How Should Christians Celebrate the Birth of Christ?
First Draft, 12/17/2004
Current Draft, 11/30/2005
a. Christmas Tree.
b. Giving Presents.
c. Hanging Stockings on Mantle.
d. Santa Claus / St. Nicholas, etc.
e. Santa's Reindeer.
f. Christmas Eve and Day.
g. The Nativity.
h. Mistletoe and Yule Log.
i. Christmas - what's in a word?
3. Common Rebuttals.
a. "You're just being a Scrooge!"
b. "Jesus is the reason for the season!"
c. "It's about spending time with family!"
Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the all.
-Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas
How should a Christian, in accordance with Christianity, celebrate the birth of Christ? To understand how a Christian should, it is best to discover and understand its origins. To most Christians, the origins of Christmas are not well known. Christians who have investigated Christmas delve only deep enough until they find out it has pagan origins, and there is where the investigation stops. However, the further one digs into history and tradition, the further warped Christmas is found to be. A true Christian will adhere to his/her doctrine of faith and not rely upon other teachings and rituals rejected by Christianity. A history of paganism, shamanism, ancient gods, rituals, mythology, astrology, entheogenic drugs, sex, blatant lies, commercialism, and more perpetuate this farce that many so-called Christians celebrate as a testament of the Christian faith.
For those who convince themselves to be serious Christians in search of truth, this may come as a shock, be deemed blasphemous by fundamentalists, and many may find it easier to be upset with me for pointing this out, rather than seek the truth for themselves. For anyone interested in truth, rather than belief, some of this may come as a surprise, and should a Christian continue to research this question, the more they will be dismayed at what they may have once believed and held dear to their heart: an outright lie.
My message is not against Christianity, but for. In today's society, with the aspect of Christmas, atheists and agnostics have more in common with Christianity than a lot of Christians. There is a deep level of evil, itself being ignorance, that permeates Christianity and its method of attack is gradualism over thousands of years. Christmas does not bring any peace and quiet to the soul, but rather panders to the unquenchable desires of the heart and promotes greed and selfishness. Unfortunately, one does not usually care enough until it reaches a boiling point. The first step toward the path to freedom is to realize one is born into the slavery of ignorance.
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
-Socrates, Plato's Apology
Ancient Egyptians, who worshipped the sun god Ra, would bring date palm leaves into their homes as a symbol of life's triumph over death for the arrival of the winter solstice. For Saturnalia, the Romans would honor Saturnus, the god of agriculture, in part by decorating their homes with garlands of laurel and green trees lit with candles. Druids would use evergreen trees during mysterious winter solstice rituals by placing the branches over doors to keep away evil spirits. During the later part of the middle ages, Scandinavians and Germans would place evergreen trees in their homes. As legend would have it, Martin Luther, the father of the Lutheran church, started the practice of decorating the Christmas tree somewhere around 1500. What does God have to say about the Christmas tree? From Jeremiah 10:2-5:
Thus saith the LORD, 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: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 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.
God specifically instructs his followers not to do as the heathen: do not cut down trees, do not mount and fasten them, and do not decorate them. Doing so is absolutely worthless and has absolutely nothing to do with honoring Him.
For an even deeper meaning of the Christmas tree we come across Shamanism. At the heart of Shaman rituals we find the use of entheogenics; specifically Amanita Muscaria "Fly Agaric" mushroom. Shaman priests consume Fly Agaric in order to undergo what is known as the Death/Rebirth experience in order to gain enlightenment. Fly Agaric is commonly found growing in a symbiotic/mycorrhizal relationship with coniferous trees throughout the world. Shamans find the act of cutting down a Christmas tree as absurd, not because God prohibits it, but because they are cutting down the wrong thing. Shamans see nothing special or magical about a coniferous tree, but that which grows underneath it.
The roots of the Christmas tree are tangled in mythology and the worship of ancient gods, prohibited by the Christian God, and Shamanism. One could also speculate the absurdity of it also as being inherently the wrong thing to cut down in the first place.
