From where does “Christmas” (as a holiday in Christianity) have its origin?
(Citation for below: http://www.historyofyork.org.uk/themes/constantine-the-great)
“Finally, and perhaps most famously, Constantine’s strong support for Christianity had an incalculable impact on European history. He is said to have been converted to the faith in AD 312, although this has not been corroborated.
At the time only around ten per cent of the Roman empire’s population was Christian. The majority of the ruling elite worshipped the old gods of Rome. Constantine was the first emperor to allow Christians to worship freely, helping to unite and promote the faith. HE WENT ON TO INSTIGATE THE CELEBRATION OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST WE CALL CHRISTMAS.
In 314, a year after Constantine’s edict on religious tolerance, Eboracum had its first Bishop. Along with the Bishop’s of Londinium (London) and Lindum (Lincoln), he attended the Christian Council at Arles.”
(citation for below: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2731)
“He presided over the Council of Nicaea,
Love of The Truth Note: You may view the reference document- “Council of Nicaea”- for further reading on Constantine forming a holy “Christian” empire through this first council of The Catholic Church.
gave extensive grants of land and property to the Church, founded the Christian city of Constantinople to serve as his new capital, and undertook a long-sighted program of Christianization for the whole of the Roman Empire.
While he was baptized a Christian only on his deathbed, Constantine nevertheless was a genuinely important figure in Christian history and was revered as a saint, especially in the Eastern Church.”
(citation for below: http://ehistory.osu.edu/world/PeopleView.cfm?PID=396)
“Now that he ruled most of the empire alone, the first problem to occupy Constantine from 318 to 320 was the dispute within the Christian church.
The main reason for his conversion to Christianity had been his desire to bring unity to the Roman world and to do it by having just one religion, closely subordinated to the state.
However, to his great disappointment- and the greatest of his life, Christianity broke up into several ideological groups. Two of those groups were the Donatists and the Arians. (29)
On November 316 the Donatists, based in North Africa, were attacked after refusing to remove their sects from the churches. Persecution continued until May of the following year when Constantine put an end to it. Violence failed to stop them and they flourished, outliving Constantine. (30)
Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, proposed that Jesus was less supreme than God; and that while God always existed, Christ did not. (31) Arianism was thus born. Constantine issued several public statements in 323 and 324 in an effort to unite the Christian church. (32)
In 325, the First Council of Nicaea was convened by Constantine to address church disunity.
The main item on the agenda was Arianism. Arius, refusing to accept the divinity of Jesus Christ or the equality of Father and Son, was excommunicated. (33) Unfortunately for Constantine, Arianism did not go away. In 327, during the Second Council of Nicaea, Arius and his supporters were readmitted; to the detriment of the Bishop of Alexandria- Athanasius, who supported the orthodox view. (34)……”
Love of The Truth Note:
The main item on the agenda may have been the Arian issue, but The First Council of Nicaea would become recognized as the first council (and the founding) of The Catholic Church (one doctrine established for all of what would be from then on recognized as “Christianity”- from this point forward, doctrines for this church would be established by men (their ideas of right and wrong), and NOT by The Word of God:
2 Tim. 3:15-4:5 (KJV)
And that from a child thou hast known The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
[4:1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach The Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables.
 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Matthew 15:3-9 (KJV)
But he answered and said unto them, WHY DO YE ALSO TRANSGRESS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD BY YOUR TRADITION?  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
 But IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.
From this point forward the term “Christianity” would take on a new meaning. Nicene-Christianity (a false form of what God and Jesus in The Bible call Christian) is the principal on which all of today’s so-called “Christian” churches- from that of Baptist to Protestant, from Catholic church to the small Sunday-keeping Community Churches– all follow in the path laid out by THIS council.
