Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?*

There is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration. This is not to say that we shouldn’t remember Christ’s birth and its significance, but for religious commemorations or celebrations, we must have Biblical command or precedent! The fact of the matter is this — the early church did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the “Christianization” of pagan rites as Catholicism was made the state religion by Constantine in the fourth century A.D. Since the Word of God does not support the tradition of Christmas, a Christian’s conscience ought not and must not be bound.

The following outline describes the origin of Christmas (with its associated pagan customs, symbols, and terminology), details the Scriptural support against celebrating Christmas, attempts to show that celebrating Christmas violates the spirit of every one of the ten commandments, attempts to demonstrate that celebrating Christmas does not fall in the realm of Christian liberty, and attempts to debunk eight of the major rationalizations Christians put forth for celebrating Christmas.

I. The Origin of Christmas

A. Long EvolutionChristmas customs are an evolution from times long before the Christian period — a descent from seasonal, pagan, religious, and national practices, hedged about with legend and tradition. Their seasonal connections with the pagan feasts of the winter solstice relate them to ancient times, when many of the earth’s inhabitants were sun worshippers. As the superstitious pagans observed the sun gradually moving south in the heavens and the days growing shorter, they believed the sun was departing never to return. To encourage the sun’s return north (i.e. to give the winter sun god strength and to bring him back to life again), the sun gods were worshipped with elaborate rituals and ceremonies, including the building of great bonfires, decorating with great evergreen plants such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe, and making representations of summer birds as house decorations. The winter solstice, then, was the shortest day of the year, when the sun seemingly stood still in the southern sky. Observing the slowdown in the sun’s southward movement, and its stop, the heathen believed that their petitions to it had been successful. A time of unrestrained rejoicing broke out, with revelry, drinking, and gluttonous feasts. Then, when the pagans observed the sun moving again northward, and a week later were able to determine that the days were growing longer, a new year was proclaimed.

B. Not Among the Earliest Christian FestivalsChristmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. It was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed, neither by the apostles nor in the apostolic church — not for at least the first 300 years of church history! History reveals that about 440 A.D., the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, following the lead of Roman Catholicism (see I.C.). [It was sufficient for the early Christians that Jesus, their Lord and saviour, had been born. They praised God that Jesus Christ had, indeed, come in the flesh. The day and the time of His birth had no relevance to them, because Jesus was no longer physically on earth. He had returned to heaven. And it was the risen, exalted Christ whom they looked to, and that by faith — not a babe laid in a manger. Jesus Christ is no longer a baby; no longer the “Christ-child,” but the exalted Lord of all. And He does NOT somehow return to earth as a baby every year at Christmas-time — though this is the impression given even in certain hymns sung in Protestant services.]

Statue of Emperor Constantine C. The Role of Religion in Ancient RomeSeemingly forgotten is the essential role religion played in the world of ancient Rome. But the Emperor Constantine understood. By giving official status to Christianity, he brought internal peace to the Empire. A brilliant military commander, he also had the genius to recognize that after declaring Christianity the “state” religion (Constantine forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptized into the Roman Church), there was need for true union between paganism and Christianity. The corrupt Roman Church was full of pagans now masquerading as Christians, all of which had to be pacified. What better way than to “Christianize” their pagan idolatries. Thus, the Babylonian mystery religions were introduced by Constantine beginning in 313 A.D. (and established a foothold with the holding of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.). The Constantine-led Roman Church was more than willing to adapt and adopt pagan practices in order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen. Constantine used religion as a political tool, totally devoid of any true spirituality:

– Pagan rituals and idols took on Christian names (e.g. Jesus Christ was presented as the Sun of Righteousness [Malachi 4:2] replacing the sun god, Sol Invictus ).

– Pagan holidays were reclassified as Christian holidays (holy-days).

Solstice Saturnalia Celebrations

– December 25th was the “Victory of the Sun-God” Festival in the pagan Babylonian world. In the ancient Roman Empire, the celebration can be traced back to the Roman festival Saturnalia, which honoured Saturn, the harvest god, and Mithras, the god of light; both were celebrated during or shortly after the winter solstice (17th – 23rd December). To all ancient pagan civilizations, December 25th was the birthday of the gods — the time of year when the days began to lengthen and man was blessed with a “regeneration of nature.” All of December 25th’s Babylonian and Roman festivals were characterized by 5-7 day celebration periods of unrestrained or orgiastic revelry and licentiousness.

