Monday, 26 May 2014

The Great Christmas Crime

1. Introduction
2. Was Christmas Christ’s Idea?
3. Missed The Real Meaning Of Christmas?
4. Fruits Of Biblical Christianity In Europe
5. Fruits Of Biblical Christianity In The UK
6. Causes Of The Great Christmas Crime And The Cure
7. Conclusion


Christmas in the 21stcentury is associated by many with parties, celebrations, holidays, and having a good time. Oh yes, and then there is the Christmas play, the Nativity, the story of the birth of baby Jesus, suitable for 6 – 11 year olds. He was wrapped up in cloths and placed in a manger. Similarly, many ‘wrap up’ Jesus after Christmas and put him away for another year. Is that all there is to it?

Those who know the Bible realize that Jesus Christ was born for a purpose, to save his people from their sins and to give them life to the full.
1 He did not come to be part of our life only at certain times, but to be our life2 since everything was created by Him and for Him.3 “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did,”4 every day, all the time and thankfully with his help.5

Many people do not want to hold on to these truths and thereby commit a colossal crime. They are robbing Christmas of the real Jesus! This produces a fragmented, distorted and decadent view of Christmas. To put it in another way, those who exclude Christ are left with no real Christmas! However, for those who give Jesus their whole life, every day of the year turns into ‘Christmas.’

The actual date of Jesus’ birth is not known for certain. The New Testament contains neither a command nor a prohibition to celebrate it. Latest scholarship has convincingly proven that there is no pagan connection to either the Christmas dates or to its various traditions.
6 As long as Christian principles are not violated7 it can therefore be celebrated with enjoyment according to the advice found in Romans 14:5: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

Thankfully, it is not the exact date that matters or whether certain traditions
8 are observed at Christmas, but the fact that the birth of Christ really happened. Jesus really did come to live among us to save us from our sins. And he will come again. The Bible did not just predict Jesus' first coming, but also his return. However, this time he will not come as a baby in a manger. He will appear as the King of the Universe to put an end to all evil in the world. He will come to judge us all and to create a new heaven and a new earth, free from suffering and pain.

In the light of Jesus being so central to the true understanding of Christmas, it is indeed a colossal crime to have marginalised him to the fringes of it! The fact that many people seldom think of Jesus when talking about Christmas, merely symbolises the terrible tragedy we are surrounded by every day! Just think of the agonising consequences caused by adultery, drugs, drunkenness, greed, fraud, lies, hypocrisy, and murder and so on. Indeed, the punishment we have to bear for committing the Christmas crime is horrendous. The Bible warned long ago that if we chose to live our lives without God such a disaster would be inevitable:

Without guidance from God law and order disappear ... (Proverb 29:18)

and in the Old Testament book of the prophet Hosea, God says,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Together we urgently need to go on a journey of discovery to find the causes that led to the great Christmas crime. Let us start by looking at the heights from which we have fallen.

Historians agree that the beginning of Europe and its development can not be understood apart from Christianity. The arrival of the Gospel united the separated northern part of Europe. Until then the nature worship of the Germans, the mythology of the Scandinavians and the fertility cult of the Etruscans held the different tribes in a state of animosity towards each other. Aided by the political development of the Roman Empire, the message of Jesus created a rich, unequalled heritage, producing a unique oneness that allowed for diversity in language, living and housing. But how do we explain the coalition between church and state for selfish gains, the crusades, religious wars, slavery, colonialism and the two world wars? The answer lies in the fact that only secondary Christian values, such as brotherhood and liberty, justice and equality were accepted by the nations of Europe. The cross of Christ and its personal application was sadly rejected by many. Having set the stage let us now look at Europe's common Christian heritage which is slowly taken away without people even realizing it. Rev. Wim Rietkerk describes the seven pillars on which European civilisation is built as follows:

A. The linear concept of time in history
The first thing that distinguishes a pagan culture from a Christian culture is the difference in awareness of time. A real pagan life style is always cyclical, whereas the Biblical view of history is always linear. There is a tremendous difference. In spite of all of our sins, we still believe that history is not a prison, that life is not a samsara, a cycle, a circle. No, Europeans believe that we live in the direction of a future, that something will happen, that finally will be the disclosure. Basically, a European from his tradition does not believe in reincarnation; he believes in resurrection. (But this is changing.) Total despair is therefore impossible in a Christian world view because God is a God who is active, who is merciful, a wonderful God who stands above history. He gave it a beginning, and he will be at the end. That is our view on history. He is the Alpha and the Omega.

