pagan holiday. It was one already. Christians stole it from them.

  • Well, aren’t you being a stereotypical, judgemental, little Christian? Did it make you feel stronger and more superior to say such nasty, hateful words for all to read? Or did it make you look insecure, uneducated, and lacking in manhood?
    Matthew 7:1-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with that judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And thy beholder though the mote that is in the brother’s eye, but considered not the beam in thine own eye?

  • You say you respect our view but it doesn’t sound like it judging from your post. Sorry you have had bad experiences, though. Have a happy holiday. However you celebrate it 🙂

  • “a fiercely intelligent god?” Is that the intelligence that allows hundreds of thousands of children to die every year of starvation, war, domestic violence, treatable diseases, and just plain negligence?

  • Evidence a fiercely intelligent creator god?

    Men’s prostate glands.


    Original sin.

    Donald Trump.

  • Ever plunk a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmastime? Then YOU turned out to be part of God’s intelligent, multi-faceted plan to fight hunger. Surely you’re okay with that, right?

  • That must make workplace holiday celebrations (not to mention birthdays) tricky. My sympathies to your human resources person.

  • Speaking of adaptation by religions, the candles in the Yule log picture look a lot (exactly) like Hanukkah candles. There’s actually a Talmudic commentary that connects solstice celebrations to Hanukkah. They say (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah [idol worship] 8a), that when Adam saw the days shortening in the autumn of his first year of life, he panicked and thought the world was coming to an end. When he saw the days lengthening, he realized this is how the world worked and made an eight-day festival to the one true God. But the pagans stole his idea and turned it into Saturnalia and Kalenda!

  • The employer doesn’t do holiday celebrations in workplace. We have a December holiday party at a nearby restaurant. Those who do not attend get an extra paid vacation day. Birthday celebrations are kind of ad hoc by employees for each other rather than officially sanctioned.

    Where I live/work, diversity is pretty much a given. So HR people tend to be acutely aware of the potential issues.

  • Our last two December holiday celebrations have been at a bar, after work, strictly voluntary (our boss didn’t go this year). But I think we changed it this past year to more of a sit-down bar/grill/restaurant so that the couple of Muslim employees could attend without feeling like they were “at a bar.” The new place was actually better. And we got comped a round of shots.

  • My company does something similar. They get a party room in a restaurant and have drinks brought over. Less having to do with avoiding offending sensibilities of people who oppose drinking. More to do with the exigencies of mid-sized restaurants in the area

  • Excellent….people like you are happy to spit on the notion of a God, “I can’t physically see him so He can’t be real’ type of person. However research why these children die (you and I both agree it is tragedy)…these children die mainly because of the lack of biblical principles. Starvation (let’s assume mostly 3rd world countries) a lot of this goes back to corruption and the lack of fairly distributing foods or spending money on other things, at times it is because a caste or ethnic group are wanting it to happen. Or that richer countries don’t share resources that could easily save them. You will find the Old Testament deals a LOT with social equity..actually all of your issues you listed are solved by God’s admonition at its simplest, “Love one another as I have loved you”. Domestic violence?? Why is that God’s fault?? SImple…a man follows God’s decree, “Love your wife and be gentle with her”, “wives submit to your husbands” (not to be beaten but to be respectful and not be a nagging materialistic sex denying woman…). It is a system, far more complex than people like you know, the Old Testament alone would solve every problem. It has a system that every 7 years, ALL DEBT is wiped clean and all slaves are set free. People like you hate God but when issues happen (usually man caused or could be fixed by man who sadly don’t) you hiss and whinge that God isn’t there…Of course He is not going to intervene in Muslim countries who have lied about who He is….Does the President of America owe you a Christmas card? Would you expect one? No! THe sad thing is though…God is truly saddened at how mankind (who turn their back on Him) have caused so much pain to children. If God intervened though, people like you would then say, “stop interfering…it’s our world, we want control”.

