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The Plain Truth about CHRISTMAS!
Plain Truth Magazine
November 1934
Volume: Vol I, No.7
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The Plain Truth about CHRISTMAS!
Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.


Does it really celebrate the birthday of Christ?

What does the Bible say about the Christmas tree?

   Where did we get our Christmas?
   Did we get it out of the Bible? Or did Christ of the Apostles institute it?
   Is it truly a Christian institution?
   Why do YOU celebrate Christmas, and trade gifts back and forth? Do you know? You probably do it because it is CUSTOM because everybody else does it because you were brought up to do it.
   That which we have been taught from childhood we accept and take for granted without question. We seldom think to ask WHY?

The Real Meaning of Christmas

   We have SUPPOSED that Christmas is the chief of the Christian holidays, which all Christians are bound to honor and observe. We have supposed Christ was born on December 25th.
   But let us quit supposing and assuming, and LEARN THE TRUTH!
   The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," or "Christ Mass." It is a Roman Catholic Mass, taken over from the heathen celebration of December 25th as the birthday of the Sun-god SOL!
   Contrary to popular assumption, the idea that Christ was born on December 25th is one of those FABLES that God's Word warns us would be taught and practiced in these last days of apostasy from the TRUTH. (II Tim. 4:4).
   The plain truth is that Christmas is not Christ's birthday. It does not celebrate His birth. The celebration is NOT of Christian, but of HEATHEN origin.
   Jesus was not even born in the winter season of the year!
   When the Christ child was born, "there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night." (Luke 2:8). This never could have occurred in Palestine in the month of December. The shepherds always corralled and brought their flocks from the mountain sides and fields not later than October 15th, to protect them from the cold rainy season that followed.
   An encyclopedia, or any other authority, will tell you, if you will take the trouble to look it up, that Christ was NOT born on December 25th. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia, which you can examine in any public library, frankly states this fact.

When Was Jesus Born?

   Then when WAS Jesus born? The date is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge. Even the ancient writings of the second and third centuries tell us the date of His birth was totally unknown then.
   If God had wished us to observe and celebrate Christ's birth, He would not have so completely hidden the date.
   There is only one possible clue to the date, and that would place it in the early Fall, about the middle of September.
   This is from the prophecy of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks." (Dan. 9:24-27). From the 5th month (Hebrew calendar), 457 B.C, to 5th month, A.D. 27, marked the fulfillment of the sixty nine "weeks," 483 years.
   At this time "Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age," (Luke 3:23). Thus He started His ministry, when He was baptized, and anointed as the Messiah; when He "began to be about thirty years of age," as was Israelitish custom (See Nu. 4:3, and I Chron. 23:3). This IF He began His ministry on His 30th birthday, it fell approximately at the 5th or 6th month, corresponding to our September. This same prophecy foretold that His ministry would last, as it did, three and one-half years. He was "cut off" (Dan. 9:26), in the midst of the "70th week" of seven years actual (verse 27). His crucifixion being on the 14th day of the 1st month the Passover day.

What is the ORIGIN of Christmas?

   Then where did we get our Christmas, that has become so dear to the hearts of our people?
   WHEN did Christians first begin to celebrate it?
   There is not one word in all the Bible about Celebrating Christmas!
   It was never KNOWN to Christians in the days of the Apostles!
   Since it has come to us from the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, surely an authority.
   Under article "CHRISTMAS," we find:
   "Christmas was NOT among the earliest festivals of the Church...the first evidence if the feast is from Egypt... Pagan customs, centering around the January calendar gravitated to Christmas." And we find this further truth acknowledge: "In the Scriptures, sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday!" Even birthday celebrating, which we teach our children, is a heathen custom the way of SINNERS according to the Scriptures!
   Let us look at the Britannica, the largest encyclopedia published:
   "CHRISTMAS (i.e., the Mass of Christ). Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church."
   New International Encyclopedia says the date was fixed December 25th in honor of heathen gods IDOLITRY!
   The Encyclopedia Americana says"
   "CHRISTMAS. It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian Church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons, rather than their birth... A feast was established in memory of this event (the birth of Christ) in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed."
   And again from the Britannica: "Certain Latins, as early as 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to December 25th, which was then a Mithraic feast, the birthday of the unconquered SUN of Philocalus. The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6th, accused the Romans of SUN-WORSHIP and IDOLITRY, contending that the feast of December 25th had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus."
   The Americanna says "the holly, the mistletoe, the Yule-log, etc., are relics of pre-Christian times," PAGANISM!
   The book "Answers to Question," compiled by Frederick J. Haskins, to be found at any public library, says: "The use of Christmas wreathes is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings, and places of worship, at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas. The Christmas tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christian era."