If life is indeed a gift, what then, does one actually deserve? In Christianity, the roots of gift giving stem from the wise men giving gifts to the Christ. Today, giving gifts during Christmas has two main faults: 1) the one who is giving gifts symbolizes the wise men (who in turned received no gifts from Christ) who gave gifts to the Christ, the receiver, and 2) the receiver symbolizes the Christ. Anyone who receives a gift is in effect pretending to be the Christ, and those who give said gifts are in effect saying the receiver is the Christ. Both the giver and receiver partake in this false ritual of blasphemy.
In shamanism, the gifts are the Fly Agaric mushroom. The gift of entheogenic enlightenment is considered greater than any materialistic desire. It is rather peculiar how close today's practice of the mythical god Santa leaving presents under a pine tree is with that of Fly Agaric being found underneath the same pine trees in nature.
Hanging Stockings on the Mantle.
The current belief behind hanging stockings on the mantle generally follows how St. Nicholas threw three coins down a chimney of the home of three poor virgin sisters, each landing in separate stockings laid on the hearth to dry, and thus saving them from turning to prostitution. James Arthur, an ordained Christian priest and long time student of Tibetan Buddhism, makes a connection between the Fly Agaric mushroom and the symbolism of hanging stockings on the mantle of the fireplace. Referring to Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said:
He who is close to me is close to the fire; he who is far from the fire is far from the kingdom.
You will note that, by the gift of St. Nicholas, the three virgins were saved from having to turn to the pain and suffering of a life of prostitution. If we are to look into the way of the shaman further, we can start to see the connection between enlightenment from the Death/Rebirth experience of the Fly Agaric mushroom and hanging stockings on the mantle. However ludicrous this may seem, there is nothing not worth looking into if one wants to understand what one's faith stands on.
Santa Claus / St. Nicholas, etc.
Few people stop to think about how detrimental this fable and lie is to a child's upbringing. Santa Claus is the omniscient and omnipresent invisible being who has been given the status of God by knowing who's been bad or good, epitomized in the song, 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town', written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934. Christians who perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus knowingly or unknowingly teach their children there is more than one God who knows your deeds. Parents know Santa is an outright lie, simply because they pretend to be Santa for their children. This lie is held for years throughout a child's most impressionable years. Children inherently believe everything their parents tell them, and when the bubble is burst for the child, resentment can build up against the parents. If you have children and wonder why they may hate you, it may stem, in part, from this blatant lie you told them, knowing you yourself nobody likes to be lied to.
The myth of Santa Claus, as he is commonly known as today, has many names and many origins. Santa's origins pre-date Christianity back to when sky-riding gods ruled the earth. Mythical gods Odin, Thor, and Saturnus provide for the foundation of this myth. Within Catholicism we have St. Nicholas (c. 346) of Myra, Lycia (modern Turkey); Protestants believe in St. Nicholas of Bari, once living in Asia Minor, died in either 345 or 352. St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of children in Siberia (Russia), a supplanter to the indigenous Shaman. Most religious historians and experts in folklore maintain there is no valid evidence to indicate that St. Nicholas ever existed as human.
During the 10th century the Christian author Metaphrastes collected and wrote many traditional legends about St. Nicholas. During the 11th century the Roman Catholic Church taught that during the Muslim invasion of Asia Minor his remains were transferred to Bari in Italy where they became known as Nicholas of Bari. During the 19th century St. Nicholas was superseded in much of Europe by Christkindlein, the Christ child, who delivered gifts in secret to the children. He traveled with a dwarf-like helper called Pelznickel (a.k.a. Belsnickle) or with St. Nicholas-like figures. Eventually, all three were combined into the image that we now know as Santa Claus. "Christkindlein" became Kriss Kringle.
