Seventy-Five Questions to Ask Anti-Christmas Crusaders

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Submitted: December 06, 2014

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Submitted: December 06, 2014

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"SEVENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK ANTI-CHRISTMAS CRUSADERS"

Introduction:

One of the many attacks that are made against the Christian faith involves the blessed holiday of Christmas. However, this type of attack is not only made by those who oppose Christianity altogether, but it is also made by certain groups who profess to follow the path of Christ. I’m referring, of course, to the claims that Jesus could not have been born on December 25th because "Bethlehem would have been too cold and too snowy at that time of year for shepherds to have been out in the fields with their sheep at night." I’m also referring to the various claims that Christmas is loaded with paganism and that Jesus would oppose birthday celebrations and man-made holidays.

Now, instead of composing a series of essays with which to address these fabricated fables, I have decided instead to offer my Christmas-defending facts in the form of questions to ask our Christmas-opposing neighbors. The enemies of God have so often used this technique themselves that I figured it was time to put them on the receiving end for a change. Hence, I have composed a list of "75 Questions to Ask Anti-Christmas Crusaders."

The first bunch of these questions are designed to defend the possibility that Jesus may very well have been born on or near December 25th. Now, of course, the arguments presented here do not prove that this is the authentic date, but they do prove that a birth in December is by no means impossible. These questions will also refute the false evidence which claims to prove that Jesus was actually born in September during the Festival of Tabernacles.

In the remaining questions, I will address a variety of issues including the claims of pagan-incorporation into Christmas, the celebration of birthdays and man-made holidays, and the various good and charitable things that have come as a result of the Christmas season. I’ve also included some brief "Closing Remarks" after the final question, followed by a list of my Works Cited. It is my hope and intention that these questions will not only enable anti-Christmas crusaders to reconsider their stance, but will also increase the faith and charitable spirits of those who already favor this blessed time of year.
 

The 75 Questions Asked:

[#1] Did you know that the actual birth date of Christ is ultimately irrelevant since we are not celebrating a day, but an event? After all, Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926 but her "official" birthday celebrations are/were always held in June. Has anyone ever seriously objected to that?

[#2] Why is it that when people spend Christmas Eve in Jerusalem or Bethlehem, they often come back claiming to have seen shepherds with their sheep in the fields at night? I quote Dr. Harry Mulder of the Netherlands: "During our brief Christmas vacation, my wife and I traveled from Beirut to Jerusalem . . . On Christmas Eve, in Shepherds Field, a crowd had gathered to sing Christmas carols. We joined this crowd and took part in the singing. Right near us, a few flocks of sheep nestled. Even the lambs were not lacking. It was a moving sight. It is therefore definitely not impossible that the Lord Jesus was born in December." [Hendricksen, William. Matthew (NTC; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973), p.182]

[#3] Did you know that, according to the Misha (Shekalim 7:4), the shepherds of Bethlehem were outside with their flocks all-year-round and that sheep were in the fields thirty days before Passover? This would be as early as February – one of the coldest and rainiest months of the year. Therefore, a December date for the nativity is certainly possible.

[#4] Did you know that The World Book Encyclopedia (copyright 1974, volume 10, page 390) says that, in January, which is the coldest month in Israel, temperatures average 45ºF (7ºC) in Northern Galilee, and 60ºF (16ºC) in the Rift Valley? This temperature may be a little cool, but it is not so cold as to prevent a warmly robed shepherd from being out in the fields at night. Also, the same Encyclopedia says that: "The Northern uplands have some days of freezing weather almost every winter. Rain falls almost entirely in winter, and generally decreases from North to South. Snow sometimes falls in the northern and central parts of Israel." Would it therefore shock you to learn that Bethlehem is located in the upper-southern part of Israel? Did you also know that Padanaram, which is where Abraham’s grandson Jacob use to reside (Genesis 28:5), is located in the northern part of the Holy Land, and that Jacob worked there as a shepherd for twenty years and stayed outside with his flocks day and night all-year-round? See Genesis 31:38-40 where he complains about having suffered from frost by night. In other words, Jacob did precisely what you claim the shepherds of Bethlehem could not have done.

[#5] Did you know that the latitude of Bethlehem (31.7 degrees) and the latitude of Dallas, Texas (32.8 degrees) are not that different? So why don’t you contact a resident of Texas and ask them how cold or comfortable they consider their December/January nights to be? Afterwards, why don’t you contact a Canadian resident who went winter-camping in January and ask them how warm they felt after sitting in front of a roaring outdoor campfire for even a few minutes? In all likelihood, they will tell you that they soon felt so warm that they wanted to take off their winter coat and roll around in the snow to cool off. Thus, if the Israeli shepherds knew how to build and maintain a campfire, and it’s safe to assume that they did, they would have been toasty warm on even the exceptionally coldest of winter nights.

[#6] Many times, the opponents of Christmas have claimed that there is a remark in the Talmud indicating that sheep were put out to grass in March and brought back into the city at the beginning of November where they were kept in corrals during the winter months. However, in most speeches or writings where this claim has been made, the writers/speakers don’t actually quote the Talmud directly, nor do they provide a chapter and verse number so that their audiences could look up the passage for themselves. Why do you suppose that is? The answer, apparently, is not that such a verse is nonexistent, but that the verse in question, Babylonian Talmud - Beitzah 40b, can only appear credibly applicable when it is ripped out of its proper context. For when referring back to the final paragraph of Beitzah 40a, the reader will see that although the "pasture animals" were "led out about the time of Passover" to "graze in more distant meadows" and were then "led in at the time of the first rainfall" (i.e., October-November), they are not reported here to have been brought back into the actual city. Rather, only the "household animals" are reported here to have been led out to "graze outside the city-border" and then returned to "spend the night inside the city-border." Beitzah 40a then further states that after the "pasture animals" were led out to graze, they did "not return to the habitation of men either in summer or in winter." (The phrase "habitation of men" is clearly a reference to the city’s inner-dwelling places). Instead, when the early rains began, these animals would have obviously been brought in from the "more distant" meadows and simply been put into folds and kept in closer, more nearby fields so the shepherds would have easier and faster access to the city’s resources. And since the thrust of Luke 2:8 implies that the shepherds were keeping the night-watch in such a particular nearby field, as opposed to being out in the "more distant" meadows, one may conclude that winter was in fact the season when Jesus was born. (Note: While certain English translations render this verse to state that the shepherds were in the same "country" as the manger, this word can have both a broader or tighter meaning, and can easily be interchangeable with more specific words like "region" as per other English Bible versions). Seeing then how the Talmud actually supports that shepherds were outside watching their flocks in winter, and that it even goes so far as to lend credibility to a winter-birth viewpoint, is it any wonder that those who claim the opposite rarely, if ever, quote their source?

Author’s Comments: One of the reasons why the Talmud-argument is so popular among critics is because it was used in Werner Keller’s best-selling book The Bible as History. However, like most other writers, Keller does not provide a word-for-word quotation nor cites the chapter and verse where this misused statement is made. Further, Keller’s book makes no references to angels or any supernatural miracle from the New Testament, and concludes the account of Jesus with the crucifixion. As for the Old Testament miracles, these are rarely referenced, and when they are mentioned, like the Flood or the Plagues of Egypt, Keller attempts to provide scientific/natural explanations for their occurrences. In other words, when reading between the lines of Keller’s book, it’s clear that he does not believe in supernatural occurrences at all, or is at least extremely doubtful. So, when attempting to determine an exact or approximated date for a supernatural event such as the virgin-birth or the appearance of the angels to the shepherds, do you really think that an atheist or agnostic, who doesn’t even believe in such things, is really the best person to consult?

[#7] Some critics claim that the Bible itself proves in Ezra 10:9,13 that winter was a heavy rainy season that would not have permitted shepherds to abide in open fields. But did you know that these verses are actually only referring to single particular day? For verse 9 states that the heavy rain occurred in "the ninth month, on the twentieth day." This would be the month of Chisleu, which covers the last half of November and the first half of December, and so the twentieth day would be in the beginning of December. Did you also know that the rainy season in Palestine has two parts? The early rain, as briefly mentioned in the question above, typically occurs in October to November, and the latter rain occurs in March and April (Jeremiah 3:3/5:24, Job 29:23, Proverbs 16:15, Zechariah 10:1). Hence, this particular day of heavy rain in early-December would have occurred in the tail end of the early rainy season, and thus would have likely cleared up by late-December allowing for any shepherds to return to the nearby fields and resume their regular duties. In fact, Ezra 10:16 appears to support this by showing that the assigned task which the people were previously unable to perform due to the rain on the twentieth day of the ninth month was now about to begin on the "first day of the tenth month" (mid-December), thus suggesting that the rain had in fact stopped.

[#8] As per the argument above, don’t you think that the tail ends of the early and latter rains would be actually be the best time for shepherds to take their sheep into the fields? For that’s the time when there would have been an abundance of freshly grown grass for the sheep to eat, and numerous puddles of water everywhere for them to drink from. During the rest of the year, shepherds would have needed to painstakingly lead all their sheep down to the lakes or rivers for a drink. So why not take advantage of the soggy winter fields and save a trip? Also, if the sheep were brought back into the city and kept in corrals during the winter months, how would they stay hydrated then? The only answer I can think of would be for the shepherds to make numerous daily trips to the lakes or water-wells and haul back heavy buckets of water. But why would they do this if it wasn’t completely necessary?

[#9] Did you ever consider that winter would have been a logical time for Rome to take its census since that’s the only time when people would not have been bound by their agricultural and construction duties to remain at home? Some have argued against a December census, claiming that the "bad weather" would have impeded the people’s ability to travel safely, and thus cause them to get angry enough to revolt. But consider for a moment how a non-winter census would have caused problems for farmers, stock-breeders, construction workers, and people with various other weather-dependent occupations. Such folks normally worked very intensely during the other seasons, and thus would have needed to work doubly hard upon their return to make up for the lost time and to recover from serious financial losses – assuming such recoveries would even be possible. So don’t you think that the idea of extra endured labors and/or noticeable losses of income would also have made people want to revolt? Hence, when having to choose between that particular option and having to make a journey in early winter (when folks had far less to do anyway), which option do you think would have made the people frown more?

[#10] The previous question above was based on the commonly-held belief that the census must have been conducted strictly during a particular month or season and that everyone left to get registered at the same time. But upon further thought, are there actually any grounds for assuming that this was actually this case? Would it not have made more sense for the Roman officials to instead keep their registry-stations open in each town for an entire year so that travelers could come and register whenever it was most convenient for them and to have time to sort out their affairs at home before they left? For if a cattle ranch employed over 300 people, and the whole lot of them all left at the same time, who would be left behind to care for the animals? But if the census was spread out over a year or so, then the ranch could easily spare a percentage of the employees each month while the others could remain and work only slightly longer and harder each day to fill the void, thus creating only minor and temporary nuisances. If this was indeed the case, then we may theorize that the census was officially announced in late-Autumn when Mary was becoming "great with child" (Luke 2:5), and that she and Joseph decided to leave for Bethlehem right away before she went into labor in early-Winter. For if they had waited until after she gave birth, they would then have needed to make the journey with a newborn baby who constantly needed to be fed, changed, and put down for naps. Would it not have made more sense for them to instead reach Bethlehem early, have the baby after they arrived, get registered, and then stay there for at least a couple years (as per Matthew 2:16) until the baby was old enough to return to Nazareth with minimal fuss? Now admittedly, this theory is just speculative right now, but can you really find evidence to prove that such a scenario is completely impossible or at least highly unlikely?

[#11] Did you know that the early Christians had access to the Roman census records that were taken at Bethlehem? For instance, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), in his noted Apology (a detailed explanation of the Christian faith addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius), stated that Jesus was born in Bethlehem "as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing" (Apology, I, 34). Similarly, Tertullian (160-250 AD), spoke of "the census of Augustus – that most faithful witness of the Lord’s nativity, kept in the archives of Rome" (Against Marcion, Book 4, 7). Are you also then aware that when Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386 AD) asked Julius to assign the true date of Christ’s birth "from the census documents brought by Titus to Rome," Julius assigned December 25th? As well, did you know that John Chrysostom (c. 347-407 AD) had also claimed that this date was supported by the actual census/tax records of the Holy Family when they registered in Bethlehem?

