Kingdom Lifestyle Ministries International
Kingdom Lifestyle Ministries International

The Wonders of Christmas

“Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2 AMP).

Arlene and I love this time of year. With “pagan trappings aside,” Christmas can be a truly genuine family affair – which can only be good! On top of everything else about Christmas, we can’t forget all the exceptional company that we share, the yummy delicacies that we taste and the happy conversations that we enjoy!

It’s also an opportunity to see folks that we haven’t seen all year round; close friends and extended family, as well as giving and receiving gifts! In the midst of all of this is all the other paraphernalia that goes along with Christmas: the decorations, the songs and all the special entertainment that’s available – it’s all so seemingly delightful! Nonetheless, there is a vast difference between the Christ-motivated-and-Christ-centred festivities that we are “meant” to enjoy and the commercialised version of Christmas that we all get “propelled” into each year!

In our particular household – I can honestly say that we have “never” celebrated “Santa” or “Saint Nicholas” with our children – yet we certainly enjoy the “gift-giving-gift-receiving” part of Christmas – it’s the best part! Although I might add; no one should wait to “stand-on-ceremony” or for “special occasions” before they buy gifts for their loved ones! We should do it all year round and find fun ways of “randomly expressing our love!” In fact, that can be much more enjoyable at times; especially with children!

Actually, I like to buy gifts when it is least expected. That way we learn that we don’t have to “earn” each other’s love; rather we can shower each other with love regardless! Even when funds are low, one can still find “inventive” and “ingenious” ways of blessing those special and closest to us – without waiting for special events like birthdays and such. We are free to love – all year round! Likewise, we are free to show our reverence for Christ, His birth, death, burial and resurrection – all year round! And not just stand on ceremonies – weddings, funerals and church calendar holidays! We must be free.

Going back to Santa however, we chose not to “mislead” or “misinform” our children [including the tooth fairy or Easter bunny!] Our children have always enjoyed Christmas without introducing all the paraphernalia that other children experience. Proof that Christmas can still be enjoyed without any of that. I believe that we can be transparent concerning the truth about Christmas (with its pagan origins) without spoiling the awesome opportunity that it presents for “evangelistic witnessing.” A lack of wisdom results in extreme behavior which is only ever misinterpreted as being negative. (Then again, balanced and faith-filled behaviour can also be misinterpreted as negativism by certain people!) However, my point is this; people in general tend to love holidays and being festive – BUT can they still see the Christ of Christmas or just the Christmas tree and all the other trimmings? Has He been “crowded” out altogether? I beg to suggest this is true.

Then in addition to this, every Christmas we have another one, such as: “Oh-no-we’ve-over-spent-again!” The novelty of Christmas usually wears off between the last present opened and the final washing-up! In the midst of all this – Jesus has long been and principally replaced by “commercialism” and our “lust-for-things!” Especially in this hi-tech world of ours; the latest computer games, gadgets and gismos have simply taken over our interest! These things are not bad in themselves. Who wants to be a killjoy or party pooper? After all, Christmas is the ultimate excuse to party for most folks – even church folks!

Then the “anticlimax” arrives – January! All those fancy and expensive gifts that we indulged ourselves with are now “half-price” in the January sales! What a come-down after such fun and now we have to go back to work (business as usual) in order to “pay” for it all – meaning that our major “festivity-hang-over” is none other than our own “debt!”

Having said all of this (we are all guilty of festive indulgence one way or another!) it is safe to assume that Christmas for most people has little, if anything to do with the birth of our Messiah and King. Yet for Christians specifically – there should be some depth of understanding of where this holiday is concerned and what it is really all about.

QUESTION: Does the average Christian understand the type of evolution that “Christmas” has radically undergone over the generations? What does all the paraphernalia that we so readily accept really “represent?” Most of us can acknowledge that much of what we accept as the true accessories of this holiday has actually “distorted” its original meaning. “Christmas” actually meant “Christ-Mass.” Knowing this then – is it wrong to ask, “Where is the Christ of CHRIST’S-MASS?”

To answer this adequately we must look into the origin of Christmas. To do so I will take an in-depth look at the “evolution” that Christmas as a great religious holiday has undergone. It has radically altered since its inception up until now; as we would recognize it today. Most of us love Christmas – even those of us who claim not to stand on ceremony too much, even we secretly love elements of Christmas too (especially the gifts!) but do we really know much about this important public Holiday – especially since most of us participate – every single year!

FACT: First let’s begin with “Saint Nicholas” & the “Christmas Stocking!” Needless to say, Saint Nicholas was not really a fat man who climbed down chimneys at night, but he was a popular Priest (from fourth-century Turkey – who eventually became a Bishop). He was a godly man who was a generous “giver” and remains an inspiration to us all today. However, in memory of his many acts of charitable deeds and generosity, the day of his death [December 6th A.D.343] became customarily known as St. Nicholas Day; on the eve of which, gifts were exchanged in his remembrance. This tradition grew popular and spread throughout Greece (where Nicholas means “victorious” or “hero of the people!”), into Russia (where he was called “Nikolai, the Wonder-Worker,”) and then into the rest of Europe.