Mithras slaying a bull December 25th was particularly important in the cult of Mithras, a popular deity in the Old Roman Empire. Robert Myers (a proponent for celebrating Christmas) in his book Celebrations says, “Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. This feast, which took place just after the winter solstice of the Julian calendar, was in honour of the Sun god, Mithras, originally a Persian deity whose cult penetrated the Roman world in the first century B.C. . . . Besides the Mithraic influence, other pagan forces were at work. From the seventeenth of December until the twenty-third, Romans celebrated the ancient feast of the Saturnalia. . . . It was commemorative of the Golden Age of Saturn, the god of sowing and husbandry.”

Pope Julius I In order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen, the Roman Church simply took Saturnalia, adopted it into Christianity, and then eventually many of the associated pagan symbols, forms, customs, and traditions were reinterpreted (i.e. “Christianized”)  in ways “acceptable” to Christian faith and practice. (In fact, in 375 A.D., the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I merely announced that the birth date of Christ had been “discovered” to be December 25th, and was accepted as such by the “faithful.” The festival of Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithras could now be celebrated as the birthday of Christ!) The pagans flocked into the Catholic places of worship, because they were still able to worship their old gods, but merely under different names.  It mattered not to them whether they worshiped the Isis and Horus / Mary and the "child"Egyptian goddess mother and her child under the old names (Isis and Horus), or under the names of the “Virgin Mary” and the “Christ-child.” Either way, it was the same old idol-religion (cf. 1 Thes. 1:8-10, 5:22 — Paul says to turn from idols, not rename them and Christianize them). Roman Catholicism’s Christmas Day is nothing but “baptized” paganism, having come along much too late to be part of “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Isis nursing Horus D. “Christianization” of Pagan Customs, Symbols, and TerminologyChristianity had to undergo a transformation so that pagan Rome could “convert” without giving up its old beliefs and rituals. The actual effect was to paganize official Christianity. “‘A compound religion had been manufactured, of which . . .  Christianity furnished the nomenclature, and Paganism the doctrines and rights.’ The idolatry of the Roman world, though deposed from its ancient pre-eminence, had by no means been demolished. Instead of this, its pagan nakedness had been covered with the garb of a deformed Christianity” (W.E. Vine). Pagan customs involving vestments, candles, incense, images, and processions were all incorporated into church worship and continue today.

The following customs and traditions associated with Xmas all have pagan/heathen origins. (“Xmas” is the more preferable form for the day, since it at least leaves the name of our saviour out of the heathen observance.) Naturally, Christians would not keep these customs for such evil and perverse reasons, but the fact of their origins remain — “the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:3), and should be carefully considered by all who know and love the Lord:

The blasphemous sacrifice of the mass 1. The blasphemous “Christ’s Mass” shortened to “Christ-mas” — The Roman Catholic “Christ’s Mass” is a special mass performed in celebration of Christ’s birth. In this mass, Jesus is considered both the priest and the victim, represented by the Catholic priest who offers Him as a sacrifice each time the mass is performed. In offering this “sacrifice,” the priest believes he has the power to change the bread and the wine of the Communion into Jesus’ literal flesh and blood, requiring the people to worship these elements as they do God Himself. This is obviously a denial of the gospel, and thereby, a false gospel (a re-doing of the sacrifice for sin — Heb. 9:12,24-26; 10:10,12,14). Yet, many who cry out all year long against the blasphemous Roman Catholic system, at year-end embrace Rome’s most blasphemous abomination of them all — Christmas!

A Nativity Scene 2. Nativity Scenes (tainted with paganism) — Nearly every form of pagan worship descended from the Babylonian mysteries, which focus attention on the “mother-goddess” and the birth of her child. This was adapted to “Mary-Jesus” worship, which then easily accommodated the multitude of pagans “converted” to Christianity inside Constantine’s Roman Catholic Church. [If anyone were to erect statues (i.e., images) of Mary and Joseph by themselves, many within Protestant circles would cry “Idolatry!” But at Xmas time, an image of a little baby is placed with the images of Mary and Joseph, and it’s called a “nativity scene.” Somehow, the baby-idol “sanctifies” the scene, and it is no longer considered idolatry!] (cf. Exo. 20:4-5a; 32:1-5; 9-10a)

An evergreen christmas tree 3. Christmas TreeEvergreen trees, because of their ability to remain green throughout the winter season, have long symbolized immortality, fertility, sexual potency, and reproduction, and were often brought into homes and set up as idols. The full mystical significance of the evergreen can only be understood when one considers the profound reverence the ancient pagans had for all natural phenomena — “To them, Nature was everywhere alive. Every fountain had its spirit, every mountain its deity, and every water, grove, and meadow, its supernatural association. The whispering of the trees . . . was the subtle speech of the gods who dwelt within” (W.M. Auld, Christmas Traditions). This is nothing but nature worship or Animism.