A HEATHEN Celebration

   And so the FACTS tell us that the practice of observing Christmas is a HEATHEN CUSTOM. Christmas originally was one of the HEATHEN holidays, observed by the pagan world during those centuries when Christianity was having its greatest spread. Thus, as the pagans came whole-sale into Christianity, they still held to many of their pagan customs and beliefs, among them the celebration of December 25th. And so the Christians took up with this pagan holiday, gave it a Christian-sounding name, called it the birthday of Christ, instead of Sol, and have continued since to worship Sol's birthday in the name of Christ!
   Consequently, it is one of those pagan FABLES people have been turned to in the great apostacy away from God!
   Observing and celebrating Christmas, then, is in fact not a Christian custom, instituted by Christ or the Apostles, but a HEATHEN CUSTOM, little short of IDOLITRY! It is learning and following the way of the HEATHEN!

What About the Christmas Tree?

   The Christmas tree, as we have seen, originated in heathen Egypt. What does the Bible say about it?
   Listen! Will you HEED this warning from God's Word, or continue in the way that may seem RIGHT to you, but the end of which God says (Prov. 14:12; 16:25) are the WAYS OF ETERNAL DEATH?
   It is in Jeremiah 10:1-4:
   "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen... 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 gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not."
   There is a perfect description of the very thing the majority of our people will be doing as you read this!
   Yes, you argue, "but I can't see any harm in Christmas, or giving the kiddies some enjoyment with a Christmas tree." And "I think the 'spirit of Christmas' is just SPLENDED!" That's what YOU think! That's the way that seems RIGHT to YOU! Oh, dear friends, read Proverbs 14:12 again! GOD says this is THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN. GOD commands you and me, "LEARN NOT THE WAY OF the heathen!" Are you defying God, by following the way that seems right in YOUR eyes? Turn to and read, if you are a CHRISTIAN, and not a heathen, Isa. 55:8,9; Mark 7:13, 9, 6-7; Mat, 5:20; II Tim. 3:16.
   The question is not what YOU think, or what I think, but what GOD COMMANDS!
   Christmas honors the SUN god, called Baal-worship. God's people were into Baal worship in the days of Elijah. He said to them, as God says now to YOU and me: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, FOLLOW HIM: but if Baal, then follow him!" (I King 18:21).


   Christmas came originally from the heathen, and was adopted by the great false harlot church (Rev. 17:4-6,) called "BABYLON." In Rev. 18:3, ALL NATIONS have followed her false doctrines including US. In verses 11-16, she has made the merchants rich by stimulating the sale of their merchandise! EVERY CATHOLIC HOLIDAY is a commercial event, stimulating the sale of merchandise! Christmas is the greatest SELLING SEASON of the year! TRADING gifts!
   And verse 4 shouts to you this warning: "COME OUT OF HER, my people, that ye be not partakers of her SINS, and that ye receive not of her PLAGUES!" If you observe her heathen ways, YOU ARE IN HER. Come OUT!
   God says "COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and BE YE SEPARATE, saith the LORD!" (II Cor. 6:17).
   Are you a Christian? THIS IS A TEST! "But what would my friends and relatives say?" you exclaim. Read John 12:43 and Mat. 10:32-38, especially verse 37.
   Instead of honoring the HEATHEN, why not obey Prov. 3:9, and put your Christmas money into THE LORD'S WORK? More acceptable giving!

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Plain Truth MagazineNovember 1934Vol I, No.7
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