© Copyright 2012
That question, is Christmas really Christian, may seem like a ridiculous concept to many. After all, this festive holiday celebrated at the end of December is intended to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, is it not? However, some simple research reveals surprising truths about the origins of the celebrations of Christmas. When we combine this with the writings contained in the Holy Bible on the subject we may come to see a stark reality
that differs very much from the Christmas you may have been taught to know and love.

So let’s examine some of this evidence and see where it leads us. We will first learn about the background, origin and inspirations for the celebration of Christmas and its associated traditions. After that we will examine what the Bible has to say regarding what we learn.


December 25th is commonly held to be the day Jesus Christ was born and therefore the reason for the holiday. However, the truth is that there are no biblical or other historical references that support this date as being the birth date of Christ. There is, on the other hand, compelling evidence to suggest that Jesus was born in the fall, not the winter. So why is December 25th used as the celebration of Christmas?

The answer lies in the winter solstice, which occurs near the end of December, and the pagan custom of worshiping a god of the sun. According to the History Channel’s web site concerning the origins of Christmas, it states that “many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and...had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well.”
Additionally, the Encyclopedia Romana reveals that many Christmas traditions were adapted from a Roman celebration called the Saturnalia. It explains that "at the time of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar), Saturnus, the god of seed and sowing, was honored with a festival." It also states that “by the middle of the fourth century AD, [many of] its rituals had become absorbed in the celebration of Christmas."

So we see that Christmas has borrowed heavily and, in some instances, directly derived its celebrations from worship of the sun and festivals that honored pagan gods. But what about the various traditions such as the Christmas tree, mistletoe, yule log and decking the halls? Do they have any root in paganism? Let’s find out.


What about some of the other festivities associated with Christmas such as decking the halls, the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and the burning of a yule log? Where do they come from? Consider the fact that these traditions have little or no link at all to anything found in the Bible and are not related in any form to anything recorded about Jesus life or ministry. They are indeed hold overs from pagan traditions that were frequently used to honor and worship pagan gods. Consider the following examples.

The History Channel’s website explains that both the Egyptians and Romans viewed evergreens as sacred. It relates that “evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and
summer would return.” According to the Smithsonian’s web site the origins of mistletoe can be traced back to rituals of the Celtic Druids and legends about Norse gods. And tells us that “In pagan times, the Yule log was burned at the winter Solstice to symbolize warmth and light even in the dark of winter.”

So it is apparent that every aspect of the celebration of Christmas including the date it is celebrated and the traditions that are used to observe it are all mired in pagan rituals and rites that honored pagan gods. Should this concern an honest hearted Christian? The only way to find out is to examine what the Bible has to say about mixing pagan practices with celebrations that are supposed to honor God.


With the above facts in mind consider how the following Bible passages reveal what God’s thoughts and feelings are concerning worship of the sun, which Christmas is largely modeled after.
Deuteronomy 4:19 – “And that you may not raise your eyes to the heavens and indeed see the sun and the moon…and bow down to them and serve them.”

Deuteronomy 17:2,3 - “In case there should be found in your midst…a man or a woman who should practice what is bad…and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun.”

Ezekiel 8:15,16 – “And he further said to me: “Have you seen [this], O son of man? You will yet see again great detestable things worse than these.” So he brought me to the inner courtyard…[and] there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of Jehovah and their faces to the east, and they were bowing down to the east, to the sun.”
Wouldn’t you agree that it is clear from the preceding passages that God finds pagan sun worship deplorable? So could we rightly expect him to accept any celebration in his name that was contaminated by practices he hates? Consider the following verses for additional thoughts on that question.
Exodus 20:3 – “You must not have any other gods against my face.” (The first of the 10 commandments)
Could we say with confidence that we are not violating this command if we are perpetuating Christmas traditions that are derived from practices that honored pagan gods?
John 4:24 – “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”

1 Corinthians 5:6 – “A little leaven ferments the whole lump.”

2 Corinthians 6:14 – “For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have?”
The Israelite Example
Consider also the account found in Exodus 32. In this passage the Israelites have done exactly what modern day Christmas does, they attempted to combine pagan rituals they learned in Egypt with honor and worship of God. Declaring that “tomorrow is a festival to [God]” they formed a molten statue of a calf and began to “eat and drink and have a good time.”

Did God overlook the pagan origins of their celebration because their hearts were sincere? Not at all! In fact, God was so displeased with what they did he told Moses “So now let me be, that my anger may blaze against them and I may exterminate them.” For a fact, thousands of Israelites lost their life on that day!

So we have seen how Christmas is steeped in the rituals and rites of pagan nations and that nearly every aspect of it is contaminated by these unchristian traditions. Knowing that the Bible reveals to us how displeased God is with impure practices being used while trying to honor him, could an honest hearted Christian truly celebrate Christmas with a clean conscience before God?  We must ask ourselves the question, is Christmas really Christian?

Click here to read a humurous article on Christmas by
Robert Kirby, a Salt Lake Tribune columnist.

Links to References

  1. The History Channel website (2005). The History of Christmas. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from
  2. Encyclopedia Romana (2007). Saturnalia [Electronic Version]. Retrieved February 12, 2007 from
  3. Dunn, Rob (2011). Mistletoe: The Evolution of a Christmas Tradition. Retrieved December 20, 2012 from
  4. Roberts, Holly L. (2012). Facts About the Yule Log. Retrieved December 20, 2012 from