B. The importance of man's calling
Out of this basic awareness of time flows a different view on our calling, the calling of man. This awareness of being called, not to escape the world, neither to adapt to the world, but to change it, is what made Europe great. Every real European, whether Christian or not, is at work to shape the environment. Every real European is at work to realise something of a dream inside the outside world, the surrounding world. This is what we Christians call the cultural mandate: to be fruitful, to fill the earth, to cultivate it. This has so deeply influenced the European mind that no one in Europe can really believe that we have to escape the material world, as eastern gurus preach, or that we should accept life as a fate, as the Muslims preach. So that is a second point that is a pillar under European civilisation: the awareness of man's calling, that he is crucial in changing history.

C. The redemption of labour
Closely connected with our view on calling is our faith in the meaningfulness of human labour - intellectual work, artistic work, craftsmanship, science and technology. The correlation between man at work and an environment made by a reasonable God is the basis for human science, and is rooted only in Christianity. With that comes the importance of human responsibility. Our choices shape the world. Our actions can have an enriching result, or we can also choose to be dead producing machines. But in all cases, labour is meaningful. God called us to work.

D. The dignity of man
The fourth underlying conviction in the biblical worldview is the dignity and the uniqueness of each individual man and woman. That is a precious treasure of European civilization. What a compassion flows out of this basic pillar, the belief in the dignity and uniqueness of each individual person, created in the image of God. All over Europe the traffic stops when an ambulance comes by. We hardly are aware of it, we do not watch it, but it is remarkable. All these strong and healthy people behind the wheel of their car, they stop and wait for one ill, weak individual. That does not happen in India. Europeans understand that a person is not just a wheel in a machine, or a copy. He or she is an original. He or she is wanted in a cosmic sense, because Someone wanted him or her. Even after losing faith in God, a European still believes that each person is unique. That is a pillar of European civilization, a pillar that cannot be absent in the house of our culture. But at this moment, it is shaking. Witness the danger in new legislation on the handicapped, the unborn and the terminally ill, for example, in Holland. The belief in the uniqueness, the preciousness and the dignity of each individual, unborn, or ageing, is dying with this legislation.

E. Mediating structures
Only through the Bible have European nations learnt the right structures for interhuman relationships. Because we are often not aware that we derive them from Christianity, the seed is being picked out of our pockets before we realise what is going on. We should fight for these values! Monogamy in European civilisation is a fruit of Christianity, as is the place of the family, the protection of marriage, structures for school, business, university, all the intermediating structures, and finally civil government. All these spheres redeemed through the preaching of the Gospel. Out of this preaching flowed a strong community life, around family, equality of man (and woman - much too late pursued), and respect for delegated authority. Christianity recognised there was no final authority among men, that authority needed accountability. Hence the basis of democracy was built in human civilisation. Each sphere of society is equal to each other, and each is directly under God. That is the Calvinistic view of society. This has been the predominant European view on the structures of human society, and comes from the Bible, even if many Europeans do not believe in the Bible anymore.

F. Moral order
Among these secondary Christian values are the moral values. Even non-Christian Europeans agree it is wrong to steal, it is wrong to have more than one wife, or to do perjury, and that we should love one another as ourselves. I am always amazed that when you ask people individually what the highest value is, they say loving your neighbour as yourself. They forget the first, the highest commandment, and take the second one, to love your neighbour as yourself. All these rules for moral behaviour come from the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, and have provided the basis for moral behaviour in Europe.

