Is Christmas a Holy Day?

This original twitter thread was posted here:
Info Discussion: 2013 I stopped celebrating the December 25 holiday called Christmas. I did it as result of prayer and research, and I pass no judgement on anyone who still keeps it. We are called however to teach and learn truth, so I want to share knowledge to those who want it
Since Christmas was named and practiced by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, we should look at what that church resource says on it, and for that I shall quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia, first published in 1907, something I was not even aware existed as a former catholic.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is approved and utilized by the Vatican, and these screen captures show what the Catholic organization has to say about the value of what they have written in it. The resource has their seal of approval. The Encyclopedia was published from 1907 to 1912.
The Catholic Encyclopedia says this about what the word Christmas is. It is a Mass of Christ, formally first named in 1038 AD:


The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse , the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe , in 1131. In Dutch it is Kerst-misse , in Latin Dies Natalis , whence comes the French Noël , and Italian Il natale ; in German Weihnachtsfest , from the preceeding sacred vigil. The term Yule is of disputed origin. It is unconnected with any word meaning “wheel”. The name in Anglo-Saxon was geol , feast : geola , the name of a month (cf. Icelandic iol a feast in December).

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the Early Church, that being the one founded by the Messiah and followed by his disciples as he instructed for about 250 Years, did not celebrate the concept of birthdays for the Messiah, being a pagan concept to celebrate the birth of deity.


Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts ; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia , asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the “birthdays” of the gods.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that in Alexandria gentile Christians in Egypt had various concepts of a celebration, including a gnostic practice, but did not formally began to celebrate until 433 AD, a time that was during Roman Emperor and Catholic rule.


The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Strom., I, xxi in P.G., VIII, 888) says that certain Egyptian theologians “over curiously” assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ’s birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus. [Ideler (Chron., II, 397, n.) thought they did this believing that the ninth month, in which Christ was born, was the ninth of their own calendar.]

With Clement’s evidence may be mentioned the “De paschæ computus”, written in 243 and falsely ascribed to Cyprian (P.L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ’s birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created. But Lupi has shown (Zaccaria, Dissertazioni ecc. del p. A.M. Lupi, Faenza, 1785, p. 219) that there is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned Christ’s birth. Clement, however, also tells us that the Basilidians celebrated the Epiphany, and with it, probably, the Nativity, on 15 or 11 Tybi (10 or 6 January). At any rate this double commemoration became popular, partly because the apparition to the shepherds was considered as one manifestation of Christ’s glory, and was added to the greater manifestations celebrated on 6 January; partly because at the baptism -manifestation many codices (e.g. Codex Bezæ ) wrongly give the Divine words as sou ei ho houios mou ho agapetos, ego semeron gegenneka se (Thou art my beloved Son, this day have I begotten thee) in lieu of en soi eudokesa (in thee I am well pleased), read in Luke 3:22 .
Abraham Ecchelensis (Labbe, II, 402) quotes the Constitutions of the Alexandrian Church for a dies Nativitatis et Epiphaniæ in Nicæan times; Epiphanius (Hær., li, ed. Dindorf, 1860, II, 483) quotes an extraordinary semi-Gnostic ceremony at Alexandria in which, on the night of 5-6 January, a cross-stamped Korê was carried in procession round a crypt, to the chant, “Today at this hour Korê gave birth to the Eternal “; John Cassian records in his “Collations” (X, 2 in P.L., XLIX, 820), written 418-427, that the Egyptian monasteries still observe the “ancient custom “; but on 29 Choiak (25 December) and 1 January, 433, Paul of Emesa preached before Cyril of Alexandria, and his sermons (see Mansi, IV, 293; appendix to Act. Conc. Eph.) show that the December celebration was then firmly established there, and calendars prove its permanence. The December feast therefore reached Egypt between 427 and 433.
The Catholic Encyclopedia Says that Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Asia Minor gentile communities did not seem to celebrate it until 380 AD, and even then it was placed on separate dates by separate groups

Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Asia Minor

In Cyprus, at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius asserts against the Alogi (Hær., li, 16, 24 in P. G., XLI, 919, 931) that Christ was born on 6 January and baptized on 8 November. Ephraem Syrus (whose hymns belong to Epiphany, not to Christmas) proves that Mesopotamia still put the birth feast thirteen days after the winter solstice; i.e. 6 January; Armenia likewise ignored, and still ignores, the December festival. (Cf. Euthymius, “Pan. Dogm.”, 23 in P.G., CXXX, 1175; Niceph., “Hist. Eccl,”, XVIII, 53 in P.G., CXLVII, 440; Isaac, Catholicos of Armenia in eleventh or twelfth century, “Adv. Armenos”, I, xii, 5 in P.G., CXXII, 1193; Neale, “Holy Eastern Church “, Introd., p. 796). In Cappadocia, Gregory of Nyssa’s sermons on St. Basil (who died before 1 January, 379) and the two following, preached on St. Stephen’s feast (P.G., XLVI, 788; cf, 701, 721), prove that in 380 the 25th December was already celebrated there, unless, following Usener’s too ingenious arguments (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, Bonn, 1889, 247-250), one were to place those sermons in 383. Also, Asterius of Amaseia (fifth century) and Amphilochius of Iconium (contemporary of Basil and Gregory ) show that in their dioceses both the feasts of Epiphany and Nativity were separate (P.G., XL, 337 XXXIX, 36).

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that in Jerusalem there was no Christmas holiday celebration til 385 AD, but 411 AD the population was chastised for keeping it, seemingly stopping the practice, and not until 500s AD did it become a regular holiday when the city was run by gentiles.


In 385, Silvia of Bordeaux (or Etheria, as it seems clear she should be called) was profoundly impressed by the splendid Chilhood feasts at Jerusalem. They had a definitely “Nativity” colouring; the bishop proceeded nightly to Bethlehem, returning to Jerusalem for the day celebrations. The Presentation was celebrated forty days after. But this calculation starts from 6 January, and the feast lasted during the octave of that date. (Peregr. Sylv., ed. Geyer, pp. 75 sq.) Again (p. 101) she mentions as high festivals Easter and Epiphany alone. In 385, therefore, 25 December was not observed at Jerusalem. This checks the so-called correspondence between Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386) and Pope Julius I (337-352), quoted by John of Nikiû (c. 900) to convert Armenia to 25 December (see P.L., VIII, 964 sqq.). Cyril declares that his clergy cannot, on the single feast of Birth and Baptism, make a double procession to Bethlehem and Jordan. (This later practice is here an anachronism.) He asks Julius to assign the true date of the nativity “from census documents brought by Titus to Rome “; Julius assigns 25 December. Another document (Cotelier, Patr. Apost., I, 316, ed. 1724) makes Julius write thus to Juvenal of Jerusalem (c. 425-458), adding that Gregory Nazianzen at Constantinople was being criticized for “halving” the festival. But Julius died in 352, and by 385 Cyril had made no change; indeed, Jerome, writing about 411 (in Ezech., P.L., XXV, 18), reproves Palestine for keeping Christ’s birthday (when He hid Himself) on the Manifestation feast. Cosmas Indicopleustes suggests (P.G., LXXXVIII, 197) that even in the middle of the sixth century Jerusalem was peculiar in combining the two commemorations, arguing from Luke 3:23 that Christ’s baptism day was the anniversary of His birthday. The commemoration, however, of David and James the Apostle on 25 December at Jerusalem accounts for the deferred feast.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the city of Antioch did not celebrate Christmas until 386 AD, but conservative disciples, which means remnants of the Early Church, rejected the practice. Then formalized there by 402 AD, again like in Jerusalem and Egypt under Roman rule.


