Saturday, December 7, 2013

True Origins Behind Christmas by Anne Wilde

                                 A Series of
                            Questions and Answers
                                 Compiled by
                                  Anne Wilde
                                December 1986

     INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . .   3
     What does the word Christmas mean,
      and where did it come from? . . . .   4
     Was Jesus really born on December 25th?
      Why was that date selected as Christmas Day? .   7
     What is the origin and history of the
      Christmas tree?. . . . . . .  12
     Where did the idea of kissing under the
      mistletoe originate? . . . . .  14
     Where did we get the Christmas symbols
      of holly, the wreath, the yule log, and
      the poinsettia plant? . . . . .  15
     What about Santa Claus? . . . . . .  17
     Where did the custom of Christmas gift
      giving originate? . . . . . .  19
     What can we conclude from these references? . .  21
     What is the real story of the birth of Jesus? .  24
     EPILOGUE . . . . . . . . .  29
     Bibliography . . . . . . . .  31
                                  * * * * *
 Since the holiday of Christmas plays such an important role in the lives of Americans today, it is interesting--even important--to know where and when the many Christmas traditions and symbols originated. A little research reveals that Christ had little or nothing to do with these pagan customs.
 There is a myriad of information available on the beginnings of the holiday we now celebrate as Christmas. Most of the printed references, however, go back no further than the 4th century A.D. With more extensive investigation, another story unfolds that goes back to the days of the Tower of Babel, built during the reign of Nimrod.
 Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, Noah's son, and was a very wicked man--going so far as to marry his own mother. He built "the foundation for a great heathen culture which would be the curse of civilization for more than 4,000 years. "He was referred to as a "warlike giant," "mighty in sin," "a murder of innocent men," "a rebel before the Lord." He belittled God and set himself up as a god, even building a magnificent throne where people came to pay him homage. He declared to the people, "Depart from the religion of Shem and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod."
 This despicable ruler elevated animals above humanity and taught that a man's destiny depended on the stars and their configuration at the time of his birth. Many fiendish practices, too morbid to mention, were initiated and perpetuated by Nimrod. Such was the man to whom the origin of many Christmas tradition can be traced.
 The format of this pamphlet is arranged by question and answer--all answer being direct quotes. A list of publication from which this information was taken is included at the end.
 The purpose of this compilation, then, is to present a synopsis of information so the reader can decide for himself "the true origin behind Christmas."
[4] What does the word Christmas mean, and where did it come from?
 "The word `Christmas' means `Mass of Christ,' or, as it came to be shortened, `Christ-Mass.' It came to non-Christians and Protestants from the Roman Catholic Church. And where did they get it? Not from the New Testament--not from the Bible--not from the original apostles who were personally instructed by Christ--but it gravitated in the fourth century into the Roman Church from paganism."
 "Christmas was not earliest festivals of the church. ... It was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, or by Bible authority. It was picked up afterward from paganism."
 "Christmas was not earliest festivals of the church. ... the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. ... 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 rejoicing over the day in which they were born into this world."
 "A reputable Protestant encyclopedia adds: `the observance of Christmas is not of Divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin ... The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity.'"
 "No one has ever come forward with even one verse of scripture admonishing believers to observe any such `celebration' of `the birthday of Christ,' nor is there any. Although such Hebrew holy day as the Passover, the Sabbath, and the annual giving of the tithes are mentioned in both Old and New Scriptures, God has left NO INSTRUCTION about Jesus' `birthday'."
[5] "It (Christmas) was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of the remarkable person rather than their birth. ... (The `Communion,' which is instituted by New Testament Bible authority, is a memorial of the death of Christ.) A feast was established in memory of this event (Christ's birth) in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of the day of Christ's birth existed."
 "In the Christianized Roman Empire, Christmas was first proclaimed and kept as a Christian church festival by Pope Liberius in 354 A.D.--357 years after the birth of Christ. Before this time, only the heathen segment of the Roman population celebrated December 25."
 "But if we got Christmas from the Roman Catholics, and they got it from paganism, where did the pagans get it? Where, when, and what was its real origin?
 It is a chief custom of the corrupt system denounced all through Bible prophecies and teaching under the name of Babylon. And it started and originated in the original Babylon of ancient Nimrod! Yes, it stems from roots whose beginning was shortly this side of the flood!
