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Christmas Origins

I once read we are born into a ready made world, and how true this is. From the time of our birth we are introduced and participate in our culture's 'norms', Christmas in December, Easter Sunday and so on. But where did our holidays come from? Even the name holiday is similar to holyday...

Upon searching through the wonderful word wide web, we find the below, provided by google (click to enlarge), the open obviousness of where Christmas came from;

The history channel website has a large piece on the origins of it, and the different ways the world celebrates this specific time, and each has its different 'gods' that they tribute their winter festivals to, it should be noted that the Roman Catholic church allowed and condoned the Mithra/Sol/Sun god worship that occurs on sunday, and how many of the winter festivals include some type of Sun relation. It is all so evident in the very name of the day! (See also Sunday Worship)

Christmas is an ancient roman holiday celebrating the roman god Saturn/Saturnalia.
In December, he was celebrated at what is perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. Saturn the planet and Saturday are both named after the god. (Source)

Glory to God

Sure there are many good works being done on Christmas however the bible clearly says we do not get to heaven based on good works alone. We should be doing these good works year around, not just because the season expects it. (see also Good Works get you into heaven)

People have said, if our hearts are in the right place during Christmas and we give God the glory, then what does it matter when we celebrate or why? But truly I tell you, that if a person's heart is honest and in the right place then they will want to glorify God in the way that he wants to be! Not the way we want to! To say to yourself, this is what I will do is a selfish act to begin with. We need to worry about what GOD wants us to do - that is to remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy because it is a sign between God and ourselves, that we know he is our God that we worship him on his day that he has given to us, and all his festivals that he has given us to spend time with family. God is our father, we are a part of his family, we should want him involved in our activities and what better way than to spend them in the celebrations he has given us, not our secular ones.
Ezekiel 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them.

Mark 2:27 - And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Many Christmas customs and traditions are directly influenced by the many cultural celebrations of winter solstice during this time of year, God does not accept worship to him to be mixed with pagan traditions.
Deuteronomy 12:30 "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be enquire not after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.' "

Deuteronomy 12:31 "Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which He hateth, have thy done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods."
There were a few cultures such as the Canaanites that practiced worship to an ancient god called Molech by burning their children in a fire as a sacrifice to the 'god'. Our God has made it clear that was something he hated, he makes it clear this is something we should not do: mix the ways that others worship their gods in with the way we worship ours. Is that not the secular Christmass? A mixture of old and new ways that claim Jesus as the reason for the season? Most Christmass activities, decor and events have nothing to even do with Jesus.

Financial Issues

Christmas has evolved into a stressful time for financial strained families. Think about it, statistics show that during the winter time suicide rates are low, even have been recorded to be at the lowest during this time. That is because during this time there is a false sense of hope, everyone is joyous, there is the 'christmas cheer' and merry making, the soup kitchens and the like are overwhelmed with volunteers, donations are collected toys for children, things for families in need. Families come together, offering (even if not intentionally) comfort. However the statistics also show that after this holiday suicide rates peak during the spring and fall time. Ever feel the after affects of Christmas? It's called post holiday depression1, as well as seasonal affective disorder (SAD)2.

Everything returns to normal, people go about their normal business and the wondrous buzz of Christmas fizzles out. This accentuates depression and heightens loneliness especially for those who are dealing with these issues the most. Recently I watched a module on community kindness for my job (I work in the medical field), and it had a video of all these different people that you would see if you were to walk through your local hospital, from the guests to the patients, to the staff - every person you encounter has something going on in their life that you don't know about. And how true is this! Do we not all have our struggles? No one is perfect no one leads a perfect life, we should be kind to everyone all the time because we don't know them or their problems in their lives. Even if this is difficult (I can't say that I follow it perfectly myself), but there is that golden rule if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all...

After the holiday there are less volunteers for the places that give out food and items to the poor, donations dwindle afterward, and the poor continue being poor, and the lonely continue being lonely. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good places who help many poor but not every poor person is being helped, there is an overwhelming amount of low income and poverty stricken people who suffer year around. There are many who we don't even consider to be poor, there are those who are financially struggling, making it from paycheck to paycheck. Only having enough for what you need and barely so. The single parents, the homeless, the widows, the elderly, the young - everywhere, not only in your own country but world wide you can find someone in need, or someone who is struggling with something.

The consumerism phenomena & materialism

It seems like Christmas creeps earlier and earlier every year, the commercial ads begin, the music on the radio and the news 'preps' getting the masses stirring and thinking about shopping, gifts, decorations, food and more. Christmas in September makes me wonder if ol St.Nick is creeping in on Jesus' real birthday as well? (See below - Was Jesus born During Christmas?) Truth be told, television exploded with the knowledge that creating the right type of advertising could generate large profits for businesses, toys for example compete with being the 'must have' for christmas as early as November (Black friday? That's an ugly name for a supposedly early christmas shopping day). Remember the tickle me Elmo1,Wiki 2,Finepipe 3, CNN 4, epidemic? This toy of plastic parts had parents rioting, fighting and arguing during 1996, the toy was hard to find and people consumed by greed bought and resold for $1,000 or more! (One person allegedly sold one in Denver Co for $7,000!)

