Should Christians Celebrate Christmas [Part 4]

Dec 01

GFR Cover ImageOn this week’s show Pastor Joe Schimmel continues discussing an issue that is raised every year around this time – is it okay for Christians to celebrate Christmas? There are many charges made against celebrating Christmas, and while many of these are seemingly valid, what does scripture have to say about this subject? Is it okay to celebrate our Lord’s birth and the fact that God became a man to die for the sins of the world? In Part 4 of this series Pastor Joe looks at the use of the Christmas tree during the holidays. Is paganism really tied to the Christmas tree and do we really know the history behind the Christmas tree? Are Christians bowing down to a tree in their home just like the pagans cut, carved and worshipped trees as idols? Moses condemned people for setting up pillars to idols, yet Moses himself set up pillars to worship God. Are there similarities when discussing a tree to worship Jesus and the fact that He died on a tree, or the fact that the tree represents life? Many also might not be aware of the days of the week – all have pagan backgrounds (see below for descriptions of the days of the week). Should we no longer worship on Sunday due the pagan background of this day?

Audio MP3

Download This Show
PC: Right Click and Save Target/Link As
Mac: Control+Click and Download Linked File As

Next week: Paul Walker and the Megaphone of Creation (Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? [Part 5] will return after two weeks)

Germanic Tradition of the Days of the Week:

Sunday: Old English Sunnandæg (pronounced [sun.nan.dæg] or [sun.nan.dæj), meaning “sun’s day.” This is a translation of the Latin phrase dies Solis.

Monday: Old English Mōnandæg (pronounced [mon.nan.dæg] or [mon.nan.dæj’), meaning “Moon’s day.” This is based on a translation of the Latin name dies lunae. In North Germanic mythology, the Moon is personified as a god, Máni.

Tuesday: Old English Tīwesdæg (pronounced [ti.wes.dæg] or [ti.wes.dæj], meaning “Tiw’s day.” Tiw (Norse Týr) was a one-handed god associated with single combat and pledges in Norse mythology and also attested prominently in wider Germanic paganism. The name of the day is based on Latin dies Martis, “Day of Mars”.

Wednesday: Old English Wōdnesdæg (pronounced [woːd.nes.dæg] or [woːd.nes.dæj) meaning the day of the Germanic god Wodan (known as Óðinn among the North Germanic peoples), and a prominent god of the Anglo-Saxons (and other Germanic peoples) in England until about the seventh century. It is based on Latin dies Mercurii, “Day of Mercury.”

Thursday: Old English Þūnresdæg (pronounced [θuːn.res.dæg] or [θuːn.res.dæj]), meaning ‘Þunor’s day’. Þunor means thunder or its personification, the Norse god known in Modern English as Thor. Similarly Dutch donderdag, German Donnerstag (‘thunder’s day’) and Scandinavian Torsdag (‘Thor’s day’). Thor’s day corresponds to Latin dies Iovis, “day of Jupiter”.

Friday: Old English Frīgedæg (pronounced [fri.je.dæg] or [fri.je.dæj]), meaning the day of the Norse goddess Fríge. The Norse name for the planet Venus was Friggjarstjarna, ‘Frigg’s star’. It is based on the Latin dies Veneris, “Day of Venus.”

Saturday: The only day of the week to retain its Roman origin in English, named after the Roman god Saturn associated with the Titan Cronus, father of Zeus and many Olympians. Its original Anglo-Saxon rendering was Sæturnesdæg (pronounced [sæ.tur.nes.dæg] or [sæ.tur.nes.dæj]). In Latin it was dies Saturni, “Day of Saturn.”