Adonis - Mazarin Louvre MR239 The custom of bringing the tree into the home and decorating it as is done today has legendarily been attributed to Martin Luther. In truth, the modern custom has been lost in obscurity, but almost every culture has some such tradition. For ages, evergreen trees would be brought into the house during the winter as magic symbols of luck and hope for a fruitful year to come, It may also be that the star with which many of today’s trees are topped did not originate as a representation of the star that the wise men followed, but rather a representation of the stars to which the ancient Chaldean astrologers looked for guidance.

Aesculapius snake The first decorating of an evergreen was done by pagans in honour of their god Adonis, who after being slain was brought to life by the serpent Aesculapius. The representation of the slain Adonis was a dead stump of a tree. Around this stump coiled the snake — Aesculapius, symbol of life restoring. From the roots of the dead tree, then comes forth another and different tree — an evergreen tree, symbolic to pagans of a god who cannot  die! In Babylon, the evergreen tree came to represent the rebirth/reincarnationAsherah of Nimrod as his new son (Sun), Tammuz. In Egypt, this god was worshiped in a palm tree as Baal-Tamar. (Heathen people in the land of Canaan also adopted tree worship, calling it the Asherah — a tree with its branches cut off was carved into a phallic symbol.) The fir tree was worshiped in Rome as the same new-born god, named Baal- Berith, who was restored to life by the same serpent. A feast was held in honour of him on December 25th, observed as the day on which the god reappeared on earth — he had Semiramis Nimrod Tammuzbeen killed, and was “reborn” on that day, victorious over death! It was called the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Thus, the annual custom of erecting and decorating evergreen trees was brought down to us through the centuries by the pagan Roman Catholic Church — the paganism of Tammuz and Baal, or the worship of the sun, mingled with the worship of Aesculapius the serpent. Whether erected in private homes or churches, decorated or not, the evergreen tree is a glaring symbol of this false god.

The Old Testament warns at least ten times against the practice of decorating evergreen trees for purposes of idolatry and false worship.

3  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. 
4  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. ~ Jeremiah 10:3,4

Wreath 4. Christmas WreathsIn pagan mythology, evergreen means eternal life and a never-dying existence. Made from evergreens, Christmas wreaths were most frequently round, which symbolized the sun (just as do halos in most religious art). Hence, the round Xmas wreaths stand for an eternal sun, a never-dying or self-renewing sun. In addition, the round form can also relate to the sign of the female, which stands for the regeneration of life. Because of these pagan associations, the Christian church was initially hostile towards the use of wreaths and other evergreen derivatives. But in the same way it  Christianized other pagan traditions, the South African wreathchurch soon found a way to confer its own symbolic meanings. For example, the sharp pointed leaves of the “male” holly came to represent Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries His blood, while the “female” ivy symbolized immortality (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 6). Such wreaths now not only adorn churches at Christmas time, but are also appearing during the Easter season.

Mistletoe 5. MistletoeThe use of the mistletoe plant (which is poisonous to man and animals) can be traced back to the ancient Druids. (The Druids were pagan Celtic priests who were considered magicians and wizards.) It represented the false “messiah,” considered by the Druids to be a divine branch that had dropped from heaven and grew upon a tree on earth. This is an obvious corruption of God’s prophetic Word concerning Christ, “the Man the Branch,” coming from heaven. The mistletoe symbolized the reconciliation between God and man. And since a kiss is the well known symbol of reconciliation, that is how “kissing under the mistletoe” became a custom — both were tokens of reconciliation. The mistletoe, being a sacred plant and a symbol of fertility, was also believed to contain certain magical powers, having been brought to earth from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying it in its toes (hence the name). It was once known as the “plant of peace,” and in ancient Scandinavia, enemies were reconciled under it (yet another reason why people came to “kiss under the mistletoe”). It was supposed to bring “good luck” and fertility, and even to protect the house in which it hung from witchcraft.

Victorian couples kissing under the mistletoe (Getty Images) A kiss is also something which is, at times, associated with lust. So the practice of “kissing under the mistletoe” also had roots in the orgiastic celebrations in connection with the Celtic Midsummer Eve ceremony. At the time the mistletoe was gathered, the men would kiss each other as a display of their homosexuality. (The custom was later broadened to include both men and women.) Kissing under the mistletoe is also reminiscent of the temple prostitution and sexual license proliferating during Roman Saturnalia.