From these Councils, the Catholic (Nicene) Church would establish such doctrines as:
– “Sunday” (called by God, “The First Day of The Week”) as a “Christian” replacement for The Seventh Day Sabbath of The Lord God… The Fourth Commandment (in the Ten Commandments of Ex. 20:9-11) is for The Seventh Day to be The Sabbath; since this was the day that GOD Himself “sanctified” and set apart as an Holy Day (Gen. 2:1-3)… It was THIS same Seventh Day Sabbath of God that The Apostles kept WHILE being Christians- that is, they observed The Seventh Day while “under Grace” in Christ Jesus… It is this Fourth Commandment that the Nicene-church annulled by decree of man.
Matthew 5:18-19 (NASB)
“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from The Law, until all is accomplished.  “WHOEVER THEN ANNULS ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE COMMANDMENTS, AND SO TEACHES others, SHALL BE CALLED LEAST IN THE KINGDOM of heaven; BUT WHOEVER KEEPS AND TEACHES THEM, HE SHALL BE CALLED GREAT in the kingdom of heaven.
– “Easter” as a replacement for “The Passover of The LORD” God (Father of Jesus), and the seven-day “Feast of Unleavened Bread“. These are Holy Days that The LORD God (Father of Jesus Christ) sanctified and set apart as holy days to be observed in worship of Him… It is these same Holy Days of “Passover” and “The Days of Unleavened Bread” that The Lord’s apostle, saint Paul commanded for the gentile believing Church at Corinth to keep:
1 Cor. 5:7-8 (NASB)
Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
These Holy Days of The Lord God, Father of Jesus Christ were observed by a congregation that consisted of Gentile believers (a people who were not of Jewish origin, who had come to The Faith in Christ Jesus). These days were given by the Teachings of The Apostles of The Lord, Jesus. The Churches of Jesus under The Apostles kept The Holy Days of The Law of God, with the NEW ordinance for the Passover Lamb, The Wave-sheaf Offering, The Firstfruits Offering, The Atonement Sacrifice, all of these ordinances being fulfilled through Jesus Christ as the one eternal offering. YET, The Holy Sabbaths of The LORD God were to be observed as Sabbaths (Holy rest days) and Congregational gatherings before God through Christ, according to The Law of Jesus’ Father.
Paul, and all his fellow Apostles, marked time by The Holy Days of The Lord God (Father of Jesus)-
Acts 20:6 (NASB)
…And we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.
Acts 27:9 (NASB)
And when considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,
1 Cor. 16:8 (NASB)
But I shall remain in Ephesus until PENTECOST…
Sunday-keeping and Easter (and many more “commandments of men“) would become “doctrine” (teaching) by way of this power that arose through Constantine and The Nicene churches; a power that completely annulled the commandments of God for the sake of traditions of men (“fables” as Paul referred to what was coming in 2nd Timothy 3, above).
THIS is the power that is defined as “Christianity” in today’s world; a power that is completely against Christ and HIS Doctrine of righteousness through REPENTANCE from Sin and Obedience to The Commandments of God (The LORD God of Israel, Creator of all things, and Father of Jesus).
“…Besides being an outstanding general, Constantine also excelled as an organizer, leader and administrator, possessing a wealth of energy. He loved to chat with his troops inspiring loyalty in return. Throughout his life he worked hard to learn as much as possible. He was also ambitious, religious to the point of being superstitious and very emotional, always striving for personal success at all costs. Because he wanted to be popular he was easily deceived and taken advantage of. He suffered from fits of anger brought about from a highly suspicious and jealous mind, occasionally resorting to murder. (8)
Constantine’s main impact on history was his conversion to Christianity, becoming the first Christian Roman emperor. However, his conversion came as an adult and earlier his two favorite pagan gods were Mars and Apollo. WORSHIP OF THE SUN– a very popular belief at the time throughout the empire, appealed to Constantine. (9)
The transition to Christianity was made easier on Constantine probably due to the similarities between the worship of Sol Invictus (Unconquered *Son*) and Christianity, such as the Sunday mass and the divine celebrations around Christmas. (10)…”
Love of The Truth Note:
Notice “Sol Invictus” does NOT mean “Unconquered Son“, as presented here- but rather “Unconquered sun“- The Latin “Sol” means “sun” (-hence, the winter “sol-stice” being the point at which the “sun” (“sol”) is at its southern most point).
