Friday, December 17, 2010

Psalm 119- the entire chapter... really
"I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws." vs. 7
"I will seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands." vs. 10
"I will rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches." vs. 14
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.  I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me." vs. 18,19
"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." vs. 32
"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." vs. 36,37

Here we go... Paganism, Rome, Saturnalia, and... "Christ Mass" or Christmas

I have to start off by saying a few Pre-Scripts!  This will be one of the boldest posts I have written.  It will also be one of the most careful.  And it will also be the most thought provoking!  It is also important.  And that is what I hope to do... cause you to think... to wonder... to question.  The rest... I leave to Him.

This will be our first year to not celebrate Christmas.  I thought it would be hard.  It, very surprisingly, is NOT.  It is, however, hard for Abby to grasp.  And that makes it one of the hardest sacrifices I have ever made out of obedience of conviction.

I also want to state, way early on, that I do not judge or look down on Christmas celebrators.  So please don't think that I think or will think any differently toward you.  This is something we have decided as a family.  I share it because I have been called to share what God is doing in our lives.  It is a joy beyond joy to share God's presence in our lives and give Him praise and glory.  It also humbles me that it has encouraged others.

As I have mentioned before, my life has changed dramatically this past year.  God became VERY real and personal by manifesting Himself through the Holy Spirit and it sparked a hunger in me for His word, truth, and His presence like I have never known before.  This opened up conversations and searches for me and I was given a cd on pagan holidays by a friend.  This cd opened pandora's box and led me into three to four months of researching things like, "Pagan roots in Christmas," "Why Christians don't celebrate Halloween," "Where Easter Sunday came from," "Where traditional holidays came from," and so forth.  I would print and read articles and that would lead me to more searches.  I simply have to say I was blown away... shocked... angered... and convicted.

Now I could just stop here.  I could just say, "google it".  But I won't.  There is much more to say.  There is a far greater issue at stake.  And it's not found in the popular crowd.  And it's not found in the tolerance crowd.  It's greatly found in the Christian crowd.  The problem is "conforming" instead of "transforming".  We, Christians, are called to be separate from the world.  We are told not to conform to the world's culture but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That transforming leads to change.  We are called to be light in darkness.  Very early on, way before we were here on earth, Christianity did not conquer paganism... it blended with it... meshed with it... absorbed it... conformed to it's rituals and traditions and has sadly gotten very lost in it.  By getting us to conform, satan has taken away much opportunity from us to transform.  It is no accident. 

There is an author, Jesse Hurlburt, who wrote a book called, "The Story of the Christian Church."  He talks about how when Constantine became Emporer of Rome, he became a "kinda" Christian.  He was concerned about his Roman Empire.  He greatly merged paganism with the Roman Catholic Church.  It was political.  It was power driven.  It was number driven.  "The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times.  The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship.  Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and of worship." (Hurlburt)

Sound familiar?  How many churches do you know that are so worldly they are no different than a local social club... or even worse?  It's been one of my biggest complaints for a long time.  Many churches are too busy conforming to the world as much as they can, (in hopes to attract and gain people who want nothing to do with changing) without crossing a line... although many do cross many lines, to be transforming anyone.  And THAT is exactly what the enemy is so tickled about.  It's one of his greatest attacks on the church.  We are too meshed with darkness.  And by being so meshed into the world... we have lost the very power to transform it.  We have lost much of the light that makes us "different". 

Have you ever wondered why millions of non-Christians celebrate Christmas?  Do you know how many people step foot inside a church twice a year... Christmas and Easter.  Why?  Why bother?  Have you ever wondered where December 25 as Christmas Day came from?  It's certainly not in the Bible.  "Christmas" is not in the Bible either.  There is no "Christmas Story" in the Bible.  There is the birth of Jesus story.  But the word "Christmas" is not there.  The word came from the Roman Catholic Church who started "Christ Mass" and it evolved into "Christmas".   And there is no example of early Christians celebrating it.

"Christmas" is nowhere in Bible, but a "Christmas tree" is.  Trees were worshiped hundreds of years before Christ was even born.  They were cut down, brought inside homes, and decorated to be worshiped.
"Do not learn the way of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.  For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.  They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols can not speak..." Jeremiah 10:1-5

This caught my interest for sure and led me to find that the religion of Mithraism celebrated the birth of their god, Mithras, on December 25th.  They used these trees.  It also was all tied to sun god worship and the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year... the day with the least amount of light.  December 25th, or the winter solstice, was also the day to celebrate the birth of other gods like Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter, Tammuz.  Basically, this time of year was MAJOR sun god worship!  It was MAJOR pagan festival time.   And it was being celebrated way before Christ was even born.