In Antioch, on the feast of St. Philogonius, Chrysostom preached an important sermon. The year was almost certainly 386, though Clinton gives 387, and Usener, by a long rearrangement of the saint’s sermons, 388 (Religionsgeschichtl. Untersuch., pp. 227-240). But between February, 386, when Flavian ordained Chrysostom priest, and December is ample time for the preaching of all the sermons under discussion. (See Kellner, Heortologie, Freiburg, 1906, p. 97, n. 3). In view of a reaction to certain Jewish rites and feasts, Chrysostom tries to unite Antioch in celebrating Christ’s birth on 25 December, part of the community having already kept it on that day for at least ten years. In the West, he says, the feast was thus kept, anothen ; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. This time he was successful; in a crowded church he defended the new custom.


In 379 or 380 Gregory Nazianzen made himself exarchos of the new feast, i.e. its initiator, in Constantinople, where, since the death of Valens, orthodoxy was reviving. His three Homilies (see Hom. xxxviii in P.G., XXXVI) were preached on successive days (Usener, op. cit., p. 253) in the private chapel called Anastasia. On his exile in 381, the feast disappeared.

According, however, to John of Nikiû , Honorius, when he was present on a visit, arranged with Arcadius for the observation of the feast on the Roman date. Kellner puts this visit in 395; Baumstark (Oriens Chr., 1902, 441-446), between 398 and 402. The latter relies on a letter of Jacob of Edessa quoted by George of Beeltân, asserting that Christmas was brought to Constantinople by Arcadius and Chrysostom from Italy, where, “according to the histories”, it had been kept from Apostolic times. Chrysostom’s episcopate lasted from 398 to 402; the feast would therefore have been introduced between these dates by Chrysostom bishop, as at Antioch by Chrysostom priest. But Lübeck (Hist. Jahrbuch., XXVIII, I, 1907, pp. 109-118) proves Baumstark’s evidence invalid. More important, but scarcely better accredited, is Erbes’ contention (Zeitschrift f. Kirchengesch., XXVI, 1905, 20-31) that the feast was brought in by Constantine as early as 330-35.

The Catholic Encyclopedia Says that the holiday of Christmas seemed to have been part of holidays in Rome by 354 AD, which would place it after the time of Roman Emperor Constantine mandating it under the title of a Roman Catholic Holiday.


At Rome the earliest evidence is in the Philocalian Calendar (P. L., XIII, 675; it can be seen as a whole in J. Strzygowski, Kalenderbilder des Chron. von Jahre 354, Berlin, 1888), compiled in 354, which contains three important entries. In the civil calendar 25 December is marked “Natalis Invicti”. In the “Depositio Martyrum” a list of Roman or early and universally venerated martyrs, under 25 December is found “VIII kal. ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeæ”. On “VIII kal. mart.” (22 February) is also mentioned St. Peter’s Chair. In the list of consuls are four anomalous ecclesiastical entries: the birth and death days of Christ, the entry into Rome, and martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. The significant entry is “Chr. Cæsare et Paulo sat. XIII. hoc. cons. Dns. ihs. XPC natus est VIII Kal. ian. d. ven. luna XV,” i.e. during the consulship of (Augustus) Cæsar and Paulus Our Lord Jesus Christ was born on the eighth before the calends of January (25 December), a Friday, the fourteenth day of the moon. The details clash with tradition and possibility. The epact, here XIII, is normally XI; the year is A.U.C. 754, a date first suggested two centuries later; in no year between 751 and 754 could 25 December fall on a Friday; tradition is constant in placing Christ’s birth on Wednesday. Moreover the date given for Christ’s death ( duobus Geminis coss. , i.e. A.D. 29) leaves Him only twenty eight, and one-quarter years of life. Apart from this, these entries in a consul list are manifest interpolations. But are not the two entries in the “Depositio Martyrum” also such? Were the day of Christ’s birth in the flesh alone there found, it might stand as heading the year of martyrs’ spiritual natales ; but 22 February is there wholly out of place. Here, as in the consular fasti , popular feasts were later inserted for convenience’ sake. The civil calendar alone was not added to, as it was useless after the abandonment of pagan festivals. So, even if the “Depositio Martyrum” dates, as is probable, from 336, it is not clear that the calendar contains evidence earlier than Philocalus himself, i.e. 354, unless indeed pre-existing popular celebration must be assumed to render possible this official recognition. Were the Chalki manuscript of Hippolytus genuine, evidence for the December feast would exist as early as c. 205.