The worship of the sun-god (“Sol”) was held onto by Constantine, and mixed with his form of “Christianity”- as were his influences from the worship of “Diana” (godess of the Ephesians), as well as many other false gods such as Mars and Apollo, as mentioned above (The encyclopedia article immediately below points all of this out about him).
Constantine must then be credited with the promotion (and the establishment) of much of what today’s “Christianity” (a lie against Christ’s Truth) follows in the form of “Christmas” (holiday for the winter sol’stice), “Easter”(holiday for the spring sol’stice), “SUNday” (honorable holiday of “Sol”)…The Trinity as well (the belief of God as Three distinct and separate entities existing as one: “God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Ghost“), as was established at Constantine’s Nicene Council.
Later councils would establish the idols of Mary as “Queen of Heaven”, The crucifix as an item linked to worship services, and many other idolatrous doctrines.
(citation for below: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great)
“Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine would retain the title of pontifex maximus UNTIL HIS DEATH, a title emperors bore as HEADS OF THE PAGAN PRIESTHOOD, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375-83). According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.
However, Constantine certainly DID NOT PATRONIZE CHRISTIANITY ALONE. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate his triumph. The arch is decorated with images of the goddess Victoria. At the time of its dedication, sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules were made. Absent from the Arch are any depictions of Christian symbolism. However, as the Arch was commissioned by the Senate, the absence of Christian symbols may reflect the role of the Curia at the time as a pagan redoubt.
Later in 321, CONSTANTINE INSTRUCTED that Christians and non-Christians SHOULD BE UNITED IN OBSERVING THE VENERABLE DAY OF THE SUN, referencing the sun-worship that Aurelian had established as an official cult.
Furthermore, and long after his oft alleged conversion to Christianity, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appeared only as Constantine’s personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, but never on the coin itself.
Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem; no Christian symbols were present at this dedication.
The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time, e.g., most notably the dispute over Arianism, and the nature of God.
Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. One way in which Constantine used his influence over the early Church councils was to seek to establish a consensus over the oft debated and argued issue over the nature of God.
Most notably, from 313-316 bishops in North Africa struggled with other Christian bishops who had been ordained by Donatus in opposition to Caecilian. The African bishops could not come to terms and the Donatists asked Constantine to act as a judge in the dispute. Three regional Church councils and another trial before Constantine all ruled against Donatus and the Donatism movement in North Africa. In 317 Constantine issued an edict to confiscate Donatist church property and to send Donatist clergy into exile.
More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified).
The Council of Nicaea is most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed.
Constantine enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy).
THIS MARKED A DEFINITE BREAK OF CHRISTIANITY FROM THE JUDAIC TRADITION.
From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, WAS GIVEN PRECEDENCE OVER the lunar Hebrew Calendar AMONG THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES of the Roman Empire.
Constantine made new laws regarding the Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves.”
Love of The Truth Note:
Constantine, as has been proven by history, was NOT what God’s Word (The Bible) defines as a “Christian” (a follower of Christ Jesus and His Father, God of Israel)… It has been shown that, in fact, he is responsible for bringing all forms of false-Christian doctrines together into what is today called “Christianity” (but in God’s definition is referred to as an “anti-Christ” religion; Anti-Christ meaning, “Against-Christ”).
Constantine (by the power of Satan’s deception, and the allowance of God almighty for fulfillment of prophecy) is responsible for the founding of The Catholic Church (and thereby The Holy Roman Empire)- and through that church, ALL of today’s “Sunday”-keeping, “Christmas”-keeping, “Easter”-keeping, “Trinity”-believing churches… Even non Trinity churches today still hold to the doctrines that came through that one church of Sunday, Christmas, and Easter.