4 comments

  1. Pagan links to Christmas?
    The timing for one. Dec. 25th is the Saturnalia festival, commemorating the rebirth of the Sun – Ammon Ra, Mithra. An honest study of this subject would include a reading of Duet. 12:29-32. This is a strict command against mixing pagan worship with worship of YHWH and His son. All kinds of occult worship were connected to Dec. 15th and Saturnalia and Duet.18:9-14 forbid these things. Why mix the day of Satanic occultism with the worship of the true creator? It is an abomination. I’m not a JW either. It is interesting that a lost org. such as JW’s have this right while mainstream Christianity is so lost on this and other important points of worshipping the creator.
    Matthew 7:21 KJV (should be in red)
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    • Larry, if your conviction is to not celebrate God’s goodness on December 25th, we completely respect that. However, God created December 25th (as well as every other day), not pagans. Not one of the radio show messages suggests we celebrate as the pagans do, rather, that we honor God and celebrate His goodness for sending His Son Jesus to die for us…and we celebrate this on every day of the year, including December 25th. As mentioned in Part 4 of this series, Moses also erected pillars to God AFTER pillars were used by pagans to worship idols. As long as we are not worshiping as pagans do on this day, December 25th is certainly not off limits to worship our God! Lastly, you cite Matthew 7:21 to us as if to suggest that we will not enter the kingdom of God because we worship God on December 25th. Doing so on this day can be done without violating scripture, wouldn’t you agree? Just like worshiping Jesus on October 31st (Halloween) can be done without violating scripture. (Or any other day for that matter.) We are not bound by the hijacking of days by pagans, we are bound by scripture not to DO as the pagans do. You’re assuming/asserting that every Christian is doing something unscriptural without any basis.

  2. Justin Flores /

    First of all, let me say that I have the utmost respect for Pastor Schimmel’s work on deceptions in the media and popular culture. I am not a JW. I believe the trinity of God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is the one and only true God worthy of worship. I have listened to all four of these messages and do not find them edifying. I am actually pretty disappointed with this teaching series. Where is the Gospel? How do these rituals bring glory to God? All I hear in these messages are excuses of why it’s not so bad. Why take 5 weeks to defend a non-biblical ritual celebration that brings so much temptation and creates so many stumbling blocks for weak brothers and sisters?

    The pagan names of the days of the week are a matter of practicality, not worship, because the authorities and industries have only supported that calendar. But, we have a choice whether or not to accept the clearly worshipful ritual of ‘Christ-mass’. Our God is a jealous God that hates pagan worship, and commands us not to worship in their ways. Why adopt any ritual practice that is not in scripture for the sake of pleasuring the flesh, or appeasing our unbelieving neighbors?

    The better question than ‘Can we celebrate Christmas?’ is ‘Can we live without Christmas?’

    If you can’t do without it, how can you be sure it’s not an idol? Idolatry is not simply ritual worship of a literal deity. Idolatry is simply putting the will of flesh above God’s. Are Christians afraid to die to themselves by letting go of Christmas? Ask yourself why the vast majority of nominal Christians only ‘pay respects’ to Christ on the continuation of the pagan holy day of Saturnalia. Does Christmas encourage easy-believism? Is Christmas a stumbling block to true faith? Consider what happens when you tell a child who has enjoyed Christmas celebrations for years that they won’t be getting any Christmas gifts this year. Is this a good thing?

    Pastor Schimmel, while you may try to keep a very Christ-centered tradition in your home by excluding the cult of Mithras imagery of Satan Claus out, and de-emphasize the destructive materialist consumerism indoctrination, I hope you consider that these messages may become stumbling blocks for many believers who look to your wisdom on occult infiltrations of the church. This is a corrosive tradition that does not deserve any defense.

    In your final show on this topic, I hope you will lift up and edify Christians who choose to abandon these rituals without abandoning love for our neighbors.

    • David Brennamen /

      “Our God is a jealous God that hates pagan worship, and commands us not to worship in their ways. Why adopt any ritual practice that is not in scripture for the sake of pleasuring the flesh, or appeasing our unbelieving neighbors?”

      How is worshipping Jesus, and remembering His birth on December 25th worshipping in a pagan way? Do you really think that Joe is condoning going home and adopting some pagan ritualistic practice? Do you really think his flesh just needs to be satisfied by partaking in a holiday?

      “The better question than ‘Can we celebrate Christmas?’ is ‘Can we live without Christmas?’

      If you can’t do without it, how can you be sure it’s not an idol? Idolatry is not simply ritual worship of a literal deity. Idolatry is simply putting the will of flesh above God’s.”

      I would challenge your definition of idolatry. I don’t see that anywhere in scripture. That would be disobedience. But Idolatry in scripture is not laid out like you say. I don’t see anywhere in Pastor Joe’s series, him saying that he can’t live without it or that anyone is not free to abstain from the holiday. His whole point is that the believer is free to carry out either.