[#12] Did you know that the early Christians believed that Jesus was crucified on March 25th (according to the Julian Calendar, that is) and that they also believed that this was the very same day that He was conceived in Mary’s womb about thirty-four years earlier? Apparently, it seemed most fitting to them that the first day of Christ’s earthly mission be the same day as His last, thereby connecting the mystery of the Incarnation with that of the Redemption. As a result, Christians celebrated March 25th as the Feast of the Annunciation – which is a commemoration that still continues today. And since December 25th falls exactly nine months after the Feast of the Annunciation, it seemed the most natural day on which to celebrate Christ’s birth.

[#13] Further to the above, the season of Spring, which begins in late-March, is the time of year when dead/dormant plants come back to life and begin to regenerate themselves. It can therefore seem fitting for Christ’s resurrection to occur during this time as well. It can likewise seem fitting for the yearly anniversary of the Passover/Exodus to occur at this time since Israel’s liberation from Egyptian bondage was also a resurrection of sorts. The season of Spring also happens to be the time of year when new seeds are planted in the ground and begin their maturation into crops, shrubs, trees, etc. Hence, can it not also seem fitting for the "Seed" of Mary to be planted in her womb at this time to begin His own (nine-month) maturation into manhood?

[#14] Why do you suppose that the three most popular given dates for the birth of Christ (i.e., December 25th, January 6th, and January 19th) are all in winter? Could it be that the people of the early Christian world had access to information that we no longer have today? Also, did you know that Pope Liberius officially moved the official birth date of Christ from January 6th in 353 AD to December 25th in 354 AD? Liberius must have had strong evidence not available to us today to have made such a move – something beyond the supposed intent to coincide with a pagan festival or the calculations of a few theologians.

[#15] Did you know that December 25th, which falls just a few days after the winter solstice, is the point in the year when the length of the daylight hours slowly starts to increase? Did you also know that the traditional birth date of John the Baptist, June 24th, which falls just a few days after the summer solstice, is the point in the year when the length of the daylight hours slowly starts to decrease? Remember that John was conceived/born six months before Jesus according to Luke 1:26,36. Bearing these facts in mind, I recall what the Baptist said about the Christ: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Hence, as a means of complementing this prophecy, does is it not seem fitting that Jesus and John have their birthdays on these dates? Saint Augustine certainly thought so: "The day He chose was that on which the light begins to increase, and it typifies the work of Christ who renews our interior man day by day. For the eternal Creator, having willed to be born in time, His birthday would necessarily be in harmony with the rest of creation" (Sermon: On the Nativity of Our Lord iii).

[#16] Many have pointed out that December 25th was originally the date when pagans celebrated the birth of their sun gods. This date was, I admit, a logical choice for the pagans seeing how that is the date when the sunlight begins to increase again. But when we observe how Christ is referred to as "the Sun of Righteousness" in Malachi 4:2 and as "the light of the world" in John 8:12, and observing how Psalm 84:11 says that "God is a sun and shield," can we not also see logic in Christ being born at this time as well? We may also observe how God proved that He was the true "Sun God" in Exodus 10:21-23 by blotting the sun out in Egyptian territory for three days. This was done to denounce and discredit the pagan sun god, Ra, whom the Egyptians had been worshipping up to that point, and to take back worship for Himself. Hence, can we not also see logic in Christ discrediting all the various pagan sun gods and taking back worship once again by being born in late-December?

[#17] Did you know that, typically, the only time shepherds would have been out with their flocks by night at all is when the sheep were giving birth? Did you also know that the normal gestation period for sheep is five months and that their mating cycles begin in early January and then again in late-June? This reveals that the ewes of Bethlehem mentioned in Luke 2:8 would have been giving birth in early June and then again in late-December. Thus, anyone wishing to prefer a June-date for Christ’s birth must acknowledge that December 25th would be fairly close to Christ’s half-birthday.

[#18] When attempting to propose an alternate birth-month for Christ, most anti-Christmas crusaders tend to go with September (and completely ignore the facts about the mating cycles for sheep). One of the primary arguments used to support a September-birth is based on the brief references to the Course/Division of Abijah in Luke 1:5,9 and 1 Chronicles 24:6-19. According to these verses, the priestly line of Abijah, to which the father of John the Baptist belonged, was the eighth of twenty-four lines which served in the temple and burned incense on a rotating weekly basis throughout the year. The claim made by modern critics here is that the cycle always began at the start of the Jewish year (mid-March on our modern calendars) and that a priest of Abijah would always be serving during the eighth and then thirty-second week. The claimants then assume that John was conceived almost immediately after his father served his week in the temple, thereby allowing them to jump ahead nine months to John’s birth and then another six months to Christ’s birth, thus landing in either September or March. Now, before I proceed to point out all the flawed logic with this theory, let me ask: If it were truly this simple to firmly establish a September or March birth for Christ, then don’t you think that the first, second, or third-century Christians would have easily figured this out too, and thereby have all the evidence needed to thwart the designation of a false December date?

[#19] The first thing to ask in regards to the aforementioned Abijah-theory is: What is your source for claiming that the cycle always began anew at the start of the first month, and how do you know that each priestly line always served during the same week from year to year? – For there is nothing in the scriptures to support these statements. One can further observe that there were only 24 priestly lines serving in this rotating schedule, which would therefore only cover 48 weeks of the year. Yet, the Old Testament Jewish year, initially, consisted of 354 days, having 29½ days in each of the twelve months, and thus 51 (or rather 50.57) weeks in total. So who then would have covered those extra three weeks to keep each priestly division in their designated spot and prevent them from shifting down the calendar each year? Some have argued that all 24 of the priestly lines served during the three festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, thereby skipping their regular week-long shifts during these times and postponing them to the week that followed. But where in the scripture is this indicated? Some have attempted to use 2 Chronicles 5:3-11 (ripping verse 11 out of context) for support, but this passage is actually about the time when the priests first brought the Ark of Covenant to the Temple and put it in the Most Holy Place. This was a one-time event in history and has nothing to do with burning incense or serving regular shifts. It may also interest you to know that, later on, when the Jews learned that there were actually 365¼ days in the solar year, they added an extra thirteenth month to their calendar every two or three years for agricultural proposes. So even if the priests did not serve their rotating shifts during the three feasts, you’d still have to wonder: Who would have covered the weeks of that extra month to prevent the schedules from shifting then? Another question would be that, if a priest of Abijah always served during the eighth and then thirty-second week, why didn’t Luke’s account simply identify which of those two particular weeks of the year was the one when John’s father served? To conclude, since there is no scripture to indicate that the 24 priestly lines actually had specifically designated and immovable spots in the year for service, there are no grounds for claiming that they never shifted down the calendar every year. And if they were indeed shifting, then, despite our sincerest efforts, there is no way to irrefutably calculate the precise time of year when Abijah’s two (or possibly three) turns took place during the year that John’s father was serving.

Author’s Comments: A supplemental observation to accompany the above is that the 24 priestly lines and the order in which they served as given in 1 Chronicles 24:6-19, were originally assigned during the reign of King David and long before the Babylonian exile. But according to the reports of those who later returned from the exile, as given throughout the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, only a percentage of those original 24 lines are ever mentioned. Add to this the fact that those who do get mentioned are listed among other, newer, priestly lines and are listed in alternate orders. The line of Abijah, namely, is listed 17th of 21 in Nehemiah 10:1-8, and as 12th of 22 or 11th of 21 in Nehemiah 12:1-7,12-21. Following these reports, there is no scriptural evidence that all the original 24 lines were later recovered and restored to their pre-exile Davidic order. Hence, there is no solid evidence that the priests of Abijah were once again serving during the eighth and thirty-second weeks in the year that John the Baptist was conceived. (Note: Some opponents may try to use the reference to the "commandment of David" in Nehemiah 12:24 as evidence for such a restoration, but this verse is actually only referring to the manner of singing praise and thanksgiving as per 1 Chronicles 25:6-8, and has nothing to do with the priestly order of temple-service). Yet, even if there was adequate evidence that all the priests had been restored to their original rotating schedule, this would still be insufficient for discrediting a December-birth for Christ as demonstrated above.

[#20] During the above question/argument, the three feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were mentioned. Since the third of these, the Feast of Tabernacles (also called the Festival of Booths), occurs between late-September and late-October, supporters of a September-birth often attempt to provide theological arguments to claim that Jesus was actually born during this particular feast. Now while some of those theological arguments can admittedly sound rational, the historical viewpoint is quite contrary. According to Leviticus 23:34,42 and Nehemiah 8:13-18, the Israelites dwelt in temporary huts (or "Booths") made of branches during this particular week to remind them of how their ancestors lived during their forty years in the wilderness. Yet, when reading the Gospel accounts of Mary and Joseph’s time in Bethlehem, where can you find indication that all the people were out of their regular lodgings at this time and were dwelling in such huts? Does not the fact that "there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7) suggest that all the regular lodgings were being occupied at this time? Now naturally, you could argue that all the inns were full due to the census. But couldn’t some, if not most, of the regular homes be made available to the town’s incoming visitors at this time, especially to an expectant mother, if the family members were all sleeping outside in their huts? Further to this, the angels told the shepherds that they would find the Baby Jesus in a manger (Luke 2:12). But if this event took place during the Feast of Tabernacles, then wouldn’t there have been numerous other families dwelling in manger-like huts at this time as well? How then would the shepherds have known when they found the right place?

[#21] Still on the topic of the three feasts mentioned above, Deuteronomy 16:16 states all Israelite males were required to go to Jerusalem every year during these times. Yet, we are told in Luke 2:15-16,22 that Joseph was still with Mary and the baby in Bethlehem when the shepherds came, and that the family didn’t go to Jerusalem until after Mary’s days of purification were completed. Hence, if Jesus was truly born during the Feast of Tabernacles, or even during Passover or Pentecost, then wouldn’t Joseph have been breaking the Law by staying put? Further to this, don’t you think the Roman governors in Judea would have become familiar enough with Jewish customs by this time to know that all the men had to be in Jerusalem during these feasts? And if so, wouldn’t the Romans have therefore been smart enough to conduct their census during an alternate time of year so as to avoid conflicts with these predetermined travel plans?

[#22] Another argument for supporting a Tabernacle-birth comes from interpreting the first half of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:26-27) to be a reference to the Messiah’s ministry which was assumed to have lasted 3½ years. Since Christ’s earthly ministry ended with His death at Passover, supporters of this argument claim that the ministry must have begun during the Tabernacle Feast since the two feasts are a half-year apart. They then quote Luke 3:23 which says that Jesus "began to be about thirty" when He was baptized, and they use this to claim that He was baptized on or near His 30th Tabernacle-birthday in September. But did you know that Daniel’s 70th week actually has nothing to do with Christ’s earthly pre-crucifixion ministry, and that the entire full week is still in the future? According to Daniel 9:25, the first 69 weeks (i.e., 483 years consisting of 360 days each), which have already passed, covers the time from the "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince...." And, according to Nehemiah 2:1-8, the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, as issued by Artaxerxes at Nehemiah’s request, occurred during the Jewish month of Nisan (April-March). Hence, the 69th week (or 483rd year) must therefore have likewise ended in Nisan during the Passover when Jesus was crucified, and not at the incorrectly-assumed beginning of the ministry during any Tabernacle Feast. The scriptures therefore do not give any clear indication of when Jesus began His ministry or was baptized, nor do they give any clear indication that the ministry was anywhere near 3½ years in length.