Ordained as a young teenager, Nicholas entered the priesthood at 19 years of age. Included amongst the many accounts of his life and ministry, is the report that “twin brothers were raised from the dead!” It was written about him that one could hardly keep count of the virtue and goodness that he spread around himself.

One particular story of St. Nicholas’ goodness was when he gave to a poor man so that his three daughters could be married. The man was so poor that his daughters had no dowries, and in his desperation, was going to sell them into slavery. To prevent this from happening, Nicholas threw a bag of gold pieces through the man’s window at night; he did things this way to preserve his own “anonymity” and to ensure that God received the glory – not man! [The funny part of this story – is that this particular gift from Nicholas just happened to randomly land inside some “stockings” that the young girls had hung up by the fire that night to dry!] So it’s quite easy to see from this, just where such traditions – that we have held dear for so long – have originated from and just how such stories have shaped our concept of Christmas; evolving layer by layer over time.

As the story continues; apparently one by one the daughter’s dowries were met and paid; they were no longer outcasts and thus made them “eligible” for marriage. However, (as the legend tells it…) by the time Nicholas had done this consecutively for each daughter, including the third; the father caught him in the act! However, Nicholas made the girl’s father “swear-on-an-oath” that he would never “reveal” the truth behind who was responsible for such gifts of kindness – as long as Nicholas was still alive.

Consider just how much this story of a generous old man of God and the cartoon character we now call “Santa Claus” have been totally mixed up, twisted and distorted (including an “elf workshop” at the North Pole!) Yes, it’s laughable, but how many generations of parents have unintentionally deceived their children, with stories that they believed without question and any background knowledge?

FACT: The worship of dead “saints” was denounced during the “Protestant Reformation” of the 1500’s – since then “St. Nicholas Day” has not been observed in England. Therefore, the role of gift bearer was transferred to a mythical character named “Father Christmas” patterned after the pagan Roman god “Saturn” (aka “god of peace and plenty”). Father Christmas was a large man clothed in SCARLET or DEEP GREEN robes – lined with fur! The day of “gift-giving” in England was changed from December 6 to December 25 to coincide with the date that the church had chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

  • In Holland and Belgium: the traditional day of December 6th was still celebrated but there “Sinter-Klaas” rode through the streets on a white horse rewarding good children with treats and toys but giving rods to bad children!
  • In Germany: the saint was referred to as “Nicholas-Dressed-in-Fur” who also left sweets for good children and rods for the naughty ones!
  • In Scotland: it was John Knox who put an end to Christmas celebrations in 1552 which was not revived again until television reintroduced St. Nicholas in the 1950’s.

FACT: Christopher Columbus brought the first celebration of St Nicholas Day to the New World when he landed in the West Indies on December 6, 1492, and named the harbour: “Port of St Nicholas” in honour of the patron saint of sailors. All of these traditions blended with immigration to the New World; as the English and Dutch came and intermarried “Father Christmas” and “Sinter Klaas” blended into one figure. Dutch Americans eventually adopted December 25th as their day of celebration and by the end of the civil war, “St Nicholas” the bishop, was generally known in the US as “Santa Claus.”

FACT: A mixture of poets and cartoonists between the 1800’s and 1900’s continued to define this character in word pictures and drawings. America particularly – was a melting pot for old-world cultures and characters from the Dutch “Sinter Klaas” and the Lutheran “Kris Kringle” giving gifts to children. You might be interested to know that Father Christmas’ team of reindeer – were borrowed from a Russian legend!  The tragedy of course is that the “genuine work and ministry” of a man of God – such as Nicholas (who had such fullness of God that even the dead were raised!), has had his testimony distorted so much so, that the memory of this powerful man of God is hidden in tales – of a fat-bellied-pipe-smoking-pie-eater! Yet as we have discovered, the “true” story of St Nicholas, is a beautiful picture of SELFLESS-GIVING, which Christmas is all about – rather than the stress and hype that Santa now represents.

The true story of St Nicholas represents the giving heart of our Father God, who incidentally does NOT carry rods to punish children (or adults!) but rather gives good gifts to ALL who will receive them, as we see here in James 1:17 “EVERY GOOD GIFT AND EVERY PERFECT GIFT IS FROM ABOVE, AND COMETH DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS… ” (KJV) We know that the greatest gift the Father gave us was “Jesus” – who is our Hope, Victory and Redemption. He is the true meaning of Christmas. Notably the word “Christmas” occurs nowhere in the Bible! But is an old English word that basically means; “Christ’s Mass” which refers to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, i.e. the Mass. The earliest occurrence of the word on record is 1038 A.D. Christians at this time considered the Mass (Lord’s Supper) to be the most important part of the celebration of Christ’s birth, hence it came to be called Christmas.