The Catholic Encyclopedia continues to say that the December 25 holiday for Christmas was celebrated in Rome, but that other locations rejected it, but after the 400s AD it was designated on all calendars of the Holy Roman Empire, and this the Holy Roman Catholic Church as well.
St. Ambrose (de virg., iii, 1 in P. L., XVI, 219) preserves the sermon preached by Pope Liberius I at St. Peter’s, when, on Natalis Christi , Ambrose’ sister, Marcellina, took the veil. This pope reigned from May, 352 until 366, except during his years of exile, 355-357. If Marcellina became a nun only after the canonical age of twenty-five, and if Ambrose was born only in 340, it is perhaps likelier that the event occurred after 357. Though the sermon abounds in references appropriate to the Epiphany (the marriage at Cana, the multiplication of loaves, etc.), these seem due (Kellner, op. cit., p. 109) to sequence of thought, and do not fix the sermon to 6 January, a feast unknown in Rome till much later. Usener, indeed, argues (p. 272) that Liberius preached it on that day in 353, instituting the Nativity feast in the December of the same year; but Philocalus warrants our supposing that if preceded his pontificate by some time, though Duchesne’s relegation of it to 243 ( Bull. crit., 1890, 3, pp. 41 sqq. ) may not commend itself to many. In the West the Council of Saragossa (380) still ignores 25 December (see can. xxi, 2). Pope Siricius, writing in 385 (P. L., XII, 1134) to Himerius in Spain, distinguishes the feasts of the Nativity and Apparition; but whether he refers to Roman or to Spanish use is not clear. Ammianus Marcellinus (XXI, ii) and Zonaras (Ann., XIII, 11) date a visit of Julian the Apostate to a church at Vienne in Gaul on Epiphany and Nativity respectively. Unless there were two visits, Vienne in A.D. 361 combined the feasts, though on what day is still doubtful. By the time of Jerome and Augustine, the December feast is established, though the latter (Epp., II, liv, 12, in P.L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. From the fourth century every Western calendar assigns it to 25 December. At Rome, then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December before 354; in the East, at Constantinople, not before 379, unless with Erbes, and against Gregory, we recognize it there in 330. Hence, almost universally has it been concluded that the new date reached the East from Rome by way of the Bosphorus during the great anti-Arian revival, and by means of the orthodox champions. De Santi (L’Orig. delle Fest. Nat., in Civiltæ Cattolica, 1907), following Erbes, argues that Rome took over the Eastern Epiphany, now with a definite Nativity colouring, and, with as increasing number of Eastern Churches, placed it on 25 December; later, both East and West divided their feast, leaving Ephiphany on 6 January, and Nativity on 25 December, respectively, and placing Christmas on 25 December and Epiphany on 6 January. The earlier hypothesis still seems preferable.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes under the heading of Christmas that the gospels do not support the date of December 25 as the birth of the Messiah.