This led me to learning about Saturnalia... yes, based on Saturn... also a god.  It was a HORRID Roman festival during the time of winter solstice that lasted for days!  Orgies were held under mistletoe and holly and ivy as they worshipped the gods of fertility.  Drunkenness was rampant.  Crime was allowed and overlooked.  It was HORRID.  Google it!  And THIS is THE pagan festival Rome blended, meshed, and conformed with Christianity and became Christmas.  Seriously.  THIS was enough for me.  I was totally saddened to the core of my being.  I had been ignorant... never asking where or why?  I was floored.

But then I searched the origins of the symbols and traditions of Christmas.  Further shocked.  Again.  Never asked why these things were used for Christmas... just did it because everyone else did.

Then I did the same on Santa.  Same result.

Then I researched "When was Christ really born" and found MUCH biblical, historical, and astronomical information on a fall birth... and some on a February birth... but ALL saying not a December birth.  Many Christians will agree they don't think His birthday is December 25... so why celebrate it then?  Because the world does. 

Then I went to scripture.  Because I was SOLD that I was no more to be a part of what I felt was the biggest lie ever pulled over on mankind.  I was about to give up my second favorite holiday (Thanksgiving being my number one).  And this what I saw:

1. I saw that God is very specific about how he does not want to be associated with idols and other gods.
2. I saw how God struck 3,000 dead when they came to worship Him with a golden calf.  Moses had just been given the Ten Commandments and the people (Israelites) waiting at the bottom of the mountain saw Him, saw His presence, and they made a golden calf to offer Him in worship.  THEIR HEART was to worship Him.  Their HEART was in it for Him.  BUT HE WAS NOT PLEASED.  This convicted me greatly.
3. I saw one of the most prominent images of Christmas (tree) spoken against in Jeremiah... the ONLY thing close to "Christmas" being in the Bible.  Actually, there is scripture in Revelation eluding to the largest Christmas celebration being during the reign of the anti-Christ. 
4. I saw how God is HOLY and can not be associated with sin.  I saw a holiday that places the celebration of the birth of His son right in the middle of many other pagan gods.
5. I saw numerous instances when the Lord said, "They worship me in vain."  God does not accept all worship.  It doesn't not matter how we want to worship God... it matters how God wants to be worshipped.  Over and over again, people worshipped how they wanted to and God was not pleased. 
6. I saw numerous accounts of where we are told not to follow the "traditions of men".
7. We are told to remember and observe his death on the cross (for THAT is what brings life to us) and that is all.  We are given examples of the early church observing this... and that is all.  It is one of the most sacred and intimate parts of worship.
8. I also saw, after learning how the biblical feasts in the Old Testament (God's Holy Days with specific dates!) correlate directly to Christ in the New Testament, that winter is silent.  There is NOTHING during winter.  Winter was the time for rest.  ("Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts")

In addition to this... I see clearly what Christmas has become.  It has become an idol.  There is no other way to put it.  People spend money they don't have on things they don't need.  Christmas is now in the stores before Halloween (another horrid holiday) is even out... begging you to buy... spend... purchase... get more.  It is concealed in glitter, bows, beautiful colors, and other distracting and appealing makeup.  But it is consumerism.  It is greed.  It is discontent.  It is excess.  It is waste.  And the money Americans alone spend on one Christmas day... could solve the world's clean water problem... several times over.  One country.  One day.  One major world problem that kills children every four seconds.  THAT is distraction from the enemy. 

Then there is the argument that "so much good happens during the Christmas season". "People are in the Christmas spirit."  Here is my answer.  If we were centered on WHO we should be centered on... we would be in THAT spirit, the HOLY SPIRIT, all year long and would not need a pagan holiday to get us in the mood.  We would be doing what many do just during this season... all year long.  We would be making a major impact on this dark world.  We would be drawing people to Christ like bees to honey!THAT is another ploy and distraction of the enemy.  THAT is an excuse.  Many people who do not know or live for Christ do great things during this season and we all get lumped together.  "Christmas" gets the glory... not God.  Wow.

I was reading a book the other day.  There was a man who had been struggling with pornography.  He had been praying for God to help him with this sin.  And he had a dream.  A naked and beautiful woman was standing right by his bed... taunting him, tempting him, seducing him.  He could not understand why he was having the dream and cried out for God.  In that instance, the beautiful naked woman turned into a horrible ugly demon... right by his bed... seducing him.  His eyes were finally opened to what was REALLY alluring him... seducing him... tricking him... beckoning for him.  He never struggled with that sin again.  His eyes were opened and he saw it for what it was.  Satan.

This is how Christmas looks to me now.  I know that is a strong statement.  It was the same with Halloween... it all just changed before my eyes.  I see past the lights and paper and bows.  I see it all as a HUGE distraction (and lie) that occupies our entire winter.  I see it as a way Satan has lumped Jesus in with other pagan gods.  What greater way to belittle the one and true God... the I AM.  Sometimes I see a pretty tree and my heart has a moment of missing my tree... but that is what it is... missing the tree.  It is the feeling I miss... and it has nothing to do with Jesus. 