 Nimrod, son of Cush, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonish system that has gripped the world ever since--the system of organized competition--of man-ruled governments and empires, based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities. He organized this world's first kingdom. The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, is derived from `Marad,' meaning `he rebelled.'
 From many ancient writings, considerable is learned of the man, who started the great organized worldly apostasy from God that has dominated this world until now. Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis."
[6] "Nimrod, together with his wife Semiramis, who was also his mother, established a system of holidays with religious observances of the most high God unto the worship themselves. (Easter and Valentines Day, for example) The first of these holidays of Nimrod was known as the Feast of the Nativity (birth)...."
 "Through her scheming and designing, Semiramis became the Babylonian `Queen of Heaven,' and Nimrod, under various names, became the `divine son of Heaven.' Through the generations, in this idolatrous worship, Nimrod also became the false Messiah, son Baal the Sun-god. In this false Babylonish system, the `Mother and Child' (Semiramis and Nimrod reborn) became chief objects of worship. This worship of `Mother and Child' spread over the world. The names varied in different countries and languages. In pagan Rome, Fortuna and Jupiteruer. Even in Greece, China, Japan, Tibet is to be found the counterpart of the Madonna, long before the birth of Christ!"
 "The Romans called the period between December 17 and the 24th the Saturnalia, and December 25 was the Brumalia, this whole period being devoted to the worship of Nimrod through drunken parties, orgies, etc. At this time, greeting cards and gifts were exchanged."
                                  * * * * *
[7] Was Jesus born on December 25th? Why was that date selected as Christmas day?
 "December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus the true Christ! The apostles and early true Church never celebrated Christ's birthday at any time. There is no command or instruction to celebrate it in the Bible--rather, the celebrating of birthdays is a pagan, not a Christian custom, believe it or not!"
 "Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born `there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night' (Luke 2:8). This never could have occurred in Judaea in the month of December. The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. Notice that the Bible itself proves, in song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, 13, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night."
 "Prior to that time no one knew the precise date (of Christ's birth). Authorities conceded, however, that December 25th was not celebrated as Christmas until the Fourth Century A.D. and it was established on that date simply for convenience. December 25th was chosen because at that time it was celebrated as a national holiday honoring the birth of Roman god, Sol. It was fitting that the true date of the Savior's nativity should be affirmed though divine revelation."
 "Having found out that there is an error in regard to the year of Christ's birth, now let us inquire if the day observed by the Christian world as the day of his birth, the 25th of December, is or is not the real Christmas day? A great many authors have found out from their researches that it is not. I think that there is scarcely an author at the present day that believes that the 25th day of [8] December was the day that Christ was born on. Still it is observed by certain classes, and we, whether we make any profession or not, are just foolish enough to celebrate the 25th day of December as the birthday of Jesus. It will do for a holiday, so you might select any other day for that purpose. It is generally believed and conceded by the learned, who have investigated the matter, that Christ was born in April." (Orson Pratt, J.D 15:255-256)
 "The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April." (Doc. & Cov. 20:1)
 "December 25th was the birthday of Nimrod."
 "Emperor Aurelian made the Babylonian Baal chief god of the empire, under the name of `Sol Invictus' (the unconquerable sun), in 273 A.D. His festival was on December 25. Notice in particular that this heathen sun festival was celebrated on December 25, the very same day on which a Christian world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ."
 "The only religion which ever threatened to displace new-born Christianity was the religion of Mithras with its Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered sun). At Christ's Birth and for several centuries preceding it, the worship of Mithras was widespread throughout the ancient world. The legend of mithras was similar to that of other solar-deities. He was born on December 25th, in a cave, of a virgin mother. He had 12 devoted companions (representing the 12 months). At his death he was placed in a tomb from which he arose in the spring. The seasonal festivals devoted to his honor were at the winter solstice, December 25th, and the spring equinox, Easter."
[9] "All of the solar-deities were born on or within a few weeks of our modern Christmas day. Most were believed to be sons of virgin mother and were born in a cave or humble underground chamber. They were said to have conquered the powers of darkness, died or were put to death, arose from the dead and ascended into higher worlds."