The Gospels

Concerning the date of Christ’s birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the feasts of the Mosaic Covenant match events of the Messiah, along with prophecy, would place the birth you of the Messiah around September that year.
The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses the Natalis Invicti Roman Solar Featival, the Feast is the Sun on December 25, and how and why it was used to pick the Roman Catholic date for Christmas
The Catholic Encyclopedia continues with the discussion on the Natalis Invicti solar cult festival, and how the date and practice were shunned for celebrating December 25 for the birth of the Messiah.
The Catholic Encyclopedia openly states that the date chosen for Christmas of December 25 is based on a pagan solar cult holy day of Rome
The 1st part of this thread dealt with what the Catholic Encyclopedia said was the when and where of December 25 being called Christ Mass by the Catholic Church, the 2nd part will be on what the same Encyclopedia says were the introductions of christmas traditions
The Catholic Encyclopedia has already stated that there is nothing to support December 25 as the birth date of the Messiah, never the less, in this part of the Encyclopedia entry for Christmas it says that all the other dates of biblical events are based on a December 25 birth
The Catholic Encyclopedia previously stated that christmas was not even considered a major catholic holiday for hundreds of years, and here we see that it took some time before it was even considered a day of rest
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes here that the concept of a Christmas play or pageant was added, and one play performed included actors who portrayed Virgil and Sibyl, of the pagan Apollyon Oracle
The Catholic Encyclopedia pinpoints the origin of the Christmas nativity scene, first put together by Francis of Assisi in 1223 AD, and notes that the specific animals included in the scenes are incorrect because of misinterpretation of the Bible, yet still used for centuries
The Catholic Encyclopedia has a section for the origins of Christmas carols, showing that the songs for this did not start until between 1000 and 1200 AD
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the concept of giving gifts and letters around Christmas was a result of a pagan tradition associated with a pagan holiday, a pagan act condemned by the Early Church writers hundreds of years before the Catholic Church mandated Christmas
The Catholic Encyclopedia speaks of the Yule log, and how it was excluded from the tradition of Christmas until 1577 AD, a result of the Nordic pagan custom origins, but then became excepted
The Catholic Encyclopedia records that the Christmas tree, called greenery in the entry, did not become part of the custom in France or England until the 1840s, which comes from pagan religious customs, and clearly says the concept of mistletoe comes from the Druids
The Catholic Encyclopedia calls Santa Claus the custom of the Mysterious Stranger, and identifies him as the Nordic deity Odin, and in 1680 AD as a devil, but start to include him in Christmas as the servant to the holy child
The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions some additional pagan customs officially dropped from being celebrated as christmas as the Catholic Church chose what pagan customs to include for what would become called Christ Mass
The Catholic Encyclopedia includes that the practice of Christmas was forbidden for some time in England, just as with research you can find it was outlawed in America as a devil holiday, for example there was imprisonment punishment in Boston for those celebrating it, as well
All [email protected] of this thread come from the Catholic Encyclopedia for the entry for Christmas, and it concludes with this set of resources for people to do further study as well, they lead to details that openly say December 25 was not the birth of Messiah and more pagan origins
The Catholic Church built and mandated the celebration of Christmas. The purpose of the 1st and 2nd parts of the thread was to show that the Catholic Encyclopedia itself shows pagan origins for December 25 and the customs
The original Church that the Messiah left, the remnant, followed his instructions for 300 years until gentiles in Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch who liked their pagan customs more than his teachings took power and lead a portion of disciples to follow a mixture of pagan traditions
Over time those traditions were forgotten as being pagan, and generations logically thought they had always been celebrated, never knowing these were rejected over and over again as being of pagan design and shunned by those following the instructions left by Messiah
Pray, research, and think about what is in part 1 and 2 of the thread. When I was catholic I had no idea about this, but it is actually in the Catholic Encyclopedia itself as the origins of christmas. It is clearly not what the Early Church following the Messiah supported
Christmas is full of holiday traditions. Have you ever asked why we have been told to bring a tree inside and put silver and gold garland and ornaments on it? How does that connect to the birth of the Messiah? You should pray, question, and research
If you practice it research what is presented on Christmas. The points in this 3 minute video are actually historically accurate, but it is guised in cartoon and a form of humor. Those with Ears to Hear will understand the reason needed for the end segment
If you practice the traditions associated with Christmas, and never thought to ask why you do the traditions, spend 35 minutes to watch this video with paper and pen to take notes and do further research, we are responsible for our actions and thoughts.
Please think, Jeremiah 10:3-4, For the customs of the people are vain, for one cuts 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 with hammers that it move not.


Dave runs the Biblical X-Files group in Somersworth, NH. He created this website and writes about the subjects talked about in the group. Dave has devoted his life to the teachings of Yeshua and his Word. "Let God be true though every one were a liar..." - Romans 3:4

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