Don and I became convicted on the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas a few years ago.  We changed how we celebrated it greatly.  Gifts were greatly reduced and giving was greatly increased... giving to the needy... not our friends who have more than they need anyway!  But I also was convicted a few months ago that we need to become a family of purpose and be "giving" and "serving" each month as a family.  We would pick something (World Vision, Children's Hope Chest, local food bank, ect...) and pray for that organization each day, learn about it, volunteer and give to that as a family.  I see this ALL as the foundation to what we have just been convicted to do, give up the holiday of Christmas.  I see God preparing our hearts years ago and it just blows me away.

We are celebrating winter.  We are celebrating this season of rest God created.  We are celebrating the birth, death and resurrection of Christ every day of ours by dying to ourselves and letting His resurrected life live through us.  We are celebrating and loving Him by seeking Him, being with Him, obeying Him, and seeking His will... not ours.  We are learning to walk in the Holy Spirit... and none other.

If you want to read some articles about this, is one of the most inclusive ones I have found.  It is 27 pages and so I highly recommend printing it.  There is also another good one at  But as I mentioned early, just googling questions will give you MANY links to many articles. 

It is not my intention to offend anyone with anything in this post.  I pray you know my heart.  My heart is SOLD OUT to live for Christ, to continue to learn how to die to myself (daily), and to give Him glory and praise for everything in my life.  It is also to share what He is doing in our lives.   This is a huge thing we are doing, according to the world's view... but really it's not that big.  We are not celebrating Christmas but we will ALWAYS celebrate CHRISTWe will always love others, we will always give, and we will strive to ALWAYS be in HIS SPIRIT... letting His light shine all year long.

I love you all very, very much.


  1. So, you put all together the reasons why we should not participate in the way we have come to celebrate Christ's birth. I've been having mini conversations about this with some people, but really couldn't explain it this well.

    I love that this time gets our family together, and gives us a reason to celebrate Christ, but I too would love to remove the paganism out of this gathering. The alternate argument from my family is that we don't worship the Christmas tree, it's just a decoration.. Still losing that battle of some of the symbols, but hopefully someday, we can make it just look like Thanksgiving:)

  2. Wow Dawn, that is a lot to think about..I had already been thinking that we need to change our Christmas ways and give more to others than we give to ourselves..This year we started a "secret Santa" where we give notes and handmade gifts to each other in our stockings instead of store bought gifts. We also greatly reduced the amount under the steps..thank you for sharing!

  3. Anonymous2:00 PM


    Thanks for some food for thought. We celebrate (tree, gifts, food) for Christ's birth. It is a great time to pause in our lives and give special attention to our God and Savior, just like we celebrate the lives of our loved ones with a special birthday. I agree with you that the consumerism of our society is totally missing the point, but to say that Christmas is of the devil is missing the mark by a long shot. For Christians, Christmas is a joyful time of year that has nothing to do with idols, Satan or sin.

    But i still love you and value your friendship,

  4. My response got so long I had to break it into two posts!! So here is part I:

    I will have to express an opposing view on Christmas, and I hope you will understand why. Everything I am saying is for the purpose of amiable discussion. I say it all with love for all my brothers and sisters, no matter what their view. But the freedom we have in our faith is very important to me, and I am inclined in this instance to speak up in defense of it.
    In our faith, there is no distinction between the spiritual and the secular. We are supposed to bring the gospel to people, regardless of culture. This necessarily requires engaging culture, and enculturating the gospel to some extent. We are not to accept or integrate sin into the gospel, and the Bible is clear on what those sins are: homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, drunkenness...the orgies that were mentioned would be out of the question. But beyond that, Christians enjoy freedom to adapt and use whatever cultural means are at hand to express the gospel to lost people. There should not be any such thing as a “Christian” culture and the attempt to create such a thing is not Biblical. Christ never tried to encapsulate himself in a group of Pharisees, or people that concerned themselves with behaving in a religious manner. He surrounded himself with sinners and pagans, and then he spoke to them in parables…stories that were culturally relevant and illustrated truth. Paul spoke to the Athenians using culturally relevant material, including a pagan altar and referencing non-Jewish writers that the Athenians would have known. I love what Paul the Ultimate Missionary says in Corinthians 9: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” Paul would not have shied away from celebrating Christ’s birth for any reason…if some kind of holy tree, holy shrub or holy lantern is the symbolism that speaks to a people, then it’s fair game. Effective missionaries today continue to emulate Christ and Paul in this way. Today I was reading about Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China, and he spoke of “becoming” Chinese. He embraced everything Chinese in an effort to communicate Christ’s love to a lost culture. I am sure there are many Christians who looked at his determination to enter the Chinese culture and were disparaging about it…but actually he was following the example of Christ and Paul.
    Christmas and Christmas trees are just another example of this. Yes, originally decorated trees were worshiped and the early church adopted the trees into celebrating Christ’s birth. They were not worshiping the tree, just as Christians today (or at least none that I have met) are not worshiping the tree, or any pagan deity. The focus is Jesus and celebrating his birth. There are pagan roots to countless things—the books you read, the movies you watch, even hymns. A friend pointed out to me today that Be Thou My Vision is set to the music of a Celtic pagan song, and A Mighty Fortress is set to the tune of a drinking song that was popular at the time. When I was in college, I read this re-write of the gospel that a missionary had written for some Icelanders he was trying to reach. He re-cast Jesus as an Icelandic tribal leader. He was not trying to pass it off as Scripture, he was just telling the gospel story in a way that his audience could relate to. This is what Christians are meant to do—enter culture, interact with culture, bring Jesus to the cultural discussion, redeem the culture in his name. If we refuse to redeem any cultural items or practices, then we slowly have to withdraw from culture, reject the example of Christ, and eventually reject our Biblical mandate to bring the gospel to lost people. We end up hiding out in our “Christian” culture, and we make ourselves incomprehensible to the people we are supposed to be sharing grace with.
    (continued in next post...)

