This time of year is the one I dislike the most, for a number of really obvious reasons. But for a starters with all the Christmas postings, I must say I dont celebrate Christmas. Neither does my husband and boy we are so glad to be out of the rat race and out of the very obvious non - Christian connections to the day. Every since I was a little girl, my father told me at the young age of 5, that neither Santa, the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy were real. He didnt believe in lieing to me or my brother. Admittedly, I was kind of shocked but then I was like okay and got over it pretty soon. It actually was quite nice to know that it was mom or dad sneaking in to my room with a basket full of toys, instead of a fat man in a red suit whom I didn't know. As a child i spent hours flipping through a wonderful collection of childrens encyclopedia's, entitled Childcraft. I read them from cover to cover, everyday. I loved the one about history and mythology. The pages of those encyclopedia's told me the truth - that Christmas was actually celebrated to the Sun Deity, who was believed to have been born on this day 25th of December.
When I got saved and started to seek God's face on how I shoudl live my life, He shared many truths with me, one was about the pagan origins of Christmas.
We read in Werner Keller's book The Bible as History the following admission:
Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World. Finegan writes:"December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the 'Dies Natali Invictus,' 'the birthday of the unconquered,' the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival..." (p. 331).
The Catholic Encyclopedia says the following:"...But the worship of the sun-god continued widely throughout the empire, and under Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) the cult was restored to its former high estate. In the year 274 Aurelian declared the god -- now called Deus Sol Invictus -- the official deity of the Roman Empire; he built a splendid temple of the sun in Rome...and set the sun's birthday celebration (naturalis solis invicti) ON DECEMBER 25, the date then accepted for the winter solstice (also in his solar character the BIRTHDAY OF MITHRAS). In the time of Constantine the cult of Deus Sol Invictus was still at its height, and the portrait of the sun-god was on the coins of Constantine....Likewise it must have been in this time and with the intent to transform the significance of AN EXISTING SACRED DATE that the birthday of Jesus, which had been celebrated in the East on January 6...was placed in Rome ON DECEMBER 25, THE DATE OF THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF SOL INVICTUS. This date appears in a list of dates probably compiled in A.D. 336 and published in the Roman city calendar, edited by Filocalus, for the year 354" (Finegan, p. 211-212
"Christmas is not among the earliest festivals celebrated by the Church."
Truth is that this day was always seen as a day connected with something other then Yeshua the Saviour of Mankind. Archeology and general study will lead you to realise that shepherds could not have been watching their flocks at night in the cold of a snowy Israeli December evening.
The birth of the Messiah is not known for certain, but we can know the approximate time of year when he was born! In the book of Luke we read that the father of John the Baptist was Zacharias, and he was a priest who served at the temple in Jerusalem. He was "of the course of Abia" (Luke 1:5). While serving at the temple, he was informed by an angel that his wife was to have a son, who was to be named "John." After this, Zacharias finished "the days of his ministration," and "departed to his own house" (v.23). "And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived..." (v. 24).
The names of the different courses of priests that served at the Temple are given in I Chronicles 24:1-19. "Abia" or "Abijah" was the EIGHTH course. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, each one of these courses served at the Temple for one week, the first course serving the first week of Nisan, in the spring (compare I Chron. 27:1-2), and then each course in its own order. All the priests served during the annual festivals (Passover in spring, Pentecost, and then Tabernacles in the fall). After six months, the order would be repeated, thus each "course" would serve two weeks during a year.
The course of Abijah, then, would have served the eighth week in the rotation. The eighth week from Nisan 1, leaving out the week of Passover, when all the priests served, would have been IYAR 27 TO SIVAN 5, the day just before Pentecost , which generally fell on Sivan 6. After serving a week in the Temple, Zacharias would have remained another week in Jerusalem, because of the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost that week. Therefore, he returned home shortly after this, and his wife then conceived. This would have been about the middle of June. If we add nine months to this date, the normal time for the gestation of a human baby in the womb, John the Baptist would have been born about the middle of March, in the spring, shortly before the Passover.
Yeshua was conceived about six months after John (Luke 1:24-31, esp. verse 26). This would suggest that Yeshua the Messiah was conceived about the middle of December. This would place his birth nine months, or 270 days, later -- or the month of September! (Thanks to the Hope of Israel Website for this short explanation of the priestly course!)
My hearts conviction is to honour the Holiness of our King, as Romans 8 says that we are to be transformed in to the image of our Messiah, this is part of knowing that we belong to Him. It is best to do what His word says rather then follow the traditions our fathers gave us. The information I have presented above is a little tidbit of info, to get you thinking about this - Jeremiah 10: 2 - 4 speaks about cutting down a tree and decorating it, as the nations (heathens) do! Instead of trying to find a time to spend giving gifts to the family during this non - Biblical festival, God wanted us to celebrate His wonderful feast days, outlined in Leviticus 23. Not only are these feasts times of celebration, but they are also rehersal days and moments in time that speak of deeper truths about things still to come!
Yahweh my God, I will seek to serve You with all of my heart, serving You in the way You have ordained for me, not in the way of the nations of this world. For you have called and You have said - behold You are a set apart people, a holy nation, a Kingdom of priests to me, therefore be holy for I am Holy! Selah!