Author’s Comments: Some critics have attempted to use Ezra 7:9-13 to instead claim that the "decree" to rebuild Jerusalem actually occurred in September. However, when carefully reviewing the remaining verses of this chapter (14-28), a reader will see that the details of this particular decree are only concerned with the rebuilding of God’s "house" (i.e., the Temple), and not the city of Jerusalem itself. And Daniel’s prophecy was very specific that the 70 weeks were to begin at the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem – a commandment that is only reported to have been given in Nehemiah 2 during the month of Nisan. One may also observe that Daniel 9:25 (KJV) makes direct reference to the rebuilding of "the wall" which is a primary focus in the book of Nehemiah, but not in the book of Ezra. A careful reader may further observe that both the death of the Messiah and the later destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD were to occur after the 69th week as per Daniel 9:26, but before the final 70th "one week" in verse 27. This of course confirms that both halves of the 70th week are in the future and are not related to the length of Christ’s pre-crucifixion public ministry as mentioned in the question above.... And, if that weren’t enough, a careful reading of verse 26 will also reveal that two distinct individuals are mentioned. The first is the Messiah (Jesus) and the other is "the prince that shall come" (the Antichrist) whose people will have already destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple. Now since the "prince" is the latter of the two that are mentioned in verse 26, he, and not Jesus, is clearly the "he" who is spoken of in verse 27. This is then further evidence that the Prophet Daniel never made any reference to the actual length of Christ’s public ministry.

[#23] Although the previous question and its follow-up paragraph each make it clear that a precise length for Christ’s ministry cannot be determined through scripture, a rough estimate might still be possible. According to Mark 1:12, Jesus began His 40 days in the wilderness immediately after beginning baptized. Upon returning from the wilderness and finding John the Baptist again (John 1:35-42), Jesus then returned to Galilee the next day (John 1:43) and attended the wedding in Cana on His third day there where He performed His first miracle (John 2:1-11). After this, according to John 2:12, Jesus went to Capernaum but stayed only briefly. We are then suddenly told in John 2:13 that the Passover (March-April) was at hand, thus bringing Jesus back to Jerusalem. A second Galilean miracle wasn’t performed until He returned (John 4:43-54). Now, admittedly, there’s no way to know how much time actually passed between John 2:12 and 2:13, but the thrust of the text would imply there wasn’t much. Hence, if Jesus was baptized in September during a Tabernacle Feast, then don’t you think the six-month gap between that event and the Passover-episode, especially with no other reported miracles or visits to Galilee, would seem just a bit too long? So how about we consider a birthday-baptism in late-December or early-January instead?

Author’s Comments: Regarding the actual length of Christ’s ministry as discussed in the paragraphs above, the idea of a 3½-year ministry certainly feels more romantic, which is why most people just accept it without really thinking about it. However, any credible evidence for such a length is severely lacking. In John’s Gospel, only three Passover festivals are named. The first is named in John 2:13, and if we attempt to determine the time between Christ’s baptism and that first Passover, we’d get half a year if He was baptized in September, or one quarter of a year if the baptism occurred in December/January. Then, from the first to the second Passover mentioned in John 6:4, we’d have 1½ or 1¼ years in total, and from the second to the third Passover (the Last Supper) first mentioned in John 11:55, we’d have a total of 2½ or 2¼ years. So a third year is completely missing. Some people have attempted to argue that the unnamed feast in John 5:1 was the missing Passover, but if that were the case, we’d then have an entire one-year gap between chapter 5 and 6. In addition, we’d have to wonder why this feast was not clearly identified as a Passover like the other three. Evidence also suggests that the unnamed feast was most likely Purim, and I will happily discuss said evidence with anyone who requests it. The point? A ministry of 3½ years cannot be supported historically, or at least not with any evidence that would hold up in court, and thus it cannot be used to support a September baptism for Jesus – let alone a September birth.

[#24] Throughout the four Gospels, there are several episodes which take place during or just prior to a festival. But when reviewing all the various accounts of Christ’s birth or baptism, no festivals are ever mentioned or even inferred to. Why do you suppose that is? If Jesus was born or baptized during a festival, then don’t you think that at least one verse in the New Testament would have stated so? The various narratives make it abundantly clear that the death and resurrection of Christ occurred during the Feast of Passover, and that the Holy Spirit descended to dwell within all believers on the Day of Pentecost. So if Jesus was born or baptized during the Feast of Tabernacles, or any other festival for that matter, then why wouldn’t the New Testament writers just simply and plainly say so? One can further observe that whenever a festival occurs in the Gospel narratives, or is just about to occur, Jesus is always in Jerusalem – not near, but in. Was Jesus in Jerusalem when He was born or baptized?

Author’s Comments: In a possible response to the last sentence above, some critics might attempt to claim that Jesus didn’t go to Jerusalem during the Passover of John 6:4 since that whole chapter takes place in Galilee. However, a careful study of the wording in the KJV reveals that this particular Passover was simply "nigh" whereas the other upcoming feasts mentioned throughout the fourth Gospel were "at hand" – see John 2:13, 7:2, and 11:55. From this comparison, we see that although the Passover of John 6:4 was approaching, it was not yet imminently near, unlike the other upcoming feasts where Jesus was clearly on His way to Jerusalem or had already arrived. According to the commentary of Matthew Henry, "it was a custom with the Jews religiously to observe the approach of the Passover thirty days before...." Henry further speculates that the Galilean multitudes were intently following Jesus during the events of John 6 because they knew He would be leaving for Jerusalem soon and would be absent for some time. For in order to remain a perfect Jew under the Law, and thereby remain sinless, Jesus needed to be in Jerusalem during every Passover in accordance with Deuteronomy 16:16. The claim that He skipped the feast this year is therefore wrong and baseless, and cannot be used to avoid the question above.

[#25] A supplement observation to the previous question is that, in Luke 2:11, the angel of the Lord simply told the shepherds that Christ was "born this day." The angel did not say something to the effect of Christ being "born during this feast." Perchance, could this be further evidence showing that Jesus was not born during the Feast of Tabernacles or any other Old Testament feast? For the angel could very easily have stated that Jesus was born on "this day of Atonement" or "this day of Pentecost" or "this first day of Passover" or "this last day of Tabernacles." But he didn’t. Why?

[#26] Back on the earlier topic of when Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, served his week in the temple and burned incense, many scholars believe that the duty he performed in Luke 1:8-9 was the regular daily task of incense-burning that the priests performed every morning and evening throughout the year as per Exodus 30:7-8. However, a careful examination of Luke 1:9-10,21-22 may suggest that one of the days in that particular week of incense-burning was the annual Day of Atonement. Here, we are told in verse 10 that "the whole multitude of the people" were praying outside during this time, and, more significantly, verses 9 and 21-22 appear to show that Zacharias was completely alone in the temple when he performed this duty and was visited by the angel Gabriel. For if someone else had been waiting/praying just on the other side of the curtain that separated the altar of incense from the rest of the temple’s court, then don’t you think they would have overheard the conversation between Zacharias and Gabriel instead of wondering why Zacharias was taking so long in there? Now when turning back to Leviticus 16, and focusing in on verses 12-13 and 17, the reader can see that on the Day of Atonement, an Aaronic priest was required to be completely alone in the Tabernacle (tent/temple) when performing the required duties. At other times of the year, however, as seen in examples like Leviticus 9, Aaron and his sons, as well as Aaron and Moses, were clearly shown in the Tabernacle together. Was there any other time of year when a command for priestly solitude was given? If not, then we may proceed to recall that the Day of Atonement occurred between mid-September and mid-October. And assuming again that John the Baptist was conceived almost immediately thereafter, we can jump ahead the fifteen (nine plus six) months to reach a date ranging between mid-December and mid-January for Christ’s birth.

Author's Comments: In a possible but weak attempt to refute the above argument, some critics might try to claim that an Aaronic priest was also required to be alone in the Tabernacle during the twice-daily incense-burning sessions because Exodus 30:7-8 only mentions "Aaron" and no one else. Yet, when comparing those verses to the ones in Leviticus 16, which also mention "Aaron" and no one else, we see that the Exodus verses do not specifically state that Aaron was to be alone, whereas the Leviticus verses do. For if both the daily duties and the once-a-year duties required a priest's solitude, then don't you think God would've/should've clarified that in both places? In addition to this, a reader can also observe the fact that Exodus 7-8 is specifically referring to the daily burning of incense for the Tabernacle's lamps and that there is no mention of lamps in the account of Zacharias.

[#27] Earlier in this list of questions, there was a reference to various other theological arguments used for supporting a September-birth. One of those arguments begins by recalling that, according to never-refuted Jewish tradition, Adam the first man was created in early Autumn/Fall. With this in the mind’s forefront, the argument’s logic is that Jesus, who was the "last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45), should have been born in the Fall (September) as well. But let’s examine the differences between Adam #1 and Adam #2, shall we? Unlike Jesus, whose conception and birth were nine months apart, the first Adam was created (that is, conceived and born) all on the same day. So if Jesus were to share Adam’s date of origin, would it be more logical to be conceived on that date or to be born? The other difference is that the first Adam fell into sin, presumably during the Fall shortly after his creation, and passed the curse onto all humankind, whereas the death and resurrection of the last Adam, which occurred in the Spring, allowed humankind to be redeemed. So in effect, the first Adam and the last Adam are polar opposites of each other. And since Autumn and Spring are on opposite sides of the year, does it not make sense for Jesus to either be conceived or born in the Spring as opposed to in the Fall? Now since conception is when life officially begins, the conception-date of Jesus would be the time when He "officially" became a man, just like the first Adam officially became a living soul during his creation date in Autumn (Genesis 2:7). Hence, does it not make more sense for Jesus to be conceived and officially become a man in the Spring so as to parallel the first Adam’s creation in the Fall? And nine months from the Spring would be...?

[#28] Another theological argument used for supporting a September-birth is based on John 1:14 which says that Jesus became flesh and "dwelt" among us. Now, since the original Greek word here can also be accurately translated to say that Christ "tabernacled" with us, critics will often argue passionately that this is a crucial clue pointing to a birth on the first day of the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles. However, an alternate interpretation is that this verse is actually designed to compare Jesus to the Holy Tabernacle in Solomon’s Temple which housed the Ark of the Covenant day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, and year-after-year until the Temple was eventually pillaged and destroyed by the Gentile Babylonians. This interpretation tends to gain support when acknowledging how Jesus is referred to as the "Tabernacle of God" in Revelation 21:3 and how Jesus compares the temple to His own body in John 2:19-22 – a body which was likewise eventually ravaged and destroyed by the Gentile Romans. After all, when Jesus came in the flesh, did He dwell ("tabernacle") with us for only eight days, or was He here for thirty-some-odd years? If the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles was designed to prophetically represent Christ’s time on Earth, then, logically, His first day here, whether that be the conception date or the birth date, should have occurred on the first day of the Feast, while His last day here, whether that be the crucifixion date or the ascension date (Acts 1:9-11), should have occurred on the eighth/last day of the Feast. But was Jesus crucified at the end of the Tabernacle Feast, or at the beginning of the Passover Feast? Likewise, did Jesus ascend back to Heaven on the last day of the Tabernacle Feast, or ten days before Pentecost?

Author’s Comments: Further to the above, suppose for a moment that a novice Christian, who was not yet aware of when Jesus died and rose again, was suddenly given a reading of Hebrews 9. Don’t you think that such a passage of scripture, when studied out of context from the rest of the New Testament, would leave such a person with the distinct impression that Jesus was resurrected on the Day of Atonement? Such an assumption would obviously be incorrect, but under the circumstances, who could fault the guy? The point of course is that ripping verses out of context can often create the false illusion that the original writers were saying something totally different from what they had actually intended. Such may therefore be the case with the wording of John 1:14.

