Today we seek to answer the question, is Christmas actually pagan? I hope it proves helpful for you as we all move into December. [After listening to Ep. 148 head over to the follow up episode; episode 149!]

Time Stamps:

7:01 – [1] Introduction 
10:48 – [2] Theological/Worldview Presuppositions
13:58 – [3] “It’s not in the bible”
17:39 – [4] A positive case
30:43 – [5] Sol Invictus 
37:13 – [6] Winter Solstice 
40:9 – [7] Saturnalia 
42:55 – [8] Pseudo-gods
46:14 – [9] Christmas trees and loose ends
55:22 – [10] conclusion

Song: “God made Low” Music and words by Jason Hansen and Bob Kauflin. ©2014 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.SovereignGraceMusic.org

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Sources/References:

Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick. “No, Christmas Is Not Pagan. Just Stop.” Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick. Last modified December 5, 2018. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/asd/2018/12/05/no-christmas-is-not-pagan-just-stop/.

Pearse, Roger. “The Text Tradition of Hippolytus ‘Commentary on Daniel.’” Roger Pearse, January 12, 2010. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2010/01/12/the-text-tradition-of-hippolytus-commentary-on-daniel/.

Sanidopoulos, John. “In Defense of the Christmas Tree,” n.d. Accessed November 21, 2020. https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/12/in-defense-of-christmas-tree.html.

“20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia.” Accessed November 20, 2020. https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2020/12/28/103664-20000-martyrs-of-nicomedia.

“Christ in the Feast of Hanukkah – Jews for Jesus.” Accessed November 19, 2020. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-dec-1998/christ-in-the-feast-of-hanukkah.

“CHURCH FATHERS: Apostolic Constitutions, Book V.” Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/07155.htm.

“Do Christmas Trees Have Pagan Roots?” Answers in Genesis. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/christmas/do-christmas-trees-have-pagan-roots/.

“Does Christmas Have Pagan Origins? | That Ancient Faith.” Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.thatancientfaith.uk/book-reviews/perma/1576754880/article/does-christmas-have-pagan-origins.html.

“Historia Augusta • Life of Elagabalus (Part 1 of 2).” Accessed November 21, 2020. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/Elagabalus/1*.html#3.

“How December 25 Became Christmas.” Biblical Archaeology Society, September 24, 2020. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/how-december-25-became-christmas/.

“Philip Schaff: NPNF-213. Gregory the Great (II), Ephraim Syrus, Aphrahat – Christian Classics Ethereal Library.” Accessed November 21, 2020. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf213.iii.v.i.html.

“Roman Emperors – DIR Aurelian.” Accessed November 21, 2020. http://www.roman-emperors.org/aurelian.htm.

“Sol – Research Database – University of Groningen.” Accessed November 21, 2020. https://www.rug.nl/research/portal/publications/pub(13007598-23b4-48c5-ad15-5c8f93127122).html.

“TERTULLIAN’S REFERENCES TO SENTIUS SATURNINUS AND THE LUKAN CENSUS on JSTOR.” Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23959449?seq=1.

“The Chronography of 354 AD. Part 6: The Calendar of Philocalus.  Inscriptiones Latinae Antiquissimae, Berlin (1893) Pp.256-278.” Accessed November 21, 2020. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/chronography_of_354_06_calendar.htm.

“What Is Donatism? | GotQuestions.Org.” Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.gotquestions.org/donatism.html.

“Who Was the Real Santa Claus? | That Ancient Faith.” Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.thatancientfaith.uk/book-reviews/perma/1544990820/article/who-was-the-real-santa-claus.html.

“Why Christmas Is Not Pagan.” Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.thegoodshepherd.org.au/why-christmas-not-pagan.

“Yes, Christ Was Really Born on December 25: Here’s a Defense of the Traditional Date for Christmas.” Taylor Marshall. Last modified December 24, 2012. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://taylormarshall.com/2012/12/yes-christ-was-really-born-on-december.html.

7 Responses

  1. Where is that date of dec 25 in the Bible ? Where does it say that anywhere !!!! Where does Jesus say celebrate his birthday!!! Where !!! Jesus said celebrate his death until he comes… yes Xmas is pagan ! And all the preachers who preach differently are false prophets! So they all are . Jesus’ birth is not stated!!!!! However believed to be born on one of the fall feasts of Israel!!! Start preaching TRUTH for a change . This is why I don’t listen to any of you –

    • Did you listen to the episode? Would you call the hymns, praises, and celebrations in Luke regarding the birth of Jesus pagan? Can you name a reason why Christmas is pagan? You observe the feasts given to Israel, that are fulfilled in Christ, but not the incarnation of the Eternal Son? “Start preaching TRUTH for a change”, how many of my episodes have you listened to?

      • The feasts given to Israel are as you stated; Given to Israel by God. We were not commanded to celebrate any such feasts or holidays because, again as you have said, these things are all fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

        Where exactly is Christ in raising up an evergreen tree, placing a star on top, putting presents underneath and decorations on the branches? Where exactly is the Gospel in celebrating baby Jesus? How does this bring any advancement to the Kingdom of God?

        The truth is that whether the roots truly are pagan or not, that this is not the worst sin of these holidays. The worst sin is covetnousness, which is idolatry:

        Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

        Christians cling to this holiday so tightly, that any inclination that there is even a possibility that you should not celebrate it is met with anger, hostility, denial, refusal to consider or even to bring it to Christ for an answer. Or in your case, an hour long podcast grasping at anything in order to defend your beloved day. If you are not asked to celebrate these things, since it is not commanded, then why do you claim it is for God? If He wanted such an act, would He not have told us to do so?

