The ONLY THING that the Messiah told his disciples to do in remembrance of him can be found in Luke 22:19 ‘And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me’. This verse clearly relates to taking what we call ‘communion’, where wine is drank and leavened bread is eaten in remembrance of the life of the Messiah while he was here on earth and the messages from God that he taught so that we would all be saved. To remember Yashua in taking communion is to remember that he was crucified so that we may be saved by being separate and obeying all of the commandments of God.
Where Did The Christmas Tree Come From and Was It Created by Christians?
There are varying stories regarding the origination of the Christmas tree. The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter pagan festivals for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. Saturnalia celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas. Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, derived from older farming-related rituals of midwinter and the winter solstice, especially the practice of offering gifts or sacrifices to the gods during the winter sowing season.
The pagan celebration of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and time [father time] , began as a single day, but by the late Republic (133-31 B.C.) it had expanded to a week-long festival beginning December 17. (On the Julian calendar, which the Romans used at the time, the winter solstice fell on December 25.)
During Saturnalia, work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.
People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.
Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles called cereiwere common gifts during Saturnalia, to signify light returning after the solstice.
On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, known as the Sigillaria (sigil), many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.
Saturnalia was by far the jolliest Roman holiday; the Roman poet Catullus famously described it as “the best of times.” So riotous were the festivities that the Roman author Pliny reportedly built a soundproof room so that he could work during the raucous celebrations.
It is said that over 1000 years ago in Northern Europe, early Christmas Trees were hung upside down from the ceiling using chains and hooks.
Other early Christmas Trees, across many parts of northern Europe, were cherry or hawthorn plants (or a branch of the plant) that were put into pots and brought inside so they would hopefully flower at Christmas time. If you couldn’t afford a real plant, people made pyramids of woods and they were decorated to look like a tree with paper, apples and candles. Sometimes they were carried around from house to house, rather than being displayed in a home.
‘Paradise Trees’ were used in medieval German ‘Miracle Plays’ that were acted out in front of Churches on Christmas Eve. In early church calendars of saints, 24th December was called, “Adam and Eve’s day” and the “Paradise Tree” represented the Garden of Eden. It was often paraded around the town before the play started, as a way of advertising the play. The plays told Bible stories to people who could not read.
The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Both claim that they had the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510. Both trees were put up by the ‘Brotherhood of Blackheads’ which was an association of local unmarried merchants, ship owners, and foreigners in Livonia (what is now Estonia and Latvia). Terra Mariana, or the official name for Medieval Livonia (Estonia and Latvia), was established on February 2, 1207- making this whole area part of the Holy Roman Empire- only to lose that distinction 8 years later when Pope Innocent III decided Terra Mariana was a direct subject to the Holy See.
The House of Blackheads chose St. Maurice to be their patron Saint. St. Mauritius was an imaginary African black moor (which is how the brotherhood of Blackheads’ name was derived). Due to their exceptional status, the Blackheads played an important role in the society life and traditions. Many VIP’S of that time including Russian tsars, took part in events organized by the Blackheads. Identified as a German merchant club, the Brotherhood of Blackheads existed in Riga from appx. 1334 until 1939. The Blackhead’s Brotherhood Fraternity archives called “sragas”, provide detailed information about the 1510th of the winter tradition and refers to an earlier such events in the 1476th year.
Likewise, they indicate that the tree was decorated; but having regard to the medieval custom have to conclude that it could only be decorated with bouquets of ribbons, dried flowers, straw dolls, weave, and possibly fruit. Later, this tree was adorned with [from wooden sticks built] “wiring”, with songs and dances were allowed to take place outside the house in a celebration which was common during medieval early Christmas period, and the tree was ceremonially burned in the town square during the first week of January. Most of this early documentation was written in the Old German language and it is difficult to locate all related documents forcing one to interpret and read between the lines. In addition, much research indicates that, the origins of this powerful and elite guild remain shrouded in secrecy. Evidence does support the guild performing ritual and party like dances and celebrations based around an outside bonfire in the square.
In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce tree at the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame.” In that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their guildhalls: Ingeborg Weber Kellermann (Marburg professor of European ethnology) found a Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small tree was decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers” and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members’ children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day (which is where the American tradition of putting popcorn and candy-canes on a Christmas tree comes from). But, little is known about the original Riga tree (the supposed first tree used to commemorate Christmas) other than the fact that it was attended by men wearing black hats (most likely Brotherhood of Blackheads), and that after a ceremony they burnt the tree. The legend says that the first Riga tree in 1510 was decorated with paper flowers and burnt on the bonfire after the ceremony; most probably with a toast for the future with beer steins toppled with beer which is very similar to American New years’ toasts. All of this was a mixture of pagan and Christian custom, as were very many of the customs in Central/Northern Europe at that time. In Latvia as in all of Northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun as a part of pagan activities where people were living their life as they had done for hundreds of years before.