G. Socio-political values
Only the Biblical message preaches that God is a God of righteousness, that he hates the oppressor, and that he is on the side of the poor. The missionaries preached this message across Europe. Because of that message, all of us have common political values: solidarity with the poor, equality by the law and before the law, freedom of the individual, etcetera, etcetera. Today we call these values human rights, but they are in fact fruit of Biblical revelation, fruit of the fruit of the Spirit. These social political values are present all over Europe, and in every European political party.

But today these values are being slowly cut off from these roots. Scholar Jurgen Habermas, who cannot be called a Christian, says in a book on post-modern culture:
'Post-modern man is characterised by the fact that he wants to pick the fruits without the roots'. We know what happens when you cut tulips or daffodils from the field. They continue to flourish in your home where you put them in a vase, but without the roots and the bulbs they must wither and die. That is the tragedy of the modern European.

What follows focuses primarily on the history of Great Britain
10 but very similar accounts can be drawn in many countries where Christianity was and is influential.
The message of the Bible was probably taught already since the early part of the third century AD in what the Romans called 'Britannia'. In the late ninth century AD, King Alfred the Great put the Biblical Ten Commandments at the beginning of his own law book to communicate that they should be understood 'by the love and compassion of the Lord Christ.' Already before and ever since the Bible has shaped our laws based on its understanding of truth, individual responsibility, the preciousness of life and justice.

By the end of the thirteenth century AD, a Church was established in each village and city. The building itself was at the centre of public life. Where the clergymen were committed Christians, biblical values heavily influenced the whole community for the good. The establishment of hospitals and hospices started out as attachments to monasteries in medieval times. The purpose of the 'hospitium' was to care for the sick, the poor, the elderly and travellers if they could not be looked after by their own families and relatives. Committed Christians helped medical science to advance in major ways. To name just a few: Joseph Lister developed antiseptic procedures; James Simpson pioneered chloroform as an anaesthetic; Arthur Rendle Short was the leading authority in the use of blood transfusions, and Annie McCall started the first ante-natal and post-natal clinic.

The idea of education was largely born in the Church.
In 1860 AD, twenty years before state education came into being, about two and a half million children went to schools, the majority of which were run by Churches and Christian charities in England.

The complete Bible is currently translated into 366 languages and is still the world’s number one best-seller. No wonder it has influenced the development of language, literature, classical music in a unique way.

Many scientists who were Christians pioneered early discoveries and progress,
such as:

John Ray (1627): His work laid foundation for sciences of ornithology, botany, and zoology.
Robert Boyle (1627): He developed what is known as the Boyle's law in chemistry and physics.
Michael Faraday (1791): Pioneer of the electric motor, the dynamo and the transformer.
Sir John Herschel (1792): He made outstanding contributions to physics of light and the science of astronomy and astrophysics.
Lord Kelvin (1824): The founder of modern Physics.
Charles Babbage (1826): He designed the first automatic, digital computer. The Professor at Cambridge stated that careful scientific study is wholly compatible with a belief in the truth of the Bible and the Christian hope of life after death.
James Maxwell (1831): He laid foundation for modern radio, television, radar and satellite communications through his work on electromagnetism.
Sir Ambrose Fleming (1849): The pioneer of electric light, radio and telephone.

The Roman Catholic Church, which dominated Europe in the Middle Ages, became more and more powerful and wealthy. With its success came the dangers of pride, corruption, misuse of power, spiritual and moral weakness. At one stage it even passed a law against reading the Bible in the English language! The bad example of the leaders influenced the followers to such an extent that society fell back time and time again into selfish, damaging behaviour. The problem is deadly and it lies not only around us, but also within all of us! The reason for this sad fact is found in the desire of men to be independent from God, not to be under his control, but under one's own. The temptation put before Adam and Eve that they would.... be like God... (Genesis 3:5) and therefore not in need of him anymore proved to be too great to be resisted. Religious people may emphatically state that they can not live without God but by their lives they communicate the opposite message. Through their prayerlessness, stubbornness, greed, evil thoughts, selfishness and pride, they say to God: "I don't really need you, I can live by myself." Yes, they do good deeds, some of them more than others, and these are very helpful. But, when it comes to living in fellowship with God, good works alone can never satisfy the Holy and Almighty One! A change of heart, a new life is needed and even then God needs to constantly forgive us every day because we fall short of honouring Him. That is exactly what is offered to everyone in the world through the Bible! This is why its message is called 'Good News'! Out of God's love for us and to satisfy the demands of His Justice, He became flesh in Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins by his death on the cross. Salvation, a place in heaven, is free for everyone who believes in that work of Jesus because it cost God so much! True believers now devote all their heart, mind and strength to honour God with their life, out of a deep gratitude to the Saviour.