  • Nicely done Dee! Christians, the ones who actually stand up for their faith in these immoral and dark times, are quickly silenced by the almighty, “Don’t judge me for my sinful behavior”! Oh that good old verse brought out every time people want to justify
    their behaviors…like homosexuality in the church or whatever it is. In
    the instance of homosexuality God calls it (several times..) an
    ‘abomination’ and ‘contrary to nature’ but people like you then say, “Oh
    no…you can’t judge”…You have, like many others applied this verse
    wrong. Think about it, why would God (in the Old Testament) make a law
    that says for gays to be stoning (thus providing exercise, entertainment
    and cleansing at the same time!! lol..just joking..) then later say,
    “Oh no dudes…you can’t even say anything against it now”…really??
    People like you simply are very ignorant…no I don’t feel superior
    saying it….just sad in a kind of, “I wish there were more intelligent
    people on this earth to talk to”, way….
    This verse particularly
    relates to things that may or may not be known, and is the Apostle Paul
    speaking the newly formed Christian world. It is not about
    non-Christians using it on Christians. It is for Christians to not
    spread gossip or cause divisions amongst themselves in the Christian
    world. Of course, if a Christian is a drug deal, homosexual or doing
    something obvious, then the bible is very clear, “Have nothing to do
    with these people” (it goes on further later about why, and how they can
    be restored if they choose to). See, the judge not amongst Christians
    is this…we care enough about them to not want them to continue in
    something that will harm them and damage their relationship with God. So
    obviously this doesn’t apply to non-Christians. Go and do some real
    study…think for yourself rather than just throw God out because He is
    in the ‘too hard’ basket…goodness modern day society is a spoon fed

  • LOL…according to real research conducted on the majority of normal Americans, Trump has brought hope, jobs, employment, a sense of confidence in being American and he is no simpering politician! People like Trump (despite his faults) will do something about North Korea where people like you will sit back and say, “we shouldn’t interfere” meanwhile there are horrors going on over there and people want to be free. It is a God given mandate to, ‘free the slaves and those being oppressed’. Trump wants to stop Mexican drugs and jobs going there…great! He wants to not be pushed around by China and do something about Nth Korea…good on him!
    Also why do we physically age and die? I personally don’t anyone with those problems you listed but sure granted! In the beginning we were vegetarians, and did a pleasant physical work, not eating fatty food and sitting in front of TV or at a desk all day. Adam, through Eve, choose to throw perfection away,,,immortality for sin…and our physical bodies also were stripped of perfection! Not God’s fault,,,he didn’t originally want us to die! He wants life…but most people spit in God’s face and one day….we all will face Him. I am a Christian, yes, fiercely proud and not a doormat, but even I will face Him with a sense of intense fear and to do otherwise would be incredibly naive, arrogant and well,,,it’s not going to end well!

  • Yes,,,I didn’t really mean hippie in the same way I would say, “gay” (being a negative word)…but it you have to admit, people worshiping or praying to trees does invoke that image…lol! No I don’t want respect for my God….modern society has now passed that and are not capable of really doing that anymore. I neither expect or need people’s respect….God will take care of the fine print….

  • Peepsqeek,

    Thank you for your honest really touched my heart! So I will likewise honestly respond!

    God does care about the entire human family very much, and the great news is that not only will he “balance the scales,” but he will even EXCEED it!

    To be honest, I find Christmas to be a very unnecessary, burdensome, and commercialized religious holiday, which causes stress to a majority of persons, especially those worldwide who can’t even afford to buy the necessities of life! Yes, the wealthy ones can afford it, but even they have to put up with the “realities” of this crazy world we now live in! Then there is all this praise going to a man for the gifts he provides, who does not even exist, who allegedly knows if you’ve been good or bad??? I really rather give my praise and thanks to God, for the wondrous gift of life and all he gives me on earth on a daily basis, as well as my thanks for the gift of the ransom sacrifice of his son, Jesus, so that we might live forever on earth!

    The great news is that God, through his kingdom or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17) will soon put an end to all of our problems (war, which God never blesses, poverty, food shortages, pestilence, natural disasters, etc.) after it replaces all human governments (Daniel 2:44)!

    Christ Jesus, the King of that government (Isaiah 9:6,7) will then start his loving, just and righteous millennial rule over all meek persons after putting an end to all wicked ones (Isaiah 11:1-5), including terrorists! Peace and complete loving and caring brotherhood of man worldwide will then be the norm (Micah 4:3,4)!??????

    Throughout that millennial rule, millions of persons who have passed away (including the ones you mentioned!) will be resurrected back to life on earth, to be reunited with family and friends (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15) Then you can finally enjoy the “real life” with your friends you have lost, on an earth that is blessed by God with an abundance of food, drink, love and peace!

    And to top all of that off, God and his government will also put an end to all sickness, disease, old age and even death of humans on earth (Revelation 21:3,4)! ?????☝️

    That is how God will even “exceed the scale” for the entire human family because of his intense love for us! That was his original purpose for us to begin with! No man, nor any of his governments, can, nor ever will, even come close to that!