While it is true that by the time of Constantine (220+ years after Christ’s Apostles died) many churches (the 7 churches of Asia included) ALREADY held to many forms of false-doctrines. One need only read Revelation 1-3 along with Paul’s warnings to the Church at Ephesus (Acts 20:29-31), to Timothy (2nd Tim. 3), to The Church at Thessalonica (2nd Thess. 2), in order to see that this was taking place in the churches; and that Christ (in Revelation) threatened to remove their standing as His Church from before Him, IF they refused to “repent” from these sins…
They did NOT repent. Rather, they formed their own church.
It is curious to note that Constantine did with Christianity just as Jeroboam (the son of Nebat) did with The Holy Covenant of his time…
Jeroboam was given as leader of the 10 tribes of Israel by God, with the admonishment to keep His holy Law and Commandments, but instead he formed his own church and service:
1 Kings 12:26-33 (KJV)
And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:  If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.  Whereupon the king TOOK COUNSEL, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto The Feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar.
So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
Here is the prime example of what took place with Christianity under Constantine and The Catholic (Nicene) Creed (established in AD 325).
Further Information about the day of “Christmas” itself (The Pagan Roots):
(citation for below: http://en.wikipedia.org)
“Origin of the word
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 Kerstmis, 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).
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 first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I.21) 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.] Others reached the date of 24 or 25 Pharmuthi (19 or 20 April). 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.
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).
In 385, Silvia of Bordeaux (or Etheria, as it seems clear she should be called) was profoundly impressed by the splendid Childhood 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. Usener, arguing from the “Laudatio S. Stephani” of Basil of Seleucia (c. 430. – P.G., LXXXV, 469), thinks that Juvenal tried at least to introduce this feast, but that Cyril’s greater name attracted that event to his own period.
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. It was no novelty; from Thrace to Cadiz this feast was observed – rightly, since its miraculously rapid diffusion proved its genuineness. Besides, Zachary, who, as high-priest, entered the Temple on the Day of Atonement, received therefore announcement of John’s conception in September; six months later Christ was conceived, i.e. in March, and born accordingly in December.
Finally, though never at Rome, on authority he knows that the census papers of the Holy Family are still there. [This appeal to Roman archives is as old as Justin Martyr (First Apology 34-35) and Tertullian (Adv. Marc., IV, 7, 19). Julius, in the Cyriline forgeries, is said to have calculated the date from Josephus, on the same unwarranted assumptions about Zachary as did Chrysostom.] Rome, therefore, has observed 25 December long enough to allow of Chrysostom speaking at least in 388 as above (P.G., XLVIII, 752, XLIX, 351).
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.
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 relevant passage [which exists in the Chigi manuscript Without the bracketed words and is always so quoted before George Syncellus (c. 1000)] runs:
He gar prote parousia tou kyriou hemon he ensarkos [en he gegennetai] en Bethleem, egeneto [pro okto kalandon ianouarion hemera tetradi] Basileuontos Augoustou [tessarakoston kai deuteron etos, apo de Adam] pentakischiliosto kai pentakosiosto etei epathen de triakosto trito [pro okto kalandon aprilion, hemera paraskeun, oktokaidekato etei Tiberiou Kaisaros, hypateuontos Hrouphou kai Hroubellionos. – (Comm. In Dan., iv, 23; Brotke; 19)
“For the first coming of Our Lord in the flesh [in which He has been begotten], in Bethlehem, took place [25 December, the fourth day] in the reign of Augustus [the forty-second year, and] in the year 5500 [from Adam]. And He suffered in His thirty-third year [25 March, the parasceve, in the eighteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, during the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio].”
Interpolation is certain, and admitted by Funk, Bonwetsch, etc. The names of the consuls [which should be Fufius and Rubellius] are wrong; Christ lives thirty-three years; in the genuine Hippolytus, thirty-one; minute data are irrelevant in this discussion with Severian millenniarists; it is incredible that Hippolytus should have known these details when his contemporaries (Clement, Tertullian, etc.) are, when dealing with the matter, ignorant or silent; or should, having published them, have remained unquoted (Kellner, op. cit., p. 104, has an excursus on this passage.)