Those Christians who sought to fight against evil during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by leading the nation back to the truth of the Bible were known as 'Reformers'. William Wilberforce, possibly bringing about the greatest social reforms in his day, fought successfully against the slave trade. As a result it was banned on British ships in 1807. Finally, in 1833 slavery in the whole of the British Empire was abolished. A group of committed Christians known as the 'Clapham sect' financed and established the colony of Sierra Leone in Africa to be a home for freed slaves. This group was also used by God to prohibit the savage 'sports' of bear and bull baiting.

In 1834 James Hammit, along with other Methodists, campaigned for better working conditions, the right of employees to express their views freely and for fair wages. As a result they were sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. A hundred years later the Trades Union Congress honoured Hammit in an inscription on his grave 'as the Pioneer of Trades Unionism.' Many early trades union officials were members of local Churches.

Christian groups who popularised the Temperance Movement led the fight against Alcoholism,
the major drug of the nineteenth century. Under their supervision coffee houses and alcohol-free centres for workmen and their families were opened. Community nursing in the UK can be traced back to church visitors giving care and advice on hygiene and medical matters.

Today's Probation Service was significantly influenced by the Police Court Missionaries
who worked with the Police and courts to supervise those convicted of minor offences.

The late nineteenth century saw almost three-quarters of all charity organisations being run by evangelical Christians.

Lord Shaftesbury,
heir to the many estates of his father, devoted himself very successfully to the needs of the poor and the underprivileged. According to the Times Newspaper he did as much for children as Wilberforce had done for slaves. He stated that his views on everything were governed by his total commitment to Jesus Christ and the Bible. At his memorial service in 1885 many thousands of the poor came to pay him respect. Some school boys who followed Shaftesbury's coffin carried a banner with the words of Jesus: 'I was a stranger and you took me in'.

Missionaries, such as Amy Carmichael, left the shores of England to rescue abandoned children and girls whom their parents gave up to be prostitutes and temple slaves in India. Others worked to end the burning alive of widows, known as 'suttee.' In the Pacific Ocean islands the teaching of the Bible helped to end head hunting and cannibalism. In China Christians worked to abolish the opium trade. Today, more then £125 million is used for overseas aid each year by charities whose motivation for their work is obedience to Christ and the Bible. (e.g. Tearfund, Christian Aid, the Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund, etc.)

Since the birth of Christ the world has changed dramatically. Assurance of forgiveness, peace on earth, eternal life in heaven, a personal relationship with God, all have become possible through Jesus. Sadly today, particularly in the Western world, many have replaced worship of Jesus by worship of self or other idols. The result is disastrous: crime, rape, deceit, hopelessness, despair, broken relationships. All have become an everyday occurrence. Christianity is looked at as irrelevant. Some people even think that it is the cause of the mess we are in. As we have seen by looking at some crucial points of history, this is definitely not the case. Whenever the Christian faith is practiced according to the Bible its influence in personal life, family and society is absolutely breathtaking. It is not too late to change. Dear reader, are you truly searching for a better quality of life? Are you prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of the truth? Then start this Christmas and take heart from this promise God gave to you:

'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 29:13-14)

For any questions or comments please contact Oskar.