St Nicholas of Myra6. Santa ClausSanta Claus or “Father Christmas” is a corruption of the Dutch “Sant Nikolaas.” (“Saint Nicholas” was the 4th century Catholic bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who gave treats to children; he was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, “regarded as a special friend and protector of children.”  The red suit comes from the fact that Catholic bishops and cardinals in Italy wear red.) Santa Claus was also known as “Kriss Kringle,” a corruption of the GermanChrist Kindl— Christ Child. This has to be one of the most subtle of Satan’s blasphemies, yet most Christians are unaware of it.

Originally, the Santa Claus concept came from the pagan Egyptian god, Bes, a rotund, gnome-like personage who was the patron of little children. Bes god at Dendera Temple in Egypt Bes was said to live at the North Pole, working year-round to produce toys for children who had been good and obedient to their parents. In Dutch, he was called “Sinter Klaas.” Dutch settlers brought the custom to America. In Holland and other European countries, the original Santa Claus was actually a grim personage who traversed the countryside, determined to find out who really had been “naughty or nice.” Those who had been acting up were summarily switched. The association of Santa Claus with snow, reindeer, and the North Pole suggests Scandinavian or Norse traditions of the Yuletide season. [In Babylonia, also, the stag (reindeer) was a symbol of the mighty one, Nimrod. The symbolism of antlers worn on the head of a noble leader would demonstrate his prowess as a hunter, and thereby, influence people to follow him.]

Santa is the blasphemous substitute for God! He is routinely given supernatural powers and divine attributes which only GOD has. He is made out to be omniscient — he knows when every child sleeps, awakes, has been bad or good, knows exactly what every child wants (cf. Psa. 139:1-4). He is made out to be omnipresent — on one night of the year he visits all the “good” children in the world and leaves them gifts, seemingly being everywhere at the same time. He is made out to be omnipotent — he has power to give each child what each one wants. He is made out to be a sovereign judge — he answers to no one and no one has authority over him, and when he “comes to town,” he comes with a full bag of rewards for those whose behaviour has been acceptable in his eyes.

santa-claus-04

Santa Claus a.k.a. Satan Claws

Santa Claus has become one of the most popular and widely accepted and unopposed myths ever to be successfully interwoven into the fabric and framework of Christianity. It is a fact that Christ was born, and that truth should greatly rejoice the heart of every Christian. But the Santa Claus myth distorts the truth of Christ’s birth by subtly blending truth with the myth of Santa Claus. When Christian parents lie to their children about Santa Claus, they are taking the attention of their children away from God and causing them to focus on a fat man in a red suit with god-like qualities. All of this teaches the child to believe that, just like Santa, God can be pleased with “good works,” done in order to earn His favour. Also, they teach that no matter how bad the child has been, he will still be rewarded by God — just as Santa never failed to bring gifts. Even in homes of professing Christians, Santa Claus has clearly displaced Jesus in the awareness and affections of children, becoming the undisputed spirit, symbol, and centrepiece of Christmas.

7. Christmas Eve“Yule” is a Chaldean word meaning “infant.” Long before the coming of Christianity, the heathen Anglo-Saxons called the 25th of December “Yule day” — in other words, “infant day” or “child’s day” — the day they celebrated the birth of the false “messiah”! The night before “Yule day” was called “Mother night.” Today it is called “Christmas Eve.” And it wasn’t called “Mother night” after Mary, the mother of our Lord — “Mother night” was observed centuries before Jesus was born. Semiramis (Nimrod’s wife) was the inspiration for “Mother night,” and “Child’s day” was the birthday of her son (Tammuz), the sun-god!

Yule log fire 8. Yule LogThe Yule log was considered by the ancient Celts a sacred log to be used in their religious festivals during the winter solstice; the fire provided promises of good luck and long life. Each year’s Yule log had to be selected in the forest on Christmas Eve by the family using it, and could not be bought, or the superstitions associated with it would not apply. In Babylonian paganism, the log placed in the fireplace represented the dead Nimrod, and the tree which appeared the next morning (which today is called the “Christmas tree”) was Nimrod alive again (reincarnated) in his new son (sun), Tammuz. (Still today in some places, the Yule log is placed in the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and the next morning there is a Christmas tree!)

Today’s Yule log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex-and-fertility god, Jule, was honoured in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, and each day for twelve days a different sacrifice was offered. The period now counted as the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany was originally the twelve days of daily sacrifices offered to the Yule log. (What, then, are we really doing when we send “Yuletide greetings”? Are we really honouring Christ by sending greetings in the name of a Scandinavian fertility god? These are the same customs being practiced today as in ancient paganism! Only the names have changed.)

o-CHRISTMAS-CANDLES-facebook-1400x700 9. Candles Candles were lit by the ancient Babylonians in honour of their god, and his altars had candles on them. And as is well known, candles are also a major part of the ritualism of Roman Catholicism, which adopted the custom from heathenism. Candles approached the Yule log in ritual importance. Like the Yule log, they had to be a gift, never a purchase, and were lighted and extinguished only by the head of the household. Such candles stood burning steadily in the middle of the table, never to be moved or snuffed, lest death follow. The Yule candle, wreathed in greenery, was to burn through Christmas night until the sun rose or the Christmas service began (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,”p. 9). Obviously, candles should have no part in Christian worship, for nowhere in the New Testament is their use sanctioned.

