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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 077: What does the Bible say about celebrating Christmas or other Holidays?

By Michael Pearl

This Weeks Bible Question:

Does Jeremiah 10:3 talk about Christmas Trees? As Christians should we celebrate Christmas or other Holidays?

Episode Transcription


Michael Pearl: Alright. I’m still sitting here answering questions and Jared has another that I’ve not yet seen. What is the question, Jared?

Jared: Does Jeremiah 10:3 talk about Christmas Trees? As Christians should we celebrate Christmas or other Holidays?

Michael: Alright. Jeremiah chapter 10. This is about nailing the tree upright I think. Let’s see here where we find that. It’s not something I read a whole lot. Here we are in Jeremiah chapter 10. He says, “For the custom of the people are vain.” 10:3. That’s a custom. Now custom is things that people do over and over again regularly that get to be habits that they like to do for various reasons. “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 an axe. They deck it with silver and with gold.” That’s called tinsel. “They fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” You don’t want your tree falling over in your front room, do you?

“They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne.” That means if you want to move one of them you’ve got to carry it from one place to another. “Because of them for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

He goes on and talks about the tree, about it being decorated and about it being vain. Now, you could read a Christmas tree into that, but I think what he’s actually talking about is idolatry. In other words, cutting down a tree and sculpturing it into an image and decorating it with gold and silver and standing it up.

You see pictures in Mexico and Europe where the Roman Catholic Church has control. You see people carrying images of the Virgin Mary through the streets and everybody celebrating with different forms; a lot of drunkenness and a little fornication on the side and then whatever else that they choose to do in their celebration.

You’ve seen that throughout history. People carrying their gods around and that’s probably what it’s talking about. So I don’t think for certain that that’s just a Christmas tree.

Now we know that December the 25th was celebrated a couple of thousand years before Jesus ever came along. We know that the Romans celebrated Christmas. They didn’t call it a Christ mass. It was a celebration of Isis no Sirius of the god Semiramis, the goddess Semiramis.

It had a little mother/child stuck to her breast and you find it throughout Egypt. You find it in Babylon, in Syria. You find it all over the world. It’s been common down through history and is to this day, this mother/child thing.
So the Romans were doing that on December the 25th. Now it dates back, I won’t go into great detail, but it dates back to when Nimrod died and his mother, they had a mystery religion, and she claimed that he came back in an evergreen tree that sprung up outside his bedroom window. So she went out and put a star on top of it and the people came and put gifts on it and they decorated it. So every year they would remember Nimrod’s birthday, December the 25th, out there underneath the evergreen tree.

So it got to be popular and then it was adapted by different cultures and various different religions throughout. The Canaanites adopted the concepts.

When Constantine embraced Christianity in 322, forced everybody else to, he didn’t get saved. He just embraced it as a political means. He baptized all the heathen, no matter what their gods were, he baptized them, so all of a sudden they were “Christian.”

But December the 25th came around. It was a custom to celebrate this December 25th day. And so, the Roman Catholic Church started having a mass for Christ. So, “Christ Mass.” A sacrifice for Christ. They turned bread into His body, and wine into His blood. The priest drank the wine, and the people got the body.

So, every December the 25th, they would try to steer people away from their heathen holiday with this Christ Mass. Well, syncretism occurred, and there was a mixture between the supposed Christian celebration and the heathen celebration.

It continued down through the ages, through our present time. Well, along the way, it picked up other little traditions — Santa Claus, invented by Madison Avenue and the retailers and the people who wanted to sell goods at that time.

But, let’s get practical. The question is, should I as a Christian, celebrate Christ Mass? If you’re Catholic you ought to because it’s your duty to go to mass. But if you’re not a Roman Catholic, then of course, you are not interested in mass. You wouldn’t be celebrating it.

But you say, should I have a tree in my living room? If you want to go out in to the field, like you said here, and cut one down and stand it upright, and decorate it with golden tinsel, I don’t see any problem, unless you think it has some religious symbol.

