• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.

What does Christmas have to do with Jesus?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by franklin, Dec 13, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

    +218
    Atheist
    Private
    What does Christmas have to do with Jesus?

    Christmas is a very popular holiday. However, as is often the case, what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular. "Christmas" is short for "Christ mass", or "mass for Christ". Is Christmas just another name for an old Pagen holiday?  Is Christmas really a celebration for the birth of Jesus Christ?  What does Santa Clause, reindeer, and the North Pole have to do with Jesus Christ? 

    Some will argue for the "keeping of Christmas" on the basis of "giving the kiddies a good time." But why do this under the cloak of honoring the Savior's birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His Holy name in connection with what takes place at this season of carnal jollification? As Jesus once asked, in Luke 6:46:
    "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"  
       
     
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

    +374
    Christian
    [glow=WHITE]JESUS[/glow]is the REASON for the SEASON!!!!


    :D
     
  3. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

    +7
    Catholic
    Mass is a pagan ceremony? I probably don't want to know your answer. :( But the Catholic Christmas Mass is a great experience, I'm definitely looking forward to it this year.

    -Chris
     
  4. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

    +374
    Christian
    Have you read the series, "LEFTBEHIND"? I have not. I clearly understand the Bible to declare that we will be here for the tribulation---so we need to prepare spiritually that we may stand.

    ...and yet...

    ...thousands of people have been led to Christ (or had their faith strengthened, or restored) through the series.

    I cannot condemn that which does good.

    Christmas is our "ACE-CARD"---it is our FOOT-IN-THE-DOOR.

    Evil seeks to separate mankind from every TRACE of Christianity.

    As long as there is Christmas, there are children hearing of shepherds in the fields, receiving "glad tidings of great news; for unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior; and His name is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

    As long as there is Christmas, there will be strains of: "Silent Night, Holy Night; Round 'Yon Virgin, Mother and Child, Holy Infant so Tender and Mild." There will always be "Away in a manger no crib for a bed..."

    There will be, "Oh litte town of Bethlehem..."

    If we are fortunate, there will even be, "Oh Holy Night!", and "Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her king!"

    What heart has never heard these words? What lips in America have never sung them?

    If we banish Christmas then we will banish Christ from the hearts of thousands.

    As long as there is Christmas, there is Jesus in front of the masses, even if only a few months a year. A few months is far better than none.

    [glow=white]JESUS[/gLow] is the REASON for the SEASON!!!!

    :D
     
  5. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    +3,062
    United States
    Catholic
    Married
    US-Others
    That was an excellent post Ben!
     
  6. Evangelion

    Evangelion <b><font size="2">δυνατός</b></font>

    +0
    Jesus hasn't been "the reason for the season" for decades.

    These days it's all about consumerism. :cool:
     
  7. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

    +218
    Atheist
    Private
    Jesus is the reason for all seasons!

    And speaking&nbsp;of seasons.... Where is it in the bible that says Jesus was born on December 25th? The scripture, as well as history, does not say when Jesus was born; not the day, month, or year! So how could anyone claim that this is the day Jesus was born? On what authority? How could we celebrate a birthday if nobody knows the birth date? And since the scripture is silent on that subject, maybe we are suppose to be silent as well, as to the physical birth of Jesus.&nbsp;The one thing we know for sure is that Jesus was not born in the winter time, as tradition teaches, but in warm weather!&nbsp;Is this the "season" Jesus is the reason for?&nbsp; It sounds nice and emotional in a traditional sort of way.&nbsp; At the time surrounding the birth of Christ, the scripture says, at Luke 2:8, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." In Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Palestine, the shepherds do not take their flocks out in the fields during the winter. They don’t today, and they didn’t 2,000 years ago.
     
  8. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

    +374
    Christian
    ;) @ Parousia

    THen we should take it BACK! As for me, I have been known to wear my shirt, hand lettered as follows:

    NO IT'S NOT
    hAppY hOliDayS
    .........IT'S
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    ...this, WHILE wearing my fuzzy crimson-n-white SANTA CAP, WHILE playing Christmas carols on my RECORDER! I have not been thrown out of the malls yet!