Around this time there were two competing images of Santa Claus: St. Nicholas the elf-like gift bringer described in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas', and the friendlier Kriss Kringle image from the Christkindlein and Pelznickel characters. Red, blue, green, and purple were common colors surrounding him at this time. For Christmas of 1841, Philadelphia merchant J. W. Parkinson hired a man to dress in "Criscringle" clothing and climb the chimney outside his shop. Thomas Nast, who worked for Harper's Weekly as a caricaturist, developed his own version of Santa in 1863, having whiskers and dressed in all fur, head to foot. In 1866 Nast portrayed Santa as a toy maker, and in 1869 George P. Webster first wrote about the North Pole as Santa's home. Nast never settled on just one image of Santa Claus, but his closest drawing to the modern day myth stems from his works around 1881.
The present day push for 'Santa Claus' in name and in image is the product of Haddon Sundblom in 1931 for Coca-Cola. Any current images of Santa Claus implanted in the subconscious of today's society are the direct result of Coca-Cola's marketing. Before 1931, Santa was known to be shorter, wore different articles and colors of clothing, and sometimes not even human, but often gnome or elfish in stature.
The present-day Santa Claus can be found everywhere in the United States around Christmas: at shopping malls for kids, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, and so on. When a child asks a parent why he sees more than one Santa, the lie is somewhat exposed, and parents, in giving the half-truth, say that they are either Santa's other helpers, or that the Santa they saw is just a person in a suit, but the real Santa is at his home in the North Pole.
Santa's original eight reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, and Blitzen are either the witty offspring of either Clement Clarke Moore in 1822, written for his two daughters, or the anonymous submission to the Troy (New York) Sentinel on December 23rd, 1823 by Major Henry Livingston Jr's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. Either way, the reindeer were unknown before the early to mid 1820's. Whether or not there is symbolism in a name with the reindeer, it would be best to see if there is any meaning implied.
'Donder en Bliksem' and 'Donner und Blitz' are Dutch and German, respectively, for Thunder and Lightning. Thunder and lightning symbolize both the Norse god Thor and the Greek god Zeus. Vixen's roots can be found, by definition, to be that of a malicious fierce-tempered woman. In today's society, a vixen is synonymous with sex and lust. Comet may simply refer to one of the 'signs of heaven' that God told us not to be dismayed about. The counterpart to the Greek god Eros, Cupid is the god of love. This leaves us with Dasher and Dancer. Of such generic terms, one can only postulate them together as that of agitated (dashing) dancing. Mind you, these names may have been given simply because they rhymed in the song, but there is still great meaning in a name. Rarely if ever are books and music written that last if they doesn't have meaning.
As for Santa's most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the product of copywriter Robert L. May in 1939 for Chicago-based Montgomery Ward (now defunct). Rudolph's purpose to Montgomery Ward was solely a marketing gimmick to save money. Previously, Montgomery Ward would purchase and give away coloring books for Christmas, and creating their own booklet was their means to saving money. So, before Christmas 1939, there was no Rudolph.
It is interesting to note the concept of flying reindeer. It is well known in shamanism, regarding the Death/Rebirth experience induced by Fly Agaric mushrooms, that the shamans would often drink the urine of reindeer who consume the Fly Agaric, as this filters out the nauseating effects, but not the 'flying away' death/rebirth experience, and makes it safer to consume.
With certainty, Santa's Reindeer can be summed up as a cross-breed of one author's imagination that combined Greek and Norse mythology with a folk song, shamanist tradition, and that of corporate marketing.
Christmas Eve and Day.
When was Jesus born? Within Christianity today December 24th/25th is commonly referred to as the night/day in which Jesus the Christ was born. However, research suggest the best guesses (since there is no birth certificate for Jesus or any other accompanying document establishing this date) among theologians, historians, and Israeli meteorologist center around late September and early October in as late as 5 AD.
