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Don't Do It
     “T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Most everyone knows the rest of this story. But, what about the day after Christmas? Those that celebrate this holiday know that cleanup time is at hand because all those wrappings and boxes have to be disposed of. What about those ornaments and lights that are used to decorate the tree? And, then, one must get rid of the tree that cost a lot of money and vacuum the dry needles off the floor. Then, perhaps, the hardest part is to pay for all those gifts. Do these thoughts ring a bell? If they do, then read on to find out why one should not celebrate this day.
Retail Bonanza
     At this time of year, when one is shopping at a busy retail store, one might hear a parent telling their young child, “If you don’t behave, you won’t get anything from Santa for Christmas this year!” Through learned behavior the child will probably settle down, if only for a short time, because they don’t want to miss out on a gift from Santa! Some people will say that Christmas and Santa Claus are for their children. Some children believe so strongly that Santa exists that their parents will have them stand in a long line in order to sit on Santa’s lap, tell him a story and then be told to behave and they will have a good Christmas. What Ebenezer Scrooge says, “Bah! Humbug,” is altogether true.
Be Truthful
     The existence of Santa Claus is an untruth. When a child finds out the truth of the matter, he might become quite disillusioned. “My parents lied to me!!!” Why doesn’t a parent just say, “Guess what, son, I am going to lie to you.”
     Now, when the child grows up, gets married and has children of his own, the story will be repeated, and the lie will be perpetuated. Somehow, this continuum has to be stopped. The only way to do this is to do a lot of studying and reading from Scriptures and resources that are available.
     Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it, Prov. 22:6 NIV.
     Parents are responsible to teach their children how to live their lives. Sometimes it takes some discipline to help the child learn the ways of Yahweh.
     Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him, Prov. 22:15
     Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die, Prov. 23:13 NIV.
     The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother, Prov. 29:15 NIV.
     The words of Yahweh found in the Scriptures will not change, for Yahweh tells us in Mal. 3:6 that He “changes not.”
Don’t Deceive
     By telling a child that Santa exists and later the child finds out he doesn’t, a parent is deceiving their own child. Is it wise for a parent to deceive a fellow worker? No, it isn’t because that parent might lose his job if the deception is found out. So, why does a parent lie to their child about Santa? What are the promises for all liars?
     But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death, Rev. 21:8.
     And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, nei­ ther whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life, Rev. 21:27.
     But, what does Santa Claus have to do with Christmas?
Santa Claus
     Of all the stories concerning the origins of Santa Claus, most of them center on a person by the name of Nicholas, who was born around 245 AD in Patara, in present day Turkey. One story is about an angel who appeared to a cardinal appointing a new bishop for the Turkish town of Mira (now Kale). The angel told the cardinal to ordain the 30-year old Nicholas. Throughout his priesthood, Nicholas was recognized for his generosity to all those in trouble, and he became known for the granting of wishes. It has been said that St. Nicholas climbed on the roof of a house and dropped a bag of gold down the chimney where it landed in a stocking hung to dry, giving us a reason to hang up Xmas stockings today.
     It is held by some scholars that the legends of Nicholas as gift-giving drew in part from pagan, pre-Christian sources. For example, The Teutonic g-d of the air, Odin, would ride through the air on a gray horse (named leipnir) each autumn – so did Nicholas; Odin had a long white beard – so did Nicholas; a sheaf of grain was left in the field for Odin’s horse – children left a wisp of straw in their shoes for Nicholas. Some attribute the characteristics of the German g-d Thor to Nicholas, as Thor was supposedly elderly and heavy with a long white beard; he rode through the air in a chariot drawn by two white goats (called Cracher and Gnasher); he dressed in red; his palace was in the “northland;”
he was friendly and cheerful; he would come down the chimney into his element, the fire.