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.
Origin of date
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.
Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended.
But Rome was not thus considerate.
Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season.
Zachary’s temple service
Arguments based on Zachary’s temple ministry are unreliable, though the calculations of antiquity (see above) have been revived in yet more complicated form, e.g. by Friedlieb (Leben J. Christi des Erlösers, Münster, 1887, p. 312). The twenty-four classes of Jewish priests, it is urged, served each a week in the Temple; Zachary was in the eighth class, Abia. The Temple was destroyed 9 Ab, A.D. 70; late rabbinical tradition says that class 1, Jojarib, was then serving. From these untrustworthy data, assuming that Christ was born A.U.C. 749, and that never in seventy turbulent years the weekly succession failed, it is calculated that the eighth class was serving 2-9 October, A.U.C. 748, whence Christ’s conception falls in March, and birth presumably in December. Kellner (op. cit., pp. 106, 107) shows how hopeless is the calculation of Zachary’s week from any point before or after it.
Analogy to Old Testament festivals
It seems impossible, on analogy of the relation of Passover and Pentecost to Easter and Whitsuntide, to connect the Nativity with the feast of Tabernacles, as did, e.g., Lightfoot (Horæ Hebr, et Talm., II, 32), arguing from Old Testament prophecy, e.g. Zacharias 14:16 sqq.; combining, too, the fact of Christ’s death in Nisan with Daniel’s prophecy of a three and one-half years’ ministry (9:27), he puts the birth in Tisri, i.e. September. As undesirable is it to connect 25 December with the Eastern (December) feast of Dedication (Jos. Ant. Jud., XII, vii, 6).
THE WELL-KNOWN SOLAR FEAST, HOWEVER, OF NATALIS INVICTI, CELEBRATED ON 25 DECEMBER, HAS A STRONG CLAIM ON THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR DECEMBER DATE. For the history of THE SOLAR CULT, ITS POSITION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus’ Calendar. It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont (op. cit., addit. Note C, p. 355).
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cyprian, “De pasch. Comp.”, xix, “O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . . . nasceretur Christus.” – “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born.”
In the fourth century, Chrysostom, “del Solst. Et Æquin.” (II, p. 118, ed. 1588), says: “Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . . . VIII Kal. Ian. . . . Sed et Invicti Natalem appelant. Quis utique tam invictus nisi dominus noster? . . . Vel quod dicant Solis esse natalem, ipse est Sol iustitiæ.” – “But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December . . . the eight before the calends of January [25 December] . . ., But they call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.”
Already Tertullian (Apol., 16; cf. Ad. Nat., I, 13; Orig. c. Cels., VIII, 67, etc) had to assert that Sol was not the Christians’ God; Augustine (Tract xxxiv, in Joan. In P.L., XXXV, 1652) denounces the heretical identification of Christ with Sol.
Pope Leo I (Serm. xxxvii in nat. dom., VII, 4; xxii, II, 6 in P.L., LIV, 218 and 198) bitterly reproves solar survivals – Christians, on the very doorstep of the Apostles’ basilica, turn to adore the rising sun. Sun-worship has bequeathed features to modern popular worship in Armenia, where Christians had once temporarily and externally conformed to the cult of the material sun (Cumont, op. cit., p. 356).
But even should a deliberate and legitimate “baptism” of a pagan feast be seen here no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. The “mountain-birth” of Mithra and Christ’s in the “grotto” have nothing in common: Mithra’s adoring shepherds (Cumont, op. cit., I, ii, 4, p. 304 sqq.) are rather borrowed from Christian sources than vice versa.
Love of the Truth Note:
The author of this article appears to continually wish to force the opinion (his/her opinion) that one should NOT draw any link between the Sol-worship and Christmas as a holiday. With all evidence examined, and all traditions of this holiday exposed for what they are, opinions are not required to see the truth of the matter.