The pagans of northern Europe as well as the pagans and wiccans of today, celebrated their own winter solstice known as “Yule” which is where “yuletide carols” comes from in the Christmas song “Deck the Halls”. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun god, Mithras being born, and was (is) observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun god grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun to reappear the next year.
Yule log with candles, holly berries and mistletoe
Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel”, the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Holly berries were thought to be a food of the gods. Notice that Christmas cards and Christmas decor include yule logs, holly berries and mistletoe? The Christians of today have continued the customs of the early age Christians by mixing paganism together with “Christianity”.
Wiccan: Yule ~ Winter Solstice
The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the Northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. In all societies there were people who filled the roles of judge, doctor, diviner, mage, mystic, and clerical scholar- they were the religious intelligentsia of their culture. These people often used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshiping huge trees and gathering around a large bonfire. In the past, there have been stories about Martin Luther walking in the woods near Riga and he created the first Christmas Tree. But actually, the Riga tree reference and the Martin Luther tree reference are two different occurrences. According to Countess Maria Hubert von Staufer from Christmas Archives International, references to the Martin Luther tree were NOT the Riga tree. The Countess goes on to say that the Martin Luther walk in the forest is believed to had actually occurred in Northern Germany and his lighted tree occurred several decades later than the Riga tree. The Countess went on to say that “Riga” is very important in the history of the Christmas tree.”
According to Christian lore, the Christmas tree is associated with St. Boniface and the German town of Geismar. Sometime in St. Boniface’s lifetime (c. 672-754) he cut down the tree of Thor in order to disprove the legitimacy of the Norse gods to the local German tribe. St. Boniface saw a fir tree growing in the roots of the old oak and took it as a sign of the Christian faith, he said “….. let Christ be at the center of your households…” using the fir tree as a symbol of Christianity. Therefore, the tradition of the Christmas tree among the Christians today emerged at the junction of pagan ritualistic celebrations and religious reformation. It’s origin had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ birthday AT ALL. The only “birth” that is associated with the Christmas tree is the renewal of life of a sun god and a tribute to the god of harvest and time. Throughout the world, the celebration of Christmas with the display of a decorated Christmas Tree has vast historical significance well beyond the economic shopping sprees made famous throughout the United States and other wealthy countries, that can not be erased or overwritten by a lie of Jesus’ birthday. To do that after learning the truth is nothing less than blasphemy, and an adamant refusal to accept the truth.
What About Jeremiah 10:1-5 ?
“Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.”
At first glance, it might seem that verses 3 and 4 are referring to Christmas trees, cut from the forest and decorated with gold and silver trimmings. But a more careful look at the entire section makes it clear that God is talking about making a carved image—or idol—from the trunk of a tree.
He speaks of a craftsman shaping the wood, “the work of the hands of the workman” (verse 3). This is made clear in the context of the following verses, specifically verse 8: “But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.”
Later in the chapter the contrast is drawn between the false gods that have not made the earth and the true God, the Creator (see verses 9-11). Verses 14 and 15 speak of worthless idols and images that are only objects of mockery.
The practice of making an idol from the trunk of a tree is also referred to in Isaiah 40:19, 20 and 44:14-17. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah declare the futility and absurdity of making and worshiping idols. However, the adaptation of what is now called the “Christmas Tree” originated from pagans who used the tree to summon false gods with many people actually worshiping the tree itself. For Christians to now say that it is a holy tribute to the birth of Christ is abominable. There’s no difference in doing that and calling abortion (murder) a good thing to do.
Is It A Sin To Celebrate The Birth Of Christ?
I don’t consider it to be sin if one doesn’t choose a particular day to celebrate his birth because no one knows for certainty when he was born but I’m not God, you’ll have to seek Him for the answer. I, personally don’t partake in Christmas festivities- but I used to, before I learned the truth.
The Messiah told HIS DISCIPLES what to do in remembrance of him. Are you a disciple of the Messiah? If so, obey him and celebrate him by taking communion and obeying all of the commandments of God. That is the only thing that he wants his followers to do.