Listen: 62 Question 2

It is true that some holidays have their beginnings in paganism.  As most people are aware of, Christmas has its origin in paganism.  It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time and most Christians opposed its celebration.  Some say that Christmas developed as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son.  Of course, the very name of Christmas shows us that the observance of this day has its roots in Catholicism.  Christmas literally means Christ-Mass.

The origin of the Christmas tree is also pagan and is condemned in the scriptures.  Let’s read Jeremiah 10:2-6 which says, “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.”  It’s obvious that the custom of cutting down and decorating a tree was the way of the heathen.  I’m pretty sure no one today would worship a Christmas tree, but this is what the heathen, or the pagans, were doing.

Halloween is a special day that many Christians refuse to celebrate.  The celebration of this day probably began with the Celtic people of Europe.  These people were pagan Druids who celebrated the end of the harvest season with this day, which was celebrated as Samhain (pronounced: sow-en).  The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living–ghosts haunting the earth.

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of Christian martyrs. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance.  This celebration of All Saints Day was established to counteract the influence of paganism, so it was celebrated on the day after Samhain.  This really just resulted in trying to Christianize a pagan celebration, and so many of the pagan customs began to be carried on by the Christian church.  The focus on death, witchcraft, Satan, and the occult is still shown today in costumes worn by many people in celebration of Halloween.

So, should Christian be involved in the celebration of these days?  Let’s read Romans 14:5-8, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

This is one case where we should just be respectful of each other’s’ decisions to celebrate these days or not.  I have Godly friends that refuse to celebrate Christmas, and I have great respect for their decision.  I have Godly friends that love to celebrate Christmas, and I have great respect for their decision.  As we just read in Romans 14:5, “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

Even if we are not comfortable in celebrating these days, we can still use the occasion to reach out to others with the Gospel.  On Halloween, my wife and I still pass out treats to the children that come to our home.  With the treat, we give the children Gospel tracts or Christian coloring books specifically geared towards Halloween.  (62.2)