Other theories of pagan origin
The origin of Christmas should not be sought in the Saturnalia (1-23 December) nor even in the midnight holy birth at Eleusis (see J.E. Harrison, Prolegom., p. 549) with its probable connection through Phrygia with the Naasene heretics, or even with the Alexandrian ceremony quoted above; nor yet in rites analogous to the midwinter cult at Delphi of the cradled Dionysus, with his revocation from the sea to a new birth (Harrison, op. cit., 402 sqq.).
Again, WHY should it not be thought that these pagan forms of worshipping the sun (“Sol”) somehow have been accepted into this traditional day of Christmas?
The author gives no reason- but is certain you should not draw any such conclusion from the things you are reading.
Yet, the summary below, that of the traditional methods in which this day is celebrated speaks for itself.
The astronomical theory
Duchesne (Les origines du culte chrétien, Paris, 1902, 262 sqq.) advances the “astronomical” theory that, given 25 March as Christ’s death-day [historically impossible, but a tradition old as Tertullian (Adv. Jud., 8)], the popular instinct, demanding an exact number of years in a Divine life, would place His conception on the same date, His birth 25 December. This theory is best supported by the fact that certain Montanists (Sozomen, Church History VII.18) kept Easter on 6 April; both 25 December and 6 January are thus simultaneously explained. The reckoning, moreover, is wholly in keeping with the arguments based on number and astronomy and “convenience”, then so popular. Unfortunately, there is no contemporary evidence for the celebration in the fourth century of Christ’s conception on 25 March.
The present writer in inclined to think that, be the origin of the feast in East or West, and though the abundance of analogous midwinter festivals may indefinitely have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invicti at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christian feast there too.
Liturgy and custom
The fixing of this date fixed those too of Circumcision and Presentation; of Expectation and, perhaps, Annunciation B.V.M.; and of Nativity and Conception of the Baptist (cf. Thurston in Amer. Eccl. Rev., December, 1898). Till the tenth century Christmas counted, in papal reckoning, as the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, as it still does in Bulls; Boniface VIII (1294-1303) restored temporarily this usage, to which Germany held longest.
Codex Theod., II, 8, 27 (cf. XV, 5,5) forbids, in 425, circus games on 25 December; though not till Codex Just., III, 12, 6 (529) is cessation of work imposed. The Second Council of Tours (can. xi, xvii) proclaims, in 566 or 567, the sanctity of the “twelve days” from Christmas to Epiphany, and the duty of Advent fast; that of Agde (506), in canons 63-64, orders a universal communion, and that of Braga (563) forbids fasting on Christmas Day. Popular merry-making, however, so increased that the “Laws of King Cnut”, fabricated c. 1110, order a fast from Christmas to Epiphany.
The three Masses
The Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries give three Masses to this feast, and these, with a special and sublime martyrology, and dispensation, if necessary, from abstinence, still mark our usage. Though Rome gives three Masses to the Nativity only, Ildefonsus, a Spanish bishop, in 845, alludes to a triple mass on Nativity, Easter, Whitsun, and Transfiguration (P.L., CVI, 888). These Masses, at midnight, dawn, and in die, were mystically connected with aboriginal, Judaic, and Christian dispensations, or (as by St. Thomas, Summa Theologica III:83:2) to the triple “birth” of Christ: in Eternity, in Time, and in the Soul. Liturgical colours varied: black, white, red, or (e.g. at Narbonne) red, white, violet were used (Durand, Rat. Div. Off., VI, 13). The Gloria was at first sung only in the first Mass of this day.