  5. Part II:

    There is nothing more beautiful about our faith than its redemptive nature. Our faith redeems worshipped trees and transforms them into reminders of a Savior who came for all the pagans. Just as that Savior has redeemed each of us—I was born nothing but a tree-worshipper. I am now an heir to heaven. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus, who redeems me with my pagan roots, and then gives me the freedom to redeem any culture, pagan roots and all. Christians are called to claim it and proclaim it. We can engage our culture, and even enjoy our culture. It doesn’t matter what we use to celebrate—we are allowed to eat meat that was just dedicated to a pagan idol five minutes earlier, we are certainly free to enjoy a Christmas tree.
    Whether or not a Christian celebrates Christmas has little or nothing to do with the quality of their faith, and it means nothing about a Christian’s walk with Christ. There are Christians who strive to reject the commercialism and materialism of Christmas, and don’t celebrate it, or at least don’t celebrate it for a time. There is nothing wrong with that. But using Christmas as a faith platform does pose a problem. Our faith is not about what date something happened or whether we use all the same words as the early church (the Bible doesn’t use the word “trinity” either) or any minor cultural issue. Our faith is about the heart, about sin and man’s inability to procure any kind of salvation for himself. The focus of Christmas is Jesus, the Answer to our heart’s dilemma. Being judgmental of how people celebrate the season moves the focus to legalistic concerns about human behaviors that are simply not important in Christ’s grand scheme to redeem the world, one culture at a time.
    Just as we enjoy Biblical freedom to celebrate Christmas, Easter, and anything else in whatever culturally relevant manner we like (minus orgies), we also enjoy Biblical freedom to express our faith in different ways. Christians do not need to look alike, act alike, or really do anything alike other than proclaim that Jesus is God. We are all members of the same large dysfunctional family (and we are all dysfunctional). It is important to remember that discussion and debate is natural in a family, and it shouldn’t be seen as a personal attack. No debate on Christmas trees affects the fact that you are my sister and I love you.
    --Ryan Strader

  6. Dawn, your desire to fallow God's ways is so evident. You and your family bless me so much! People are challanged, perhaps even uncomfortable when they see your desire to please Him.
    I believe the the key word is "to please Him". We are all good at giving lip service, but how many of us are willing to truly ask God "what pleases you, Father?"
    We justify things with good intentions and we say that our heart is pure, but according to whose standards?
    "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jer 17:9)
    God is the only one who can search our heart. However, He does that according to His standard, not ours. He says "I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6) that means what did not please Him in the beginning, will not please Him in the end.
    God was not pleased with the golden calf, even though it was presented to him with their best intentions. If He tells us not to fallow the customs of nations, then I am taking His word for it. He is God and I am not.
    I have no right to judge others, there is plenty of wickeness in my own heart, but I want to desperately obey and please my Father! If He says that He does not want us to worship Him this way, then I say "yes, Sir!" I want to stand in front of Him on a judgment day and say "I tried my hardest to obey you and please you" instead of telling Him all the excuseses why I thought the things I was doing were a good idea.
    "They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."(Matthew 15:9) How many rules do we fallow that are thought by men? Was Jesus saying this only to pharisees? Let's be honest!

    I pray for all of us to be drawn to seek Him more than ever before! That means, decisions have to be made. "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD"(Joshua 24:15)
    We have the same decision to make. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!!"

    Love you so much!

  7. Your heart is beautiful. Don't let worldly opinions diminish it. Keep shining brightly !!!!

  8. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Thanks for truth!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!