    Two years ago, the salesman at the piano store and I played DUETS! It was TERRIBLY FUN!

    With my shirt, it is VERY common for clerks to smile, look me in the eye and say, "Merry Christmas!" Makes my whole YEAR!

    ...some people just have no shame, do they? ;)
    Touche'! :D

    I don't think it matters when we celebrate it, to God---if we set aside a day in December, and honor Jesus THEN, I really think God will receive the honor...

    (Wish I could play all of "Bach's Joy"---all them sharps and flats mess me up!)
     
  9. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    +165
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Others
    If you don't know what you are talking about maybe you should keep silent. This from a messianic Jew quoting from pre-Christian Jewish sources.

    • The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
      by
      Alfred Edersheim
      CHAPTER VI.

      THE NATIVITY OF JESUS THE MESSIAH.
      (St. Matthew i. 25; St. Luke ii. 1-20.)

      But as we pass from the sacred gloom of the cave out into the night, its sky all aglow with starry brightness, its loneliness is peopled, and its silence made vocal from heaven. There is nothing now to conceal, but much to reveal, though the manner of it would seem strangely incongruous to Jewish thinking. And yet Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful. That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem,18 was a settled conviction. Equally so was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, 'the tower of the flock.'19 This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheepground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah20 leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices,21 and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism,22 on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible. The same Mishnic passage also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all the year round, since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before the Passover - that is, in the month of February, when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest.23 Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks all the year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak.

      http://www.ccel.org/e/edersheim/lifetimes/htm/II.vi.htm#II.vi
     
  10. Evangelion

    Evangelion <b><font size="2">δυνατός</b></font>

    +0
    Still, none of this proves that Jesus was born in the Jewish winter - nor even that he was born on the 25th of December! :cool:
     
  11. Evangelion

    Evangelion <b><font size="2">δυνατός</b></font>

    +0
    From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

    • The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131. In Dutch it is Kerst-misse, in Latin Dies Natalis, whence comes the French Noël, and Italian Il natale; in German Weihnachtsfest, from the preceeding sacred vigil. The term Yule is of disputed origin. It is unconnected with any word meaning "wheel". The name in Anglo-Saxon was geol, feast: geola, the name of a month (cf. Icelandic iol a feast in December).


      EARLY CELEBRATION

      Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the "birthdays" of the gods.

      Alexandria.
      The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Strom., I, xxi in P.G., VIII, 888) says that certain Egyptian theologians "over curiously" assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ's birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus. [Ideler (Chron., II, 397, n.) thought they did this believing that the ninth month, in which Christ was born, was the ninth of their own calendar.] Others reached the date of 24 or 25 Pharmuthi (19 or 20 April).

      With Clement's evidence may be mentioned the "De paschæ computus", written in 243 and falsely ascribed to Cyprian (P.L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ's birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created. But Lupi has shown (Zaccaria, Dissertazioni ecc. del p. A.M. Lupi, Faenza, 1785, p. 219) that there is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned Christ's birth.
      ROTFL! :D Clement, however, also tells us that the Basilidians celebrated the Epiphany, and with it, probably, the Nativity, on 15 or 11 Tybi (10 or 6 January).

      [...]

      ORIGIN OF DATE

      The Gospels.
      Concerning the date of Christ's birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion. Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended. But Rome was not thus considerate. Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season.


      [...]

      Natalis Invicti.
      The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date.
      For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont's epoch-making "Textes et Monuments" etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus' Calendar.

      It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Chrisian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont (op. cit., addit. Note C, p. 355).


      [...]

      Other theories of pagan origin.
      The origin of Christmas should not be sought in the Saturnalia (1-23 December) nor even in the midnight holy birth at Eleusis (see J.E. Harrison, Prolegom., p. 549) with its probable connection through Phrygia with the Naasene heretics, or even with the Alexandrian ceremony quoted above; nor yet in rites analogous to the midwinter cult at Delphi of the cradled Dionysus, with his revocation from the sea to a new birth (Harrison, op. cit., 402 sqq.).