Not until the beginning of the fourth century AD did western church leaders really take an interest in the birth of Christ. These church leaders selected December 25th because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various pagan gods. Eastern churches began to recognize the birth of Christ in 375 AD. Ireland started in the 5th century, followed by the church of Jerusalem the 7th century, Austria, England, and Switzerland in the 9th, and Slavic regions in the 9th and 10th century. What does the bible have to say about when Jesus was born? Luke 2:8:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
The shepherds brought their flocks of sheep in from the pasture in October, and did so for the simple reason: there is no grass for grazing in winter because of the snow. This also throws doubt unto the winter nativity scene as well.
What, then, is the significance of December 24th/25th? The main significance is the tie-in with the winter solstice. Many ancient religions observed the winter solstice as it was seen at which the days stopped getting shorter. Myths arise out of the belief that the sun was in effect leaving the earth, pitting man in eternal darkness. Rituals were construed in order to appease the sun god into returning.
In ancient Egypt, the god-man/savior Osiris died and was entombed on December 21st. At midnight priests would emerge from an inner shrine professing a virgin birth and showing an image of a baby to worshippers. Ancient Greece celebrated Lenaea, the festival of the wild women. The god of the harvest, Dionysus was torn apart and eaten by a gang of wild women, and later reborn in a ritual as a baby. During the empire of ancient Rome, the festivals of Saturnalia covered a full week, from December 17th to the 23rd. By the third century, Emperor Aurelian (270 to 275 AD) established the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, on December 25th, incorporating pagan god-men/saviors such as Appolo, Baal, Dionysus, Hercules, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, Theseus, and many more.
It is not difficult to find that Christianity not only did not establish the date of Christmas, but early Christians admonished it for its pagan roots. How is it that which was once admonished by Christian forefathers is now openly celebrated by today's Christians?
The greatest lies derive from the smallest assumption. The origins of the nativity scene (crèche) derive from Catholicism, not Christianity, by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 AD. In Grecio, a small mountain-side town overlooking a beautiful valley, St. Francis realized the chapel of the Franciscan hermitage would be too small to hold the congregation for Midnight Mass. Here he borrowed an ox and an ass from a local farmer, setup a manger, and placed statues of Joseph and Mary around a doll of Jesus in the manger.
This is the scene commonly referred to as the scene at with the three wise men visited Jesus bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, the bible says nothing about how many wise men visited. Matthew 2:1:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem
The reason for three wise men arises out of the three kinds of gifts. Logic will tell us that just because there were three kinds of gifts, this does not mean there were three wise men. All we can conclude was there were at least two wise men because of the plural use of 'man'. There is also no evidence these men were kings, as sung by the carol, "We Three Kings". And when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they did not find him in the manger. In fact, he was in a house at the time of arrival. Matthew 2:11:
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Possibly a rather minor point within the celebration of Christmas, but upon discussion of when Jesus was actually born, one has to also research other information surrounding his birth.
Mistletoe and the Yule Log.
Used in pagan rituals, especially by the Druids, mistletoe was believed to give protection, be useful for love, bring life and fertility, protect against poisoning, and an aphrodisiac. The early Christian church prohibited the use of mistletoe because of its pagan origins. The roots of kissing under the mistletoe are unknown, but likely stems from the fertility aspects of mistletoe. In Norse lore, Frigga is the Norse Goddess of love, marriage, and fertility. Her son Balder was slain by Loki with an arrow of mistletoe, but when balder was reborn, Frigga blessed the mistletoe and gave a kiss to whoever stood underneath it.
The tradition of burning of the yule log is not very common anymore outside the pagan community, but is interesting to note nonetheless. Yule logs, often times birch, oak willow, or holly, were burned as a ritual in an attempt to bring the sun back. This practice also stems from the myth that the sun was going to leave mankind entrenched in eternal darkness. Whatever rituals these have been used for, they have deep roots within pagan, Druid, and Norse lore, not Christianity.
Christmas - What's in a word?
