[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The Problem With Christmas!
Christmas goes to the heart of our emotions and it appeals to all of our senses. We love the smell of freshly cut trees and other greenery. Our taste buds look forward to eggnog and other holiday favorites. Our eyes delight at displays of colored lights. Traditional songs blare over department store speakers, and who doesn’t want to get his or her hands on a decorated box with a surprise inside?
However, there are problems with Christmas, and the problems go beyond “putting Christ back in it,” and every professing Christian ought to sit up and take notice. As difficult as it is to admit, and as hard as it is to believe, the problem with Christmas is that it conflicts with the Biblical record and therefore undermines the true meaning of Jesus’ birth. That may shock you, but on today’s Tomorrow’s World program I’ll give indisputable proofs that demonstrate how the popular story of Christmas, with all its customs and traditions distort the true story. I’ll also be offering a free booklet on the subject, titled, “Is Christmas Christian?”
Do you, my friends, want to know the problems with Christmas? Stay tuned!
Christmas: NOT A Bible Story!
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World, and I especially want to welcome any first-time viewers. I’ll be discussing on today’s program four serious problems with Christmas, problems every sincere Christian should be concerned with. And I’ll be offering a free resource titled Is Christmas Christian? There’s no cost to it. All you have to do is call our toll-free number that will be shown on the screen at various times during this program.
So, what are these problems with Christmas?
Problem #1: The traditional Christmas story is not found in the Bible
That’s right. The story you hear each December is not the same as found in the Bible. Now don’t misunderstand; Jesus is the Son of God and His birth is recorded in the Bible, but not as most people assume.
For example, do you realize that the wise men did not come on the night in which Jesus was born? He was not in a stable when they came. They did not come to bring birthday gifts. And contrary to the song, the Bible nowhere tells us that there were three kings. The story of the wise men didn’t happen as it is commonly told today. Not according to your Bible! It’s a myth that distorts and perverts the truth of scripture. Notice what the Bible actually reveals.
The timing of the wise men’s visit was weeks or even months after the birth of Jesus, and when they did visit Him, He was not in a stable, but in a house with His mother. No mention of shepherds and sheep, not even of Joseph.
But let’s not get ahead of the story. When the wise men came to Jerusalem, reporting that they had seen an unusual star in the sky and were inquiring about a child who was born to be king of the Jews, no small stir was created among the inhabitants of the city, including the king. Matthew 2, verses 3 & 4.
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.”
The answer from these religious leaders was that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
Herod then dispatched these visitors to Bethlehem, to find the child and to report on where he was found so that he could worship Him. Of course, this was a ruse. Herod had no intention of worshiping another king, but wanted to know where He was so that he could kill Him.
While Bethlehem is only a little over 6 miles away, not a great distance, it should be obvious from what we’ve already read that all this did not happen in one night, but notice this clear statement found in verse 11:
“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.”
Note that it refers to Christ as a young child, not as an infant or babe, but we don’t have to rely on the nuances of Greek words to know that the wise men did not show up on the night in which Jesus was born. And here’s why.
After what was no doubt a few days, Herod realized the wise men were not going to report back to him. We pick up the story in verse 16:
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under….”
Why up to the age of two? After all, there’s a huge difference between a newborn infant and a two-year-old. The remainder of verse 16 explains.
“...from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”
Certainly, Jesus was younger than two, but He was more than a newborn. At a bare minimum, He was several weeks old. As we read in Luke, He was circumcised on the 8th day and after 40 days from His birth, He was brought to the temple.
“Now when the days of her [that is, Mary’s] purification according to the law of Moses were completed [that is, 40 days], they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord…” (Luke 2:22).
These events had to happen prior to the visit by the wise men. Joseph was warned in a dream shortly after their visit to flee with the child to Egypt, as Herod would kill all children up to the age of two in the region.
I’m showing today that the traditional Christmas story is not the story you’ve been led to believe. So far, we’ve seen that the wise men, or Magi, did not show up on the night Jesus was born. This is not the only example of tradition trumping truth. It’s a symptom of a much greater problem, a problem that we’ll explore in the remainder of this program, but first I want to tell you about a resource that covers this subject in greater detail. Is Christmas Christian? gives details that I don’t have time to cover in this short program. And it answers a question that few professing Christians are willing to ask—Is Christmas really ChristianAnd this booklet can be yours free for the asking, just click the link in the description to get your free copy. It’s that simple. And I’ll be right back to show you another problem with Christmas.
Not The Right Time OR Season!
On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, we’re discussing the problem with Christmas and seeing how truth is subverted by tradition. But you may be thinking, does any of this matter? Yes, it does! If you as a parent lie to your children, you undermine your own integrity. What credibility do you have instructing them to always tell the truth, if you are less than honest? And what about the fact that in the name of religion you violate the tenants of your religion? Note this sobering warning found in Revelation 21:8:
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Yes, liars are lumped in with murderers and the sexually immoral. Note too that the cowardly are listed here. How many professing Christians have the courage to step out and do what they know is right? Most often, the fear of family, friends, and co-workers keeps them from acting on truth.
In the previous portion of this program I introduced Problem #1:
The traditional Christmas story is not found in the Bible
In addition to the fact that the Bible clearly shows that the wise men did not visit Christ on the night He was born, we also saw that Jesus was in a house with His mother when they arrived. Further, nowhere in scripture do we read of three kings or wise men. They presented three kinds of presents (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), but these are categories of gifts, not an indication of how many Magi there were. And if they didn’t show up on His birthday, why did they bring gifts? I was told that we give gifts at Christmas because that is what the wise men did. But wait a minute! Didn’t they give their gifts to Jesus, not each other?
Truth is important. They were not celebrating his birthday, but were presenting gifts to a king, something that is lost in modern traditions and customs. Jesus was born to be a very real King. Notice how Jesus answered Pilate’s question:
“‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born…’” (John 18:37).
While the term king is used in the traditional Christmas story, somehow the reality of what this means is lost. For example, Zechariah 14 gives a prophecy of the Messiah’s future role. Verse 9 declares:
“And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.”
Read Zechariah 14 for yourself and you will see that this is speaking of a real kingdom to be set up on the earth at Jesus’ second coming.
This brings up our second problem with Christmas:
Problem #2: Jesus was not born on December 25th
That this is a fabrication is attested to by a multitude of sources. You will often see this fact in books about Christmas, as well as newspaper articles coming out each December. No one knows for sure the exact date of His birth, but one thing we know for sure is that He was not born on December 25th. Luke 2, verse 8 tells us:
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
The relevance of this statement is explained in The Interpreter’s Bible:
“The implication of Luke’s story is that Jesus was born at a time when sheep could still be kept in the field—sometime between April and November”
But December is the cold rainy season. Ezra 10:9 confirms this.
“It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain.”
The twentieth day of the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar falls between late November and late-December, depending on the year. Then in verse 13 it says,
“But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside.”
The Interpreter’s Bible comments on these verses as follows:
“The month usually marks the beginning of the great rain of Palestine, when the heavy rain... saturates the earth and fills the cisterns. It was... ‘the onset of winter storms,’ for the rains, often icy cold, reached the peak of intensity during December and January...”
Some authorities vainly try to hang onto the 25thof December as the date of Christ’s birth, but the facts are not on their side, and this leads to our third problem with Christmas and I’ll give that to you shortly, but I want to remind you of today’s free offer. Our resource Is Christmas Christian? answers a very important question. As we’re seeing, the Christmas story is filled with one falsehood after another, and so far, we’ve only scratched the surface, as the true facts of the Bible prove. What really happened? What are the facts concerning the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ? Chapter two of Is Christmas Christian? is titled, “When Was Jesus Born?” Think about it. Why would anyone claiming to be a Christian, perpetuate a lie when he or she knows it’s a lie? With so many falsehoods, one must ask the question: Is Christmas Christian? You need this resource, so click the link in the description or the information button in the top right of your screen and next, I’ll show you the real source of Christian traditions.
Whose Birthday Is It, Really?
Today, we’re looking at the problem with Christmas. People bemoan the commercialization, the incessant music, and trying to figure out what to give Aunt Suzie, but none of this gets to the heart and core of the problem with Christmas. So far we’ve looked at two problems. The first one?
Problem #1 The traditional Christmas story is not found in the Bible
Actually, this problem is an accumulation of a series of falsehoods that contradict the Biblical account, and there is much more than I’ve covered on this program. Our second problem is widely recognized.
Problem #2: Jesus was not born on December 25th
Now if the traditional Christmas story is not found in the Bible, and Jesus was not born on the 25thof December, why do people celebrate the birth of Jesus on that day? The answer is found in our third problem:
Problem #3: Christmas did not originate with the birth of Christ
We often hear the call to “Put Christ back in Christmas.” The problem is that He never was in Christmas. Professing Christianity simply took over pagan customs and traditions, and placed Christ’s name on them. To learn more about these traditions and where they came from, you need our resource Is Christmas Christian?Chapter 4 is titled, “Santa Claus, or ‘Ho, Ho, Hoax’?” And chapter 5 covers the subject of, “Evergreens and other Christmas traditions.”
While the true history of Jesus Christ’s birth is given in the Bible, there’s absolutely no record of an annual celebration of His birth—zero, nada! It was centuries later before His birth became attached to already extant pagan celebrations. No less an authority than the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica states:
“As late as [A.D.] 245 Origen, in his eighth homily on Leviticus, repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ ‘as if he were a king Pharaoh.’ The first certain mention of Dec. 25 is in a Latin chronographer of A.D. 354...”