     Once the story of his deeds spread, he became known for helping those in trouble. He became known as the patron saint of children. Many churches and cathedrals were named after him, and next to the Messiah and the Virgin Mary, Nicholas was the next most popular figure in Christianity. His popularity spread to the Laplands – to the people of the reindeer sleds
     In a French village during the 12th century, local nuns honored their patron on December 6, which became St. Nicholas Day. The nuns delivered candy to all the children who’d been good, leaving it for them in their shoes, and leaving switches in the shoes of the naughtier children. Because they seemed to cover so much territory, some began to say it was St. Nicholas himself who delivered the gifts.
     On the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas, the bishop, himself, was said to come and visit children in their homes, giving gifts to those who had been good. By medieval times Nicholas had become the most beloved patron saint of Europe, and through the Middle Ages, the story of Chr-stmas in Europe developed to combine religious and pagan myths. An interesting observation, if one abbreviates St. Nicholas one gets Saint Nick.
     It was Dutch sailors who came to the New World and would not give up St. Nicholas as their patron; when they settled, particularly around the New York area, their nickname Santer Klause (Sinter Klaas) became the name we know as Santa Claus. St. Nicholas is the national saint of Russia and Greece.
   When Luther created the Protestant church, he realized it would be necessary to wean German children off of St. Nick, so he created Krist Kindle, a winged cherub, who also flew and brought gifts to good children – but which
instead focused the celebration around the Messiah. He came on Chr-stmas Eve, which more closely coincides with the Winter Solstice, around which pagan religion celebrated the return of the sun’s light.
     In the Protestant areas of central and northern Germany, St. Nicholas later became known as der Weinachtsmann. In England, he came to be called Father Chr-stmas. In France, Pere Noel. Italy had Bafana, out looking for the child, left gifts in her wake for other kids. The gnome Tompten was Sweden’s figure, and in the U. S., Martin Luther’s Krist Kindle became Kris Kringle.
     After the reformation, German Protestants encouraged veneration of the Christkindl as the gift giver on his own feast day, December 25. Because the Nicholas tradition prevailed, it became attached to Christmas itself.
     After the American Revolution, New Yorkers remembered with pride the colony’s nearly forgotten Dutch roots. John Pintard, influential patriot and antiquarian, who founded the New York Historical Society in 1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city.
     The American author Washington Irving gave America their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas. In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback each eve of Saint Nicholas (December 6). This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicho­ las (better known as The Night Before Christmas by writer Clement Clarke Moore). This poem gave a big boost to the jolly elf image.
     The New York Historical Society held its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner on December 6, 1810. John Pintard commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion. Nicholas was shown in a gift giving role with children’s treats in stockings hanging at a fireplace.
     In 1863, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a series of annual drawings in Harper’s Weekly which were based on the descriptions found in the poem and Washington Irving’s work. These drawings established a rotund Santa with flowing beard, fur garments, and an omnipresent clay pipe. As Nast drew Santa until 1886, his work had considerable influence in forming the American Santa Claus.
Dozens of artists portrayed Santa in a wide range of styles, sizes, and colors, including Norman Rockwell on Saturday Evening Post covers.
     But it was in the 1930s that the now familiar American Santa image solidified. Haddon Sundblom began thirty-five years of Coca-Cola Santa advertisements which finally established Santa as an icon of contemporary commercial culture. This Santa was life-sized, jolly, and wearing the now familiar red suit. He appeared in magazines, on billboards, and shop counters encouraging Americans to see Coke as the solution to “a thirst for all seasons.”
     In the book titled Fossilized Customs, the author, Lew White, states the following:
     “In the late 1800’s, a pharmacist put some cocaine in a sweetened, bubbling cola beverage, and named it Coca-Cola. By the 1930’s, it was a major business, and had its own advertising department, strategists, and artists. One of the artists, Rosenblum, decided to attempt something new. The Dutch/
Irish character called ‘Santa Claus’ was beginning to get a lot of attention, so he set his mind on aligning the Coca-Cola product with him. In Rosenblum’s time, Santy Clause didn’t look like he does now. The original character was an Irish transplant, coming from people who had based their beliefs on Druid magic, and elves. The 9th century poem, The Night Before Christmas, had catapulted our Christ Elf into the spotlight because the character was so appealing. Rosenblum used his artistic imagination to change Santy Clause into what we think he looks like today. Before, Santa was no more than 2 feet tall, skinny, and wore green. He had a long white beard, and for all practical purposes, he was a leprechaun/elf character with magical powers to grant wishes, watch you without being seen, and so on. The alignment with the hearth is other pagan syncretism, right down to the stocking hung by the chimney with care. To make this night visitor charming and more human, Rosenblum made him a full-sized man, jolly and plump, to better assume the distinctive shape of the Coke bottle. He also used the a pealing red and white product to clothe Santa in. The drooping wizard hat was a must.”
