What are holidays?
A holiday, by definition, is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted. While we have many holidays in America that are not connected to God, we have some that we claim are for Him. The two most important to most Christians are Christmas and Easter. And yet, few people can even give a reason why they celebrate them, and even fewer can tell us how they started.
Looking at the definition of the word "holiday", who deems that observation is warranted? Well, according to the definition above, the individual, government, or religious group. According to Wikipedia, the original meaning of the word is different from this. The word "holiday" comes from the Old English word haligdaeg. The word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days of work or school. The word derived from the notion of "Holy Day", and gradually evolved to its current form.
What does God think of Easter and Christmas?
Now, if we care about what God has in mind when it comes to "Holy Days", we should look and see if He tells us about any that He thinks are important. Of course if we don't care what He thinks, according to current practice we can make up our own.
Have you ever looked to see what times God said to set aside for Him? Oh, sure, you think that He set them aside just for one group of people - and you are right. He set them aside for that group of people who want to do what He says to do. That group of people are the ones that God covenanted with Abraham to be His people. If you read the Bible, you will see that the entire world (all nations) will be blessed by the seed of Abraham. Who is it that will be blessed? Well, all of us. Or at least, those who do things God's way and not their own.
So, if God told people when to celebrate days that were special to Him, why would we want to ignore them and make up our own? In fact, we didn't even make up our own, we combined our "special" days of Christmas and Easter with those of pagan rituals already in practice. Don't think so? Then look them up. This is not just feeding you a line here.
On the site at The Berean you can see some verification of the references you see in this site. They add some information about how people defend Christmas and how the Catholic Encyclopedia describes the celebration of Christmas:
Two arguments are often used to justify Christmas observance.
1) Many will reason this way: "But, even though the exact date of Jesus' birth is unknown, should we not select some date to celebrate as His birthday?" The answer is positively no! Notice the statement quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia: "Sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthdays." The celebration of birthdays is not a Christian, but a pagan custom, observed by sinners!
2) But, many still reason, "Even so-even though Christmas was a pagan custom, honoring the false sun-god, we don't observe it to honor the false god, we observe it to honor Christ."
But how does God answer in His Word? "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them [the pagans in their customs] . . . 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 so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods" (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).
Every one of the Sunday-keeping churches unknowingly revere the Catholic Church by their keeping of a vast majority of their practices while at the same time calling their worship false. Yet, if you reveal the above information to them, they will deny vehemently that they follow the Catholics. Nearly every holiday they keep, their church service routine and order of events is right from the Catholics, even the pews, pulpit, stained glass windows, the cross on the wall and the roof, even the day of worship itself comes from the Catholics. They even refuse to keep God's holy Sabbath as was decided by the Catholics.
"We're not hurting anyone..."
Let's take a more modern example. At a serious Bible study group in October 2017, the subject of holidays came up. Of course, I just had to mention that all our "Christian" holidays are adopted from pagan worship, with all the trappings. My wife mentioned that Jesus was likely not even born in December, but in fall to coincide with the Feast of Tabernacles, so we are making up a holiday for ourselves outside the will of God. The study leader was offended by this, and suggested we look at it in a different way. He was aware that Jesus was not born in the middle of winter, and said to count back from the fall month (we used September, but in 2017 the Feast is October 4-11) for the 9 months of pregnancy - voila! - you are in December! He said that this is really celebrating the "Tabernacling" of Jesus on the earth! "See?", he implied, "We are celebrating God's holiday!"
"We're doing what God wants, just not what He said for us to do."
While what the bible study leader said made a weird kind of perverted logic sense, what he was actually defending was the human tendency to change God's Holidays to something we want to do because we don't want to be held to anything Jewish. We have done this with the Sabbath, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles without people even realizing what we have been doing.
God said to keep the Sabbath and rest on that day, but most keep Sunday and work seven days a week, claiming they are celebrating the resurrection. God said keep the Passover in recognition of salvation, most keep Easter, celebrating fertility and independence from "judaizing". God said keep the Feast of Tabernacles in fall to remember that our home on this earth is temporary, most instead keep Christmas in December celebrating pagan practices and birthdays right along with the rest of the world that does not believe in Christ. As we have mentioned before, the trend is "Even if God said do it, I will not submit if I think it is Jewish!"
The Bible never mentions celebrating birthdays
Where did the date of December 25 come from? Where did the name Easter come from? For a taste of history with regard to these two "holidays", see Christmas: Is it "Christian" or Pagan? for some truth about Christmas and Easter. This site is among many that try to educate people instead of indoctrinate them. In fairness to those who think this site is short-sighted, you can read Are Christmas and Easter Pagan Holidays? which tries to defend the establishment of Christmas and Easter with persuasion (indoctrination), with few, if any, facts, and no Biblical references.
If you go through the New Testament, see if you can find a reference to Christmas and the date for its observance. The apostles spent nearly four years with Christ and there is never a mention of His birthday. In fact, the Israelites did not celebrate birthdays - at all:
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday
; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the "birthdays" of the gods.
(from New Advent
in a Cotholic Encyclopedia article on Christmas, bold italics emphasis added)
Eggs and Bunnies?