Parents or people with resell on their minds stampeded stores, injured one employee whom had his crotch yanked out of his pants? (Yes, unfortunately) And was kicked unconscious (and some) over a toy. Sure this was awhile back, but is necessary for the timeline. So what about these days? Well there's a website that counts the injuries and deaths that have occurred on black friday over the years. Are we really so desperate for material things that we forget about the life of the person next to us in line? Apparently. Some have even given up their Thanksgiving day to get an early start or stake out, for black friday. I don't plan to sped too much time on this topic, as there are plenty of websites that you can read about the craze. Specifically I encourage you to read What is the craziest black friday moment you ever witnessed? As well as this article with videos of black friday compilations. And the overall conclusion we can draw is the rich, who get richer from those who suffer the most during these times. Only in America do we go out in crowds trying to get what we want first, the day after being thankful for what we have.

Was Jesus born during Christmas?

There are a few clues in the bible that help us determine a round about time when Jesus was born. It is important to note that we are not commanded to keep Jesus's birthday as a holiday (and definitely not commanded to keep Christmas with its pagan influences) as his birthday is not even specified but as above, there are a few clues to give us a better idea of a round about time when he was born...
Luke 1:5 "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth."
Elisabeth is the mother of John the baptist (Jesus' cousin), she is the cousin of Mary (Jesus' virgin mother). So we know that Elisabeth husband was in the course of Abia and with a little diligent research we can conclude that to be the eigth feast order, which takes place during June annually. Elisabeth conceived shortly after his time in the priesthood duties.
Luke 1:24 "And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

Luke 1:25 "Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."

Luke 1:26 "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,"
Five months after the end of June, would bring us to the end of November. With another month (when she was in the sixth month, note above) we read that the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to bring her the news of her divine conception of Jesus. This would bring us to the end of December for the conception of Christ and finally nine months later into September/October, specifically and more sensible that Jesus would be born during September/October- the time of the Feast of Trumpets (perhaps an announcement of the exciting news?) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Tabernacle being a temporary dwelling place), hence;
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The greek lexicon and strongs definition describes the word 'dwelt' with similarity of tabernacle, to have/abide in ones tabernacle. (Source)
Other neat notes/connections Abia/Abijah (Means my father is Yahweh). -------------------------------- It is not up for argument as to that date, for it will be a set time that can be clearly traced, and this chapter will declare it exactly. This is why it is important to note "Of the course of Abia" [the eighth feast order], for this feast takes place during our June 13 through June 19 annually. This course was assigned to a Levitical priest, and that priest was Zacharias. Fix this date for we will find out that Zacharias was not at home but in the Temple far from home offering sacrifices during this time. So the angel came to Zacharias near the end of his time on duty at the Temple. -------------------------------------

The Luke Debate

LUKE:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
This was the first tax, implying that there were more than one. There is historical documentation proving Quirinuis was governing during this time in Syria. (See: http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/quirinius.htm)
There was at least two censuses that occurred under Quinorus.Roman Cilicia. Luke notes that a more well known census occurred, by stating that this was the first census The word governor, is the Koine Greek word that is more broadly used than the word Legate. In fact Quirinius was a hegemon (Strong's G2230 - hēgemoneuō ) of Cilicia, which included Syria
Quirinius 12 - 1 BC, he led a campaign against the Homonadenses, a tribe based in the mountainous region of Galatia and Cilicia, around 5 – 3 BC, probably as legate of Galatia. He won by reducing their strongholds and starving out the defenders.[3] For this victory, he was awarded a triumph and elected as duumvir by the colony of Pisidian Antioch.[4]
Roman Cilicia See also: Cilicia (Roman province) and Cibyrrhaeot Theme

But it ought to be observed, that Jesephus does not particularly name any of Cyrenius's honours or services, beside those which relate to the city of Rome. Josephus knew of the divers of others, but he does not express them : and among those omitted or referred to in the general only, may be that of the first survey in Judea. Z.2 The works of Nathaniel Lardner D.D.
The census debate: 1 http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/cyrenius.html
2 http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp
3 http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/Once-More-Quiriniuss-Census.aspx#Article

Augustus tax: http://formerthings.com/augustus.htm
The measures of taxation in the reign of Augustus were determined by population census, with fixed quotas for each province. (Excerpt)

The use of Egypt's immense land rents to finance the Empire's operations resulted from Augustus' conquest of Egypt and the shift to a Roman form of government.[227] As it was effectively considered Augustus' private property rather than a province of the Empire, it became part of each succeeding emperor's patrimonium.[228] Instead of a legate or proconsul, Augustus installed a prefect from the equestrian class to administer Egypt and maintain its lucrative seaports; this position became the highest political achievement for any equestrian besides becoming Prefect of the Praetorian Guard.[229]The highly productive agricultural land of Egypt yielded enormous revenues that were available to Augustus and his successors to pay for public works and military expeditions,[227] as well as bread and circuses for the population of Rome. (Excerpt)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus
The collection of the taxes in the senatorial as well as the imperial provinces was placed in the charge of imperial officers. It was not long before the cities themselves were allowed to raise by their own officers the taxes due to the Roman government. (Excerpt)

Source: http://www.forumromanum.org/history/morey23.html

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_province#/media/File:RomanEmpire_117.svg
Climate in Palestine during winter: http://www.mapsofworld.com/palestine/geography/climate.html
Shepard life & rare photographs taken nearly 100 years ago: http://www.shepherdsinisrael.com/index.html

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