  "Certain Latins, as early as 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to December 25, which was then observed it on which was then a Mithraic feast ... or birthday of the unconquered SUN ... The Syrians and Armenenians, who clung to January 6th, accused the Romans of sun worship and idolatry, contending ... that the feast of December 25th had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus. ..."
 "Christians began to celebrate Christmas about 200. But they observed it on varying dates, because the exact date of Christ's birth was unknown. In 354 December 25 was declared to be the birthday of Christ, and in 440 the pope declared that Christmas should be celebrated on that date. The church at Constantinople, however, observed it for some years on January 6th, and that date is still used in some Eastern Orthodox churches.
 December 25 comes only a few days after the winter solstice (about December 22), the shortest day after of the year in the Northern
Hemisphere. This season had long been a period of celebration among pagans in many parts of the world because it symbolized the beginning of a new year in nature. Christmas thus replaced a pagan holiday with a Christian one, while keeping the same symbolism--the birthday of Christ corresponds to the birth of a new year. Many of the pagan customs became part of the Christmas celebration."
 "But remember, these people had grown up in pagan customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of December 25th. It was a festival of merrymaking, with its special spirit. They enjoyed it! They didn't want to give it up! Now this same article in the New Schaff-Herzog [10] Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains how the recognition by Constantine of Sunday, which had been the day of pagan sun worship, and how the influence of the pagan Manichaeism, which identified the Son of God with the physical sun, gave these pagans of the fourth century, now turning over wholesale to `Christianity,' their excuse for calling their pagan-festival date of December 25th [birthday of the Sun-god], the birthday of the Son of God!"
 "But why did the pagan Romans worship the sun on this one particular day --December 25? Here is why!
 In the Julian calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the nativity of the sun, because the sun begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning point of the year.
 That turning point of the year was a time of great jubilation, a time of idolatrous, heathen merrymaking. The masses enjoyed it. Often, however, it would degenerate into a drunken debauchery and unrestrained sensual pleasures."
 "Not being able to abolish the customs of the heathen, the Church tried to `purify' those customs and festivals the pagans enjoyed so much. But how were they going to `purify' the December 25 celebration?
 The Church decided to counteract the pagan's celebration of the sun-god on December 25 by adopting it as its own!
  History records for us that `there can be little doubt that the Church was anxious to distract the attention of Christians from the old heathen feast days by celebrating Christian festivals on the same day.'
 This is exactly what happened in 354 A.D. when--for the very first time the Church celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, the exact date the pagans were still using in keeping their idolatrous festival to their sun-god. The Church felt that in this way she would be able to persuade the pagans to worship `the true Sun,' Jesus Christ, instead of the literal sun.
[11] Thus we see that the Church--to get the heathen to forsake their idolatrous ways--felt compelled to employ their customs and manners in worshipping Christ. No longer were the pagans to observe a December 25 celebration to honor the sun-god baal. Now they were to honor and worship God's Son on that day, using their own heathen customs and methods."
                                  * * * * *
[12] What is the origin and history of the Christmas tree?
 "When Nimrod was killed by Esau the son of Isaac (cf. Writings of Abraham 159:6), Semiramis perpetuated his worship by claiming that a full-grown evergreen tree had sprung forth overnight from a dead stump as a testimony that Nimrod yet lived as a spirit being with power to help those who would worship him and his mother. She more-over declared that on 25 December, the anniversary of Nimrod's birth, he would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. It is easy to see in this myth the origin of the idea of a Santa Claus who brings gifts and leaves them under the evergreen tree."
 "Other Christmas customs were just as heathen in their origins. Ancient followers of Nimrod hung round ornaments representing eggs on their evergreen trees, to symbolize the fertility which came to them from their god. The worship of Nimrod and Semiramis was very much a fertility cult with all the perverted sexual rites and imagery which always accompany such cults. From these round balls developed the modern Christmas tree ornaments."
 "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree 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." (Jer. 10:3-4)
 "One of the earliest of our Christmas customs is the Christmas tree. It was introduced to America during the Revolutionary War by a homesick Hessian soldier who decorated a tree in his native German way near Trenton, New Jersey in 1776."
 "In The Two Babylons, we read, `The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was fir.'"