  • Are you serious…a committed Christian not give money to help the poor?? Of course we do! In fact part of my family line started the Salvation Army in NZ..
    Christians should help, and called out on hypocrisy if we don’t! The Old Testament is very socially aware and talks at length about social care, welfare and looking after each other! Yes, I care for the poor and I am sorry that a lot of them are there due to man’s disregard for God’s principles..

  • The headline reads “the roots of the Christmas tree.” Just as you suggest is the correct framing..

    Nowhere does this articles say that the Yule tree is responsible for all of Christmas. Nowhere does it suggest that it is the “real truth about Christmas.”

    It is a summary of a Yule celebration, and points out the pagan tradition of the yule tree is the forerunner to the Christmas tree celebration.

    Please do not treat any depiction of another religion’s holiday as if it is an attack on Christianity.

  • Isn’t it great that, across multiple religious traditions, they all agree on the importance of the winter solstice!

  • Considering that there has always been starvation, poverty, etc I guess biblical principals have never been adhered to.

    By the way, if an infinitely good and forgiving God chooses not to intervene in a country because he doesn’t like how he is depicted, that begs the question of his goodness and willingness to forgive. I cannot understand how people justify this conception of god to themselves; It seems to be anything but holy. Also, is God truly saddened? Does his disposition really depend on us? Both questions appear to negate his omniscience and limit his freedom.

  • Comments are sometimes disjointed here at RNS. My comment was not directed at the article. My comment was directed at the first few comments that appeared here that did what I spoke against. Such as Fran below, who sounds to be perhaps a Jehovahs Witness.

  • FourOwls, I’m replying to a few of your comments.

    I’m confused by this rant. Didn’t God indeed soften his stance in the New Testament? If not, then why aren’t Christians advocating for stoning again? They do it in the Middle East where supposedly they lie about who God is. By the way, the verse that was alluded to (Matthew 7:1-3) is the one you are discussing right? Why are you referring to Paul speaking then? Also, you really think the verse doesn’t have a more universal application? Doesn’t this verse, as well as the one that follows, have to do with the hypocrisy of calling others out when your faults are just as evident? Who taught you these interpretations because I never heard someone explain them so narrowly.

    What modern feminism and post-modern BS are you referring too? That women have equal status?

  • You are not laughing out loud as the rest of us in your assertion that Trump has brought “hope, jobs, employment, a sense of confidence in being American.” What research suggests this? Does Trump want to free slaves? Doesn’t the bible sanction keeping slaves? I’m being facetious but your perspective on our president (little “p” for a little man) and God seem both naive and yet arrogant, two things you don’t want.

  • How can you say that God is infinitely good yet at the same time suggest that humanity is cursed because of Adam and Eve? Would you punish your grandchildren for the sins of your son? There are significant problems with the “cursed” notion of original sin.

    How can you say that people in Muslim majority countries don’t want God’s presence? The word “Islam” is often defined as submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. This God that they believe in is the same God of Abraham.

    Your belief in God not needing us goes against every notion of him being sad, angry jealous, etc. Those are dependent feelings and we are therefore controlling God’s mood.

  • You could have had the courtesy to give an honest response in stead of quoting BS from the Bible. I know you believe you are doing the right thing by trying to give comfort though repeating the fantasy and fiction that you were indoctrinated with, but it is not an honest answer, it is just repeating text like they do in every other religion. However, that does not mean I don’t love you.

  • “The One”? Which “One”? Oh you mean “Father Yule” – that “One”? Or any of the “different deities” from “a combination of gods”? “Honour [that] One”, FourOwls? “Tell us what is what”, please. Before Christmas, if at all possible.

  • I like the original sin, where Adam and Eve committed the sin of disobedience against God and ate of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Now they understood shame, and the only two people on the planet had to cover their hairy undercarriage.

  • You do realize that y’all stole Christmas from the Scandinavian celebrations right? “Christmas” derives directly from Yule and was practiced long before Christianity.

  • “No I don’t want respect for my God” You want special privilege and an ability to attack others in the name of your faith without consequences.

  • “Trump has brought hope, jobs, employment, a sense of confidence in being American”

    Only to bigots, nativists, the uneducated and Christian fundamentalists who have foregone any pretension of “values”. Everyone else is holding their nose at the corruption, malice, and incompetence he projects.