1 Matthew 1:21, John 10:10
2 Matthew 10:39, 16:25
3 Colossians 1:15-17
4 1 John 2:6
5 John 14:12-29
6 Cf. Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?
7 Such as drunkenness, adultery, overeating, quarrels, etc. see Galatians 5:19-21
8 There are actually many different Christmas traditions in different parts of the world. The article “Christmas traditions & customs around the world” provides a several examples.
9 Europe: God's Experiment? by Rev. Dr. Wim Rietkerk, a paper adapted from an address given at the 1993 New Europe Forum (NEF), Brussels.
10 All information in this section is summarized from the book: Brian H Edwards, Ian J Shaw,AD, (Day One Publications, Epson, 1999).



Thursday, 15 May 2014

Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?

Dr Anthony McRoy

- Joseph F. Kelly, The Origins of Christmas, (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004)
- J. Neil Alexander, Waiting for the Coming: The Liturgical Meaning of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, (Washington DC: Pastoral Press, 1993)
- Susan K. Roll, Toward the Origins of Christmas, (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1995)
- Maxwell E. Johnson (Ed.), Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year, (Collegeville: Pueblo/Liturgical Press, 2000)
- John F. White, Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian, (Stroud: Spellmount 2007)

Atheist and Muslim polemicists – and some Protestants – often claim that Christmas derives from a previous pagan festival. These books help answer this accusation. Those by Kelly and Alexander are brief, readable and informative (though it must be cautioned that none of the liturgical studies books here have a conservative approach to the Bible). Johnson’s book is a collection of liturgist articles;, those by Thomas Talley, ‘Constantine and Christmas’, and Susan Roll, ‘The Origins of Christmas’, being particularly interesting and pertinent.

Polemicists (and The Da Vinci Code) frequently state that 25 December was Mithras’ birthday, yet the renowned Mithraic scholar, Dr Richard Gordon has corresponded to me that he is unaware of ‘a single date on a Mithraic inscription that falls in the winter, let alone late in December… We know NOTHING about the cycle of rituals in the cult...’ So, Christmas owes nothing to Mithraism. This is one area where Kelly (p. 65) and Roll (p.111) are inadequate.

Roll’s book presents two theories for the origins of Christmas: the ‘History of Religions’ school, and the ‘Computation’ thesis. The first only goes back to the eighteenth century, proposed by Paul Ernst Jablonski, an Egyptologist who claimed that ‘Constantine exercised a personal influence on the establishment of Christmas’, p. 130. However, the main figures responsible for the claim were Hermann Usener in 1889 and Bernard Botte in 1932. Usener’s thesis was that the Church adapted certain pagan customs to keep the converts happy, such as the Natalis Sol Invicti– birthday of the Unconquered Sun, pp. 132-133. Botte similarly held that the Church ‘“christianized” certain non-Christian practices, Christmas being intended as ‘a counterfeast in regard to the pre-Christian feast’, p. 141.

The argument on ‘Christianisation’ usually rests on one or both of two foundations: the Roman Feast of the Saturnalia, which ran 17-23 December, characterised by carousing, merry-making, gifts and candles, and the Sol Invictus event on 25 December. One can immediately dismiss the supposed link with the Saturnalia: it did not stretch to 25 December, was not inclusive of any Solstice commemoration, and ended on 23 December when another event began – the Larentalia, a feast of the dead!

The evidence suggests that Christian festivals in the fourth century were accompanied by worship and fasting, not dissipation, cf. p. 203. As Kelly notes: ‘early Christian leaders found the Saturnalian practices offensive’, p. 69. Alexander observes (p. 9ff) that the 380 Saragossa synod obliged daily church worship for 17 December-6 January. All the indications are that fasting, rather than secular ‘feasting’ was prescribed, as demonstrated by the writings of Bishop Filastrius of Brescia (d. 397), pp. 14-15.

Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople c. 379, in his sermon On the Theophany indicates that proper practice for celebrating the Nativity differed from pagan Saturnalia practices – not least riotous conduct: ‘…let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance… Let us leave all these to … the …festivals of the Greeks… But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word… seek it [‘luxury’]…in the Divine Law …’ There are no patristic references to a conscious decision to copy or usurp the Saturnalia.

