The Christmas season is considered by many as a magical time of the year where a majority of people get caught up in giving to others and making people happy. Although many have scaled back this year because of the economy, we are still willing to make material sacrifices for our spirit of giving. It’s always during this time of the year that a few Christians feel they must remind as many as they can that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and that we are ultimately supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ our Savior.
Anyone who is judged by Christmas participants as not being in lockstep with the traditions of the season such as partying, gift-giving, or decorating is immediately labeled a Scrooge, a “Bah, humbug!” Then, on the other hand, we have atheists and other pagans ramping up their attacks against public displays of anything they believe is a Christian symbol.
Because so many of us are caught up in the emotions stirred during this season, we don’t even consider questioning why we do what we do for Christmas. Since it’s an ongoing tradition that has been passed from generation to generation, we don’t stop to realize that the basis for this celebration has it’s foundation on stories, beliefs, and practices that are pagan, not Biblical truth. So, if you are willing to be enlightened, I’d like to share some truths with you to debunk some of the lies surrounding the circumstances and personalities involved with Christ’s birth, just in case you’ve never heard them before.
Myth #1: Jesus was born December 25th–Based on the fact that the Bible never mentions when Christ was born, no one can pin it down to an exact date. However, the scriptures give us some clues as to what time of year it probably occurred. December in Bethlehem is during the winter season, which spans from about November through March. During this time of year it is often cold and wet. The nights are definitely cold.
In Luke 2, on the night Christ was born the shepherds were in the fields at night watching over their flocks. This doesn’t happen during the winter season in Bethlehem because it’s usually too cold to stay out in the fields at night. Keeping flocks in the field is something that usually happens in the spring or summer. So it’s highly unlikely Christ was born in December. Since the Bible never tells us what day Christ was born, and never gives us any commands about it, God does not really expect us to observe it. In other words, it’s not mandatory and if you don’t want to do anything special on December 25th for a birthday that is really no birthday at all, you don’t have to.
Myth #2: There were three wise men–Although man-made tradition says that Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar traveled to Bethlehem from the East to see the King of the Jews, the Bible never ever says there were only three wise men. Matthew 2 tells us instead that there were wise men who brought three gifts. There could have been two or three or a whole caravan. We don’t know for sure because the Bible never tells us specifically. Therefore, since the Bible is silent on this issue, who are we to automatically assume that since three gifts were given, there must have been three wise men? Nonsense!
What we do know about these men is that they were Magi, a term translated into English as “wise men” that can be used to denote pagan priests, sorcerers, government advisers, or scientists. Modern-day pagans have assumed that these men were astrologers and worshipped pagan gods. Therefore, their conclusion is that God can be legitimately worshipped in any religion known to man. This conclusion is false. In the same way that Abram (later Abraham) was a pagan before God revealed himself to him and called him to come out from among his people, these men were called out by God also. How do we know? Based on their statement to Herod in Matthew 2:2, they acknowledged that this child was born king of the Jews, that he had a star in the sky designated specifically for him, and that he was worthy to be worshipped.
Israel must have been on the trade routes of the nations where these men came from, because they knew who the Jews were, they knew that the capital of Israel was Jerusalem (that’s why they stopped there instead of going straight to Bethlehem), and they knew Herod was the appointed ruler of Israel (which is why they went to his house first since they assumed that any king of the Jews must be Herod’s descendant). Notice that these men did not worship Herod or anyone else. They reserved their worship for Christ alone, proving that they were believers who had forsaken paganism, just like Abraham.
Myth #3: The wise men arrived on the night of Christ’s birth–This is a popular scene in Nativity plays and television programs such as Amahl and the Night Visitors or The Little Drummer Boy. The Bible says different. In Matthew 2, the wise men went to a house, not a manger and they visited a young child (toddler), not a baby like the shepherds did in Luke 2. When the wise men told Herod how much time had passed since they first saw the star, Herod came to the conclusion that he should kill all children two years old and younger. This tells us that the wise men had seen the star for approximately two years, revealing the approximate age of Christ at this time.
The approximate timeline reveals something else about the wise men. Since they were from the east and it took them more than a year to travel to Israel (considering that it took some time to get a caravan together from the time it was revealed to them what the star meant), we can probably conclude that the caravan started beyond Persia (Iran) and could have had wise men from as far away as China, Southeast Asia, and India.
Myth #4: Mary remained a virgin–This is a traditional belief in many denominations who hold to some of the traditions of the Roman Catholic church that they broke off from centuries ago. But the Bible says differently–“And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son…” [Matthew 1:25]. In other words, it wasn’t until after Mary birthed Jesus that Mary and Joseph had normal sexual marital relations. The word knew in this verse refers to sexual intimacy, having the same meaning as when it is used in Genesis 4:1–“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived…”
The inhabitants of Nazareth also let us know that Mary had children with Joseph in Matthew 13:55-56, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” I’ve heard arguments that the terms brethren and sisters in this scripture can mean any male or female close relative like a cousin, but that is just not true. The words as used in this scripture refer specifically to siblings. So we know that Jesus had four half-brothers and at least three half-sisters. As a matter of fact, James is the one who wrote the book of James and Judas is the one who wrote Jude, although this fact has been disputed by some “Bible scholars.”
Christmas, although it claims to be a celebration of Christ’s birth, is really a pagan holiday that uses pagan symbols such as the Christmas tree, holly, mistletoe, yuletide logs, and wreaths. So when I hear about atheists or muslims or other religions wanting to get rid of Christmas decorations in the public arena, I don’t get upset. I know that the real meaning of Christmas comes from a pagan system that has dressed itself up to look Christian to try to unite Christians and pagans under one umbrella. If they are successful in getting rid of all the useless symbols from the public arena, it won’t stop me from worshipping my Lord and Savior and I will still proclaim that Jesus is Lord. And I no longer allow other believers to get to me if I am accused of not being a good Christian if I don’t take part in Christmas festivities. I know who I am in Christ and nothing anyone says or does to me shall separate me from him.
Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [Galatians 4:8-10]
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days… [Colossians 2:16]
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–