The Christmas Tree and Decorations
In the Middle Ages, the Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope for the forthcoming spring. The modern Christmas tree evolved from these evergreen trees that were regarded as a symbol of life.
     The star that is usually placed at the top of the evergreen tree is said to symbolize the star which appeared in the sky to guide the wise men to the place of the Messiah’s birth.
     The gifts that are usually placed beneath the evergreen tree are representative of the gifts the three wise men brought and gave to the Messiah, not to another person.
     The white color of a candy cane is said to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of the Messiah. The hardness of the cane is to represent the solid rock. The “J” shape of the cane is to represent the name of “J-sus.” The three red stripes are said to represent the trinity and the blood shed by the Messiah. These last two associations can not be found anywhere in Scriptures. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe descends from the customs of several different cultures. For example, it was a tradition of Greek festivals and marital ceremonies to exchange kisses under the mistletoe. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. In Europe, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits.
     Although the mistletoe is considered to be the seed of love, the common name of the plant is derived from the ancient belief that the mistletoe grew from bird droppings. In ancient times, people observed that mistletoe appeared on a branch or twig where birds had left droppings. “Mistle” is the Anglo-Saxon word for “dung,” and “tan” is the word for “twig.” So, mistletoe actually means “dung-on-a-twig.” What a strange meaning for a plant that is supposed to bring love and happiness!
     Compton’s Encyclopedia, under the article Tree and Decorations tells the following:
     “The Christmas tree was introduced into England early in the 19th century and was popularized by Prince Albert, the German husband of Queen Victoria. The trees were decorated with candles, candies, paper chains, and fancy cakes that were hung from the branches with ribbons.
     “German settlers brought the Christmas tree to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread. Trees were also popular in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Holland. In China and Japan, Christmas trees were introduced by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. There they were decorated with intricate paper designs.
     “The use of evergreens for wreaths and other decorations arose in northern Europe. Italy, Spain, and some other nations use flowers instead. Holly, with its prickly leaves and red berries, came into holiday use because it reminded people of the crown of thorns worn by [Yahshua] on the way to His execution and the berries symbolized droplets of blood.”
     In the book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop shows that the yule log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun god, but cut down by his enemies. And the Christmas tree represents the slain deity come to life again. Yahweh warns us against erecting Christmas trees in Jeremiah 10:2-5:
     Thus saith YAHWEH, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs beborne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Winter Solstice
     In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs when the sun reaches the southernmost point in the celestial point in the sky. After this time when the sun appears to be rising higher in the sky idolatrous worshippers would be celebrating the sun being born again.
     According to The World Book Encyclopedia, in 354 CE the December 25th date was selected by Liberius, a bishop of Rome, “because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the Sun.”
     In Central Europe, a feast was held at the time of the winter solstice. A large wooden wheel was covered with straw so that no wood was visible. It was then dragged to the top of a steep mountain. Here a feast of merrymaking, games, and dancing was carried out all day. At the time of vespers, this symbol of the sun was set on fire and allowed to roll down the mountain.
     This act was to represent the sun running from the sky. According to the idolatry of pagan Germans, the sun was a large fire wheel rolling through space. This, then, represented the celebration of the sun’s birth.
     Under the article Christmas, by Cardinal McClosky, we read in the Catholic Dictionary:
     “St. Chrysostom, in a Christmas sermon delivered at Antioch in the year 386, says, ‘it is not ten years since this day (Christmas day on December 25) was clearly known to us.’”
