The Wake-Up Herald
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
Robert McCurry, Editor & Publisher
November 18, 2010
The Controversial Jesus and Christmas
by Robert McCurry
It’s the first of November. Ready or not.--like it or not--the maddening world of the Christmas season is upon us. In the not-to-distant past the Christmas season did not begin until the day after Thanksgiving. But this is a new day and the Christmas season begins earlier every year. Already stores are filled with people getting ready for December 25. Everywhere we see holly, mistletoe, and trees decorated with tinsel and bright lights. We see the images of rotund men with white beards and red suits. There are sounds of bells and songs about reindeer and sleighs.
There are also the Christmas carols and manger scenes of a ‘little baby Jesus’ with shepherds and wise men. After all, so we are told, this is the festive season commemorating the birth of Jesus. Of course, those who are knowledgeable know that Christ was not born on December 25 and that the observance of ‘Christmas’ did not originate with the birth of Christ or with Christianity.
The word “Christmas” is not a Biblical word. The word derived from 4th century Roman Catholicism. The ‘mas’ of Christmas comes from the Catholic Mass. The Old English word, “Christmas” dates from 1050 AD. The word derived from the phrase, “Christes Maesse,” or “Mass of Christ.”
Nearly all aspects of Christmas observance have their roots in Roman custom and religion. Consider these quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”:
“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” Further, “Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.”
Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted:
“…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below" (emphasis mine).
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds,
“Christmas…was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the 4th century. In the 5th century the Western church ordered the feast to be celebrated on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”
Consider the following admission from a large American newspaper (The Buffalo News, Nov. 22, 1984):
“The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state [Catholic] religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. The celebration of Christmas reached its peak—some would say its worst moments—in the medieval period when it became a time for conspicuous consumption and unequaled revelry.”
December 25th was not selected because it was the birth of Christ. It was selected because it coincided with the idolatrous pagan festival Saturnalia. Limited space prevents the many additional sources that could be cited. There is no mistaking the origin of the modern Christmas celebration.
The commercial world has successfully blended this birth of the ‘little baby Jesus’ in a Bethlehem manger two thousand years ago into its world of fantasy and make-believe--just a once-a-year object, exploited for selfish gain--that will be forgotten and discarded as quickly as the wrapping on the packages on Christmas morning. The world has no problem giving a token homage to a historical ‘baby Jesus in a manger’ as long as it will make the cash registers ring. But be assured that it reacts in hostility, as did Herod two thousand years ago, to a sovereign Lord Jesus Christ as God on His throne.
Today’s Popular Jesus
The ‘baby Jesus’ of the Christmas season is the same popular ‘Jesus’ we hear about all year long. This popular ‘Jesus’ has worked extremely well in the commercial world. So now we have Jesus buttons, Jesus T-shirts, Jesus bumper stickers, Jesus lapel pins, and a multitude of other neat little ‘Jesus’ gadgets that make the cash registers ring all year long.
Today’s modern ‘Jesus’ has also become very popular with politicians, entertainment personalities, rock and roll singers, and sports figures.
This modern, popular ‘Jesus’ is acceptable to the masses and can be easily worked into any system or program regardless of how scripturally unsound it may be. He is a magical formula that gives credence and respectability to anything and everything.
Today’s popular ‘Jesus’ thrives in a spirit of religious romanticism and sentimentality.
Today’s popular ‘Christmas Jesus’ thrives in an annual all-inclusive religious ecumenical celebration consisting of Catholics, Protestants and Baptists.
The Controversial Jesus
As one reads the Bible, it is evident that the Lord Jesus Christ was the most controversial person of history. He is still the most controversial person of history. The Lord Jesus is controversial because of who He is. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ is Lord! Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is sovereign!
‘Christmas’ is here to stay
Agree with Christmas or not, participate in Christmas or not—‘Christmas’ is here to stay. Yes, it is true, ‘Christmas’ is the most popular season and day of all days, even among most Christians, its pagan origin, secularism, and commercialization notwithstanding. It is sad that Satan and those who work in concert with him hijacked the truth of the Incarnation, Virgin Birth of Christ and have advanced the pagan perversion of this biblical truth for almost two thousand years. But this is not surprising. Distorting and perverting God’s truth has been, and continues to be, Satan’s modus operandi since the Garden of Eden. But the pagan origin of ‘Christmas’ did not, can not, and will not cancel, annul, or invalidate the biblical truth of the Incarnation, Virgin Birth of Christ!
The miracle of all miracles is the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the cardinal doctrine of biblical Christianity; Jesus Christ, Jehovah God Himself was conceived in the virgin womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost and was born of this virgin; Jesus is true God and true man. The ‘little baby’ born in a manger in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is not a mere ‘little baby’; this ‘little baby’ is God Himself! The eternal, majestic, glorious, sovereign, omnipotent God becomes man and lives as a man among men for thirty-three years and yet continues His sovereign, omnipotent reign on His eternal, majestic throne as God at the same time. Finite minds can not fathom or explain this infinite miracle. But it is true.
It is also true that there is no biblical command for Christians to observe December 25th or any other day of the year as the ‘birthday of Jesus’. But the Incarnation, Virgin Birth of Christ is not an incidental or periphery biblical subject. It is rather the primary, fundamental, foundational, cardinal truth of biblical Christianity. There is no Christian Gospel or Christianity apart from the Incarnation, Virgin Birth of Christ.
Wake-up, Pastors! Wake-up, Christians!
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The Wake-Up Herald is published by Robert McCurry. The publication is designed to exalt the true God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, and inform, inspire, and challenge its readers regarding biblical truth and real-life issues. The contents are the sole responsibility of Robert McCurry and do not represent or speak for or on behalf of any other person or group. There is no subscription charge. The publication is a ministry of faith dependent on the contributions of its readers. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Send all correspondence to: Robert McCurry,605 Moore Rd, Newnan, GA 30263 or email@example.com Remove? Send reply with “remove” in Subject line.