[#29] In yet another attempt to support a Tabernacle-birth for Christ, critics will claim that King Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:27 and 2 Chronicles 6:18 for God to "dwell on the earth" occurred during the first day of the Tabernacle Feast when the recently constructed Temple and its altar were dedicated. From this, the critics then speculate (without any actual facts whatsoever) that Jesus was born centuries later on the very anniversary of this Feast-prayer. But would it shock you to learn that the dedication of the Temple, and thus Solomon’s prayer too, actually took place earlier in that month during the Feast of Trumpets, and not during the Feast of Tabernacles? During the seventh month on the Jewish calendar (mid-September to mid-October), the people would celebrate the Feast of Trumpets on the first of the month, then commemorate the solemn Day of Atonement on the tenth, and finally celebrate the week-long Feast of Tabernacles beginning on the fifteenth (Leviticus 23:24,27,34,39). Now while the Trumpet Feast was normally only one day, Solomon extended it to a week’s length in this particular year to celebrate the Temple’s dedication. For both 1 Kings 8:65-66 and 2 Chronicles 7:8-10 clearly show that two week-long feasts were held during this particular month. The first was obviously the week-long "dedication of the altar" (the extended Trumpet Feast) because the eighth and final day of the week-long Tabernacle Feast, being the twenty-second of the month, marked the conclusion of all the festivities as shown by the fact that everyone went home on the twenty-third (2 Chronicles 7:10). Many critics over the years have mistakenly assumed that the beginning of the "feast" mentioned in 1 Kings 8:2 and 2 Chronicles 5:3 marked the start of the Tabernacles, despite the fact that the name is not given there in the original Hebrew. For both verses simply state that this "feast" was in the "seventh month" and thus could easily refer to either the Trumpet Feast or Tabernacle Feast since both took place at that time of year. Yet, evidence that this actually was indeed the Feast of Trumpets can be seen by observing the mentioning of trumpets and trumpeters in 2 Chronicles 5:13 and comparing this verse against Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1. Now although the opponents of Christmas may still try to use this to favor a September-birth for Christ (though just not a Tabernacle-birth), the fact that they originally thought that Solomon’s prayer occurred during the Tabernacle Feast nevertheless helps demonstrate that they are not as attentive to scriptural details as they would have people believe.

Author’s Comments: The notion that Jesus was born on the anniversary of Solomon’s prayer during the Temple’s dedication is admittedly a romantic one; but as any judge or lawyer will confirm, a romantic notion can hardly be accepted as admissible evidence in court. For there is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that the anniversary of this event was being remembered and honored at the time of Christ’s birth, and in fact there is no direct reference to Solomon’s prayer in the New Testament at all. Hence, there is no scriptural evidence that this notion is anything but just that – a notion. September-supporters should therefore be weary of using this argument less they should be found guilty of the same thing that they occasionally accuse December-supporters of doing.

[#30] As inferred in several of the previous questions, a fair percentage of those who adamantly oppose Christmas are those who also adamantly teach that Christians should instead celebrate all the various Israeli feasts as instructed in the Law of the Old Testament. But don’t you know that we are no longer bound to the Law and its ordinances thanks to the shed blood of Christ? Throughout their writings, the Apostle Paul and his co-workers clearly state that: Jesus has blotted out the "handwriting" of the Law and its ordinances and "took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14); Jesus "abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances" (Ephesians 2:15); no one is justified by the works of the Law, but by faith in Christ (Romans 3:20-22 / Galatians 2:16 / Acts 13:39); if righteousness came from following the Law, then Christ’s death was in vain (Galatians 2:21); the Law was only temporary until Jesus should come (Galatians 3:19); "the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith, but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:24-25); Christians are "justified by faith without the deeds of the Law" (Romans 3:28); in order for any "doers of the law" to be "justified" as per Romans 2:13 and to not fall under a curse instead, they would need to continue "in all things which are written" (Galatians 3:10-11), which, of course, they can’t (Romans 3:9-19 / James 2:10 / Acts 15:10); "we are not under the Law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14-15); anyone who thinks they can be justified by the Law has actually "fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4 / Romans 3:20); although "glorious" in its day, the Law of Moses, which was "written and engraven in stones," was nevertheless a "ministration of death" and "ministration of condemnation" which "was to be done away" and "abolished" (2 Corinthians 3:6-18); Jesus has "delivered" us from the "letter" of the Law (Romans 7:6, 8:2-3) and brought an "end" to the Law (Romans 10:4); "if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law" (Galatians 5:18); the Law is now comparable to the "son of the bondwoman" in which both were ordered by God to be "cast out" (Galatians 4:21-31).... Need I continue? When seeing how Law-keepers tend to ignore such verses in their speeches and writings, or can only make faulty and easily refutable attempts to dismiss such arguments, what makes them think they know better when it comes to issues such as Christmas?

Author’s Comments: In a vain attempt to defend their stance and refute the verses given above, the aforementioned anti-Christmas Law-keepers might try to twist the meaning of Romans 3:31 where it says that we do not "make void the Law through faith," but that "we establish the Law." With this, they try to convince us that "establishing" the Law means the same thing as "keeping" it. Untrue. As demonstrated by the verses above, we cannot be saved by keeping and obeying the Law since we are unable to keep and obey it in its entirety. Rather, the true purpose of the Law is actually to show us that we are sinners who are unable to save ourselves, which thereby enables us to recognize our need for a Savior and to ultimately come to Jesus. And in regards to that function, the written Law of Moses is still needed. When Paul compares the Law to a "schoolmaster" in Galatians 3:24-25, we can be reminded of our high-school teachers who once had authority over us until we had learned all our "lessons" and graduated. Following our graduation ceremony, however, we are no longer obligated to write any more tests or complete any more assignments that those teachers may try to give us as we are no longer under their authority and they can no longer "fail" us. Yet, even after we ourselves have left the school, the teachers still remain there so as to instruct other future students – and this "establishes" the need to keep those teachers employed. In the same way, the written Law of Moses has an "established" purpose to educate us about our sin nature, but the "keeping" of the Law does nothing to purge us of our sins regardless of whether we have already "graduated" into the saving knowledge of Christ. Hence, the belief that Romans 3:31 teaches that we still need to obey, follow, and "keep" the Law is simply a Bible-misconception.

[#31] After reviewing the verses provided above in Question #30, and subsequently receiving the proper understanding of Romans 3:31 from the follow-up "Author’s Comments" paragraph, the aforementioned anti-Christmas Law-keepers might then try further to defend and support their stance by twisting various other verses. One such verse would be Acts 21:20, which, when ripped out of its proper context, can be used to claim that the first-century Jewish Christians remained "zealous of the law" and thus modern Christians should too. However, if we continue reading into the next verse and beyond, we’ll see that these newly converted Jews, who had obviously been raised with the Law in a similarly zealous manner, were also, at the time anyway, furious with the Apostle Paul for teaching other Jews who lived among the Gentiles that the Law was now defunct. Notice here that Paul is not reported to have denied these allegations and is neither shown to have been questioned nor rebuked by his colleagues in regards to such matters. Instead, immediately beforehand, the other Apostles and elders are reported to have glorified God for the works accomplished among the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Acts 21:18-20a). The reference to those zealous Jewish Christians was therefore not intended to be a praise of their Law-keeping mindset, but was rather a warning that they could actually pose a danger to Paul’s well-being.... Also, back in Acts 15:1-5, another group of Jews who believed in Jesus argued that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. But if we keep reading further into this chapter, we’ll discover that the Apostles ultimately rejected this notion and actually taught the opposite. (See also Acts 16:30-31 where a Roman/Gentile guard asks what he must do to saved, and notice the complete lack of reference to Law-keeping in Paul’s response). Hence, after observing how certain members of the first-century Church were not always correct on certain issues, and that they had their fair share of disagreements with Paul and the other Apostles, are they really the best examples to use when trying to support one’s viewpoints?

Author’s Comments: In response to the above question, the modern-day supporters of Law-keeping will quote several other verses from the Gospels and the book of Acts to argue that Jesus kept the entire Law and its feasts, and that all the original Apostles continued likewise following the resurrection. Now in regards to Jesus, He was required to follow and preach the Law in its entirety during His earthly pre-crucifixion ministry so that He could remain sinless and be an acceptable substitute for our transgressions. Hence, the fact that Jesus followed the Law does not provide automatic proof that it’s binding to us today. As for the original Apostles and their earliest Jewish converts, they had all grown up with the Law as part of their Jewish culture and heritage; the result of which left many of them in a state where they were not yet spiritually mature enough to accept the truth that the Law had been blotted out and taken away (Colossians 2:14). This, by the way, is what James was referring to in Acts 15:21. Though eventually, Peter and the other original Apostles did catch up to Paul in this realization as shown in Acts 15:24 where they wrote a letter to the Gentile believers stating: "... we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law, to whom we gave no such commandment." This statement, which also came with the approval of the Holy Spirit as per verse 28, clearly shows that the Gentiles were not under the Law and that anyone who claimed otherwise was not authorized to do so. In other words, the clear teaching of this verse is: Thou shalt NOT teach that we are still under the Law!

[#32] Following the arguments above, modern anti-Christmas Law-keepers will next argue that even though Paul taught that Gentiles were never bound to the Law, the Apostle himself appears to have remained a zealous Law-keeper as shown in the fact that he took certain Jewish vows and made earnest efforts to reach Jerusalem in time to celebrate Old Testament feasts (Acts 18:18-21 & 20:16). However, as revealed by 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul only acted in accordance with the Law when preaching in Jewish Law-keeping communities, and only did so in order to appeal to the unsaved Jews. Such Jews, in their current "zealous-of-the-Law" mindset, would never have listened to a Gospel-preacher who did not follow the Law in the same way. Hence, Paul acted like a Law-keeping Jew when preaching to other Law-keeping Jews, but acted like a Gentile when preaching to the Gentiles. This can be seen in the fact that Paul circumcised the half-Jewish Timothy to appease a group of zealous Jews (Acts 16:3), but stated elsewhere that Titus, being fully Greek, was not obligated to be circumcised at all (Galatians 2:3). Paul also instructed other uncircumcised Gentiles to remain that way and to not let any Law-keeping Jews persuade them otherwise so that they would not feel obligated to try and keep the rest of the Law (Galatians 5:1-5, 6:12-15). Hence, although Paul and the other Apostles did indeed follow the laws of the Old Testament and attended its feasts whenever they could, they only did so when this allowed them to make the Jews more approachable and receptive to the Gospel message. Hence, their actions, as honorable, logical, and strategic as they were, cannot be used as evidence that modern Christians should keep the Law and its feasts today, nor do they refute all the verses mentioned earlier which prove that the Law is now defunct. From these points, one could rationally conclude that God would approve of following Jewish laws and celebrating Jewish feasts when preaching in Jewish communities to reach the unsaved Jewish occupants. But once those Jews have become true born-again believers in Christ, and have joined a Christian community where there is no longer a difference between Jew and Gentile (Romans 10:12 / Galatians 3:28), what reason would they have for continuing to follow the Law then?

Author’s Comments: Still on the topic of Paul celebrating Jewish feasts, some Law-keepers may try to rip 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 and Acts 20:16 out of context to argue that Christians should not only keep the Old Testament feasts of Passover and Pentecost, but should also keep and celebrate all the other feasts as well. In response, I’d begin by pointing out that Passover (later renamed "Easter" in some cultures) was, and is, now being celebrated as the yearly anniversary of Christ’s sacrificial death and glorious subsequent Resurrection; likewise, the feast of Pentecost was/is celebrated as the yearly anniversary of when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Christian Church in Acts 2. Further, although the early Gentile Christians did apparently seem to continue celebrating these two feasts, there is no evidence that they celebrated them in a strictly Jewish/Law-keeping manner. And in fact, the wording of the aforementioned 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 actually suggests quite firmly that Paul and the early Church had now put their own Jesus-centric spin on the Passover feast, even referring to it as the "Lord’s Supper" as per 1 Corinthians 11:20, thereby distinguishing it from way the non-Christian/Law-keeping Jews celebrated it. I would then point out that, from the book of Acts onward, Passover and Pentecost are the only two Old Testament feasts that the New Testament mentions by name. Coincidence? I think not. If the early Christians continued celebrating all of the Old Testament feasts in a strictly Jewish/Law-keeping manner, and if God wanted the later-generation Christians to know this and do likewise, then logically, one would think that at least one verse in the New Testament would have some sort of direct reference to indicate as much. Yet, neither the book of Acts nor any of the following epistles make any mention of the early Christians, even the zealous Jewish ones, celebrating the feast of Tabernacles or the feast of Trumpets or any other feast apart from Passover and Pentecost. (Note: although Hebrews 9 makes historical references to the Day of Atonement, the purpose of this chapter is to clearly show that such an annual day/event is no longer needed thanks to Christ’s shed blood). Hence, any arguments that we should continue to keep the entire Law and all its feasts are still without proper merit.