Secondly, all polemicists – and unfortunately, all the books reviewed here – make the mistake of over-emphasising the Solstice and especially Aurelian’s contribution. Emperor Aurelian, as White’s excellent, informative and lucid book demonstrates, was a remarkable man, who in a short five-year reign re-united and strengthened the Roman Empire. The book is also superb for presenting the cultural/historical background for church history during this era, and White pays special attention to Christianity, e.g. p. 168. Most pertinently, regarding claims that White notes (p. 136) that Aurelian dedicated a temple to Sol Invictus in 274 ‘perhaps on 25 December’; note the caution here – the dating is not secure. Apparently, Aurelian did institute Games in honour of Sol on October 19-22 – but not 25 December.

A prominent Roman Studies specialist, Dr Steven Hijmans, has demonstrated that contrary to claims (unfortunately, repeated in the liturgical studies books here) that Aurelian borrowed from a Syrian cult brought to Rome by the degenerate Emperor Elagabolus some decades earlier, Aurelian’s religion was a development of the existing Roman cult. Moreover, in Hijmans’ article, Sol Invictus, the Winter Solstice and the Origins of Christmas, we read: ‘…December 25 was neither a longstanding nor an especially important feast day of Sol… the suggestion that it was established by Aurelian cannot be proven. In fact, there is no firm evidence that this feast of Sol on December 25 antedates the feast of Christmas at all.’ He continues: ‘The traditional feast days of Sol… were August 8, August 9, August 28, and December 11. Of these, only August 28 is still mentioned in the Calendar of 354, along with October 19 and October 22, the latter being the most important, judging by the 36 chariot races with which it was celebrated.’

He also emphasises that we must distinguish between the Sun-god - he cult of Sol - and the Sun- i.e. the astronomical body. Hijmans states that the failure to differentiate ‘between astronomy and cult’ touches upon the ‘fatal flaw in the contention that Christmas was instituted on December 25 to counteract a pagan feast.’ The winter solstice in December was an astronomical event: the major feast of Sol, the sun-god, was October 22. Christians could deal with the astronomical symbolism of the sun, without engaging the deity Sol. Thus Natalis Solis Invicti i.e. the winter solstice, observed on December 25, was recognised as the ‘birthday’ of the astronomical entity, not necessarily the solar deity! This allowed the Christians to utilise the imagery of Malachi 4:2 - that Christ was the ‘Sun of Righteousness’.

The essential point is this: if Aurelian did not initiate any festival on 25 December, and there was no major festival before that, it follows that the Christian feast of the Nativity – Christmas – cannot be construed as deriving from a pagan festival! This is where so many accusations of ‘paganism’ against Christmas fall down. As for claims that Constantine was responsible for the December 25 Nativity feast, there is no hard evidence for this. The first recorded celebration occurred in Rome in 336, a city Constantine left for the last time in 326 and never returned, (Talley, Between Memory and Hope, p. 267). By this time Constantine was in Constantinople, but he ordered no such Nativity festival on December 25 there. It seems likely that the Constantinople December Nativity only began with Gregory Nazianzus c. 380.

The second theory is ‘Computation’, based on the Rabbinic concept of the ‘integral age’ of prophets, that they died on the same date they were born, or with Jesus, on the date of his conception (Roll, pp. 95-96). Since Rome and North Africa held that Jesus died on March 25, and the East that He died on April 6, He must have been conceived on either of those dates. Add nine months and you get His birth on January 6 (when Armenians still celebrate the Nativity) or 25 December, Alexander, p. 52.

There is evidence from North Africa from the third and fourth centuries that the date of the nativity had been computed to 25 December (Roll, p. 87). We know from Clement of Alexandria (c. 159-215) in Stromateis 1:21 that in Egypt people were computing the date of Christ’s birth, and that the Basilidian Gnostics even celebrated the event of His baptism (believing that the heavenly Power endued the man Jesus at this point). On the basis of Luke 3:23: ‘And Jesus was himself beginning about thirty years’ many believed that Jesus was baptised on His birthday. Hence the earliest Nativity celebrations – which occurred on January 6 (Alexander, p. 72) commemorated both the Baptism and the Birth (again, Armenians still celebrate both).

