celebrated by pagan sun god worshipers in honor of the annual rebirth of the sun god, on the winter solstice.
Although the Catholic Church teaches that this date was chosen based on calculations from Scripture, it is more likely that it was chosen in keeping with Constantinian syncretism which sought to make it easier for pagans to join the church when the church’s festivals could be confused with existing pagan festivals. It is also believed that part of the impetus was that members of the Church were celebrating with the pagans anyway, and setting the dates of Christian festivals to coincide with existing pagan festivals, allowed those
Christians to continue celebrating with the pagans without the appearance of having departed from the faith.
Some who identify themselves as Christians believe that we should not celebrate the birth of Y’shua because we are not instructed to do so in Scripture – or are we? In Leviticus, Yahveh’s people are
instructed to keep seven feasts known as Yahveh’s Moedim or appointed times. Leviticus 23:39-41 reads:
“39 'On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the
eighth day. 40 ~'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm
branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 ~'You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. (NASB)
Interestingly it just so happens, that Y'shua was most likely born on the first day of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). It is also interesting that the theme of the Feast of Tabernacles was the great anticipation that Messiah would come and that He would pour out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Note that Leviticus does not say that this feast should be celebrated till Messiah comes, but that it should be “a perpetual statute throughout your generations”. In fact, Scripture states that Sukkot will be celebrated with King Y'shua in the Millennial Kingdom. So, Scripture does instruct Yahveh’s people to keep a feast that coincides with 'shua’s birthday.
But what about moving the celebration of the birth of Y'shua from the date it happened to the birthday of Tammuz? How would you feel if your son or daughter gave their life to save people from a monster like Hitler and somewhere down the line, someone in authority moved the celebration of your child’s birth to
coincide with the neo-Nazi celebration of the birth of Hitler? I imagine this is how Yahveh feels about Christians celebrating the birth of Y'shua on the day that the birth of Tammuz is celebrated by pagan son god worshipers.
Sadly, even for a zealot like me, family cultural and religious traditions make it difficult to break with this practice. But perhaps we could begin the process by relegating the pagan feast of Christmas to the secular holiday it should be to us, instead of bemoaning how secular it has become. Then we could start teaching our children and grandchildren the truth about when Y'shua was born and how awsome it is that His birth on that very day fulfilled the prophetic significance of a Feast that Yaveh ordained 1400 years earlier!