"PEACE on earth, GOOD WILL toward men" may sound trite and hollow this year. But in SPITE of terrifying world troubles, the traditional, commercial, CHIEF of the "Christian" holidays looms on the horizon once again. Chances are, you would FLUNK MISERABLY in a simple test about its origins. Go ahead — take a chance — find out! THE WREATHS began appearing before Thanksgiving Day, in the United States. Some Australian mothers have told their children about "Santa" rowing his boat down the river soon (snow and reindeer appear rather hard to believe, even for little children, in the heat of December's summer in the land "down under").
Brace yourselves. The mad shopping rush, the jangling bells, the department store "Santas" are with us again. Church leaders cry out, "PUT CHRIST back in Christmas" this year! Many deplore the growing commercialism of this most important of the "Christian" holidays.
But was Christ ever IN "Christmas"?
Take this simple test. How well do you KNOW the chief holiday of "Christendom"?
True or False: 1. Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ.
2. Santa Claus was one of three wise men.
3. The holly wreath is chosen because of its red and green color — and everyone knows red and green are traditional Christmas colors.
4. The Christmas tree is an ancient, Pagan symbol.
5. Kissing under the mistletoe comes to us from an early American custom.
6. The "Christmas spirit of giving" comes to us from the example of the wise men at Christ's, manger birthplace.
7. The yule log is only a strange name attached to a log our forefathers used to drag in to be burned in the fireplace.
8. We don't "wassail" anymore, because people can't hear us "wassailing" over their TV sets.
9. There are more murders in the 24-hour period including Christmas eve and Christmas day than any other comparable period in the year.
10. We observe Christmas because of the Bible example.
ANSWERS: 1. False. Scholars know Jesus was not born on or anywhere near December 25th. The Romans anciently observed their "Brumalia" on that date. It was the "Saturnalia" season when the pagan Romans petitioned their imagined "sun-god" to begin his annual journey into northerly latitudes, once more.
2. False. The Bible nowhere states three. Every evidence of history indicates there were twelve. "Santa Claus" is a derivation of an ancient title of Nimrod, tyrant who began Babylonish civilization.
3. False. The holly berries were used as ancient sex symbols — representing the propagation of life — fertility.
4. True. Jeremiah the 10th chapter utterly condemns it.
5. False. Mistletoe is both a parasite and was formerly imagined as an aphrodisiac. Kissing under it was to "come under its spell" and was celebrated among the heathen in sex rites, in worship of fertility.
6. False in two ways.
The wise men gave their gifts to CHRIST. Modern people never do this. They exchange gifts among themselves. Further, the wise men never saw Christ in the manger. He was already in a HOUSE by the time they arrived — when he was several WEEKS of age. (Mat. 2:11)
7. False. It was a symbol of the dead Osiris or Nimrod, from which a tiny, living tree was claimed to have sprung.
8. You may be right either way. Wassailing could get you mugged, robbed or raped — and people don't generally appreciate neighborhood singing, anyway.
9. True. The "Spirit of Christmas" in bottled form has been a direct contributor to this shocking fact from police blotters.
10. False. The Bible Nowhere identifies the exact date of Jesus' birth — even conceals His age by saying He was "about" 30 at the beginning of His ministry. Rather, the Bible CONDEMNS learning pagan, heathen customs, and then using them to celebrate events concerning the life of the True God (Deut. 12:30-32).
Score yourself "Excellent" for 9 or more correct. "Good" for 7 to 8 correct. "Fair" for 5 to 6 correct. "Poor" for 2 to 4 correct, and "Utter flunkout" for having only ONE correct, which could have been answered either way.
Perhaps this simple — and humorous — "test" about Christmas will serve to underline the questions in the beginning of this article. No wonder "Peace on Earth" will sound empty this year, what with Vietnam, the Middle East Crisis, the Congo, the Berlin Wall, smouldering hatreds the world over, and American cities with their ugly, gutted sections from recent race riots.
What a divided world. What utter LACK of "peace."
Still, millions in the Western World will take temporary time out from their usual activities to become submerged in the flood tide of annual Christmas shopping, traffic jams, parties, and exchanging of gifts.
Somehow — all the clamor, noise, confusion and commercialism is supposed to have something to do with Christ's birthday.
But does it, really?
Some Plain Facts About Christmas Ever wonder what "wassailing" had to do with wise men; mistletoe with the Magi; martinis with Mary; Santa with saints?
Look at the world for a moment. Here we are, hurtling around the corner into another frightening year — the late 60's — with the Soviets plunging ahead in space, the world an armed camp, deepening sociological problems the world over, and millions use Christmas as a time to forget about it all.
Christmas, in its various forms in many countries today, would hardly be recognized by its earliest proponents.
But who were its earliest exponents? What is the real MEANING of the holly wreath, the lighting of candles, mistletoe, the yule log, the Christmas tree, with its bulbs and orbs, Santa Claus?
Did you ever think to check your encyclopedia to find out?
You'll be absolutely astounded!
First — let's admit some widely known facts. Christmas is never mentioned in the Bible. The Christmas tree is — but in very uncomplimentary language. The wise men arrived at Christ's place of birth LONG after (numerous scholars admit as much as several weeks) He was born. Scholars freely admit He was not born on or anywhere near December 25. (Read the proof in our free reprint article "When Was Jesus Born?") The Magi gave their gifts directly to CHRIST — didn't exchange them among themselves.
But in Ancient Egypt and Babylon Christmas, say all the authorities, LONG antedates Christianity. Its origins go back to pagan Babylon, Greece, Rome, and to Egypt.
There, in various guises, the very same customs were observed by these ancient pagans on the birthday of their god — the god of the SUN, or SUN-god. They observed his fanciful birthday at the time of the "Saturnalia," or lowest ebbing of the sun toward the south (those living in the northern hemisphere), and the beginning of its journey back toward spring and summer.
They had various symbols.
Symbols stand for things. These stood for a wide variety of pagan superstitions involving the source of life of fertility. They had a little tree, which was supposed to have grown up overnight, out of an old dead log. The tree is called a Christmas tree today; the log is named "yule."
They used round orbs, eggs, on which they painted snakes, and other designs. This was long before the time of tinsel and glass of course, and back then, everyone knew the eggs stood for something. They reminded the pagans of the source of life.
They had wreaths of holly, because it was one of the rare plants still producing little round berries even in the snowy north. They used mistletoe because it's a parasite, and because of a pagan superstition involving its qualities of an aphrodisiac. (That's why people still carry on the pagan superstition of kissing under mistletoe)
That's not all.
They observed, in short, just about EVERYTHING a modern Christian-professing person observes — though with a different label.
What Is the Difference? But so what?
Aren't these facts more or less common knowledge?
Sure they are published in religious newspapers, and cheerfully admitted by religious editors each year. Then does it make any difference? Not if there isn't any God.
But what if there is?
Then it would make a LOT of difference — ESPECIALLY IF THAT GOD SAYS A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THESE VERY SAME CUSTOMS IN HIS Worn)!
There is a God. You can PROVE it. And God says it does make a great deal of difference!
You'll be positively amazed, shocked, when you read "The PLAIN TRUTH About Christmas!"
In this free booklet are facts you simply can't afford to be without yet it costs you nothing! It's absolutely free!
Here, revealed directly from authentic historical sources, and from your own Bible, is the story of Christmas — and what YOU DON'T KNOW about it!
It's the biggest holiday of the year — but you've probably NEVER LOOKED INTO ITS MEANING! In this booklet you'll read the incredible TRUTH about all the accompanying paraphernalia of this season — you'll be challenged, you'll be shocked!
So, before you forget it, write for it right now!