Christmas does not mean "the birth of Christ". Christmas, the offspring of the Roman Catholic Church, stems from two words, Christ and Mass, having roots in old English "Cristes Maesse", or the mass of Christ. The Catholic Encyclopedia states "In the Christian law, the supreme sacrifice is that of the Mass. The supreme act of worship consists essentially in an offering of a worthy victim to God, the offering made by a proper person, as a priest, the destruction of the victim". According to Catholicism, mass is the sacrificing of a victim. The Mass of Christ is the literal of sacrifice of the victim who is Christ. Keep in mind that Mass is a ritual rejected by Protestants, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and so on, according to the World Book Encyclopedia.
How tangled is this web of perversion when, on the supposed day Christians celebrate the Birth of Christ, followers are in effect following a long tradition of celebrating the death of Christ. The word Christmas is neither Christian nor holy, but a vicious attack on Jesus the Christ.
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
"You're just being a scrooge!"
There is no biblical support or instruction on how to celebrate Christ's birth. Anyone who questions Christmas today is often times bluntly rebuffed as being a "Scrooge" and told they are "spoiling a joyous time of the year". One will note that the one calling the other a Scrooge may appear hurt, because a needle is being pushed into their bubble but has yet to pop it, and they must defend. Isn't it humorous, coincidentally, that these same people rely upon yet another fable as their rebuttal; that wretched character in Charles Dickens' work of fiction, 'The Christmas Carol'? One may wonder what predecessor to this rebuttal was used before this one before 1843, when this work was first published.
"Jesus is the reason for the season!"
Others will ignorantly call upon the jingle, "Jesus is the reason for the season!" This is false because, upon investigation, Jesus really has nothing to do with the season during the winter solstice. This excuse is mostly used simply because it rhymes. The use of 'reason' in the jingle should cause one to laugh simply because of the absurdity of the lack of any reasoning involved with Jesus and Christmas.
"It's about spending time with family!"
As a last ditch effort to defend Christmas, the only leg left holding up the ritual of Christmas is family. "It's about spending time with family!" Christmas has become so ritualized that it is often deemed the best part of the year to spend time with one's family. If the last resort is merely to spend time with one's family, then do just that. However, in light of the above blasphemous traditions, why would any Christian want to observe this ignorance with the rest of ones family? At this point in defending Christmas, we know that one's family is far more important than the lies surrounding Christmas. To spend time with family, why does it have to be this one time of year? One's family is far more important than customs of old. Don't wait until this one time of the year. Don't spend time with your family just because 'everyone is doing it'. If a Christian is going to spend time with family, why must it be within the embrace of pagan worship, rituals, myths, drugs, lies, false gods, materialism, and commercialism? Is it not possible for a family to enjoy the company of each other without these things echoing in the background as if to portray a stage awaiting the approval of the audience of evil?
"...for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him..."
-Socrates, Plato's Apology
These arguments are by no means a definitive list of all that is wrong with Christmas in regards to Christianity. If one continues to look, one will find more and more lies in every aspect of their life. Christmas brings feelings of a lessening of self-worth to the poor when Santa bypasses their homes, and envy and hate among those who get presents, but did not receive as "good" of a present as the next person, or did not get what they want. It promotes the greatest lie a child will ever believe. It incorporates the marketing and commercialism of the biggest companies and corporations in the world. Folklore, myths, and pagan rituals are accepted as part of the faith. In celebrating the birth of Christ, it does not even fall near when He was born, and in fact portrays each of us as Jesus the Christ ourselves.
At the least, hopefully this will bring those of blind faith to disbelief and anger towards foolishness. How deep the icy cold hands of ignorance are embedded into our psyche can only be determined by how far one is willing to question everything they hold beyond questioning. If one's faith resides on blindly believing what they are told, how does one know they are not living their entire life in a lie and for a lie?
The truth shall set you free. Actual truth does not ebb and flow at the whim of history. It may take a thousand years for black to become accepted as white, but that does not mean it is. After attempting to examine a ritual firmly entrenched within the workings of the lives of so many, I ask again that which I certainly do not know: how should a Christian, in accordance with Christianity, celebrate the birth of Christ?