The first consideration is that Christmas is purely a man made festival.
At no time and nowhere in Scripture does our Heavenly Father request or require it of us to celebrate Christmas. That is not to say that the birth of our Saviour should not be held in high regard. The big question is the timing. Why is it celebrated on the 25th December?
This in itself raises a number of questions. December is wintertime in Israel. With the Mediterranean climate, heavy downpours of rain often with hail and sleet are common. The mountains are often covered in snow. There is absolutely no chance of shepherds being out at night, keeping watch over their sheep, as we read in Luke’s Gospel.
Secondly, you can be sure that every stable in Bethlehem will be filled with the animals that have been brought indoors, to shelter for the winter. No mother-to-be will be able to find room in any stable to give birth to her baby. Animals do what animals do so the stable will not at all be a healthy place for a childbirth. It also implies that every trough and every crib will be fully utilized for feed or water for those animals. There will be no “manger” available in which to lay a baby.
Now, imagine Joseph and Mary, nine months pregnant, having to walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a distance of about ninety miles. That’s about five days hiking. Where does one stay overnight in these winter conditions? Not on.
Another consideration we have to contemplate is, why was this ‘winter’ journey necessary? The decree was given by Caesar Augustus. Now a study of Augustus will show that he was one of the most ‘civil’ of all Roman Emperors, and therefore it is very unlikely that he would have ordered this census to take place in the middle of winter. Remember it would have been winter in Rome as well. He would have had a riot on his hands.
Biblical scholars are generally of the opinion that the birth of Messiah took place during the Festival of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths or Sukkot in Hebrew. This would have been September or October on the Gregorian calendar. The reasoning behind this thinking is threefold.
Firstly, the prophet Zechariah in the last chapter of his book, says that in the last days the gentiles will be required to come to Jerusalem every year at the Festival of Tabernacles. But why this festival in particular?
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
Secondly, in Deuteronomy 31 it was declared that in the year of release when slaves were allowed to be freed that this took place at the Feast of Booths (a time of setting free).
And Moses commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles,
Thirdly, the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) takes place during the autumn harvest, this is the fruit harvest. There is, at this time an abundance of fruit in all Israel and would not the birth of Messiah, be regarded as the Fruit of God’s love?
So, what then is the hook in the jaws of Christians that drags them back to December 25 every year?
To answer that we have to go back to another pagan festival that Christians indulge in, Easter. That notion will, no doubt, shock some Christians. But Easter was brought about by the pagan, sun worshiping Roman Emperor, Constantine.
In order to solve a division among the Christian believers caused by a priest in Alexandria who was teaching that Christ was only man and not both man and God, Constantine constituted the First Council of Nicaea. There were two main items on the agenda. One was to solve this false teaching and the other was to determine a date for the ‘Christian Passover’. He ordered this because “we (the Romans) will not be dictated to by the Jews”, were his words.
He also insisted that this “Passover” should be called Ishtar that is, Easter, in English. Ishtar is the goddess of fertility, which is why we have Easter eggs and Easter bunnies at Easter time. The date of Easter was determined as being the first Sunday (of Sun worship) after the full moon after the winter (Northern hemisphere) equinox. Easter sunrise services are all to do with sun worship.
So, what does this have to do with 25th December? Well, the legend is that on Easter Sunday Ishtar (Easter) in impregnated by Zeus the Sun god and nine months later on the 25th December she gives birth to her son (the reborn Sun), because on this day in the very Northern latitudes, the sun is seen for the first time after an absence of a few days, around the winter solstice (21st December) until the 25th, when for the first time it appears over the horizon and great joy is given for its return (rebirth).
Do you see the connection?
Now we need to have a closer look at the problem of Easter. The Roman Church tells us that the crucifixion took place on a Friday. This came about because they misunderstood the Biblical festivals. They read that the crucifixion happened on the day before the Sabbath, but not realising that there are more Sabbaths than just the seventh day Sabbath. They miscalculated. Now in Matthew 12, there is an account of the Pharisees asking Jesus (Yeshua) for a sign to show who He really was.