It appears that the earliest Easter celebration was ‘a unitive feast which included the incarnation’ (Roll, ‘The Origins of Christmas’, p. 287), as demonstrated in the Paschal homily of Melito of Sardis c. 165. However, by the time of Origen (c. 185-254), in Against Celsus VIII:XXI, it had fragmented into Preparation-Day, Passover and Pentecost. The emergence of the Nativity feast was simply an extension of this fragmentation (p. 212). It is also possible that Christological controversies which questioned the true deity or humanity of Jesus spurred the practice. Certainly, we find people like Gregory Nazianzus, Leo, Ambrose and John Chrysostom using the Nativity feast as an occasion to attack Christological heresies (ch.4). Perhaps the process of festal fragmentation and the need to emphasise the true simultaneous deity and humanity of Jesus came together to encourage the Nativity festival.

What about the candles and lights? We know that the January 6 Nativity feast was sometimes called ‘the Festival of Lights’ (Ta Phōta), and Chanukah, the Jewish ‘Festival of Lights’ was characterised ‘by lighting lamps and kindling fires’ (p. 121). How about the ‘pagan’ Christmas tree? The earliest record of Christmas trees comes from 16th century Germany, when one was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers. Later, Martin Luther, impressed by the stars shining through the evergreen trees, decorated his Christmas tree with candles to reproduce the majesty of Creation. In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced by King George III’'s German-born Queen Charlotte, and popularised by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert.

The pagan Germans revered an Oak, not a Fir tree! The centre of their worship was the Oak of Geismar, dedicated to Thor (Donar). It was felled by the British/Saxon ‘Apostle of Germany’, Boniface in 723. Falling, it crushed every tree around except a small fir tree. Boniface declared the fir tree’s survival a miracle: ‘Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child.’ Boniface used thetriangular shape of the fir to illustrate the Trinity.

Regarding holly and ivy, all ancient cultures used greenery/flora as decorations, and in winter evergreens were used. There was nothing specifically religious in this, and in Medieval and Tudor times, no ‘arcane’ properties were ascribed to either plant (Ronald Hutton, Stations of the Sun, p. 35). Tertullian in On Idolatry XIV-XVI is concerned that Christians do not participate in pagan festivals, and on that basis attacks Christians who use evergreens during such. Holly became associated with the Crown of Thorns and the red berries with Christ’s blood.

As an Irishman working in Wales, I am always amused by ‘Celtic’ traditions like the Welsh hat which actually date no earlier than the 18th century. The same is true of the supposed Druid ‘fertility’ link with kissing under the mistletoe. Although mistletoe was used with other evergreens, kissing under it only began in the 18th century (Susan Drury, ‘Customs and Beliefs Associated with Christmas Evergreens: A Preliminary Survey’ [Folklore 98.2 1987, p. 194]) – long after the demise of Druidism! The so-called Druid association is found in Pliny the Elder,The Natural History, Book XVI, where he claims (based on reports) that Druids believe ‘that the mistletoe, taken in drink, will impart fecundity to all animals that are barren…’ Nothing about kissing.

The other fantasy is that in Norse mythology, the evil god Loki used mistletoe to kill Baldur, but that his mother Freya caused him to be restored to life and then changed the plant to a symbol of love, blessing any who kissed under it. In fact, the Norse Eddas, whilst confirming that Baldur was killed by mistletoe, say nothing about a resurrection, still less about kissing under the plant!

This 25 December, enjoy your Christmas, celebrating the Nativity of Our Saviour: the festival is truly Christian, not pagan.

This article was first published in the Church of England Newspaper of 14th December 2007, placed on pages 12 and 21. It is reproduced here with permission. A related article by Dr. McRoy on the origin of Easter was published by Christianity Today: Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?