Additional Author’s Comments: Further evidence that the first-century Gentile believers did not continue celebrating the Old Testaments feasts (or at least not in a strictly Jewish/Law-keeping manner) can be seen in the way that the feasts are referred to in the Gospel of John. Clearly written with Gentile readers in mind, this narrative refers to the "Jews’ Passover" in John 2:13 & 11:55 and to the "Jews’ feast of tabernacles" in John 7:2. Passover is also referred to as "a feast of the Jews" in John 6:4 to help further clarify that this was specifically a Jewish and not a Gentile/Christian institution. Hence, if the Lord intended that all the Old Testament feasts of the Law be celebrated for all time by all Christians, regardless of being Jew or Gentile, then there just doesn’t seem to be any logic in referring to them as being specifically of the "Jews" only. We may also observe the reference to the "Jews’ preparation day" in John 19:42 and consider the apparent need to clearly identify the "preparation" as "the day before the Sabbath" in Mark 15:42. From these verses, we can likewise support that the first-century Gentile believers were not Sabbath-keepers either and probably weren’t even entirely familiar with the specifics and mechanics of certain Jewish services and practices.

[#33] In a further attempt to support their Law-keeping and Feast-keeping views, the anti-Christmas crusaders may try to rip Zechariah 14:16-19 out of context to insist on a literal future age where all the world’s Gentile families will keep the Law and come to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. But is this passage truly meant to be taken literally or is the Feast in question here actually just a metaphoric representation of a future Gospel-keeping era? For if interpreting this passage as literal, then there are several issues to call into question. First, we would have to ask if we should interpret the last eight chapters of Ezekiel as literal too. For those chapters appear to predict a future where the Temple is permanently rebuilt and numerous animal sacrifices are consistently offered year after year. Yet, we know from numerous New Testament verses that Christ’s shed blood has permanently abolished the need for animal sacrifices, and we also know from Revelation 21:22 that, in the new Jerusalem, there will be no temple at all. The next question we would have to ask is why the Feast of Tabernacles is never mentioned or referred to in the New Testament aside from John 7. For if the future citizens of Earth were all destined to literally keep this Feast for all time, then one would think that at least a couple verses in the New Testament would have made some sort of reference to this. We may also be reminded that numerous New Testament scriptures clearly establish that the Gentiles were never bound to keep the Law or celebrate its Feasts, whereas a literal interpretation of Zechariah 14:16-19 appears to show the Gentiles keeping the Tabernacle Feast by force and not by choice. Is this not a contradiction then? Lastly, we would have to ask why the prophet Zechariah only mentions the Tabernacle Feast in this passage and does not also mention the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost which, logically, should be equally mandatory in accordance with Deuteronomy 16:16. In short, when studying prophecy, a student or scholar should only be willing to interpret such verses as literal when such an interpretation does not conflict with other truths found in the non-prophetic passages. And, as just demonstrated, the passage in question here does not appear to meet this criteria.

Author’s Comments: What’s particularly interesting about Zechariah 14:16-19 is that even if the passage were to be interpreted literally, this would still not prove that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles nor prove that the Law of Moses is still in effect. And in fact, it may actually help prove the opposite. For this passage is not speaking about the Jew and Christian believers, but about the unbelieving nations who fought against Jerusalem and lost. When using this passage in their arguments, the modern-day Law-keepers tend not to emphasize the part which says that any nations who do not come to honor the Tabernacle Feast will be punished by a severe lack of rain in their own countries. Hence, as already mentioned above, this passage appears to show the Gentile nations keeping the Tabernacle Feast by force and not by choice. In other words, having to keep the Feast of Tabernacles every year is actually a punishment for these rebellious nations and is certainly not a pleasurable privilege in the way that Christmas is. In short, regardless of whether this passage is literal or metaphoric, the fact remains that believers in Christ are free from the Law whereas the unbelievers will be eventually be judged and condemned by it in one manner or another.

[#34] A supplement argument to accompany the last several ones is based on the fact that Jesus is both our King and our High Priest. However, instead of being made a priest after the Old Testament Levitical priest-family of Aaron, Jesus was made a priest after the Order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4 / Hebrews 5-7). And what many critics seemingly fail to notice, or refuse to acknowledge, is that this man Melchizedek, like Enoch and Noah and the righteous man Job, was not a Jew or an Israelite, but rather a Gentile. What this means, of course, is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is, quite literally, a Jewish King with a Gentile Priesthood. And with "the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (Hebrews 7:12). When seeing therefore that Christianity follows a Gentile Priesthood which actually predates Jewish Law and even predates the entire Jewish race, what grounds do you have for insisting that Christians adhere strictly and solely to Jewish rules, regulations, restrictions, and feasts? Further, since Jesus rose from the dead during the Jewish feast of Passover, then, for the purpose of balance and equality, would it not make sense for His original virgin-birth to have occurred on a Gentile (non-Jewish) date – like maybe, just maybe, December 25th?

Author’s Comments: Some critics might try to avoid the above argument by claiming that Melchizedek was not a mortal Gentile at all, but was actually the Lord Jesus Himself in a pre-incarnate form. This view is based on Hebrews 7:3a which says that Melchizedek was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." However, this line is also easily interpreted to simply mean that there is no written account of the man’s birth, death, or family lineage. And aside from this line, the rest of the chapter refers to the two figures as if they are two separate people. In fact, verse 7:3b says that Melchizedek was "made like unto the Son of God" and does not say that he was the Son of God. Further, if Jesus and the priest-king Melchizedek were actually the same person, then, logically, Jesus should have been both a priest and a king after the Order of Melchizedek. However, Jesus only continued the priesthood of Melchizedek and not the kingship, and instead inherited and continued the kingship of His Jewish ancestor David, thus making Him the aforementioned Jewish King with a Gentile Priesthood. Seeing then how David and Melchizedek (both being Christ-figures) are technically equals in this regard, it does not make sense for Melchizedek to be a pre-incarnate version of Jesus unless the same can also be said of David. And since Jesus and David, for obvious reasons, could not possibly have been the same person, there are no real grounds for making such claims about Melchizedek.

[#35] In many or most cases, the modern-day zealous Law-keepers who reject Christmas in favor of celebrating the Jewish feasts of the Old Testament are either actual biological practicing Jews or people who believe themselves to be descended from the "lost" northern tribes of Israel – e.g., British Israelism. For the sake of argument, I will indulge the latter’s belief about their ancestry as I pose this next question to both groups: Did you know that according to Deuteronomy 32:21 and Romans 10:19 & 11:11, God uses the salvation of the Gentile nations to provoke the Jews to jealousy? And what better way to help fan this jealousy than for the Jewish Messiah to be born on a Gentile (non-Jewish) date, like December 25, and to have that become a national holiday which takes the world by storm every year in such a way that a Jewish feast never could? If the Jews and the lost/found Israelites turned out to be right that Jesus was actually born in September or during any particular Jewish feast, then the December-supporting Gentiles would be the ones getting provoked to jealousy and not the other way around. But if the Gentiles turned out to be right about a December-birth after all, thereby provoking to the Jews and Israelites to jealousy instead, wouldn’t this be more fitting to fulfill the prophetic verses mentioned above?

Author’s Comments: Regarding those who believe in British Israelism, I’d just like to say that even if there was (or is) sufficient evidence to support such ancestral links, this is not something you should boost about, and is certainly not something that should be a focal point of your religion. For both Jesus and John the Baptist frowned upon those who used their Abrahamic ancestry to justify their theologies and lifestyles. Back in Matthew 3:9, John the Baptist said "... think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Later, when Jesus debated with similar people in John 8, He acknowledged that they were Abraham’s "seed" (v.37) but denied that they were Abraham’s "children" (v.39) and instead decried them as children of the devil (v.44). This viewpoint was also taught by the Apostle Paul who reminded his readers in Romans 9:6-8 that just because someone is biologically descended from Abraham, it does not automatically mean that they are God’s children. For in fact, most of Paul’s adversaries were not from the Gentile nations, but were biological Law-keeping Jews. Now of course, this is not to say that all Jews and Israelites are bad, for in fact a great, great many of them have brought tremendous blessings to the world throughout their generations. But what I am saying is that those of them who pridefully flaunt their "national" ancestry as a means of legitimizing their ministry are most likely among the bad "seeds" who preach faulty and dangerous theologies, and are therefore the ones that should never be listened to. For the true children of God need not be concerned with genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4 / Titus 3:9) since we are all one in Christ, regardless of being Jew or Gentile, and are all counted as "Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:28-29).

[#36] Another argument used for opposing and rejecting the date of December 25 is based on the claim that this date originated with the Biblical villain of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10, 1 Chronicles 1:10, Micah 5:6). But did you know that, according to Genesis 4:17-23, musical instruments originated with the son of a polygamous and murderous descendant of Cain? Yet, regardless of this originator’s family background, music has always played a prominent role in the worship of God (1 Samuel 18:6, 1 Chronicles 15:16, 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalm 150, etc.). Another offspring of that same polygamous murderer was Tubalcain, "an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron." Such skills are similar to the kind that Noah would have needed in order to build the ark, and so it’s safe to assume that Noah acquired these skills through Tubalcain (or Tubalcain’s family or students) by one channel or another. Hence, if something that originated with the family of Cain can still be used for a holy purpose, then why can’t the same be true for something that, supposedly, originated with the kingdom of Nimrod?

[#37] As demonstrated by the various questions above, there is more than enough evidence (both biblically and historically) that a December birth for Christ is not only possible, but that December 25th might, just might, be the authentic date of Christ’s birth. The only reason for objecting to this possibility is because of the day’s distant link to paganism. Consider that every day of the year can be linked in some way or another to paganism. Should the fact that pagan rituals were held every day of the week cause us to disregard the historical facts of Christ’s birth? Should we stop resting or worshiping on Saturday because the name "Saturn-day" honors the pagan god Saturn? Should we stop worshiping on Sunday because the name is linked to ancient heathen sun-worship? Is it impossible for God to do sacred acts on these days because they had, at one time or another, been associated with some sort of pagan ritual? Must God prevent His Son from being born because, no matter what day the birth occurred, someone would find some cause to link it to paganism? I think not.

[#38] Although there is some solid evidence that December 25 did actually carry a pagan festival before being designated as the birth date of Christ, I really don’t see what difference that ultimately makes. Suppose you discovered that your church had been purposely built over the ruins of a pagan temple where vile heathens once offered human sacrifices to their gods. (There are many churches like that all over Europe, by the way). Upon learning this, would you apostatize from that church or demand that the building be relocated? If your answer is no, then could you please explain the difference between replacing a pagan temple with a Christian temple and replacing a pagan holiday with a Christian holiday? If your answer is yes, however, then you are literally expressing the viewpoint that the God of the Bible is not welcome in any time or place where pagan gods were once exalted. But did you know that the Holy Land was once inhabited by heathens before Moses led the Israelites there? How then, by your own logic, can that land be regarded as holy?