[13] "The origin of the Christmas tree is uncertain. Decorated tress were part of pagan ceremonies in pre-Christian times, and the custom of decorating small evergreen trees at Christmas time seems to have begun in Germany. One legend suggests that St. Boniface, the English missionary to Germany in the 8th Century, started the custom. He is said to have replaced the pagan worship of a sacred oak with a young evergreen tree, adorned to symbolize the new faith. Another legend has it that Martin Luther introduced the tree lighted with candles, representing the dark and starry heavens from which Jesus came. The Christmas tree arrived in American before it reached England. Hessian soldiers in the employ of George III decorated tree during the American Revolution. And even earlier, German settlers in Pennsylvania were decorating Christmas trees with lights, sweets, and the traditional English celebration only after the marriage of the German Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. Today it is still a custom most widely observed in Germany, England, and the United States."
 "The `Christmas tree' is but the modern version of the pagan custom of offering gifts to idols. ... It is not Christian."
                                  * * * * *
[14] Where did the idea of kissing under the mistletoe originate?
 "Mistletoe, with the practice of kissing under it, was an item used in the rites of nimrod to get the sexual promiscuity which accompanied this festival started. It is interesting that mistletoe is a parasite, hardly a fitting symbol of Jesus Christ?"
 "Mistletoe was once thought to cure disease, neutralize poisons, confound witchcraft and cause fertility in humans and animals."
 "Now where did we get this mistletoe custom? Among the ancient pagans the mistletoe was used at this festival of the winter solstice because it was considered sacred to the sun, because of its supposed miraculous healing power. The pagan custom of kissing under the mistletoe was an early step in the night of revelry and drunken debauchery--celebrating the death of the "old sun" and the birth of the new at the winter solstice. Mistletoe, sacred in pagan festivals, is a parasite!"
                                  * * * * *
[15] Where did we get the Christmas symbols of holly, the wreath, the yule log, and the poinsettia plant?
 "Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun god. The yule log is in reality the `sun log.' `Yule' means `wheel,' a pagan symbol of the sun. Yet today professing Christmas speak of the `sacred yule-tide season'!
 Even the lightning of fires and candles as a Christian ceremony is merely a continuation of the pagan custom, encouraging the waning sun-god as he reached the lowest place in the southern skies! The Encyclopedia America says: `the holy, the mistletoe, the Yule log ... are relics of pre-Christian times.' Of paganism!
 The book Answers to Questions, compiled by Frederic J. Haskins, found in public libraries, says: `the use of the Christmas wreath is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan custom of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as our Christmas,' also, `the Christmas tree is from Egypt, and it's origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christian Era.'"
 "Following British custom, in America, halls are decked with boughs of holly for the sake of beauty and tradition. In the Middle Ages, holly was thought to have protective powers, and young maidens attached sprigs of holly to their beds on Christmas Eve to protect themselves from evil during the coming year. Some people believe that holly's significance at Christmas time is its symbolic relationship to the crown of thorns worn by Christ, with the red berries representing his blood. In keeping with this belief, in Denmark holly is called `Christ-thorn.'"
 "Holly, so reminiscent of modern Christmas, was used by the ancient Romans to decorate their homes when celebrating the pagan Saturnalia, a festival of wild abandon and debauchery which lasted from December 17th to the 24th. The early Christians sorely persecuted and frequently put to death for their beliefs, camouflaged their homes, wherein they held sacred Christmas rites by decorating door and windows with holly. Thus today, in the ancient tradition, we gaily deck our halls with holly."
[16] "The burning of the Yule (Hioul) Log is an ancient tradition among the Celtic and Teutonic races. Centuries before the birth of Christ these peoples marked both the summer and winter solstice by lighting the great wood fires. At the winter celebration, or Hioul Season, the Yule log was lighted with superstitious ceremony. The Yule log also was part of the mystic ceremonies of the ancient Druids."
 "The Poinsettia, our most popular Christmas plant, was first brought to this country in 1828 by Dr. Joel R. Poinsett, our first minister to Mexico, and named here in his honor. As to the origin of the plant, the Mexicans tell of an old custom in a certain village of placing gifts before the church's creche on Christmas Eve. Once, a small boy, having nothing to give, knelt in prayer outside in the snow. In the spot where he knelt, so goes the legend, a beautiful plant with scarlet leaves sprang up, and he presented it as his gift to the Christ-child. The Mexicans have ever since called the plant `Flor de la Noche Buena' or `Flower of the Holy Night,' and it is thought to resemble the Star of Bethlehem."