The historical origin of this triple Mass is probably as follows (cf. Thurston, in Amer. Eccl. Rev., January, 1899; Grisar, Anal. Rom., I, 595; Geschichte Roms . . . im Mittelalter I, 607, 397; Civ. Catt., 21 September, 1895, etc.): The first Mass, celebrated at the Oratorium Præsepis in St. Mary Major – a church probably immediately assimilated to the Bethlehem basilica – and the third, at St. Peter’s, reproduced in Rome the double Christmas Office mentioned by Etheria (see above) at Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The second Mass was celebrated by the pope in the “chapel royal” of the Byzantine Court officials on the Palatine, i.e. St. Anastasia’s church, originally called, like the basilica at Constantinople, Anastasis, and like it built at first to reproduce the Jerusalem Anastasis basilica – and like it, finally, in abandoning the name “Anastasis” for that of the martyr St. Anastasia. The second Mass would therefore be a papal compliment to the imperial church on its patronal feast. The three stations are thus accounted for, for by 1143 (cf. Ord. Romani in P.L., LXXVIII, 1032) the pope abandoned distant St. Peter’s, and said the third Mass at the high altar of St. Mary Major. At this third Mass Leo III inaugurated, in 800, by the coronation of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire. The day became a favourite for court ceremonies, and on it, e.g., William of Normandy was crowned at Westminster.
The history of the dedication of the Oratorium Præsepis in the Liberian basilica, of the relics there kept and their imitations, does not belong to this discussion [cf. CRIB; RELICS. The data are well set out by Bonaccorsi (Il Natale, Rome, 1903, ch. iv)], but the practice of giving dramatic, or at least spectacular, expression to the incidents of the Nativity early gave rise to more or less liturgical mysteries. The ordinaria of Rouen and of Reims, for instance, place the officium pastorum immediately after the Te Deum and before Mass (cf. Ducange, Gloss. med. et inf. Lat., s.v. Pastores); the latter Church celebrated a second “prophetical” mystery after Tierce, in which Virgil and the Sibyl join with Old Testament prophets in honouring Christ. (For Virgil and Nativity play and prophecy see authorities in Comparetti, “Virgil in Middle Ages”, p. 310 sqq.) “To out-herod Herod”, i.e. to over-act, dates from Herod’s violence in these plays.
The crib (creche) or nativity scene
St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 originated the crib of today by laicizing a hitherto ecclesiastical custom, henceforward extra-liturgical and popular. The presence of ox and ass is due to a misinterpretation of Isaiah 1:3 and Habakkuk 3:2 (“Itala” version), though they appear in the unique fourth-century “Nativity” discovered in the St. Sebastian catacombs in 1877. The ass on which Balaam rode in the Reims mystery won for the feast the title Festum Asinorum (Ducange, op. cit., s.v. Festum).
Hymns and carols
The degeneration of these plays in part occasioned the diffusion of noels, pastorali, and carols, to which was accorded, at times, a quasi-liturgical position. Prudentius, in the fourth century, is the first (and in that century alone) to hymn the Nativity, for the “Vox clara” (hymn for Lauds in Advent) and “Christe Redemptor” (Vespers and Matins of Christmas) cannot be assigned to Ambrose. “A solis ortu” is certainly, however, by Sedulius (fifth century). The earliest German Weihnachtslieder date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the earliest noels from the eleventh, the earliest carols from the thirteenth. The famous “Stabat Mater Speciosa” is attributed to Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306); “Adeste Fideles” is, at the earliest, of the seventeenth century. These essentially popular airs, and even words, must, however, have existed long before they were put down in writing.
Cards and presents
PAGAN CUSTOMS CENTERING ROUND THE JANUARY CALENDS GRAVITATED TO CHRISTMAS. Tiele (Yule and Christmas, London, 1899) has collected many interesting examples. The strenæ (eacute;trennes) of the Roman 1 January (bitterly condemned by Tertullian, de Idol., xiv and x, and by Maximus of Turin, Hom. ciii, de Kal. gentil., in P.L., LVII, 492, etc.) survive as Christmas presents, cards, boxes.