SO CONSIDER THIS: as Christians, we must seek to put “Christ” back into “Christ-mass!” Even though Christmas is not a biblical holiday per se – as there is no bible reference at all – we must take this opportunity to “openly celebrate” our triumphant Saviour, and King! We are not Catholic and nor are we secular – who have lucratively cashed in on Christmas for generations – but we are apostolic believers. We must avoid its paganism and even its catholic elements, and use it only in the context of “worship” and “evangelism” – without adopting its pagan symbolism. In addition, we are celebrating Jesus as a “Mighty King” – not as a “Baby-in-a-Manger!”

This leads us to our next point of interest: “The Nativity & The Christmas Tree!”

FACT: It should not come as any surprise that Christmas has evolved from a mixture of Paganism and Christianity. Take for example the “Nativity” This was a term that was derived from the Roman and Greek worlds – when sun worship took place, “Mithraism”. This winter festival was called “The Nativity” or “The Nativity of the Sun.” It is believed that this festival was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and combined with Christianity because it was so popular and was held during the same time of year! The Roman winter festival was named “Saturnalia” which involved the practice of exchanging gifts. There is nothing wrong with that of course but to link it to the gifts that the wise men gave to Jesus would be false. By the time they gave those gifts to Jesus, he was no longer in his manger but in his house! (See Matthew 2:9-11) which was some considerable time after his birth; where they gave gifts to “Him” and not to “each other!”

FACT: The Christmas tree – as we recognize it today only dates back a few centuries, whereas the idea concerning “SACRED TREES” is very ancient.

For example:

  • An old Babylonian fable symbolized the “Evergreen” tree with the resurrection of Nimrod!
  • Among the Druids the “Oak” was sacred,
  • For the Egyptians it was the “Palm”
  • For the Romans it was the “Fir” which was decorated with red berries during Saturnalia.
  • The Scandinavians however worshiped a god called “Odin” who was believed to bestow special gifts at yuletide to those who approached his Sacred Fir Tree!
  • There are also at least ten Biblical references to the “Green Tree” (emphasis on green is toward the evergreen that stays green all year round) which is associated with idolatry and false worship (see 1 Kings 14:23 etc).

All things mentioned above considered, now compare what Jeremiah said in chapter 10:3-4 with today’s custom of decorating a tree at Christmas time. “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 with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it moves not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not…”

While it is evident that the people of Jeremiah’s day were making an idol out of the tree, I am not suggesting for a minute that people who place Christmas trees in their homes or churches are worshipping those trees! No! But such customs do however provide vivid examples of how influential “MIXTURES,” have occurred over time.

NOW HOWEVER LET ME ADD THE BALANCE: BOYCOTTING CHRISTMAS WOULD NOT BE WISE! Communism with its roots in atheism opposes all forms of religious expression and we don’t want to be seen in the same light; this would not be clever! So fanatical opposition to Christmas is not a suggested plan of action; however, what we do need is a proper balance to “avoid” the extreme. The Bible is clear that without knowledge we perish; ignorance is never bliss – long term! Rather as Christians, we need to use this established day on our yearly calendar, as an opportunity to witness and reveal Christ to the world.

Conclusion: Christmas is all about the expression of giving… specifically the Father-heart-of-God – who so “loved that He gave…” as seen in John 3:16. Consider this: His divine nature was expressed through the life of a humble priest who left his mark on successive generations and had a lasting impact throughout the world. Although the stories were distorted and blended through the mix of cultural differences, artistic licence and commercialism – STILL THE HEART BEHIND CHRISTMAS IS ONE OF GIVING AND GENEROSITY. THIS MUST NOT BE LOST SIGHT OF IN THE TINSEL OF THE SECULAR WORLD.

Yes, Christmas is a time to be merry, to share joy, to love and be loved, in the spirit of giving; which is the very nature of God – who generously GAVE Christ to us all; HE IS TRUE HOPE AND GOOD NEWS FOR THE WORLD.


Thank you Father for the gift of eternal life celebrated this Christmas… Use me to reveal your nature to my loved ones. Let it be revealed in the way that I posture myself towards them. You are a light to this world. Let others see Christ through my lifestyle this Christmas. Be evident beyond the tinsel and the festivities; be evident through me. Father, it is your nature to give and I want to be more like you. Today I confess that I too am a giver. I give my time, energy, resources and love. I commit every day to give what is in my power to give; even if it is just a word to edify or a smile to comfort. “I confess that as long as I am alive I will cause others to thrive and as long as I am living I will be constantly found giving!” Hallelujah, amen.


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