Christmas and Easter

I want to begin by saying that growing up Christmas was my favorite holiday, by far. When the Lord started talking to me about this area I was not happy about it for many reasons, but the more I learned the less I could ignore what I was finding.

What I’ve learned has been a great reminder that we have a responsibility to be in full uncompromising alignment with what the Lord says because generations will follow in our footsteps whether we are trying to be leaders or not.  Many years ago decisions were made intentionally and for reasons many of us would disagree with today, yet we follow them still today simply because it’s what we’ve been taught to do and because we’re familiar with it we see no harm in it.  Many well-intentioned individuals have innocently and unknowingly followed along this path – myself included. Let us not take our responsibilities lightly on how we proceed from here.

The word “holiday” is derived from “holy day”.  Leviticus 23 very specifically lays out the “holy days” of the Lord: the weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) and the 7 feasts. The chapter begins in verse 2 by saying:

These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are My appointed feasts.

Convocations are gatherings or assemblies.  So in other words, the Lord is laying out His holidays (holy days).  The chapter goes on to detail the various occasions and four times this chapter states that they should be observed “forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings”.

You may wonder why I’m starting a post on Christmas and Easter by talking about “Jewish” feasts.  It’s because one thing I had wondered is if I am “grafted in” (Romans 11) to Israel (the root), am I not part of these “generations” Leviticus 23 is talking about? Isn’t this part of my inheritance? If I am living my life according to scripture, how can I ignore something God has said to do forever? I also start here because the creation of Christmas and Easter began with the rejection of the Lord’s feasts.

In 321 AD, the Roman Empire made Christianity it’s official religion.  On the surface this seems like it would be a big win for the Lord, but it proved to be detrimental and have consequences that have lasted for generations.  You see to make this decision more palatable to the pagans (and because Constantine was anti-Semitic), dates of pagan holidays were adopted and “Christianized” and made into the new “holy days” – Christmas and Easter as well as a Sunday “Sabbath”.

Constantine (emperor of Rome) wrote a letter to the Counsel of Nicea in 325 AD that captures the flavor of some of the changes that were implemented:

When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of festivals, to follow the customs of the Jews who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter; We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jew, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship following a more legitimate and more convenient course: And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew.

For it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Saviour, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question, for in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error (see Numbers 9:6-12 for why this occurs).

How, then, could we follow these Jews who are most certainly blinded by error? For to celebrate a Passover twice in one year, is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communication with such wicked people (i.e. the Jews). You should consider not only that the number of churches in these provinces make a majority, but also that it is right to demand what our reason approves, and that we should have nothing in common with the Jews. (Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib III 18-20 – emphasis mine and notes added in italic)

So for the sake of convenience, rejection of those we deem beneath us and hurt pride from taking direction from them, “we” decided to do what was right in our own eyes.  This brings to mind Deuteronomy 12 where the Lord is specifying how to worship Him and in verse 8 specifically states that we are NOT to have “everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes”. This also brings to mind my post on Worshiping God (Exodus 32) which explores whether it’s ok for us to worship God in the way WE want to.

The pagan worship of the Ishtar (goddess of fertility/spring) became Easter and winter solstice, the “birthday” of the Sun god, became Christmas, and thus we rejected the heart behind 2 Corinthians 6:15-18

What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,”I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Several other scriptures come to mind as I ponder this topic:

  • He answered and said unto them, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’” – Mark 7:6-7 (KJV)
  • Jesus also said, “You make the law of God of none effect through your tradition.” – Matthew 15:6 (KJV)
  • Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were… Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction… Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10:6-7, 11, 14 (NAS)
  • …Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold… – Jeremiah 10:1-4
  • Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise.” Thou shalt not do unto the Eternal thy God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods… What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. – Deuteronomy 12:30-32 (KJV)

One other thought I’ve pondered I find interesting. There are dates of many events in the bible. We know when to celebrate all the feasts because of the dates in the bible. And yet in the four gospels – 4 accounts of Jesus’ life, 2 of which include detailed genealogies – none include His birth date. If He wanted us to celebrate His birthday, wouldn’t He – the Word = have included it so we’d know when to do it? Just a point I’ve pondered.

Let me just say, I do not judge those who celebrate Christmas and Easter. The purpose of this post is not to offend anyone, simply to share the things He’s shown me and hope that perhaps others will be blessed by it.  For a more complete breakdown on the pagan roots of Christmas and Easter, I suggest watching Truth or Tradition.  Even if you don’t agree with everything he presents, if you agree with any of it – it should be enough to give you pause to consider…

As for me personally, I am learning to observe the feasts and am no longer observing Christmas and Easter – which makes for an awkward moment on many occasions since the bulk of my Dyed4you customers do and in full sincerity view these (as the holiest of days as so many of us were taught to believe). My desire is not to bring division, but at the same time my convictions on this topic are resolute, which is why I felt the need to explain a bit about where I’m coming from – lest they think I am anti-Christ, which I CERTAINLY am not! Bless you all as you seek Him 🙂

Lord, I pray for wisdom and discernment as we seek You and seek to honor You and bring You glory. Help us to choose You and what pleases You above what is familiar and convenient.  Thank You for the grace to walk out whatever You have called us to!

For further reading: Robin Sampson shares a neat article about her own experience with this on Heart of Wisdom.

6 thoughts on “Christmas and Easter

  1. I think you must be a little confused. I wonder if you added (i.e. the jews) as a purposeful generalization when it was clear that Constantine was defending Christianity from being imposed by the customs of the Jews like St. Paul was defending from the necessity of circumcision.
    To assume that the church catered to paganism by substituting Christian holidays for theirs does not convey the importance of Easter and Christmas, which have always been central to Christianity. The incarnation and the resurrection are central events in the history of salvation. The fact that they made it the same date shows that something is greater here.
    As far as the many dates in the Bible, your reasoning that if Christ wanted his birthday to be celebrated on a certain day he would; therefore those who celebrate it on a certain day are contradicting Christ’s wishes is false. That is presuming to know God’s wishes (to record exactly when Jesus, the Son of God was born) when this is a peripheral issue.

  2. @Efren – With all due respect, I think you may be feeling the need to defend rather than hearing heart of what I’m saying.

    You’ve said I’m confusing things by clarifying that the quote referred to the Jews and then reiterated that it was in fact talking about the Jews. You’ve also accused me of presuming to know Christ’s wishes, which if you read what I’ve written I clearly do not. I simply say that it is a point I have pondered, which is certainly not the same thing. I also would hardly call celebrating someone’s birthday on the actual date versus the date of one of their key adversaries a peripheral issue, but that may simply be my perspective!

    I also want to point out that following the word of God is absolutely not the same thing as being “imposed [on] by the customs of the Jews”. My point was we are choosing to follow the holy days the Lord has specified is for the generations (i.e. “us”) rather than man-made tradition. This brings to mind Mark 7:8, “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

    Also to clarify, the point Paul was making was that circumcision was not required for salvation. A position I whole-heartedly agree with (see my Is Torah for Today post). Bear in mind the apostles celebrated the feasts and sabbaths throughout the NT. So clearly they didn’t think they were done away with, nor did they feel the need to replace them (and with gentile believers).

    The point of my post is simply to share some of what has been revealed to me and share it for others so they can prayerfully consider it as well. I apologize that I have offended you, it is truly not my intention. Yet, I cannot withhold truth I see in the word simply because it may challenge some traditions that are held sacred by many.

    My prayer is that the same fervor with which these devout believers celebrate man-made holidays may sometime be shifted and poured into the appointed times the Lord Himself defined. How beautiful might that be to Him!

  3. Pingback: Meghan Williams » Testimony Archive » Christmas Miracle

  4. I love christmas, but not manmade things that contradict the word. Christmas was originally on January 6 and had no pagan connections. It was the romans who moved it to cover up their pagan holiday. I am in honor of moving it back to where it was. This is when the mexicans celebrate and there is no pagan stuff in it. I love the songs of christmas. They are beautiful. I do not care for a tree, but love lights, songs, and the joy it brings. It is a symbol of eternity. No it should NEVER replace G-d’s feasts. Celebrating the birth is not wrong. Only when it replaces the important things is it wrong. Christmas should be used to teach about G-d accurately and be on January 6, or Hanukkah, not Dec 25. If one is going to use a tree whether during sukkot (some celebrate then) or winter, it should be an almond tree as it represents the tree he was nailed to. In the bible there is a dead give away when Jesus was born. He was born in a stable. The stable is the Sukkah. So Sukkot is a good time to celebrate, with all the holiday songs, snacks, and joy of Christmas. So January 6 or Sukkot is the best time to celebrate, but not annihilate it completely because it is so joyful.

  5. Hi Meghan:

    Yes, humanity and especially Christendom has been locked down in a cycle of repetition. This is nothing but wilderness wandering. They go from the manger to the the cross to the ascension and back to the manger. And they just keep circling and waiting for Jesus to come back, when Jesus never left and is living as the ascended Spirit of Christ within(most don’t know that Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but the anointing). And so the wilderness wanderings continue. This has been the case for hundreds of years since Constantine decided ‘if we can’t beat ’em, we’ll join ’em and dilute the faith.

    My fellow brethren in Christianity, Jesus never left, he is no longer Jesus of Nazereth, but an ascended Son seated in authority at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is an ascended Son, the first of many brethren, who has told us to follow Him into the higher realms, but this means we have to ‘forget those things which are behind us.’ Higher realms are not up near Saturn or Jupiter in your imagined heaven, but ascended thinking within (The Kingdom of God is within you!). How are we transformed? By the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS (Romans 12:2).

    These holidays are rooted in Babylon (confusion) and many have already heard and obeyed the trumpet call to ‘come up higher’.

    The Hebrews writer has stated that His people are to come outside the camp to worship and we would bear reproach for doing so. (Hebrews 13:13) The camp is not the world, for they are not awakened to these truths (yet), but religion and traditions thrust out by the carnal mind; these are things we are to leave behind.

    Megan, I stand with you as we seek Him with all our heart, but don’t expect people to applaud you when you decided to pursue truth at any cost. You know that such a course of action will cost us what we think is ‘our life’, but we lay it down and follow. Truth is hidden and just as Jesus spoke in parables to hide the truth from those not chosen to hear, God has hidden truth, for ‘it is the glory of God to hide a think, the glory of His kings to search them out.’ Prov. 25:2

    http://www.isleofexile.blogspot.com

  6. Thank you for this post, Meghan. You have put into organized words many of my random thoughts & used the Word to speak for itself. Some of it the Father’s own words!!! How blessed we are to be grafted in to His feasts. 🙂

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