How about Easter? If you find a reference, your Bible has been "modernized" and is telling you a lie. The King James version is the only "legitimate" version that uses the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4, translating the word "pascha" as Easter. While the site Chick Publications indicates that this is a proper translation, the etymology of the word "pascha" shows it is derived from Aramaic "pasha" and Hebrew "pesah", meaning "the passing over". This has nothing to do with the pagan festival of Easter.
Even though the site also says the name Easter comes from the ancient pagan festival of Astarte, also known as Ishtar (pronounced "Easter"), they then go on to try to prove that this doesn't matter. Your Bible margins should be honest enough to tell you what the original text said. Look at any Hebrew or Greek translation and you will not find any references to those "special" names of Easter or Christmas. Let's look at some of our "special" days and find out where and when they started. Find the discussion reference in the center column of this page and let's get to work.
"Christianizing" the pagan "holidays"
Some even go so far as to say that they are "Christianizing" the pagan holidays by using them for leading people to Christ. Well, how in the world does observing Easter in the year 2016 on March 27 do that? What is my point? We say that we only keep Easter to observe the resurrection and have communion services to recognize His sacrifice for us. The original communion service (actually, it was a full meal) was held during the week prior to resurrection Sunday on the day called Pascha or Passover.
This year (2016), that day is April 22, nearly a month later. How is holding a day celebrating the fertility of rabbits and eggs connected in any way to Christ's sacrifice for us? We are not only celebrating the way the pagans do, which God specifically forbids in Deuteronomy 12:3-4,30-31,
3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. 4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. (Deut 12:3-4)
30 and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same." 31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. (Deut 12:30-31)
, Deuteronomy 18:9
9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.
and Jeremiah 10:2
2 This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.
, but we are not even trying to celebrate Resurrection Day when God said it actually happened.
As a side note, the most frequent argument I get about Christmas trees and Easter eggs is that, "We aren't worshiping the trees, eggs, or their pagan gods, so it's OK, all right?" The Biblical text does not say "Don't worship their gods" in these warnings. It specifically mentions their way of worshiping their gods, and do not worship our God in that way. He said not to imitate their detestable ways or do the detestable things they do. But, we seem to think it is OK to use their symbols to worship our God. In fact, isn't that backwards? We aren't "Christianizing" the pagans and their holidays, as claimed by some well-known pastors, but are "paganizing" the Christians!
Should we even mention...Halloween?
There is one more "holiday" we celebrate in America, but I hesitate to call it a holiday. Halloween. Not only is it not about God or Jesus, it is a "celebration" of goblins and demons. Lately, it has been absorbed by non-believers by celebrating super-heroes like Batman and the Hulk. What is the history of this one?
Here is what Wikipedia says:
Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of All Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day and the Reformation Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals with pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was much later Christianized as Halloween. Some academics, however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.
(site reference notes removed for readability. Go to the blue link above the box to see the original text)
For those of you who don't know what Reformation Day represents (I didn't), it is supposedly the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Church. Now that we are all up to date, I have a challenge for you. Can you find one reference to any of these special days listed in the Bible? Nope. In the definition above, the last paragraph tries to say that some "smart" people (academics) say that Halloween began as a Christian holiday. Wow. Wouldn't the average "dumb" guy think that a Christian holiday would mention things like God, church, love, happiness, and, oh yes, almost forgot, Jesus Christ?
So, what are we doing for God?
Well, if none of our modern "Christian" holidays are actually Christian, and the one holiday that celebrates demons and dead people is called a Christian holiday, what does that say about the faith of those who claim to be Bible believers and celebrate Halloween? Can you look out the window on Halloween night and see any Christianity in the "festivities"?
Now, look out there again. Can you see any pagan symbols? That means to me that the "academics" are pushing an agenda other than that clearly defined in the Bible. Just a side note here. The "academics" come from the liberal school system which excludes God from their agenda and supports evolution. Maybe that's where the definition at Wikipedia is pointing.
What would Jesus do?
Now, it seems that the final test of this whole Holiday matter would be the question that everyone thinks reveals the final word on any matter. Usually the question reveals only what the person asking really wants to do, but let's give it a try.
Easter is named after a pagan god, is held on a day not related to the Passover, celebrates the antithesis of the meaning of the Resurrection and salvation, and is a perfect example of worshipping our God in the manner of the pagans (which He told us never to do). The question? What would Jesus do? Would Jesus celebrate Easter? Halloween? How about Christmas? The Jews did not celebrate birthdays as that is a pagan ritual and celebration. Would Jesus celebrate Christmas as modern pagans do?
Just shadows of things to come...?
Think forward to the Millennium as described in the Bible. Imagine Jesus' face if you showed up to worship Him carrying a basket of colored eggs and wearing a bunny costume. Or maybe wearing a red fat-man suit trimmed in white fur, carrying a bag of wrapped items over your shoulder while shouting "Ho, ho, ho!". No, better yet, wearing a black cape, gray ghoul make-up with plastic fangs, and fake blood coming out of the sides of your mouth. 'Nuff said? Probably not. Many will still do it every year.
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