The yule log
The calend fires were a scandal even to Rome, and St. Boniface obtained from Pope Zachary their abolition. But probably the Yule-log in its many forms was originally lit only in view of the cold season. Only in 1577 did it become a public ceremony in England; its popularity, however, grew immense, especially in Provence; in Tuscany, Christmas is simply called ceppo (block, log – Bonaccorsi, op. cit., p. 145, n. 2). Besides, it became connected with other usages; in England, a tenant had the right to feed at his lord’s expense as long as a wheel, i.e. a round, of wood, given by him, would burn, the landlord gave to a tenant a load of wood on the birth of a child; Kindsfuss was a present given to children on the birth of a brother or sister, and even to the farm animals on that of Christ, the universal little brother (Tiele, op. cit., p. 95 sqq.).
Gervase of Tilbury (thirteen century) says that in England grain is exposed on Christmas night to gain fertility from the dew which falls in response to “Rorate Cæli”; the tradition that trees and flowers blossomed on this night is first quoted from an Arab geographer of the tenth century, and extended to England. In a thirteenth-century French epic, candles are seen on the flowering tree. In England it was Joseph of Arimathea’s rod which flowered at Glastonbury and elsewhere; when 3 September became 14 September, in 1752, 2000 people watched to see if the Quainton thorn (cratagus præcox) would blow on Christmas New Style; and as it did not, they refused to keep the New Style festival. From this belief of the calends practice of greenery decorations (forbidden by Archbishop Martin of Braga, c. 575, P.L., LXXIII – mistletoe was bequeathed by the Druids) developed the Christmas tree, first definitely mentioned in 1605 at Strasburg, and introduced into France and England in 1840 only, by Princess Helena of Mecklenburg and the Prince Consort respectively.
The mysterious visitor
Only with great caution should the mysterious benefactor of Christmas night – Knecht Ruprecht, Pelzmärtel on a wooden horse, St. Martin on a white charger, St. Nicholas and his “reformed” equivalent, Father Christmas – be ascribed to the stepping of a saint into the shoes of Woden, who, with his wife Berchta, descended on the nights between 25 December and 6 January, on a white horse to bless earth and men. Fires and blazing wheels starred the hills, houses were adorned, trials suspended and feasts celebrated (cf. Bonaccorse, op. cit., p. 151). Knecht Ruprecht, at any rate (first found in a mystery of 1668 and condemned in 1680 as a devil) was only a servant of the Holy Child.“
Love of The Truth’s Summation:
Please notice that the summation of all of this is aptly described for us in The Bible (The Word of God/ The Truth):
2 Tim. 4:2-5 (KJV)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS SHALL THEY HEAP TO THEMSELVES TEACHERS, HAVING ITCHING EARS;
 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, AND SHALL BE TURNED UNTO FABLES.
 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
2 Thes. 2:7-12 (KJV)
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
 And FOR THIS CAUSE God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
 That THEY ALL MIGHT BE DAMNED WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, BUT HAD PLEASURE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
Matthew 15:3-9 (KJV)
But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
 For GOD COMMANDED, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.  BUT YE SAY, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. THUS HAVE YE MADE THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD OF NONE EFFECT BY YOUR TRADITION.
 YE HYPOCRITES, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
 But in vain they do worship me, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.
Matthew 16:11-12 (NASB)
“…How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES.”  Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, BUT OF THE TEACHING OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES.
Deut. 4:1-3 (KJV)
Now therefore HEARKEN, O ISRAEL, UNTO THE STATUTES AND UNTO THE JUDGMENTS, which I teach you, for TO DO THEM, THAT YE MAY LIVE, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
 YE SHALL NOT ADD UNTO THE WORD WHICH I COMMAND YOU, NEITHER SHALL YE DIMINISH OUGHT FROM IT, THAT YE MAY KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD which I command you.  Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
1 Cor. 4:6 (NASB)
…Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
You may refer to the following Study-helps for God’s Word concerning the SINFUL nature of observing such practices as Easter, Halloween, Christmas, and the many traditions of men that try to annul and substitute The Commandments of God (The Father of Jesus Christ, and Father of all TRUE Christians):