Celebrating the Birth of Christ?What do birthday celebrations look like?
Birthday boy or girl Birthday guests Birthday cake Birthday candles
Birthday presents Birthday invitations Singing the “Happy Birthday” song
We just celebrated 2 birthdays and they both followed the traditional “Birthday Formula” We had invitations, guests, presents, cake, and singing Leora’s and Micaiah’s birthdays have been historically celebrated by their families as well
Where Did the Traditional Birthday Formula Originate? “The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating—complete with lighted candles—in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom.” Schwäbische Zeitung (magazine supplement Zeit und Welt), April 3/4, 1981, p. 4.
“The notion of a birthday festival was farfrom the ideas of the Christians of this period [the first three centuries] in general.” The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries (New York, 1848), Augustus Neander (translated by Henry John Rose), p. 190. “The Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days.” The Imperial Bible-Dictionary (London, 1874), edited by Patrick Fairbairn, Vol. I, p. 225.
“The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or daemon who attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. The Romans also subscribed to this idea. This notion was carried down in human belief and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy godmother and the patron saint. The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the Greeks. Honey cakes round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed on the temple altars of [Artemis]. Birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes. Lighted tapers and sacrificial fires have had a special mystic significance ever since man first set up altars to his gods. The birthday candles are thus an honor and tribute to the birthday child and bring good fortune. Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. Originally the idea was rooted in magic. Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day.” The Lore of Birthdays (New York, 1952), Ralph and Adelin Linton, pp. 8, 18-20.
“The early Christians did not celebrate His (Christ’s) birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.” The World Book Encyclopedia: Volume 3, page 416.
Do we celebrate Christmas as if it were Jesus’ Birthday? • Invitations: No • Guests: Maybe, but not for Jesus’ Birthday Party • Birthday cake: No • Gifts: Not given to the Birthday Boy • “Happy Birthday” song: No We don’t follow the Birthday Formula
Where did our Christmas “Birthday Formula” Originate? • It is different than the Traditional “Birthday Formula” • Customs, Practices, and Traditions • Symbols, Icons, and Images • Historical Significance • Factual Errors • Spiritual Significance
History and Origin of the Christmas TraditionsA Few Critical Points December 25th as Christ’s Birthday: • When the angel announced Christ’s birth, the shepherds were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields • Shepherds stopped this practice by the end of October (Luke 2:8, Commentaries of Maimonides, Deuteronomy 11:4, Barnes, Doddridge, Lightfoot, Scaliger, Jennings, and Mede) • At the birth of Christ, every woman and child was to be taxed at the city they belonged • The winter was almost an impossible time to travel • Historical observance of Christ’s birth? • No such festival existed until the 3rd century (established by the Catholic Church as Christ’s Mass- another conversion of a pagan holiday) So why was December the 25th a pagan holiday?
Tammuz as King of Babylon December 25th as Christ’s Birthday: • The 25th was celebrated as the birth of Tammuz (the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven, Simeramus) • Yule Day (the 25th)- “yule” is the Chaldee word for “child” • Mother Night (the 24th)- Simeramus • The first mother and child: Simeramus and Tammuz • Also celebrated as the birth of the son of Isis by the Egyptians • Celebrated as the birth of the Moon by the Arabians Isis as the Queen of Heaven Tammuz as an infant
December 25th as Christ’s Birthday: • Tammuz died at birth • A great festival commenced as an appeal for the resurrection of Tammuz from the dead • Evergreen trees were set afire as a sacrifice to Baal • Infants were sacrificed on these fires so they might take Tammuz’s place and hereby obtain his release from death • Tammuz was resurrected after 3 days (sound familiar?) • The lighted evergreen tree is a symbol of this ceremony to Baal Tammuz Simeramus Nimrod
Wassailing Bowl Here we come a-wassailingAmong the leaves so green,Here we come a-wassailing,So fair to be seen: Love and joy come to you,And to you your wassail too,And God bless you and send you,A happy New Year,And God send you,A happy new year. from Bacchus- the drunken festival of Babylon
Christmas Tree The Roman fir tree symbolizing the god Baal-Berith (Lord of the Covenant or Lord of the Fir Tree) The Egyptian palm-tree symbolizing the god Baal-Tamar (from the Babylonian god Tammuz) The mother of Adonis (the son god) became an evergreen tree and then birthed him
Yule Log The yule log goes in the fire on Mother’s Night and is replaced by the tree on Child’s Day Adonis, birthed from his mother while she was in the form of an evergreen tree He was called “Man the Branch”
Mistletoe Kissing under the mistletoe originated in Babylon and was written about by Daniel. The mistletoe is a representation of Nimrod (or Tammuz or Adonis). Druidic Mistletoe Ritual
Santa Claus St. Nicholas of Myra (Catholic saint, died c 346 at Myra) The historical figure that Santa Claus was modeled after The Coca-Cola Company is responsible for the current costume and colors of Santa Claus
Conclusions • Birthday celebrations follow a certain pattern and formula (although of pagan origin, the birthday custom is practiced world-wide) • Christmas, if a birthday celebration of the birth of Christ, does not follow the birthday pattern • However, Christmas certainly has a traditional foundation and pattern of practice • Where then, did this pattern of practice originate?
Conclusions • Christmas was established by the Catholic Church as a means of converting several pagan customs • The practices found in the celebration of Christmas are traceable to Babylonian mythology (it is also an integration of many others as well) • Therefore, Christmas is celebrated as if it were a pagan ceremony • Hence, it is not a celebration of Christ’s birth
So What Should We Do?(only a few suggestions) • Make sure that you honor the birth of Christ during Christmas, or • Celebrate Christ’s birthday as you would any other, or • Celebrate Christmas as is, but celebrate Christ’s birth on another day that is more likely his actual birth
The Twelve Days of Christmas(cant confirm this is true but can’t prove it’s not) 1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ 2. Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments 3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love 4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John 5. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament 6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation 7. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy 8. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes 9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control 10. The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments 11. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples 12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed