|By Michael Bunker
“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2)
November 21, 2001 — In my last article, dated November 16th, I spoke at length about a topic that I think is one of the most neglected topics in Christendom. I spoke about the Conscience. The conscience is the organ of communication with God that we should use to regulate our daily behavior. The numerous warnings in scripture about protecting and heeding the conscience are vital to our understanding of how we are to operate in these perilous times. The ultimate test of the Conscience, for each of us and for those around us, is how well we are willing to entertain truth. Will we shun truth in favor of comfort? Will we reject truth in favor of compromise? Moral and philosophical cowards are willing to relegate “truth” to a subjective thing, anesthetizing the conscience rather than guarding it.
They will say “Whose truth?”
Every year, such a conscience test presents itself. During the time of year that people call “The Holidays”, we have a wonderful test of how people regard “truth”, and how willing they are to sear their own consciences. For the nominal “Christian” — the ultimate test is Christmas.
Why, you may ask, do I continue to term this “holiday”, the Christ Mass? Because it is a holiday of (and for) papists. Here is the definition of Christmas from the Catholic Encyclopedia: The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ. A “mass” is the prayer for the soul of one who has died, it is a celebration of death. The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to say, rather blatantly: Christmas was NOT among the earliest festivals of the church. In fact, one of the earliest of the Catholic writers said, “that in the scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday.”
Charles Spurgeon is considered by most evangelicals to be one of the greatest of the Protestant preachers of the 1800’s. Virtually every seminary and all of the mainline churches honor the preaching and teaching of Spurgeon, although most have since rejected the basis of his teachings on the doctrines of grace and election. Here is what the great historical Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon had to say about the Christ Mass:
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First because we do not believe in any mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English: Secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there in no possibility of discovering when it occurred. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the birth of our Lord; and it was not till long after the western Church had set the example, that the eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known. Probably the fact is that the ‘holy’ days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which our Savior was born it is the 25th of December. Regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”
I wish I could say that, for most people, this is the first they heard of such a thing. I doubt it. The exposition of the Christ Mass has been widespread in the past few years. Yet most will only shrug at the information, and do nothing about it.
Why is that?
The Bible says that we are to hold TRUTH in the highest esteem, that we are to harden not our hearts against it, and that we ought to pursue truth OVER comfort, compromise and peace. The bible implores the Christian to harden not his heart against the truth, and to lend not his members over to uncleanness and paganism. What fellowship do we have with the MILLIONS of antichrists who brazenly celebrate this holiday according to the traditions of the world?
Will we not hear God? Will we not hear the scripture? Will we not hear the past heroes of our faith?
If we will not hear God, and we will shun the scripture or our church fathers – let us hear from the reprobates on the matter. What follows is a pamphlet put out by a group of homosexuals and lesbians regarding Christmas. There is more truth here, although from a skewed and perverted angle — than most professing “Christians” are willing to accept:
Why We All Celebrate At Christmas-Time — (from the ‘Pink Triangle Trust’)
We all (well, nearly all) celebrate at Christmas-time because everyone else is doing so, and we don’t want to miss out on the fun. People have been doing so at this time of year since prehistoric times, but why is everybody celebrating? The answer is that in the world’s northern hemisphere it is the time of the winter solstice (about December 22).
Midsummer Day is June 24 each year, but the longest day (the summer solstice) is actually about June 21. After that date the period of daylight gets shorter every day, and night-time gets longer. At the winter solstice the turning point is reached and, from then onwards, the daylight hours will increase and those of darkness decrease, until the next summer solstice.
Survival through the winter, any winter, could be a hard struggle in bygone ages, so the turning point of the year was definitely the time to celebrate. Afterwards people could start looking forward to springtime and to summer.
The ways to celebrate Christmas-time have varied through the ages, but eating special foods, and drinking with friends, has always played a central part. It brightens up the long dull winter season. Think how long and bleak winter would seem without it!
Our customs show the wide variety and origins of our present winter solstice celebrations …
Why December 25?
For millennia, the promise of spring and summer has been more important than we can easily imagine today. Perhaps that is why early cultures introduced evergreen decorations (laurel or holly) into their homes – they are hope- filled symbols of life in the winter gloom.
In ancient Egypt the birth of the god Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, was celebrated on December 25.
In the Roman world, there was the Saturnalia, the festival of Saturn, the god of harvests. Originally this took place on December 19 but it was extended for seven days. It was the merriest festival of the Roman year. All business stopped. Slaves were given temporary freedom to say and do what they liked, and certain moral restrictions were eased (the modern equivalent being the office party). The holiday concluded on December 25 with a great feast, when presents were exchanged. In addition, towards the end of the Roman empire, there was the celebration of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (natalis solis invicti), on December 25 of course. The god Mithras had a large following in the empire, particularly amongst the military. After midnight, on the first moment of December 25, the Mithraic temples would be lit up, with priests in white robes at the altars, and boys burning incense, similar to what happens today in Roman Catholic churches. At sunrise the priests would declare: “The god is born”. Mithras was the principal Persian deity by the 5th century BCE. He was rock-born of a virgin goddess on December 25 and shepherds were the first to learn of his birth. He came from heaven and redeemed believers from their sins.
Among Celtic and Germanic tribes, the winter solstice was held in veneration from earliest times. And for Norsemen, too, the time had a special meaning. Their deities were active on earth from December 25 to January 6.
Trees and Logs
A tradition which stems from the old Norse custom of burning oak logs in honour of the god Thor is the yule log. It survives today as a chocolate-covered cake for Christmas teas.
Originally a log was placed on the fire as the yule log. It was one of the most important parts of Christmas Eve. It burnt throughout the night, and it was held to be unlucky if the fire went out. On Christmas Day morning the log was replaced by a young fir tree to represent rebirth.
From this tradition may stem the idea of decorated Christmas trees brought to Britain from Germany in Victorian times.
Mistletoe was a sacred plant for the Druids, while for Romans it was a symbol of peace. Enemies were supposed to discard their arms and declare a truce under it; hence the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.
These date from the 1840s and became popular from the time of the introduction of stamps and the penny post.
The jolly fat man with long white beard, in a red outfit and shiny black boots, who gives presents, is the result of a collection of traditions.
Father Christmas, a character from medieval mummers plays, has merged with St Nicholas, the Christian patron saint of children, to become Santa Claus. His sleigh was first shown by illustrators in the 1860s.
Onto deeply loved festivals Christians superimposed the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Christmas’ means the day on which a mass is said for the soul of Christ. The takeover is often brazen, and it is extremely unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25. In fact in 1652 Christians decided to scrap Christmas altogether and passed a law forbidding any observance of it. The festival was restored in 1660.
The pagans are rightly declaring that Christmas belongs to them, and they would like to have it back. I say we should surely give it to them. It is abominable that the pagans and idolators would know more about the practice of Christmas than the average professing “christian” does.
Their facts are correct. The early colonists forbade the celebration of the Christ-Mass, knowing full well that it was a pagan and ungodly practice.
Let us hear from the great Puritan thinker, A.W. Pink on this subject, here is an excerpt from his thoughtful article on this subject:
“Christmas is coming!” Quite so; but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote its source — “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Saviour’s birth. It is? And who authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Genesis 40:20) and Herod’s (Matthew 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?
And who is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, Is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any truly born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are vain; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).
Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under cloak of honoring the Saviour’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little ones with you out of Egypt (Exodus 10:9,10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present-day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Hebrews 11:25). Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little ones a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time”when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask the Lord’s blessing?
The Presbyterian minister Abraham Anderson, in his work Lectures on Theology, said:
“Christmas, or the Nativity, is unauthorized. The time is utterly unknown, being left in impenetrable darkness by the Holy Spirit in the divine records; and no doubt this was done because the knowledge of it was unnecessary, and in order to repress will-worship. In a word, while fast-days are appointed on account of the duty to be performed, in set days, or periodical days, the duty is observed on account of the day; and therefore the day must be of divine appointment, or it is sinful.”
Robert Nevin, a reformed minister said this in 1893:
“If the Apostle Paul were permitted to revisit earth, we might imagine him addressing them somewhat after the following manner: — ‘Ye men of a half-reformed Church, ye observe days and times. Ye have a whole calendar of so-called saints’ days. Ye observe a Holy Thursday and a Good Friday. Ye have a time called Easter, and a season called Lent, about which some of you make no small stir. Ye have a day regarded especially holy, named Christmas, observed at a manifestly wrong season of the year, and notoriously grafted on an old Pagan festival. And all this while many of you refuse to acknowledge the continued obligation of the Fourth Commandment. I am afraid of you, lest the instruction contained in my epistle, as well as in other parts of Scripture, has been bestowed upon you in vain.’”
And so I leave this issue to you and your conscience. You may, if you wish, continue on that wide and well worn path of fellowship and merriment that so many share with the unbelieving world, or you may heed the call of God, the call of the scripture and the words of those wise and honored teachers of our past. Either way, it is between you and your God.
It can be well noted, though, by the only spiritual authority that matters, that you have been told — therefore the responsibility lies with you.
I am your servant in Christ Jesus,