[#39] Do you realize that approximately one in every 365 people was born on the 25th of December? When considering the world’s total population, this small percentage is still an incredibly vast number indeed. Now suppose you "reminded" all these people that their birth date was a vile heathen day which God would never want anything to do with and would certainly never use to bring anything good and holy into this world. Don’t you think they would be deeply offended by that philosophy? For whether you intended to or not, you would essentially be leaving these people with the impression that they could never be destined to become true Christians or ever be of service to God in any way, shape, or form since they were born on this "despicable" day. Such an impression would surely leave them thinking: "If God would never have allowed Jesus to be born on this day, why would He have allowed me or any other Christians to born then?" What would you think, do, or say if your own children or grandchildren wound up being born on this day and starting asking such questions? Perhaps you should be reminded that Jesus is not only the Savior for those who at least try to obey God’s laws (though still fail miserably), but is also the Savior for the lowly retched heathens who once rebelled by pursuing and worshiping false pagan gods and idols. If Jesus had in fact been born on this or any other heathen/pagan date, then shouldn’t this be a sign that anyone, or anything, can be redeemed regardless of how far into rebellious sin they have fallen? If a man who once promoted sin and paganism can become a man who now promotes the Gospel, then why can’t a certain day on the calendar that was once used to promote paganism (through no real fault of its own) also become a day that now promotes Jesus?

Author’s Comments: Earlier in this list, several arguments were made against the notion that Jesus was actually born in September during the Feast of Tabernacles. If still clinging to that Tabernacle-belief, one would then have to acknowledge that Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb would have most likely occurred nine months earlier on or near December 25. Now interestingly enough, most such people seem perfectly willing to accept this little stipulation with little or no resistance. The reason this observation is so interesting is because these very same people adamantly insist that Jesus would never have chosen to born on the "pagan" date of December 25, and yet they seemingly have no objection to Jesus being supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit during this time instead. Hence, if these people are going to insist that God would never do anything to associate Himself or His miracles with any such "pagan" dates, then, well ....

[#40] Are you aware that the Lord does not want us to utter the names of the ancient pagan gods? See Exodus 23:13 which says to "make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." But you are constantly doing this when you claim that Christmas, along with Easter, is pagan in origin. As a result, you are turning these ancient false gods into well-known household names and are making people want to learn more about these pagan gods and festivals than they do about Christ. The fascination that some of you have with ancient paganism certainly discredits Christ and gives far too much credibility to the pagans. Generally speaking, most modern Christians would probably never have even heard of the ancient pagan gods if it were not for the people like you who crusade against Christmas. By publicly objecting to Christmas, you bring greater glory to the pagan gods than to the blessed Savior of mankind. You ignore the Savior’s birth and come across as too ignorant and selfish to give good gifts in His memory.

Author’s Comments: Regarding the above commandment to not utter the names of other gods, some critics may point out that a few of these pagan deities are occasionally mentioned by name in the scriptures, meaning that anyone who reads the Bible aloud would eventually speak these forbidden names in their churches and synagogues. But what the critics need to understand is that these references are always made in such a way that the pagan/false gods are spoken of in a negative manner so as to show that they are not be worshiped or revered, but should instead be shunned and rejected. After all, when trying to persuade a cult that their gods are false, having to mention the false gods by name at some point during the conversation would almost always be inevitable. Hence, when Exodus 23:13 says to make no mention of these false deities, we need not interpret this verse to such a literal extreme. Rather, we can take this to understand that we simply shouldn’t speak of them positively or refer to them in any sort of way that could potentially arouse someone’s curiosity – which, of course, is exactly what can happen when they are mentioned during an anti-Christmas tirade.

[#41] When making the various arguments about pagan-incorporation into Christmas, some critics quote Deuteronomy 12:29-31. In these verses, the Israelites are commanded that they should not inquire about the ways that foreign nations worship their own gods, or to use those same methods to worship the God of Israel. However, a closer examination of this passage reveals that it is referring specifically to the vile heathen nations that had taken over the Holy Land while the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, and whom the Israelites were now ordered to destroy and drive out (v.29-30a). The reason God commanded the Israelites to not learn the worship-methods of these particular foreigners (v.30b) is because their abominable rituals involved burning their own sons and daughters as human sacrifices (v.31). Yet, when examining the various "pagan" customs and symbols that were later incorporated into Christmas, and observing the context in which they are now used, what exactly about them do you find to be so specifically vile and abominable?

[#42] When it came time for Christians to go into all the world (that is, all foreign and "pagan" nations) to preach the Gospel, things became a little different. In Acts 10:10-16, just before the Apostle Peter was about to preach to a Gentile family for the first time, the Lord declared to him in a vision that he could now eat all the various meats that were originally forbidden in the Old Testament (see Leviticus 11:1-47/20:25 & Deuteronomy 14:3-20). The reason for this change should be quite obvious: Suppose a Jewish Christian went to a Gentile home and told them that they could never be saved and go to Heaven unless they stopped eating bacon, ham, and pork. Upon hearing this, do you think the Gentiles would immediately accept these new dietary restrictions in order to follow Christ, or do you think they would instead decide that this Jewish Christian was a weirdo and slam the door? In the same way, if the Gentile/pagan nations had been told that they had to give up all their ancestral customs and symbols in order to be saved, how many of them do you think would have done so, and how many do you think would have opted instead to remain full-blown pagans and told the Christians to get lost? In short, if joining the Gentiles for a bacon-breakfast is what allows them to become receptive to the Gospel message you preach, then your decision should be easy one. And in the same way, if a traditional but now harmless Gentile custom or symbol can be transformed into an evangelical tool at Christmas to help teach the world about the Savior’s love, then is this not something to be thankful for and embraced instead of something to be frowned upon and ridiculed?

Author’s Comments: In response to the above argument, some critics might insist that Peter’s vision actually had nothing to do with the abolishment of food laws and was only intended to affirm the inclusion of Gentiles into the Christian church. Now while Acts 10 does indeed establish the inclusion of the Gentiles, its sequel chapter, Acts 15, also establishes that the Gentiles were not obligated to follow the Old Testament laws, which would obviously include the laws about food. This is confirmed in Colossians 2:16 which tells Christians to let no one judge them in respect to meat or drink. Hence, even if Peter’s vision was not actually about food at all (though I still maintain that it was), the fact still remains that modern Christians are not bound by the Law and are free to eat whatever they please in accordance with Genesis 9:2-3 and 1 Timothy 4:1-5. In the former passage, Noah, who was a Gentile living in a pre-Jewish/pre-Law era, is told that: "every beast of the earth," and "every fowl of the air" and "all that moveth upon the earth" and "all the fishes of the sea" would be delivered into human hands, so that "every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb." In the latter passage, Paul warns Timothy about false teachers who claim that Christians should "abstain from meats" even though "every creature of God is good" and should not be refused as food if it is received with thanksgiving since "it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."

Additional Author’s Comments: Further evidence that the dietary laws of Moses have been abolished can be found in 1 Corinthians 10:27. Here, the Apostle Paul tells us that if any unbelievers invite us to a meal and we have no reason not to attend, then we should eat "whatsoever" they set before us. The one and only exception to this rule, which Paul then gives in verse 28, is if the hosts tell us beforehand that the particular food they are serving had first been offered to idols – in which case, we should then refuse. Note here that Paul does not make any additional exception for meats that were previously declared "unclean" by Moses. For if those laws were still in effect, then these verses from Paul’s letter would a perfect place to clarify this. The same argument can be made using Acts 15:29 where Peter and the other Apostles write to the Gentile believers and instruct them to "abstain from meats offered to idols." Again, this verse says nothing at all about also abstaining from meats that Moses once declared unclean, and again this would be a perfect spot to clarify otherwise if the dietary laws were still in effect. Hence, the fact that neither Peter nor Paul ever instruct or remind their readers to keep the old dietary laws is proof that those laws no longer apply. In other words, if anyone ever invites you to a bacon-breakfast or pork-dinner, then unless they specifically tell you that this particular bacon or pork was first offered to an idol (which is extremely unlikely in this modern age), you should chow down the stuff – and that is an order from God.

[#43] If Christmas was truly a pagan festival that the "corrupted Roman Catholics" simply incorporated into their religion, then why did Protestant reformer Martin Luther continue to embrace it and even write a number of Christmas hymns to accompany it? Luther may have disagreed with the Catholic Church on a fair number of issues, but Christmas was certainly not one of them – and neither was the issue of the Trinity by the way.

[#44] Even if there was no real evidence to support a December-birth for Christ, I would still see no reason for opposing this traditional date so long as there was no strong evidence to support its total impossibility – which there isn’t. According to Islamic tradition, Mohammed’s Hegira (flight from Mecca) occurred on Friday, July 16, 622 AD. Although there is nothing in the Koran or any other early Muslim writing to support this date, no Muslims dispute it as far as I know because it does not contradict facts or logic. Similarly, Buddhist tradition says that the Buddha lived from 563 BC to 483 BC. Again, there is no historical support for this, but Buddhists do not oppose it as far as I know and they just simply believe it. There are hundreds of traditions all over the world that are accepted without any factual support. So, why not accept the tradition that Jesus was born December 25th? It does not harm anybody and it does not contradict fact, logic, or the Bible. So why do you go to such great lengths to oppose a Christian tradition but not the traditions of the Muslims and Buddhists?

[#45] Still on the topic of tradition, Christmas tradition typically refers to "three" wise men coming from the East to visit the infant Christ. These wise men are also occasionally referred to as the "Three Kings." From a logical and historic viewpoint, however, it is a rather safe assumption that there had actually been more than just three wise men visiting, and that they certainly were not royal kings. But are these really reasonable grounds for abolishing Christmas as a whole? We typically limit the traditional number of wise men to three for a couple of reasons. The first is because the wise men brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). The other reason is because when producing a painting of the wise men’s visit, or putting the Christmas story on stage, having more than three wise men would make the scene look too crowded. As for the "king" issue, the fact that the wise men had gold and expensive perfume invites a real possibility that they were men of some wealth who had subordinates. So perhaps the word "king" can be used in more loose context here (e.g., a husband or father can be referred as a "king" in his own home, as can a millionaire who has butlers and maids). In short, I can see some mild logic in having these unhistorically-based traditions, and I fail to see what harm these traditions may bring. As long as we clarify to our children that the Bible does not provide the actual number of wise men nor state that they were kings, and as long as we explain that these are mere traditions for the sake of convenience, I don’t see anything worth complaining about. If we make reference to the "Three Wise Men" or the "Three Kings" during our Christmas celebrations, do you really think God will send us to Hell just for that?

[#46] Another anti-Christmas thought concerning the wise men argues that they gave gifts to Christ and not to each other (Matthew 2:11), and hence there is no scriptural support for families and friends to give each other presents at Christmas time. In response to this claim, one may argue that if we do good unto others for Christ, like giving them gifts so as to show our love for them, we do good unto the Lord (Matthew 10:42, 25:40). What else can you get for the Lord who now has everything (Matthew 28:19)?

[#47] You claim Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it were not important to the early church, and hence should not be important today, because the Apostle Paul never mentioned them in any of his epistles. Now using that so-called logic, would you then argue that the multiple parables that Jesus taught were also not important to the early church? For Paul never directly mentioned any of them either. Oh sure, there are a few occasional verses where Paul may appear to be alluding to a verse or a brief teaching from a parable, but alluding to something and make a direct reference are two different things. For if you never read any of the Gospels and only ever read Paul’s writings, those few allusions would be totally unrecognizable and you would have no idea whatsoever that Jesus ever used parables at all. In fact, apart from the four Gospels, the word "parable" (or "parables") does not appear anywhere else in the entire New Testament. Secondly, it is not true that Paul never mentioned the birth of Christ. In Galatians 4:4b, Paul states that the Son of God was "made of a woman." If this is not a reference to the Virgin-birth of Christ, then what is it?

[#48] Still on the topic of Paul, some critics may ask why he never made any other references to the birth-story apart from the half-verse mentioned above. The answer is that most of Paul’s letters were written with the purpose of resolving various issues that were in dispute among the early Christians. The purpose of Luke’s Gospel, meanwhile, was to document "those things" which were "most surely believed" among Christians "from the beginning" (Luke 1:1-2). Hence, the fact that Luke reports the birth-story in detail, whereas Paul practically never mentions it all, provides ample evidence that the entire first-century Church accepted and believed the birth-story, and never had any disputes or doubts about its authenticity. With this being the case, what would be the point in Paul spending valuable time, paper, and ink to tell his original target audience something that already knew perfectly well and believed?