Yeshua tells them that the only sign given will be the sign of Jonah, who spent three days and three nights in the belly of a fish, so the “Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. Now if the crucifixion took place on a Friday then Yeshua would have been in the grave;
Friday night (night1),
Saturday night (night 2),
Sunday (day 2),
Sunday night (night 3) and
Monday (day 3)
But, Yeshua wouldn’t have been in the grave Monday night. Something doesn’t fit. The day of the crucifixion has to be moved back to at least Wednesday, and then we find that Jesus would have been in the grave;
Wednesday night (night1),
Thursday night (night 2),
Friday (day 2),
Friday night (night 3) and
Saturday (day 3),
But, Yeshua wouldn’t have been the grave Saturday night. So where do the concepts of;
a) a Friday crucifixion and
b) a Sunday resurrection come from?
The Romans, of course, did not understand the concepts of the Biblical calendar. Scripture tells us that the crucifixion took place the day before the Sabbath, but this was not the normal seventh day Sabbath, it was a special Sabbath. Read John 19:14;31.
It was, in fact, the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread which is a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:6) which is on the 15th day of that month. Note, also that the day before would have been the 14th day of the month which is the actual day of the Passover(Leviticus 23:5).
So, Yeshua was crucified on the Day of Passover, which in that year, was a Wednesday, becoming the true Passover Lamb.
Now, what about the Sunday resurrection?
There are some scriptures that say the resurrection took place on the third day. So, if Yeshua was crucified on a Friday that would be day ,1 Saturday would be day 2, so then Sunday must be day 3. This does not take into account what Yeshua Himself said in Matthew 12: 38-40, but it does suit the concept of sun worship.
The other issue is the misunderstanding the Romans had of the Biblical calendar. The Biblical day starts in the evening, shortly after sunset and not at midnight as in the Gregorian calendar. This means that Sunday starts shortly after sunset on Sabbath, Monday after sunset on Sunday, Tuesday after sunset on Monday and so on through the week. So, if we turn to John 20:19 we find Yeshua meeting with His disciples on the evening of the first day of the week.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
In other words, straight after sunset on the Sabbath, that is straight after His resurrection.
Now the question of Sunday observance, where did it come from? For the first three hundred or so years after the resurrection of Yeshua, all His followers, both Jews and Gentiles, kept the seventh day Sabbath. So, how did the weekly Sabbath keeping transform into Sunday observance?
Remember the Roman Emperor Constantine was a pagan, Sun worshiper. He did claim to acknowledge Christ because he saw an abbreviated form of Christ’s name in Greek letters as he was advancing on Rome.
However, being a pagan, another ‘god’ on his belt would simply better his chances of life after death. He did not repent of all the other gods.
Now, on the seventh of March in the year 321AD Constantine issued his (in)famous Sunday Edict. The edict reads, “On the most honourable day of the Sun, all labour shall cease, all workshops shall be closed and no magistrates will sit”. He, however, did allow certain agricultural practices to continue.
In the year 364AD, the Roman Papacy confirmed this at the First Council of Laodicea in canon 29 which reads; “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day (Sunday )they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ”.
What authority has the Roman Church, or any Church, to exclude anybody from Christ? Once we have accepted Him into our lives, it is a personal relationship that we have with Him and the Church is purely peripheral. It may well encourage us in our relationship with Him and give teaching in that regard, but it can never change that relationship.
The prophet Ezekiel, in his book, tells us that to observe the Sabbath is a mark that we belong to our Heavenly Father.
…hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
The Hebrew word used there for “mark” is ot, this word means sign, seal, mark. It means all three of these conditions. So the mark, the sign and the seal that we belong to the King of Kings is that we observe His Sabbath.
To tie it all together, our faith in Messiah and the days He recognized as set apart, are different than the days recognized by the Roman church and the holy days they instituted. Unfortunately, those holy days (Christmas, Easter and the Lord’s day) carries more value to most believers today than the days our Messiah kept holy. It all boils down to the fact that Christmas is man made, instituted through Sun-worship practices, and never inaugurate by Yahweh or Yeshua.
Blessings to all.
Ps. We invite to do your own due diligence in investigating the matter of the feasts of the roman church vs. Yahweh’s feasts. This resource is a great recommended starting point.