Unless you try to make it a Christian event, as long as you see it as Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, or Thanksgiving or something ... Thanksgiving is too holy for that! As long as you see it as something that’s just a tradition of men, and you’re just doing it to kind of party and get together with family, I think it would be perfectly alright.
My motto is this: “Keep Christ out of Christmas and it’s OK.” As long as you don’t put Christ in to it, then when my family invites me to a Christ Mass dinner, I go and I eat dinner, and if they want to give me a new shirt or something, then I receive it.

We don’t give or exchange gifts, never have. We don’t have trees or decorations, celebrations in the church. We don’t have Christmas cantatas. We don’t … it’s just another day. I mean, it’s just like July the 4th. You take the day off, but most people don’t even remember what July 4th is about.

Most people don’t really know or care what Christmas is about. It’s just more booze is sold then, more suicide takes place then, more marriages break up then, more kids are neglected and abused then, more drugs are consumed then. It’s the day when the devil has his due.

We as Christians ought to try to maintain our holiness and purity every day. But leave Christ out of Christmas, and then exchange your gifts, and do whatever you want to do that suits you. Me — none of it suits me. But that’s just my personal view.

As long as you are not worshipping the tree, or worshipping statues or images, as long as you don’t think it’s a means to get to God or something that you feel like you’ve got to do in order to express your faith, as long it’s just a tree, like a pumpkin sitting on your front porch.

If you see the tree is no different from a pumpkin carved out in to a jack‑o’‑lantern, then you’re probably OK. But the moment you put that jack‑o’‑lantern out there and start dancing around it, and start having some kind of spiritual contact, then you’re in trouble.

Same thing with the tree. The moment you start seeing Christ in it, you’re in trouble. So, that’s about the best I can answer you on that.

Voiceover: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.


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11 comments on “What does the Bible say about celebrating Christmas or other Holidays?”

  1. Wonderful answer. Your viewpoint makes complete sense and is actually where my husband has been heading for a while now. The desire to keep Christ in Christmas never really made sense to him. Thank you.

  2. I'm remembering when my children were small the going thing was to "Put Christ Back in Christmas". It was a big deal & we wholeheartedly joined in. Then I was introduced to a preacher via a cassette tape where in he showed scripture like the Jeremiah 10 verse & many other's to liken it to America's shameful adherence to this same belief. So we started to pull away from the celebration. But family would not let us let it go. Husband did not want to let it go either. For years I have struggled making it a big deal but let the children & husband do what they wanted with it & I smilingly went along knowing I should not put my foot down. I still struggle with allowing it but now with this information I can finally take Christ out & be ok with it...will see what the husband thinks. Thank you for your wisdom, it is always appreciated.

  3. okay, i have a question. what if you put christ in christmas, but you don't put any tree or pagan symbol up? We simply wanted to celebrate jesus's birthday by helping feed others or something and we may put a cross up. no gifts, no trees, no frosty the snowman..... we certainly don't think a cross or whatever is our God... it's just a symbol and a remembrance of what Jesus did for us. We may put up a manger scene too. we wanted to make it about God.

  4. My family is young, and we are still doing a lot of thinking about how we should handle certain holidays and such. We've decided to view Christmas as a very convenient opportunity to focus on a great Bible story. It is certainly not the only time we talk about Christ being sent to Earth, but we do enjoy taking a day out of every year to give an extra amount of thanks to God about that particular event than we would on an average day. Both mine and my husband's parents are very absorbed with the consumerism aspect of Christmas. We are considering telling them this year that each child will only receive four gifts total for Christmas (something they want, need, wear, and read). If we do decide to go this route, we will have to deal with a LOT of backlash from them. But, it will be worth it for the kids' sake.