    “Trump wants to stop Mexican drugs and jobs going there”

    No he doesn’t. He wants to appeal to your sense of bigotry against people with brown skin and accents. By wasting national resources which could go to job creation and improvement of crumbling infrastructure.

    “He wants to not be pushed around by China”

    Yet that is precisely what he has done. By opting out of the TPP he has hurt the US economy and boosted China’s, SK, Australia and Japan’s fortunes. He has become so well trolled by North Korea that our allies fear Trump more than Kim.

    Trump and his party just delivered the most repugnant tax bill to come out of Congress since the 19th Century. One designed to deliberately burden those who work for a living in order for the uppermost wealthy to reap the benefits of our democratic system. To support such a monstrosity is to say you are willingly being bent over by the GOP without even the benefit of the money on the nightstand. Masochism or rank stupidity. I am not sure which applies nowadays.

  • God’s word, the Bible, is the truth about our past, our present, and our future. All of God’s promises stated therein will take place, whether we believe them or not, and I love you too, my “brother” in the human family.

  • I am glad that you love me too, but you are still delusional. God is a concept and a concept can not promise you anything.

  • Time will prove what is true or false, to everyone on the planet! It is man and his way of rulership that is totally delusional, besides untruthful, sometimes corrupt, selfish and greedy, and not designed for the benefit of the masses! That’s been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, especially now!

  • Jer 10:2-5 This is what the Lord says, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain/ vanity: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, so it doesn’t fall over. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
    Sure sounds like a Christmas tree to me, and it sure sounds like God doesn’t want us to do this. All so-called “holy” days of Christianity stem from pagan worship practices which are commanded against by God. He is a jealous God therefore he requires 100% of your focus. If you’re running around keeping the customs of the heathen, no matter what you call it, you are not focused on God’s Word or his Commands.

    Check out this site for more:

  • I would agree that there are plenty of delusional, untruthful, and corrupt people, to include clerics, but for the most part, we are better educated today, more well fed, better medicines and excellent medical technology, better transportation, better communications, etc, etc, for the masses. And in the end, nothing lasts forever like in fantasy and fictional books. We all grow old and die and this one tiny planet has a shelf life as well, as far as you and I know. Anything beyond that is just pure speculation at this point.

  • Mglass,

    Here is the proof that Christmas is disapproved by God, as well as his son, Christ Jesus:

    1. Jesus’ birthdate is not recorded in the Bible. McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopedia says:

    “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the New Testament, or indeed from any other source” (New York, 1871), Vol. II, page 276.

    2. If Jesus or his disciples and first-century Christians ever celebrated his birth, the date would have been clearly recorded in the Bible to celebrate it.

    3. However, the early Christians and Jews of the Bible did NOT even celebrate “birthdays” at all:

    (a). Historian Augustus Neander writes: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period” (The History of the Christian Religion, During the Three First Centuries, translated by H. J. Rose, 1848, page 190).

    (b). The Jews “regarded birthday celebrations as part of idolatrous worship … and this was probably on account of the idolatrous rites with which they were observed in honor of those who were regarded as patron gods of the day on which the party was born” (McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopedia (1882, Vol. I, page 817).

    (c). “Early Christians [from the time of Christ until the 4th century] frowned on [celebrating anyone’s birthday], which was too closely linked with pagan customs to be given the approval of the church” (“How It Started,” page 213).

    4. The apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christian congregation in Corinth, a city that was steeped in pagan religious practices:

    “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1).

    So why “muddy ourselves” with a pagan holiday that is truly not Christian, and was not celebrated by Jesus, nor his followers?

    5. As a great teacher, Jesus gave clear instructions on what he wanted his followers to do, and they are recorded in the Bible. Celebrating Christmas, however, is not one of them! In addition, Jesus does not want his followers to “go beyond the things that are written” in the Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 4:6).

    6. As a side note, it was ONLY the shepherds, who were told about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, that were with Mary, Joseph, and BABY Jesus at the MANGER. NONE of them PRESENTED Jesus with ANY GIFTS whatsoever (Luke 2:8-20)!

    It was later on, when Jesus was a YOUNG CHILD, then living with Mary and Joseph in a HOME, that the Magi (not numbered) gave gifts to Jesus, which was customary when visiting notable persons, and they rightfully acknowledged that Jesus was one born the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1,2, 11).

