“Twelve Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed,
and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth
of property was destroyed.”
~ Lawrence Kelleman
sn’t Christmas a wonderful time of year?
Thus says the LORD, Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the Heavens, although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:2-4).
Okay, that’s it for all you Christmas-tree-hugging Christians. If you believe in what the Bible tells you, there will be no more Christmas trees or decorating!
Thou mustest not decketh the halls!
And lest you think the tree is the only borrowed symbol or tradition practiced by the God-fearing, allow me to shed a little light in a dark place.
In ancient Babylon, the date of December 25th was a celebration in honor of the son of Isis, the Goddess of Nature.
In Rome, long before the birth of Christ, the Winter Solstice day of Saturnalia was celebrated in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Mummers, who went house to house, singing and dancing, sprang from this celebration, and from it, the tradition of caroling.
Northern Europeans celebrated Yule, on Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in honor of the birth of the sun god, Mithra. Kissing under the mistletoe began there, as a fertility ritual. Evergreen trees were brought indoors to remind them of the coming harvest.
Even the Druids had a ritual around a tree.
Since pagan Romans were in the majority in the year 350, Pope Julius I declared that the birth of Christ would be celebrated on December 25th, so as not to alienate them, and in hopes that they would convert to Christianity a bit more easily if they could keep the date of their feasts. The ritual of gift-giving began in Rome, as well:
In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas.
The history of Saint Nicolas began in Turkey, where Nicolas was a bishop who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. After his death December 6, 345 CE, he was idolized, and eventually became the central figure when his bones were moved to Italy, and he replaced Pasqua Epiphania, “The Grandmother,” who used to put gifts for children in stockings. When The Grandmother was ousted, Nicolas became the focus of gift-giving. This cult made its way to Germany, where Nicolas was merged with the god Woden, and the white beard, winter clothing and his travel on a flying horse became the norm.
In a quest for adherents, the Catholic church adopted the Nicolas figure, and encouraged the pagans to exchange gifts on December 25th, rather than on the 6th. He soon became known by the Dutch version of his name, Santa Claus. The rest is just the natural progression of time and tradition.
Christmas, then, is not a history of Christian celebration of the birth of Christ. It is more accurately a time when Jews were tortured and murdered, and a modified incarnation of the most reprehensible pagan rituals ever known. Here’s why:
The pagans of Rome would force one community member to partake in debauchery and gluttony, and then when the festival ended on December 25th, they would destroy the dark forces by killing him.
Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.
In Warsaw, on December 25, 1881,
Twelve Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.
Julius Streicher, a particularly depraved assistant to Hitler, wrote a Christmas editorial to Der Stuermer, an Anti-Semitic newspaper. In it, he said,
If one really wants to put an end to the continued prospering of this curse from Heaven that is the Jewish blood, there is only one way to do it: to eradicate this people, this Satan’s son, root and branch.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
And that’s not the only thing that Christians don’t understand about their own beliefs. Many common themes and terminology don’t stem from the actual scriptures.
Dan Barker, an ex-Christian minister and author of many essays and several books, including, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, confronts this.
The next time believers tell you that “separation of church and state” does not appear in our founding document, tell them to stop using the word “trinity.” The word “trinity” appears nowhere in the Bible. Neither does Rapture, or Second Coming, or Original Sin. If they are still unfazed (or unphrased) by this, then add Omniscience, Omnipresence, Supernatural, Transcendence, Afterlife, Deity, Divinity, Theology, Monotheism, Missionary, Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Christianity, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Methodist, Catholic, Pope, Cardinal, Catechism, Purgatory, Penance, Transubstantiation, Excommunication, Dogma, Chastity, Unpardonable Sin, Infallibility, Inerrancy, Incarnation, Epiphany, Sermon, Eucharist, the Lord’s Prayer, Good Friday, Doubting Thomas, Advent, Sunday School, Dead Sea, Golden Rule, Moral, Morality, Ethics, Patriotism, Education, Atheism, Apostasy, Conservative (Liberal is in), Capital Punishment, Monogamy, Abortion, Pornography, Homosexual, Lesbian, Fairness, Logic, Republic, Democracy, Capitalism, Funeral, Decalogue, or Bible.
Clement Miles. Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance, (Dover Publications, 1976), 178, 263-271.
 David I. Kertzer. The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), 74.
Lawrence Kelleman. “The Real Story of Christmas.” Simple To Remember. http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm.
Dan Barker. “Quotations.” The Infidels: Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists and Unbelievers. http://theinfidels.org/zunb-danbarker.htm.