 "While Joel R. Poinsett was serving as United States minister to Mexico, he discovered the gay red-and-green tropical plant that has since been named for him. In 1828 he sent a cutting of the plant to a friend in the United States. Interested growers helped start the poinsettia in the United States, where it now flourishes as the favorite houseplant of the Christmas season."
                                  * * * * *
[17] What about Santa Claus?
 "The name `Santa Claus' is a corruption of the name `St. Nicholas,' a Roman Catholic bishop who lived in the 4th century. * * * St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December. ..."
 "The idea of a kindly man bringing presents to children at Christmas apparently goes back to St. Nicholas in the 4th century. When only a boy, he was made bishop of Myra in southwest Turkey and became the patron of children. Generous, wealthy St. Nicholas is said to have secretly given three bags of gold to the daughters of a poor nobleman who could not afford to provide dowries for them."
 "Santa Claus, the symbol of Christmas fun today, is founded upon the life of Nicholas, bishop of the City of Myra in Asia Minor. Nicholas delighted in giving rich dowries to the impoverished peasant girls when they married. Also, on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, he left gifts at the homes of the poor. Of course, he soon became a great favorite with the children. But because of such unprecedented generosity, the local authorities frequently hounded and arrested him and all during his life he was persecuted for behaving in a manner which could only be regarded as irrational by the more materialistic minded."
 "St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra whom we know as Santa Claus, is the patron saint and protector of many picaresque (shady) vocations. Among others he is the patron saint of thieves and gangsters. The `Knights of St. Nicholas' is another name for the light-fingered gentry. He is the patron saint of pawnbrokers and their emblem is traced to him. Pirates emblazoned his likeness on their flags. Other wards of St. Nicholas are spinsters, sailors, etc."
[18] "The portly gentlemen with his bag full of toys for good little boys and girls did not become a popular American folk figure until 1822 when Dr. Clement Clarke Moore, a professor at New York's General Theological Seminary, wrote `A Visit from St. Nicholas' for his children. Moore was the first to describe St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus as a `right jolly old elf ... with a round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.' Four decades later, cartoonist Thomas Nast, a German immigrant, used Moore's popular description as the basis for a drawing of Santa Claus that appeared in Harper's Weekly."
                     (pictures of Nimrod and Santa Claus)
"In the ancient Babylonian drawing of Nimrod, 2000 BC, (left) the similarity to `Santa Claus' can be seen in the long flowing, white beard, the ornate dress, the `reindeer,' the fir tree (the `Christmas' tree), and the wings, giving him power to `fly through the air'!"
                                  * * * * *
[19] Where did the custom of Christmas gift giving originate?
 "She <Semiramis> moreover declared that on 25 December, the anniversary of Nimrod's birth, he would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it."
 "The fact is, this custom fastened upon people of exchanging gifts with friends and relatives at the Christmas season has not a single trace of Christianity about it, strange though that may seem! This does not celebrate Christ's birthday nor honor it or Him! Suppose someone you love has a birthday. You want to honor that person on his or her birthday. Would you lavishly buy gifts for everyone else, trading gifts back and forth with all your other friends and loved ones, but ignore completely any gift for the one whose birthday you are honoring? Rather absurd, when viewed in that light, isn't it?"
 "A legend of his <St. Nicholas's> surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen ... is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the Eve of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6), subsequently transferred to Christmas Day."
 "Now consider what the Bible says about the wise men giving gifts when Christ was born. It is in Matthew 2:1-11. `Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? ... And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.'
 Notice, they inquired for the child Jesus, who was born King of the Jews! Now why did they present gifts to Him? Because it was His birthday? Not at all, because they came several days or weeks <or months> after the date of His birth! Was it to set an example for us, today, to trade gifts back and forth among ourselves? No, notice [20] carefully! They did not exchange gifts among themselves, but `they presented unto Him gifts.' They gave their gifts to Christ, not to their friends, relatives, or one another!
 Why? Let me quote from the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 46: `Verse 11. (They presented him gifts.) The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Sea Islands.'