Thursday, 1 May 2014


By Ali Khalaf


Brothers and sisters in Islam:                     

Assalam Alaikum. Today I am the happiest man in the world. By killing 13 infidels for Allah I have guaranteed myself a place in paradise. All muslims know the only guarantee Allah has given for paradise in whole of Quran is killing or getting killed for Allah.

9.111 Allah has guaranteed paradise to those who kill and are killed for Allah.


Although I went to kill and get killed for Allah to comply 9.111, but Allah did not grant me martyrdom. Perhaps He wants me to kill more. Inshallah after I get released under insanity plea filed by my taxpayers supported liberal lawyer I will try to fulfil the wish of Allah. Who knows he may even grant me martyrdom next time. , the noblest dream of all true muslims. That will earn me the ultimate prize a muslim can get, that is bypassing grave time and judgment day and instantly proceeding to paradise and start fornicating , as promised by Allah in Quran

3.169: Those who are killed in Allah's way are not dead but they are alive and are enjoying bounties provided by the lord.


My muslim fellow Americans, don’t be afraid to kill infidels. It is not a matter of choice but an order from Allah to all muslims: For a momin .there is no greater pleasure in life for a momin than killing and getting killed for Allah.

9.5 Slay the infidels wherever you find them.

Why Allah wants them dead? Because they deny Allah as God and Mohammad as his prophet and that they are the worst beasts and lowest creatures, thus they must be killed.

This is what Allah says:

8.55 Non muslims are the worst beasts

98.6 Those who disbelieve in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures

Some may ask how can we kill innocent people who are minding their own business. There is no such thing as innocent infidel. They are all guilty of not accepting islam, they must be killed. Here is the top Islamic authority of islam and a leading muslim lawyer explains it in a BBC interview : [1]

And remember in paradise you get most beautiful women who have swelling breasts.  you don’t have to suffer through flat chest wives of mediocre looks any more):

78.33 “and maidens with swelling breasts

If you are worried that your violence will tarnish the good name of Islam, then be assured that will never happen. Even after very high profile job like 9/11 islam came out smelling like roses, thanks to the president Bush who immediately afterwards announced that islam is a religion of peace and visited Islamic center of DC to praise islam and muslims.

We are even in a better shape now because muslim money has put the current govt in power. Basically they are in bed with us now. They will always cover our asses when we need them. After a mujahideen attack the following will happen:

The President will immediately come out after the massacre and say the killers were not muslims because no religion teaches violence (isn’t it great that the bozo never reads quran and hadiths and instead relies on muslim feedback).
- Liberal leaders will blame it on US middle east policy.
-Leftist leaders will blame it on ex-president Bush.

-CAIR will go to all media outlets and announce that the perpetrators had hijacked islam.
-Media favourite moderate muslim Zuhdi Jasser will appear on CNN and FOX and say islam is a religion of peace and blame the massacre on the “militant heretic sect of Wahabis”.
-ISNA will say “they were not true muslims becaus  “killing one innocent is killing all’in islam.


Bottom line is that the real reason which is quran and sunna will never be suspected.

I successfully used the strategy of our prophet. He always attacked the infidels without warning.

Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 717: Narrated Ibn Aun: The Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day.

I did exactly the same and walked into Fort Hood wearing my Arabian garb without any warning. He killed many kuffar with his sword and I killed many kuffar with my gun. The way we spent that night were also similar. He spent the night with gorgeous teenage beauty Juavaria and other captured women. I also spent the night with many beautiful nurses. The only difference is that he and his women were naked and had sex all night but I and my nurses were not naked and I could not even move any part of my body as I was in a coma.

Real muslims must never badmouth moderate/secular types. People like Zuhdi Jasser, Ingrid Matsonetc and muslim organizations like CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, ICNA etc play a very important role in the destruction of kuffar. They present a sugarcoated and sanitized islam to kuffar and keep them in false security and unprepared while the real muslims hit them where it hurts.

Basically the moderate/secular muslims hold down the feet of the kuffar while real muslims cut their throats.