     By this source it is evident that prior to 377 CE that December 25 was not mentioned or used as the birth date of our Messiah Yahshua.
     Other sources show that this day was also known as Saturnalia, a festival of much revelry, dancing, merriment, and feasting held in honor of the sun deity Mithras. A king was appointed over the revels. Slaves were freed. Foes became friends. Friends feasted together. Evergreens decorated the houses. Songs were sung in honor of Saturnalia. Gifts were exchanged between friends. This festival was adopted by the church, which turned it into what was called “Christ’s Mass.” All of this began 2,000 years before the birth of the Messiah!
Why December 25?
     A book called Mystery Religions in the Ancient World (page 99) reveals how closely this Mithras figure was to the Savior Yahshua. Mithras was “the creator and orderer of the universe, hence a manifestation of the creative Logos or Word. Seeing mankind afflicted by Ahriman, the cosmic power of darkness, he incarnated on earth. Shepherds reported His birth on December 25. After many deeds, he held a last supper with his disciples and returned to heaven. At the end of the world he will come again to judge resurrected mankind, and after the last battle, victorious over evil, he will lead the chosen ones through a river of fire to a blessed immortality.”
     Among the pagans, Mithras was the sun deity. His birthday on December 25 came at the winter solstice, when the sun returned once again and warmed the dying earth. Their new year began with this phenomenon, which is why our new year starts in the dead of winter. The true Scriptural new year begins in the spring in the month of Abib (meaning “green ear month,” Deut. 16:1), when all things begin to green up.
     The Roman government helped the church make a conscious effort to combine elements of this pagan worship into their own worship. In the fourth century, the church desired to bring the pagan Germans and Romans into its fold. December 25 was adopted as the birth date of our Savior Who was born in a manger. They incorporated many heathen rites like the yule log and the fir tree, where the yule log, representing Mithras, was burned in a fire and from it an evergreen tree was to have sprung forth.
     Bible scholars know full well that the Messiah was not born anywhere near December 25. Yet, when this is pointed out to people, the answer quite often given is that they really don’t care when He was born, just so long as a day is kept in memory of His birth. Yet, why should anyone celebrate a day that has its roots in paganism?
     Historical facts reveal that shepherds did not feed their flocks by night from late October or early November until around late April or early May because of the severity of the winter cold and rains.
Yahshua’s Time of Birth
     Using Scripture, it is easy to get an approximation of when Yahshua was born.
     And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease... Dan. 9:27.
     Not only does this show that Yahshua died in the middle of the week on Wednesday, but also that Yahshua’s work of confirming the covenant lasted for 3 and one-half years.
     Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Yahshua also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased. And Yahshua Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Luke 3:21-23.
     Here we see that Yahshua was about thirty years of age when He began His ministering.
     After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise, Num. 14:34.
     And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year, Ezek. 4:6.
     We know that Yahshua died on Passover which occurred at the end of March or the beginning of April. Tracing back three and one-half years would end up occurring at the end of September or the first part of October. This is certainly not December 25. Also, the end of September or the beginning of October places the time during the Feast of Tabernacles.
     Therefore, we can conclude that Yahshua was born about the same time in the year that He was baptized by John the Baptist - very near, if not during, the Feast of Tabernacles.
Satan’s Substitute
     The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day festival, the first day being a High Day. This feast is immediately followed by the Last Great Day, another High Day. The total number of days involved is eight. What Satan has done is take a seven day period of time starting with December 25, celebrated as a holiday, and followed that seven day period of time with January 1, another holiday celebrated by churchianity. This eight day period of time is what Satan has substituted for the Feast of Tabernacles followed by the Last Great Day.
     With many of the world today believing that our Savior was born on December 25, how perfect an imitation Satan has made to make the masses replace a season holy unto Yahweh with a pagan substitution. So, whom should you follow, man or Yahweh? Each of us has that choice to make. As Deut. 30:19 says, “Choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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