 There it is! They were not instituting a new Christian custom of exchanging gifts with friends to honor Christ's birthday. They were following an old and ancient eastern custom of presenting gifts to a king when they came into his presence. They were approaching Him, born King of the Jews, in person. Therefore custom required they present gifts--even as the Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon--even as many people today take a gift along when they visit the White House for an appointment with the President.
 No, the custom of trading gifts back and forth does not stem from this scriptural incident at all, but rather, as quoted from history above, it is the continuance of an ancient pagan custom. Instead of honoring Christ, it invariably retards His Work, often sets it back, at the Christmas season every year."
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[21] What can we conclude from these references?
 "Our modern Christmas draws on all mankind for certain elements of its observance. As a result, it has become a strange medley of religious and pagan rites."
 "Through the year, parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children this `Santa Claus' lie! Is it any wonder many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too?
 One little fellow, sadly disillusioned about `Santa Claus,' said to a playmate, `Yes, and I'm going to look into this Jesus Christ business, too!' Is it Christian to teach children myths and falsehoods? God says, `Thou shalt not bear false witness!' It may seem right, and be justified by human reason, but God says, `There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death!' `Old Nick' also is a term for the devil! Is there a connection? Satan appears as an `angel of light,' to deceive! (II Cor. 11:14; Rev. 12:9)
 And so when we examine the facts, we are astonished to learn that the practice of observing Christmas is not, after all, a true Christian practice, but a pagan custom--one of the ways of Babylon our people have fallen into!"
 "... I have wondered if Jesus is really pleased with the way we celebrate His birth. I don't want to lose the spirit of giving, sharing, and the anticipation of the unexpected, but to be caught in the grip of a Santa Claus commercialism that pressures us into debt and heartache and the feeling of `I must get you something because you got something for me' is quite another thing. Christmas carol music is beautiful and tells us about the Savior, but a flying red-nosed reindeer has nothing to do with Jesus.
 Is the Lord happy with the frustration, tension, and doubt that we have let creep into the celebration of the anniversary of His birth?
[22] I don't feel that another personage should be sharing the birth of Jesus, even though he is pictured as generous and kind. Most important of all, I don't think children should be faced with any kind of myth that would in any way cause them to doubt the reality of Jesus Christ."
 "Christmas has become a commercial season. It's sponsored, kept alive, by the heaviest retail advertising campaigns of the year. You see a masqueraded `Santa Claus' in many stores. Ads keep us deluded and deceived about the `beautiful Christmas spirit.' The newspapers, who sell the ads, print flowery editorials exalting and eulogizing the pagan season, and its `spirit.' A gullible people has become so inoculated, many take offense when told the truth. But the `Christmas spirit' is created each year, not to honor Christ, but to sell merchandise! Like all Satan's delusions, it appears as an `angel of the light,' is made to appear good. Billions of dollars are spent in this merchandising spree every year, while the cause of Christ must suffer! It's part of the economic system of Babylon!"
 "It must be argued that these customs are harmless as long as their observance is centered in Christ. This would seem like a reasonable argument, but it is contrary to the word of God. Remember that he says, `My thoughts are not your thoughts,' (Isaiah 55:8) and this case is a classic example. What seem like harmless Christmas observances to the minds of men are abominations in the eyes of God."
 "Is it possible ... to toy with the observance of Christmas while still claiming to be a Christian? Worst of all is to observe these days to accommodate relatives and friends. Such a watering down of our Christian witness can only make us guilty if they do not embrace the gospel of Christ. Far better to bear a positive witness of the name of our Lord. To honor Nimrod at this season by the sending of greeting cards, gifts, the decorating of homes with pagan symbols, etc., is an abomination in the eyes of God and cannot be accepted by Him from those professing to bear His name before the nations."
[23] "My Christian friend, leave this pagan ritual--you will be amazed and delighted at the serenity and rest that emotions of `Christmas.' And teach your children the truth. You will see the new respect they have for you, and for Christ. God will honor those who honor Him. God will prove in your children and grandchildren his promise, `Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.'"
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[24] What is the real story of the birth of Jesus?
 "It was early in April, in the year of the Romans, 753, that Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem. * * *
 The exact date of these events was not certainly known until 1830 when the Lord affirmed that April 6th of that year marked one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the Savior was born in the flesh. (See. Doc. & Cov. 20:1) * * *
 In Palestine, however, the Jews were allowed to follow their ancient custom of returning to the region of their forefathers to be registered. For this reason Mary and Joseph had come to Bethlehem.