[#49] You criticize the word "Christmas" for being the combination of "Christ" and "mass" to thereby mean "the mass of Christ." But do you know what "mass" really means in the compound word of "Christmas"? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term "mass" evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin word missa – a form of the verb mittere, meaning "to send." Consequently, the root meaning of "Christ-mass" (or "the mass of Christ") is "the sending of Christ," or "Christ is sent." Is God against describing the sending of His son with a word that means just that? Did not Paul refer to the Savior’s incarnation as the sending of Christ? (See Galatians 4:4a – "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son..."). Did not Jesus often speak of "him that sent me" (John 6:38, 40)? In short, there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with the word "Christmas" because it actually represents quite accurately what the holiday is, or should be, all about – the sending of Christ.

[#50] Some of you claim that Jesus, being a Jew, would never have celebrated His birthday because birthdays were never celebrated in the ancient Jewish world. But what scriptural verse can you quote to support that claim? If the Jewish people were truly opposed to the celebration of one’s birth, then why did the leaders of first-century Galilee attend, and not protest, the birthday celebration of King Herod (Mark 6:21)? Also, have you ever heard of a Bar Mitzvah? It’s a modern Jewish ceremony that marks attainment of religious adulthood by a boy on the Sabbath immediately following his 13th birthday. Jewish girls have a similar ceremony, called a Bat Mitzvah, when they reach the age of twelve. Hence, if the ancient Jewish people were truly opposed to the celebrating of birthdays, then why don’t you go and lecture the modern Jews as much as you lecture us?

[#51] You claim that God is opposed to birthday celebrations because John the Baptist was killed on Herod’s birthday (Mark 6:21-28). But what you are forgetting is that Herod was an evil man. It is only natural that a bad thing would happen when someone celebrates the birth of a bad person. But did anything bad happen when the angels and the shepherds rejoiced over the birth of Christ (Luke 2:6-20)? Did anything bad happen when John the Baptist was born and his mother rejoiced with her neighbors and cousins (Luke 1:58)?

[#52] Still on the topic of birthdays, did you know that the children of Job, who was one of the godliest men in the Bible, celebrated their birthdays with grand feasts? See Job 1:4 which says that "his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day, and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them." For evidence that the phrase "his day" in Job 1:4 is indeed referring to the day of one’s birth, observe the use of the same phrase in Job 3:1 (KJV) and the speech that follows. Also, in verse 3:4 of that speech, we can get the impression that God Himself had been regarding the birthday of Job up to this point. If God was against the celebration of birthdays, then you’d think Job would have known this and taught his children that too. Are you now going to argue that Job was a bad father?

Author’s Comments: Some critics might attempt to refute the above by recalling how Job made burnt offerings to God following these birthday feasts just in case any of the children sinned during the celebrations (Job 1:5). This however is a very weak argument if trying to claim that birthday celebrations are bad. For if Job actually felt that way, then why would he allow his children to celebrate their birthdays at all? Further, since every member of the human race practically sins every day, the odds of sinning during someone’s birthday party aren’t much different from the odds of sinning during a religious feast like Passover.

[#53] Further to the above, you might try to argue that Job’s children were killed while they were celebrating the birthday of their eldest brother – Job 1:13, 18-19. In reply, I would argue that, unlike Job 1:4, there is not enough evidence to support that the aforementioned verses describe a birthday feast. For verse 1:13 simply says that this "was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house." It does not say that they were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house "on his day." Also, if this were a birthday feast, then why weren’t Job and his wife attending? Yet, even if this was a birthday feast, it ultimately makes no difference. For it is clear that Job’s children were not killed because they were celebrating a birthday, but because the Lord gave Satan permission to test Job’s faith. The reason Satan chose to kill the children at this particular time is because they were all gathered in one place, thus providing the opportunity to annihilate them all at once. But what’s the difference between this and when a terrorist blows up a church on Sunday morning to kill all the Christians who have gathered inside for worship? Lastly, when Job was conversing with his friends trying to figure out why he had been ruined, none of them ever considered the possibility that God was angry with Job for celebrating birthdays. Any idea why?

[#54] The only other mentioning of a birthday in the Bible is the Egyptian Pharaoh’s in the Old Testament story of Joseph. Here, we have yet another account of a man being killed – namely, the Pharaoh’s baker (Genesis 40:20-22). But was this particular death a bad thing or a good thing? If we review the events leading up to and then following this death (i.e., Genesis 40:1 to 41:57), we see that this baker was executed in fulfilment of Joseph’s prophecy. Just prior to prophesying the baker’s death, Joseph had also accurately prophesied that the other prisoner, the butler, would be set free on the same day. Now, suppose that Joseph had predicted that both men would be set free, and that both men were released. If this had been the case, the Pharaoh would probably not have taken Joseph seriously as a prophet because Joseph would have been perceived as someone who simply told people what they wanted to hear. Hence, in order for the Pharaoh to see that Joseph was a true prophet of God, Joseph had to demonstrate that he could predict both good and bad futures. This is why, on the Pharaoh’s birthday, one man had to die while the other was set free. In other words, what truly happened on this particular birthday was an event that later triggered another event that ultimately allowed Joseph to save the world from a deadly famine. Keeping all this in mind, I ask again: Was the baker’s death on the Pharaoh’s birthday ultimately a bad thing or a good thing?

[#55] Upon further examination of the story surrounding the Pharaoh’s birthday, we see a story which parabolically reflects the day of Christ’s Second Coming. As the fortieth chapter of Genesis begins, we see that the Butler and Baker (who represent the human race) were men who originally held respectable positions, but offended the Pharaoh (who represents God) and fell from grace. But on the Pharaoh’s birthday, the Butler was forgiven of his offence and restored to his pre-sin position, whereas the Baker was condemned and executed. In the same way, on the day that Christ returns, the repented Christians (represented by the Butler) will be forgiven and restored to their pre-sin state of grace, whereas the unrepentant sinners (represented by the Baker) will be sent to their destruction. So now, when seeing how this biblical birthday of the Pharaoh’s can elegantly represent the day of Christ’s Second Coming, how can anyone claim that the Bible opposes birthday celebrations?

[#56] You claim that celebrating Christ’s birth is wrong simply because there is no mention of people celebrating it in the New Testament. But the concept that something is wrong simply because it is not mentioned in the Bible – a "Bible only" position – can easily be taken to the point of absurdity. For even the word "Bible" is not found in the Bible, nor is the word "Trinity" or "Rapture" even though their concepts are clearly taught. There is no Bible basis for a minister performing a wedding ceremony, and neither is there any New Testament verse that says to use a crucifix as a symbol for the Christian faith or even to construct a church building. There are also ministries that go beyond the four walls of a church (youth camps, retreats, crisis centers, etc.) that are likewise not supported by any verses. But has not God used all of these things to touch lives? What’s the difference between creating a youth camp to teach children about Christ and creating an annual festival to perform the same function?

[#57] Some of you also claim that it’s wrong to celebrate man-made holidays. But a careful interpretation of Romans 14:5-6 reveals that exalting a certain day over another is acceptable so long as the day is regarded unto the Lord. Why would God give His people full-blown permission to exalt one day above another unless there was something major to be benefitted from it? Also, adding verses 1-4 to the interpretation of verses 5-6 shows that while it is wrong to despise those who do not celebrate a holiday, it is equally wrong to despise those who do. Hence, when you attempt to abolish Christmas and condemn people for regarding December 25th unto the Lord, are you not in direct violation against the word of God? [Please note that while people like myself certainly invite and encourage people to celebrate Christmas, we do not attempt to force the holiday on anyone, nor do we condemn those who turn our invitations down. Thus, we do not violate Romans 14:1-6 as you do.]

[#58] If you still plan to harass people for celebrating the man-made holidays of Christmas and Easter, then why don’t you also harass the Jews for celebrating the man-made holiday of Hanukkah? [Note: Hanukkah is the yearly anniversary of when Judas Maccabee liberated the Jews from the Greeks, just as Easter is the yearly anniversary of when Jesus Christ liberated the world from sin.] In addition, why don’t you also harass anyone who celebrates the man-made holiday of Thanksgiving or Independence Day? Perchance is it because those holidays have nothing to do with Jesus? If Thanksgiving were a holiday that celebrated the time Jesus fed the 5000 people, would you then oppose it just as strongly as you oppose Christmas and Easter?

[#59] Still on the topic of man-made holidays, let us observe the man-made annual custom of commemorating Jephthan’s daughter (Judges 11:39b-40) or the man-made feast of Purim where gifts were exchanged (Esther 9:19). Can you show me a verse where the Lord shows opposition to either of these? Also, as I already stated in the question above, another man-made holiday was Hanukkah – alternatively known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights. And if you turn to John 10:22-39, you will notice that Jesus Himself took advantage of this feast and used it as an opportunity to preach in the temple. So what’s the difference between Jesus embracing Hanukkah as an opportunity to preach the Gospel, and us embracing Christmas as an opportunity to do the same thing?

Author’s Comments: As everybody knows, the aforementioned feast of Hanukkah falls very near to December 25 each year and occasionally even overlaps it. Now although several of the earlier questions in this list demonstrated that there is no evidence that Jesus was born during any particular Jewish feast, the notion that He would have chosen to be born during Hanukkah, if forced to choose a Jewish feast at all, can be supported with two thoughts. First, since this feast is alternatively known as the Festival of Lights, this would complement Christ’s title as "Light of the World" (John 8:12 & 9:5) and the "Father of Lights" (James 1:17). Secondly, from a Jewish perspective, Hanukkah was/is the most minor and least important of all the feasts, much like Bethlehem was once among the smallest and least important of Judea’s towns (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:6). And yet, as we all know, Bethlehem was nevertheless chosen over the larger and more significant cities to be the Messiah’s birthplace, much like young David was chosen over his older and more important brothers to be Israel’s new king (1 Samuel 16). Add to this the fact that Jesus has a habit of making the last into the first and the first into the last (Matthew 19:30, Mark 9:35, Luke 13:30). Now of course, these thoughts do not concretely prove by any means that Jesus was actually born in late-December. But it nevertheless just seems fitting that the humble holiday of Hanukkah should, thanks to Christmas, end up becoming just as well-known to the non-Jewish world as is the feast of Passover, much like the little town of Bethlehem is now just as well-known to the non-Jewish world as is the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.

[#60] If God did not want us celebrating Christmas, then why did He preserve the stories on which Christmas is based? Now, I acknowledge that the events reported by Matthew were preserved to show how certain Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. Yet, regarding the events reported by Luke, where in the Old Testament is it prophesied that angels would appear to shepherds when the Messiah was born, or that the Boy’s mother would lay Him in a manger? And for that matter, where in the Old Testament is it prophesied that John the Baptist would be the son of a Levite priest whose wife had passed the age of childbearing? Luke could very easily have left out the first two chapters of his book and not caused the rest of the New Testament to suffer. But God made sure that Luke left them in. Think about it.

[#61] Did you know that out of all the appearances made by angels in the Bible, the Birth-of-Christ story is the only one where they appeared in a great multitude giving praise and glory to God in the presence of humans? For even in the accounts of Christ’s resurrection, only two angels appeared to the women to give the Good News – and even then, oddly enough, they said nothing about giving praise and worship. We can further observe that in all other accounts of angelic appearances to humans (not counting prophetic visions and dreams), the angel either appeared by himself or came with only one other, and they likewise never made praises to God. So when seeing how Christ’s birth is seemingly the only event which the angels made a big splashy production out of, should we not follow their example and celebrate the event likewise? Some critics may argue that if God wanted us to celebrate the events surrounding Christ’s birth, lavishly or otherwise, He should have clearly spelled it out for us somewhere in the scriptures. Now please forgive my bluntness, but are you really so dense that you can’t read behind the lines of a passage like Luke 2:7-20 and see that we shouldn’t need to have something like this spelled out for us? In fact, I might go as far as to say that we ought to feel insulted if God felt the need to spell out something like this more clearly.