      [...]

      Conclusion.
      The present writer in inclined to think that, be the origin of the feast in East or West, and though the abundance of analogous midwinter festivals may indefinitely have helped the choice of the December date,the same instinct which set Natalis Invicti at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christian feast there too.


      [...]

      The crib (creche) or nativity scene.
      St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 originated the crib of today by laicizing a hitherto ecclesiastical custom, henceforward extra-liturgical and popular. The presence of ox and *** is due to a misinterpretation of Isaias i:3 and Habacuc 3:2 ("Itala" version), though they appear in the unique fourth-century "Nativity" discovered in the St. Sebastian catacombs in 1877. The *** on which Balaam rode in the Reims mystery won for the feast the title Festum Asinorum (Ducange, op. cit., s.v. Festum).


      [...]

      Cards and presents.
      Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas. Tiele (Yule and Christmas, London, 1899) has collected many interesting examples.
      The strenæ (eacute;trennes) of the Roman 1 January (bitterly condemned by Tertullian, de Idol., xiv and x, and by Maximus of Turin, Hom. ciii, de Kal. gentil., in P. L., LVII, 492, etc.) survive as Christmas presents, cards, boxes.
    It's not entirely pagan, of course. Most of it was simply invented by silly people with too much time on their hands and not enough Scripture in their heads. Lacking any Biblical support for their "Christmas" ideas, they just made it up as they went along... just like their theology. :rolleyes:

    But the date was clearly appropriated from the celebration of Sol Invictus - who was (curiously enough) the pagan god worshipped by Constantine before his conversion... :cool:
     
  12. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

    +7
    Catholic
    I remember hearing that Christmas was intentionally put on the same day as the big Pagan festival to combat the pagan religion -- so that Christians would not be tempted to go back to the Pagan festivals because they had their own Christian festivals to attend to. I have no support for this whatsoever, so it's not worth much.

    -Chris
     
  13. Zipporah

    Zipporah Member

    135
    +0
    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]Answer: As much or as little as you want Him to have.[/font]

    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]On the one hand:[/font]

    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]It is true that 25th December was instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian as a pagan celebration of the birthday of the sun (Natalis Solis Invicti), and later by Constantine as a "Christian"&nbsp;celebration of the birthday of the Son.[/font]

    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]I would agree with Evangelion at this point, that&nbsp;modern Christmas is not entirely Pagan - it is also part folklore, part superstition, part tradition, and a huge part&nbsp;rampant consumerism (remember, the modren "Santa" started life as a Coca-Cola advert - how appropriate&nbsp; :rolleyes: ), with a sugar frosting of Matthew/Luke Chapters 1 and 2 appeasing the collective conscience.[/font]

    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]As such, I&nbsp;would say that&nbsp;Christmas is unbiblical and unscriptural - besides, our faith does not rest upon His birth, but upon His sacrificial death.&nbsp; And why limit the "celebration" to one day in the year?&nbsp; Every day should be lived&nbsp;as a testimony to&nbsp;Him.[/font]

    [font="verdana, arial, helvetica"]On the other hand:[/font]

    A favourite saying of mine (from a Taize chant) - "Where there is charity and love, God is there."

    This is where Christ comes into Christmas.&nbsp; Beyond the superficial facade of consumerism, lies a generosity of spirit that prompts many to think of those less fortunate than ourselves, in the giving of gifts and money in the name of His Son&nbsp;for those in poverty both at home and abroad. The only tragedy is that most do not maintain this generosity throughout the rest of the year.
     
  14. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

    +7
    Catholic
    I think the way that the Catholic church handles Christmas and Advent preserves the memory of Christ and the religious significance of his birth pretty well, even if we can't say that his birth really was on December 25th.

    In the four "advent" weeks leading up to Christmas, the liturgy readings are "preperatory" in nature -- i.e. Isaiah prophecy verses dealing with the Messiah's birth, and verses about John the Baptist "preparing the way" for Jesus.