 Being of modest circumstance and because Mary's delicate condition required that they travel slowly, Joseph and Mary did not arrive in the vicinity of Bethlehem until long after that notable city had begun to overflow with large crowds from much less distant regions. Jerusalem itself was only six miles away, and unaccommodated crowds from the national capital added to the congestion at Bethlehem. In fact, this was also the season for the feast of the passover. This alone would bring tens of thousands to Jerusalem and nearby communities like Bethlehem. * * *
 As Joseph and Mary neared the end of this long journey, they passed flocks of sheep grazing upon the hills. Here their great ancestor, David, had tended flocks in his youth. Here Ruth, their maternal ancestor, had gleaned the fields of grain. * * *
 But the City of David did not welcome them. As they threaded their way among the teeming crowds of Bethlehem, Joseph must have felt increasing apprehension. Where would they stay? Everywhere they met with the same rebuff: `No room!' * * *
[25] Overwhelmed with anxiety, Joseph was finally forced to accept what he normally would have rejected with disgust. A stable. His souls must have been harrowed to the quick as he led his trembling young wife into this humble abode made for cattle. In haste he prepared for her the most meager semblance of comfort. No doubt he secured what help he could from the nearby inn, but at least it would have been grossly inadequate. No other king was ever born into the world under so humble a circumstance. * * *
 Only a mile distant, hovering near the outskirts of the city, certain angels prepared to make their presence known. Shepherds, abiding in the fields and watching their flocks by night, were chosen to be the recipients of a magnificent vision. It commenced the very moment mary's precious infant was born. Immediately the shepherds saw the veil of mortality sheared back, and an angel stood before them with a glory which enveloped the scene in a radiant light. * * *
 At such a moment the hosts of heaven could be held back on longer. The majestic choir of former-day saints burst into song. the shepherds heard them sing: `Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'
 When the vision closed, the shepherds left immediately to go into the town and seek out the location of `the child lying in a manger.' Perhaps the flickering flame of a tallow lamp sent its rays into the night to guide them to the stable's portals. And when they had gathered round, they found the babe truly wrapped in swaddling clothes and cradled in a manger. * * *
 When the Shepherds finally left the stable, they ran swiftly to awaken their friends and neighbors. To all who would listen they related the wonderful night vision and the things they had been told concerning this newborn child. But the people were not impressed. The scripture [26] says they merely `wondered.' Nevertheless, this did not dampen the ardor of the shepherds. They returned to their flocks `glorifying and praising God for all the thing they had head and seen.' * * *
 And where were the Wise Men? Although Christmas pageants have it otherwise, there were no Wise Men present on the night of nativity. In fact, their homeland was far away to `the East.' During the early hours of this first Christmas morning they, like the Nephites, were in their own country rejoicing at the sudden appearance of a great new star in the heavens. The prophets had said this star was the sign by which they would know that the Savior was born.* {* Interesting Note: "An ancient writing by a scribe known only as `Seth' tells of a succession of 12 learned Men of the East who watched for centuries for the appearance of the beneficent star. When one of them died, a son was appointed to his place. Night after night they watched in shifts with eyes anxiously scanning the heavens, generation after generation, lest they fail to see the rise of the prophesied Star of the East. Although church tradition names only three wise men, both St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom states that there were 12."} Therefore, the Wise Men promptly prepared to depart for the land of Palestine. They wanted to see this wonderful child and give him their gifts of devotion. But it was a long journey. As we shall see in a moment, the scripture is plain that it was weeks or perhaps even months before the Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem.
 Meanwhile Mary and Joseph prepared to fulfill the laws and ordinances prescribed for a newborn child. When the baby was eight days old, he was taken to the priest for naming. The name which they gave him was `Joshua.' This was a common name among the Jews, but it was the name the angel had designated. In later life the people called him `Joshua of Nazareth' to distinguish him from all [27] other men bearing the same name. Today we call him `Jesus.' But `Jesus' is simply the modified Greek equivalent for the name of Joshua. * * *
 Following this, Mary waited and rested for thirty-two days until the prescribed period of `purification' was accomplished. Then Joseph and Mary made the six-mile journey into Jerusalem to present Jesus in the temple. Dedicating this first-born son to the service of God was one of the requirements of the law of Moses. <Both Simeon and Anna beheld the infant Savior on this occasion.> * * *
 Following the ceremony, Joseph and Mary returned with Jesus to Bethlehem. By this time they had obtained residence in `a house' which Matthew specifically mentions.