        The truth is that these days, whether Christmas or any other hallmark holiday, are not about God. They are about ourselves, yet you claim that they are about God. And you really think God does not know your true intentions? Who knows, perhaps you have truly convinced yourself.

        I, the Lord, search the heart,
        I test the mind,
        Even to give to each man according to his ways,
        According to the results of his deeds.
        – Jeremiah 17:10

        • Hello!

          I appreciate your post and thoughts. The symbolism of the trees in Christendom have been diverse; originally it was symbolic of the tree of life or paradise tree with Christ at the top or a star at the top to show the pinnacle of life found only in God’s grace. Some have also likened the triangular shape to the trinity. Others use it for a “road map” in the Christmas to Epiphany journey, beginning with Christ’s incarnation and working to his baptism where the trinity is displayed at his anointing (or modified; his ascension). Christians have differed but the crown is always a sign of the gift of God, Christ, which is why stars, angels (messengers of the coming Christ), or a manger is placed at the top (which many secularists still do!). The exchange of gifts is simply a reflection of love and generosity, echoing the love and kindness of our Lord, anyone can understand that.

          Where exactly is the gospel in celebrating the incarnation of Jesus? Well, it begins in Genesis three when God promises a seed to the woman who would crush the serpent. It continues on through kingdom and covenant with years of anticipation for the coming messiah and savior of the world. It is celebratory of a hope that we wouldn’t have if the incarnation didn’t occur. Without the incarnation we would die in our sins, and be doomed, yet in Luke we see praises from angels, men, and women for the coming king who would fulfill years of prophecy and save a people. Without the incarnation there is no cross, or resurrection. Without the coming of Jesus and his ministry we are doomed. There is plenty to celebrate with the incarnation in particular. A typical retort is, “well we celebrate Jesus every day”, and of course there are two issues of this; the incarnation is typically not focused on, which it should be. When the eternal son took upon himself a human nature is beyond amazing. Second, there is nothing wrong with a season that causes intentional reflection and reorientation – we do it with church in beginning our weeks with the word and fellowship and we even do it in our weeks as we prep for work or days in general. There is nothing wrong with having a time each year to check ourselves and our hearts and refocus them, in fact, Israel did just that with the day of Atonement.

          “The worst sin is covetousness”, the issue with your argument is that it assumes all regenerate Christians are consumed with the cultural adoption of this Christian holiday. Your argument is equal to saying – marriage is bad because the secular world abuses it with sin. If we apply this across the board, we must avoid anything good that is corrupted by the sinfulness of man, which is everything and anything. But praise to God for the incarnation as he is redeeming us through the perfect work of the Son that he sent to us!

          “An hour long podcast grasping at anything in order to defend your beloved holiday,” what is assumed is that I fit into this category you’ve created, which is an unrighteous judgement (sin). Perhaps the comments sections on the internet then shouldn’t be used as individuals abuse them with sin and there is no express commandment to use the internet for Christian discussion in the bible? Regardless, the hour long podcast wasn’t grasping, it was a historical discussion that sought to clear the error of myths and falsehoods. As a Christian, wouldn’t you rejoice in truth (1 Cor. 13:6)? Wouldn’t you rejoice that someone, whether or not you disagree with them, was working for an hour (just on the show, there was more time put in research) to defend the integrity of the early church? You do realize that if the secularists are right, then the church has been corrupted by pagan influence from the beginning right? It has implications that are bigger than us, but it would appear that you’re more concerned with being right against a holiday. I find it quite peculiar that a Christian would stifle Christians from celebrating the incarnation at any rate, and I find it more peculiar that a Christian would also be on the secularists side and would tell them, you’re right! The church was pagan at the outset! There is more I can expand on, but I digress.

          “Why do you claim it is for God?”, were you commanded, explicitly to write this comment? Can you say any specific act you do is for God within the modern context that the bible doesn’t address such as the use of cell phones and the internet? Of course not. The reality is, though, Christians in the early church followed the gospel accounts wherein the coming of the savior was a matter of great rejoicing. So much so that even the heavenly hosts of angels sung blessings! I think that is solid grounds.

          “And you really think God does not know your true intentions,” I’m well informed that he does! I wonder if you are aware that you do not know the intentions of many regenerate in the Lord who celebrate the holiday with high esteem and reverence, yet, here you judge unrighteously against the heart of those regenerate when Paul tells you among the weaker brethren to do the opposite (Romans 14). Abstain, sure, for the glory of God.

          Thank you again for the response, it is appreciated!
          -Nick

  2. Thanks for your podcast. It’s hard to find people like yourself that actually dig and find the truth.

    Below you will find a link that dives into the church history and into actual primary sources for information. He even translates some of the stuff into English for us. I think you will find it as a great resource. On the same site there is also information about other Holy Days that the pagans are trying to steal away the truth (Easter, All Saints Day, etc.).

    God bless your family and your work in defending Christ our Lord.

    https://diatheke.blogspot.com/2012/12/redeeming-holy-days-from-pagan-lies.html

    https://diatheke.blogspot.com/p/christianity-and-paganism.html

      • Thank you Nick for all the information. I am thankful that I am able to be a light to my unsaved family on Christmas. There is nothing wrong with celebrating His birth. Our salvation is based on the condition of our hearts. Its by faith alone and His grace. Christmas is just a tradition to enjoy and we can use this time to share the gospel. I thank God that He sent His Son to die for my sins. Pharisees will always be among us, they are so heaveny bound but are no earthly good. Like everything in this world, as long as we do not make it an idol. He is my life and I worship Him only. He is the truth and the light

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