It is evident from Origen’s statement that the celebration of Jesus’ birthday was beginning to creep into the Church at that time, and this is supported by a note in The Interpreter’s Bible:
“Early in the third century A.D. some parts of the church celebrated January 6 as the birthday of Jesus. In the fourth century that date was displaced by December 25—a day that had long been the occasion of a pagan festival associated with the rebirth of various solar deities. It was the date of the winter solstice according to the Julian calendar”
In Tom Flynn’s, The Trouble with Christmas, he quotes conservative religion writer George W. Cornell as acknowledging,
“For more than 300 years after Jesus’ time, Christians didn’t celebrate his birth. The observance began in fourth century Rome, timed to coincide with a mid-winter pagan festival honoring the pagan gods Mithra and Saturn. The December date was simply taken over to commemorate Jesus' birth, since its exact date isn't known. Consequently, the fusion of the sacred and the profane characterized the celebration from the start”.
Many understand that the 25th of December is not the day of Jesus’ birth. And many understand the so-called Christmas tree, kissing under mistletoe, the Yule log, Santa Claus, and many other customs all originate in pagan tradition. So it all comes down to the question, “Does any of this matter as long as we celebrate Jesus?” I’ll answer that question from the pages of the Bible, that book that so many claim to be the source of their beliefs and behaviors. But I want to remind you of today’s resource: Is Christmas Christian? I think by now you probably know the answer to that question, but this resource gives more information than I have time to give in this short program, and it can be yours free for the asking. All you have to do is call the number on your screen or click the link in the description. Is Christmas Christian? is a must-read for those who put God first in their lives. Next I’m going to explain from the Bible why all of this matters, but before I do, be sure to click the like button and subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video.
Holiday, Or Holy Day? Which Celebration Matters To God?
Today we’re looking at the problem with Christmas. To put it kindly, the real problem of Christmas is that it is built upon a foundation of lies. But does any of this matter? As I’ve shown:
Problem #1 is: The traditional Christmas story is not found in the Bible
Problem #2 is: Jesus was not born on December 25th
Problem #3 is: Christmas did not originate with the birth of Christ
For some of you, this may be a revelation. For others, you’ve known these things for a long time. So, the crux of the matter is this: “Does any of this matter as long as we observe the day to celebrate Jesus’ birth?” It’s now time to look at:
Problem #4 God is not pleased with us celebrating His Son’s birth.
Tom Flynn’s book The Trouble with Christmas is admittedly written from an atheistic viewpoint, and this is not where we’re coming from here at Tomorrow’s World. Nevertheless, what he writes in the chapter entitled “The Babe and the Bathwater” is true.
“Even devout Christians must admit—as mainstream and liberal Christian clergy do—that much of what we know as the ‘story of Christmas’ is simply the result of a process of literary accretion [that’s the process of growth or enlargement]. Its elements are inspired by, or just appropriated from, the legends of earlier holy ‘personages.’ Even if Christianity is true, the story of Christmas is unworthy of it.”
Let’s go straight to the Bible to learn what IT tells us. After all, isn’t that the source that really matters?
In Luke 6:46, Jesus chided the people of His day who called Him their Lord, meaning Master, but they didn’t obey His teachings.
“But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say?”
Furthermore, He rebuked the Pharisees for putting their hand washing tradition above the law of God. The issue may have been different, but the principle is the same—putting tradition over God’s commands. Mark 7:9:
“All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”
So is God pleased with Christmas traditions? Is He pleased with those who celebrate the birthday of His Son, as long as they “do it for Him?” Isn’t it time to put human reason aside and let the Bible answer this question? What does GOD think about mixing heathen practices with the worship of Jesus? Deuteronomy 12:29–32 states:
“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess… take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them... and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.” You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
There was a time in ancient Israel where people mixed the worship of the true God with the worship of the heathen deity Baal. The prophet Elijah challenged them in 1 Kings 18:21 with this simple question:
“And Elijah came to all the people, and said,“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, [then] follow him.”
Notice their reaction to his question:
“But the people answered him not a word.”
As with so many people today, they wanted to have it both ways. They wanted to worship God and a pagan deity at the same time. The New Bible Commentary Revised makes this astute observation regarding this verse:
“The sin of the people had been not in rejecting the worship of Yahweh, but in trying to combine it with the worship of Baal. Such syncretism [that is, combining religious ideas] is always considered to be broad-minded, whereas the other is narrow-minded. But Yahweh of Israel left no room for other gods.”
This has been the challenge down through history, and our day is no different. People want to worship God their own way. When Stephen, the newly ordained deacon, confronted the Jews in the first century, he pointed out how time and again they turned back to heathenism. Then he cried out:
“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).
Yes, my friends, there IS a problem with Christmas, and God is NOT pleased with mixing heathen and pagan practices in the worship of His Son. As He spoke through the prophet Isaiah,
“Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight” (Isaiah 66:3–4).
On today’s Tomorrow’s World program, we have briefly explored the problem with Christmas. This is more than an academic exercise. It cuts to the heart of our relationship with our Creator, but few have the courage to change in the face of the facts. I urge you to call or go to our website to receive your free copy of Is Christmas Christian?
I also invite you to join us every week on Tomorrow’s World. You need the solid guidance that comes from your Bible. Richard Ames, Wallace Smith, and I, along with guest presenter Rod McNair, will continue to share with you the teachings of Jesus Christ, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and the exciting end-time prophecies and their meaning. So, be sure to join us again next week, right here, at this same time!