    Then on Christmas you have four options for Mass -- the Vigil Mass, the Midnight Mass, the Mass at Dawn, or the Mass during the day. The masses have different scripture readings but they are all on the same topic -- the birth of Jesus. (This year the OT readings are all from Isaiah, and the Gospel readings are Mt 1:1-25 (vigil), Lk 2:1-14 (midnight), Lk 2:15-20 (dawn), and Jn 1:1-18 (during the day). Catholics are required to go to one of these masses, so if you are a devout Catholic it's hard to avoid the religious significance entirely.

    -Chris
     
  15. Michael0701

    Michael0701 Harley Ridin' Believer!!

    719
    +6
    Non-Denom
    Married
    US-Republican
    Thanks Ben for putting it back into perspective for me!

    My crabbiness is driving my wife nutty. Madison Ave has turned the birth of Christ into a worship of a jolly old elf and the crucifixion of Christ into a celebration of rabbits!! But there is still some meaning in the holidays/holy days for me, I just needed a little nudge in the right direction.

    PS is it wrong to wear a t-shirt that says "put Christ back in Christ-mas" ;)
     
  16. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

    +374
    Christian
    Sounds excellent! :D @ Michael

    BTW, next time someone wishes you "Happy Holidays", kindly remind them, where the word, "holiday", came from???

    (Hint: "Holy Day"???)

    ...heh heh heh...
     
  17. franklin

    franklin Sexed up atheism = Pantheism

    +218
    Atheist
    Private


    You know OS, you use some pretty tough words sometimes but I think you need to get a grip yourself, OK! Maybe it's you that doesn't know what you are talking about!

    Did you ever wonder where Christ-mass came from in the first place? Look to the scriptures before you go spouting off at the mouth! "Christmas" was celebrated by the heathens thousands of years before Jesus was even born! One of their customs was to decorate a tree with silver and gold ornaments, then fasten the tree so that it would not topple. Here is Biblical evidence of this fact:
    Jeremiah 10:2-5, "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen…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 axe. 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…" God is telling us in this verse, "Do not learn the way of the heathen" Don't even learn it, let alone practice it. God even condemns a custom that the heathens practiced, yet we see this very same custom exist even today; it is called the Christmas tree. The scripture describes this "Christmas celebration" as idolatry. Other pagan customs include Mistletoe and the yule log. If you seek, you will find that these things are pagan also all over the world.
     
  18. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    +165
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Others
    First, I wasn't spouting off at the mouth. I quoted a legitimate Jewish source and even linked to it. Second, be nice, if you can't I will help you. You want to review the scriptures, then why did you only quote a few verses, lets look at the rest of the chapter.
    • 5 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.
    Jeremiah 10 is NOT about Christmas trees or any other kind of decorated tree, it is about false idols. Does anyone expect a decorated trees to speak or do anything?

    • 8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
      9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.
    How can a decorated tree be brutish? But the pagan deities were brutish supposedly killing those who opposed them. And decorated trees don’t wear purple robes of royalty. Pagan idols were dressed in purple. This is talking about wooden pagan idols covered with thin plates of precious metals because the poor could not afford to buy statues made of pure gold, silver, etc.

    • 11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
      14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
    Proof positive that this entire passage is talking about powerless pagan idols, graven and molten images, that have no breath, NOT decorated trees. If you want to teach me about Christmas next time bring some real evidence, not just some misquoted scriptures and a buncha false junk your guru has taught you.
     
  19. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    +165
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Others
    Irrelevant! I wasn't trying to prove that point, only rebut false information which suggests He could not have been born at that time. And I think I adequately adressed that point.
     
  20. Future Man

    Future Man Priest of God and the Lamb

    245
    +0
    Calvinist
    I entirely forgot this one when we were going over the similarities between JWs and CDs on the 'Christ's deity' thread! They [CDs] don't celebrate Christmas or any other Christian Holiday :rolleyes::D. Someone needs to tell the JWs all about the pagan's nasty habit of "taking a bath" and how taking part in such is EVIL!! :idea:

    :bow: :priest:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...