[#62] One of the most common and popular anti-Christmas arguments is to point out that Christmas wasn’t actually celebrated until the 4th Century and to claim that if God favored the holiday, the Christians of the first three centuries would have celebrated it too. But don’t you know that according to verses like Galatians 4:4, Acts 1:7, Romans 11:33-36, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, Isaiah 55:8-9, etc., the Lord does things in the "fulness of time" and that He goes by His own divine schedule and not by the schedules of man? Any student of history will confirm that the first three centuries of the Common (Christian) Era was a more dangerous time to be a Christian then in any subsequent generation, with perhaps the sad exception of our modern 21st Century. If Christians had publicly celebrated Christ’s birth during the first three centuries, then don’t you think they might very well have attracted a lot of unwanted attention from those who sought to kill them? Do you also think it’s just an amazing coincidence that Christians started celebrating Christmas immediately after the world became a somewhat safer place to do so? Who are you to dictate when God can or cannot put a plan into motion? By what authority do you claim that if God favored Christmas, He should have sent so-and-so a memo by such-and-such a date? For if you subscribe to that kind of logic, then you would also have to argue that if God wanted us to fly airplanes, or use radio and internet to spread the Gospel, or give vaccinations to our children, He should have let someone develop and invent those things 2000 years ago.

[#63] Did you know that Jeremiah 10:2-5 is not referring to the condemnation of those who decorate Christmas trees? Rather, when cross-referencing those verses against Isaiah 40:18-20 & 44:9-20, we see that both writers are referring to the condemnation of heathens who take various types of trees (not just evergreens) along with various types of metal to melt, mold, and reshape into idols which they then worship as gods. In fact, when zooming in on Isaiah 44:13, we clearly see that these "trees" are ones that have been masterfully crafted into the shape of a man. This of course explains why Jeremiah 10:5 reminds us that such images cannot speak or move, and thus should not be feared. For why else would Jeremiah make such a statement unless he was referring to an idol that appeared to have the shape of legs or a mouth? Does a Christmas tree look like it can walk or talk, or in any way invoke fear? Does anyone today worship the Christmas tree as a god, or ever done so in the past? And how come the opponents of Christmas never mention the above verses by Isaiah when referencing the words of Jeremiah?

[#64] Did you know that the Christmas tree first originated in medieval Christian Germany, and not paganism, and was intended to represent the Tree of Life which we shall freely eat from in the Kingdom (Revelation 2:7, 22:2, & 22:14)? The reason why an evergreen tree was chosen in this regard is because a tree which never loses its color makes a good symbol for immortality. Another reason is because the evergreen’s triangular shape serves to remind us of the Trinity. In addition, did you also know that the medieval Christian Germans decorated their Christmas trees with wafers to represent Christ as the "bread of life" (John 6:35), and also with candles to represent Christ as the "light of the world" (John 8:12)? Likewise, did you know that the colorful lights that we put on our Christmas trees and around our homes were originally intended to honor God who is the "Father of lights" (James 1:17)? Also, did you know that the star which we place on top of the Christmas tree represents both the Star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2,9-10) and the Lord Himself who is the "bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16)? In short, the original purpose of the Christmas tree and its decorations was to remind us of our loving Savior and the gifts He has promised us. They are not pagan by any means and are completely Christian in origin.

[#65] Did you know that candy canes are shaped like a shepherd’s staff to represent Christ who is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-17)? Did you also know that the white stripes on the candy canes serve to remind us of Christ’s perfect sinless life, and that the red stripes serve to remind us of His precious blood that was shed for our salvation? It may also be observed that when you flip the candy-cane upside down, it resembles the letter J. Any idea whose name that stands for?

[#66] Did you know that snow is a symbol of the highest purity and stands for the condition of the redeemed soul (Matthew 28:3, Revelation 1:14, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:7)? Does it not then seem appropriate to use the image of the snowflake or the snowman in our Christmas celebrations?

[#67] There are many other images, symbols, and practices associated with Christmas (and Christianity as a whole) that people claim have been taken from paganism. But have you ever wondered where the pagans got all their ideas from? The Old Testament worship system is full of similarities to that of the Israeli’s pagan neighbors. Some examples include the fact that both the pagans and the Israelites had a temple and a priesthood, both used incense in worship, both offered animal sacrifices, both had Spring and Fall harvest feasts, both had water cleansing, both used the image of a snake on a stick as a symbol of health and healing (Numbers 21:8-9 / John 3:14) . . . the list is nearly endless. From these observations, we must conclude that either the Jewish and Christian customs are just ripoffs from paganism or that it’s the other way around. If the former is true, then both Judaism and Christianity are just worthless cults. But if the latter be true, then practically everything pagan is, in fact, ripped off from the monotheistic religion that God established with Adam and then re-established with Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham after the Flood. If that be the case, then Christians didn’t really take anything that originated from paganism at all, but rather simply "took back" and "uncorrupted" what was originally sanctified by God.

[#68] Did you know that food banks, homeless shelters, and clothing drives get far more donations at Christmas time than at any other time of the year? Thus, without this holiday, a great many more people would be shivering, sick, and starving during the winter months.

[#69] Did you know that many people who only go to church on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday probably wouldn’t go to church at all if these holidays didn’t exist? But thanks to the celebration of these holidays, God is given an opportunity to bring these unsaved sinners into a church where they can hear a life-changing Gospel message that might (just might) put them on the road to redemption and enable them to eventually come to Christ.

[#70] Did you know that during the rest of the year, many businesses just barely break even or actually lose money, and that it is only during the Christmas shopping season that they actually make any kind of profit? Thus, without this holiday, many of these businesses would either go bankrupt or be forced to lay off numerous employees. In other words, without Christmas, there would be even more unemployment and homelessness than there is today.

[#71] Although it’s true that some churches in the past tried to outlaw Christmas, this does not necessarily mean that they were on God’s side in this matter. After all, the Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose Christmas, but they also oppose the Trinity and numerous other core Christian doctrines. The same is also true for the followers of Herbert Armstrong. We know those groups are wrong about these and many other things, so why should we listen to them, let alone believe them, when they claim that Christmas is wrong?

[#72] If you continue to exploit the fact that early Christian Americans once declared Christmas illegal, then you should be reminded that early Christians in Great Britain also once declared it illegal to have an English version of the Bible. It’s an historic fact that before King James gave his authorization, certain men were executed for translating the scriptures. Such was also the case in other European countries when someone would try to translate the Bible into his native tongue. Hence, if the Lord automatically disapproves of anything that was ever once declared illegal by Christians, then, by your own logic, should God not be furious with us for using English Bibles today? It should also be rather obvious that the early church leaders who violently banned English Bibles were either seriously misguided or were willingly satanic in their attempts to hold control over the Church. So perhaps is it rational to speculate that the modern objectors to Christmas can be classified in a similar category?

[#73] It is true that both the world and the church have abused Christmas, along with the Christian religion in general, and used them for evil purposes. But does such abuse dictate abandonment of the whole Christmas holiday or the entire Christian faith? We would have very little left if we gave up everything that is abused or misused. We couldn’t grow corn for instance because distillers misuse it in making whiskey, which robs families of food, clothing, and shelter. We would have to prohibit all fires too because arsonists employ them for criminal ends. We would even have to eliminate knives from the kitchen because murderers use them to kill. And we would certainly have to ban all forms of medicine because many people have gotten seriously ill and even died from taking the wrong kind or too much of the right kind. Christians certainly deplore the modern and sinful manner of celebrating Christmas, but that does not mean we must discontinue the entire holiday. We do not do away with all birthday parties because some of them become drinking bouts, and we certainly do not discard the Bible because false cults abuse it or because madmen manipulate its words to justify genocide. No more does the abuse of the Christmas season dictate its repudiation by Christians. God is certainly against the gross commercialization of the birth of His Son. But millions of believers celebrate Christmas reverently. Is God against this?

[#74] During the holiday season, which message do you think is more likely to help non-Christians embrace Christianity? Is it (a) the message that Christ came into this world, born of a virgin, to save sinners, or (b) the message that celebrating Christmas makes God angry and wrathful? I’ll put it another way: Suppose a non-Christian is walking down the street and hears a preacher shouting "Christmas is evil! It’s pagan to the core! God wants us to have nothing to do with it!" Do you think that, after hearing this kind of rant, the non-Christian will suddenly realize that he is a sinner and rush into the church to give his life to Jesus? Or rather, do you think he’ll view Christians as being in a civil war and decide to avoid Christianity all together?

[#75] Have you ever actually listened to the lyrics of the many Christmas carols that ring out all December long? The lyrics of these songs glorify Christ in the highest regard, and if it were not for the existence of Christmas, most of them would probably never have been written at all. For example, the final verse of "Away in a Manger" goes as follows: "Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay / Close by me forever and love me, I pray. / Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, / And take us to Heaven to live with Thee there." How can you not want to teach your child this song at Christmas time?

[Bonus Question] When reading the works of those who oppose Christmas, I frequently observed that these texts were written with a very bitter, angry, and hate-filled tone. In Ephesians 4:31, Paul says: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul says that "hatred" is one of the works of the flesh, and that those who carry it will not inherit the kingdom of God. How can you call yourself a true Christian or expect to be saved if you’ve got negativity like this inside you?
 

Closing Remarks:

Please note, dear reader, that my intention in composing these sometimes harsh-sounding questions was not to force you to start celebrating Christmas, but only to make you think twice before ranting against it. If you don’t wish to set up a Christmas tree or sing Christmas carols or believe that Christ was born in December, then that is your choice. It is only when you publicly crusade against such things that people like myself feel the need to become the "Christmas Police." For by attempting to destroy Christmas, you are, most likely without realizing it, attempting to destroy a major opportunity for us to preach the life-saving Gospel message of Christ. As I have already expressed, ranting against Christmas during the holidays will not help any non-Christians embrace the Savior’s love, but rather will most certainly help to keep them away from it.

When reading some anti-Christmas writings as part of my research, I noticed that one writer began his arguments with the statement that: "If Christmas was of God, the world would want nothing to do with it." This statement had more truth to it than the writer realized. For there are two versions of Christmas: one that keeps Christ in and one that kicks Christ out. The former is the one that the world wants nothing to do with because the world hates anything that promotes the Lord’s Truth (John 15:18-20). The latter version, however, is the one that the world loves because it replaces Jesus with Santa Claus and leaves us with sinful people who sing non-worship party-songs like "Jingle Bell Rock" while having sexual encounters under the mistletoe.

Much like the Church, Christmas is something that the Devil would rather control than destroy. And the fact remains that Christmas is here to stay whether we like it or not. It’s simply a matter of which version we let thrive. If churches elect to abolish Christmas from their Christian lives, then the non-Christian version of the holiday will continue to remain in the world serving as a tool for promoting sin. Thus, the only way to prevent this is for us to keep the Christ in Christmas and continue promoting what the holiday is truly about.

As for the "pagan-incorporation" issue, I suspect that you were afraid that Christmas was going to become a pagan-promoting festival, and so (with perhaps honorable intentions) you attempted to prevent that by crusading against the entire holiday. But by doing so, you inadvertently triggered the events that you were trying so hard to avoid. If you had just done nothing and left us "Christmas Christians" in peace, then Christmas would still be a time of love and worship instead of a time of bitterness and feuding. Fortunately, if you and your anti-Christmas crusades were to discontinue right now, Christmas could once again be the time of love and worship that God originally intended it to be. In short, I implore you to either help keep the Christ in Christmas this holiday season, or quietly hide in your room until after New Year’s. For by ranting against Christmas, you are just being counterproductive to the preaching of Christianity and are causing unnecessary heartache for everyone. Merry Christmas.
 

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