  5. Finally someone responds to this in a way I can respect! A number of years ago we were introduced to this "traditions of men" issue and we began a journey of figuring out what the right thing to do as a believer. I personally could not accept what appears to be many the Christian theology of, "But that is not why we do it" because one could do all sorts of things good or bad using that. The more I researched the roots the more disturbing it became for us to participate.
    I can't wrap my head around not feeling like one is participating in pagan symbolism when one does so many of these traditions. Like to me I do think the scripture in Jeremiah is referencing what is now called a "Christmas tree" used for idolatry I am sure but it isn't obscure enough in scripture for me to think it was "just" idolatry. I think though this is only one of many things that are symbolic of pagan things and we decided that since God was so detailed with the Israelites with the tabernacle using symbolism and such that it should matter to us as well. It came to Lordship, Him being Lord of all including how we celebrate. Now this doesn't mean we look down on and condemn others because we used to to that all ourselves. But it does mean we choose and teach our children that putting things in our homes that represent pagan practices/symbolism is just not honoring to our jealous God.
    Clearly our reality of the world around us celebrating including believers who "put a lot of Christ into their Christmas" is hard but we think it an opportunity for us to show deference versus judgement. If given the opportunity to explain we do as little as possible because it seems to make others feel bad. We try to make little of it as we can.
    Saying all of that though I would like to hear responses because it is easier to not be different. In particular what are others take on using what is clearly historically pagan symbolism during like Christmas but putting the "Christian spin" on it. Like can one use the "what Satan meant for evil God can turn into good" thing with this? Or take the attitude of it being a good thing that Christians have taken over what most accept as a religious holiday so then now one could say the pagan symbolism no longer applies?
    I gave up trying to be "perfect" in all of this and really believe with so many other things that believers tend to want to control out of fear do doing it all "right". For me it is all about dependence on Christ which is easier said than done. I really like the freedom in this article by Michael Pearl because I think believers should be and take responsibility for their beliefs and be ready to give an answer that reflects Christ preeminence, not just prominence.

  6. I have enjoyed reading this many times since it was originally posted just for the sheer joy of it. It is truth telling in a very pure and simple way.
    I think that it is worthy of a sermon on CD the way that only Michael Pearl can deliver. It is information and truth that is SO needed among believers today. So many don't know or understand. There will always be some who turn a deaf ear, but for the hungry and thirsty, a CD teaching the truth about Christmas will be a drink of cool water. So Mr. Pearl will you pleeeease do that for us?

  7. Since there is and continuing and accelerated movement from audio disc to online viewing/listening and downloads, it is unlikely that Mike will do an audio on disc of something is already available for free online. I encourage you to send the link to this audio to those that you think might be interested.

  8. The big question, I believe, with the holiday is WHY you do what you do. Why would a Bible-believing Christian celebrate our holy, harmless, undefiled Saviour's birth on a day rooted in paganism and adopted by the Roman Catholic church for a Christ Mass? Are we not exhorted to worship in Spirit and in TRUTH? What is the truth of December 25th? Sadly, this is being used to divide brethren. If one chooses NOT to go along with the world's celebration, even if that one stands on every Biblical doctrine firmly, he will face the wrath of those who have let their traditions make the Word of God of none effect.

  9. Hey Mike, I am very interested in ordering many of your commentaries as I have purchased the Romans paperback commentary. Also listening to audio of chapters 9-16, (why didn't you finish all Romans in paperback???). I have found listening to your other free commentaries very very exciting and like the way you do the word studies in each of those and thus believe more and more that the KJV is w/o mistake and the inspired words of God. I have listened to Bibleline Ministries recorded radio shows of Dr. Hank Lindstrom (passed away) and learned a lot from him as listeners would call and ask some difficult and also common questions. He answered questions on Easter as being the celebration of Ashtaroth and her son Baal(Judges 2:11-14). In Greek her name is Astarte and in English the name is translated Easter.
    Bottom line: Should a Christian church use this name, Easter, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ? I believe it should be referred to as Resurrection Sunday w/o a bunny rabbit or egg hunt. I told them to not use Easter as this is a pagan goddess. Please help me with this??? Love what you do and looking forward to hearing your answer... Your brother in Christ, Kevin

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