 Now it was sometime after this that wise men came to Jerusalem seeking the newborn King of the Jews. * * *
 Speedily and at night they made their way to Bethlehem. Enroute they rejoiced to behold once again the same brilliant star which they had previously seen in their own country marking the date of the Savior's birth. They seemed to be led to the place where he was, but it did not turn out to be a stable. Joseph and Mary had long since found better accommodations. Matthew says the Wise Men went into `the house' and there they knelt before the child and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. * * *
 We know nothing more about them, neither their names, their number nor their nationality. All else that has been said about them is fiction. Their only mark left on the pages of history comprises less than a dozen verses of scripture. * * *
[28] Since Herod had specifically asked the Wise Men when the star first appeared which signified the Savior's birth, it is significant that he ordered all children to be slain who were under two years of age. <Herod must have been convinced Jesus was possibly nearly two years old when the Wise Men arrived, otherwise the killing of two-year-olds would make no sense.> * * *
 Here, then, we conclude the known history of `Christmas.' All else that is added is man's homemade invention. . . . But with it all, the most important thing still survives--the spirit of peace on earth, good will toward men. * * *
 Not far from us and surrounded by His legions of heavenly hosts, this same Jesus works today toward the time when He will come back to the earth. It will be a glorious day, perhaps much nearer than we think, and when it arrives, men will call it the Millennium--a season of peace on earth that will last a thousand years."
 <Taken from The Real Story of Christmas by Cleon Skousen.>
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[29]                               EPILOGUE
 What, then, is the true origin behind Christmas? Christianity or paganism? By now, the answer must be obvious!
  To most readers, however, this information will make no difference in the celebration of their Christmas holiday. There will still be the decorated tree, greeting cards, expensive gift-giving, etc. But hopefully some will give all this a second thought before getting so carried away with the commercial "Christmas spirit." (This 1986 season, over $32 billion was spent by Americans for Christmas!)
 Does the Savior even wish us to recognize His birth on a certain day every year? Apparently birthdays were not important during the time He was on earth, as the writers of the New Testament made no mention of them. Maybe a special celebration on the actual day (whether in December or April) is not required or even approved.
 So, then, how can we as Christians honor and show our love for Christ? Certainly it would not be by the things we do one day out of the year! The Savior Himself gave us an answer:
 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat;
  I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink;
  I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
  Naked, and ye clothed me;
  I was sick, and ye visited me;
  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it NOT to one of the least of these, ye did it NOT to me.(Matthew 25:35,36,40,45)
[30] The search is not difficult to find some of our fellowmen that need attention and help. The opportunity for loving and serving others is there on a DAILY basis. What better way to show our love for the Savior than to help our "brothers and sisters" here on earth--especially in the ways mentioned in Matthew; for when we do this, we have done it unto Him.
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[31]                             BIBLIOGRAPHY
 The quotations included in this pamphlet have been taken from the following publications:
 The Plain Truth about Christmas, Herbert W. Armstrong
 Pagan Holidays or God's Holy Days--Which?, Herbert W. Armstrong
 "Answers to Short Questions," The Plain Truth Magazine, Dec. 1968, pp. 29-31
 Nimrod versus Christ--Which god do you worship? (author unknown)
 The First 2,000 Years, Cleon Skousen
 The Real Story of Christmas, Cleon Skousen
 "The Mysteries of Christmas," Fate Magazine, Jan. 1960, pp. 38-44 "What Shall We Do with Santa Claus?", Gordon S. Hinckley, Ensign Magazine, Dec. 1976, pp. 39-42
 Is Christmas Christian?, Sheldon Emry
 Ripley's Believe It or Not, 2nd series
 A large variety of current encyclopedias.
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"But we ask, does it remain for a people who never had faith enough to call down one scrap of revelation from heaven, and for all they have now are indebted to the faith of another people...does it remain for them to say how much God has spoken and how much He has not spoken?"  Joseph Smith