  • Hello Fran,

    First I would like to thank you for your detailed reply. You have demonstrated that you have put a lot of thought into your position.

    * You have demonstrated that Christmas is not based on any Biblical prescription.

    * You have also referred to authorities which state that the early Christians and Jews did not celebrate birthdays. They saw it as connected to pagan customs.

    * You have therefore seen Christmas as an essentially pagan custom.

    This is where I part company with your argument. Even if the first two points are true, it does not mean that Christmas as it was developed by later Christians, was still essentially pagan.

    I believe that the Christians who took over and repackaged the Yuletide celebrations as a way of celebrating the birth of Jesus did a wonderful marketing job. It served them well for over a thousand years and has been embedded in Western culture as an essentially religious celebration.

    However, over the years, Christmas has slowly lost its exclusively religious nature and has become an increasingly secular celebration and an excuse for marketing and gift-giving that has little or nothing to do with any religious message.

    This later development is very questionable, and would be rejected by many people, whether they are religious or not.

    If you want to reject Christmas because it’s not mentioned in the New Testament, so be it. If you reject Christmas because it has become tainted with commercialism, fair enough. However, if you read 1 Corinthians 6 it warns you against judging other Christians. I think that would apply equally to those who insist on Christmas celebrations and those who would condemn any celebration of Christmas.

    Personally I would lighten up a bit and enjoy the holiday. We all need a break!

  • Jeremiah 10 condemns the making of idols. Christmas trees aren’t idols, so the text is misapplied. In any case, Jeremiah 10:5 says that idols can’t do any good or any harm. They’re as useless as a scarecrow in a cucumber field.

    If you want to object to the commercialization of Christmas, fair enough. If you reject Christmas because it’s not prescribed in the New Testament, that’s your right. However, if ordinary Christians treat Christmas as a religious festival, that is their right.

    By all means, reject Christmas for yourself, but leave others to follow their religion in their own way. In the mean time, enjoy the break!

    Hello Shooting Star.

    I think you should read Jeremiah 10 more carefully. The chapter is about making an idol. As far as I am aware, no-one worships the Christmas tree, so it hardly counts as an idol. Besides, Jeremiah reassures us that idols can’t do anything, good or bad. See Jeremiah

  • Jeremiah’s comparison between the idol which cannot stand by itself and a Christmas tree indicates that they are both worthless. This doesn’t negate the fact that the practice of cutting down a tree and “decking” it with silver and gold is addressed in this chapter. It is likened to – “the ways of the heathen”, and “vanity”. That point is clear to anyone who reads it with an open mind and heart.

    I reject Christmas because it goes against the Commands of God. I object to a pagan worship practice being called a “holy” day. Ordinary “Christians” may not be aware of the roots or origins of this day because they have been lied to their whole lives. The leaders of the people have led them astray, but it is time for this madness to stop.

    There is a set time for His people to cease from following unrighteousness and return to Him, that time is now. All the prophets admonish against idolatry / worshiping other gods. It is a historical fact that Christmas is not a celebration of the birth of Jesus, but it is a celebration of other gods! This is a gross violation of God’s command against worshiping them. No matter what you call it.

  • Hello Shooting Star,

    I hope you had a nice break over Christmas.

    Jeremiah could not condemn Christmas trees directly because there was no such custom at the time. You have applied the text against making idols to the Christmas tree.

    I stated that this was misapplied because the Christmas tree is not an object of religious worship.

    When a tree is cut down it is not decked with silver and gold, like an idol. It is decorated with tinsel and glitter and pretty but worthless ornaments. Quite a big difference.

    If you want to regard this as ‘vanity’, so be it. However, an empty custom is not the same as a religious act.

    You say, correctly, that the origin of many Christmas customs is pagan in origin. However, earlier Christians took over a pagan custom and turned it into a Christian religious festival. Later, this Christian religious festival was itself subverted into a secular marketing ploy.

    St Nicholas turned into Santa Claus. The halls that were decked with boughs of holly became Christmas decorations that were sold in the marketplace. The story of Jesus’ birth was overshadowed by eating, drinking and being merry.

    What was once a pagan custom was firstturned to Christian use, and this is now being turned into an essentially secular festival.

    By all means object to what you don’t like about Christmas celebrations, but don’t spoil your argument by overstating your case.

  • When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.

  • Now that you have called me blind, and revealed that you think you have seen the light of truth, here is my challenge to you: demonstrate to me that Christmas goes against the commands of your god.