10. Giving of Gifts The tradition of exchanging gifts has nothing to do with a re-enactment of the Magi giving gifts to Jesus, but has many superstitious, pagan origins instead. One prominent tradition was the Roman custom of exchanging food, trinkets, candles, or statutes of gods during the mid-winter Kalends (the first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar). This custom was transferred to December 25th by the Roman Church in keeping with the Saturnalian festival and in celebration of the benevolent St. Nicholas. [Is it not the height of ridiculousness to claim that giving one another presents properly celebrates Jesus’ “birthday” (not that there is anything necessarily wrong in giving each other presents)? But what are we giving Him, if indeed we are specifically celebrating His incarnation?]

Cooked goose 11. Christmas GooseThe “Christmas goose” and “Christmas cakes” were both used in the worship of the Babylonian “messiah.” The goose was considered to be sacred in many ancient lands, such as Rome, Asia Minor, India, and Chaldea. In Egypt, the goose was a symbol for a child, ready to die! In other words, a symbol of the pagan “messiah,” ready to give his life (supposedly) for the world. This is obviously a satanic mockery of the truth.

Cooked ham 12. Christmas HamHogs were slaughtered and the eating of the carcass was one of the central festivities of the Saturnalia. Each man would offer a pig as a sacrifice because superstition held that a boar had killed the sun deity Adonis. Hence, the tradition of the Christmas ham on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Stockings 13. Christmas StockingAccording to tradition, a poor widower of Myra, Turkey, had three daughters, for whom he could not provide a dowry. On Xmas-Eve, “Saint Nicholas” threw three bags of gold down the chimney, thereby saving the daughters from having to enter into prostitution. One bag rolled into a shoe, and the others fell into some stockings that had been hung to dry by the fire. Hence, the beginning of the tradition of the “Christmas stocking” or “boot.”

Cards 14. Christmas Cards The first British Xmas card can be dated back to 1843. The first cards featured pictures of dead birds! Evidently, the popularity of hunting robin and wren on Christmas Day made the dead bird image an appropriate one for “holiday” cards. Often the text of the cards would also have a morbid tone. Later, the cards displayed dancing insects, playful children, pink-cheeked young women, and festively decorated Christmas trees. The first actual Xmas cards were really Valentine’s Day cards (with different messages) sent in December. Mass production of Xmas cards in the United States can be traced back to 1875. Initially, the manufacturers thought of Xmas cards as a sideline to their already successful business in playing cards. But the “tradition” of sending cards soon caught on, leading to a very profitable business by itself.

Carol songsheet 15. Christmas Carols What do you suppose the reaction would be by a church’s leaders if its pastor were to propose that the following hymns be introduced into the church to commemorate the birth of Christ? The tunes are quite lovely.

Hymn #1 A hymn by a Unitarian (rejects the Trinity and full deity of Christ) minister that does not mention Jesus Christ and reflects the liberal social gospel theology of the 19th century.

Hymn #2A hymn by an American Episcopal priest, the fourth verse of which teaches Roman Catholic superstition about Christ coming to be born in people during the Advent season.

Hymn #3 A song, the words by an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, the music by a Roman Catholic school teacher, containing the Roman Catholic superstition about halos emanating from holy people, with no gospel message.

Perhaps you would expect the church’s leaders to be very upset. It might surprise you to learn that they were upset when they suspected that the pastor might somehow prevent them from singing them. You see, those three hymns were already in the church’s hymnals! The pastor did not have to introduce them. The three theologically incorrect “Christmas carols” referred to above are It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night.

O Little Town of Bethlehem lyrics Silent Night lyrics

E. European Xmas Traditions In the early days of Christianity, as it moved north and west into Europe, many pagan celebrations were encountered. For example, in the late-6th century in England, the Angles and Saxons were found celebrating Yule. The Christian evangelists thought they would fail in any attempt to rival, suppress, or stamp out such long held customs, so they simply adopted popular dates for their own “special rituals and hallowed services.” In other words, it was easier to establish a festival celebrating the birth of Christ if it conveniently coincided with an existing popular feast day. In this way, the pagan peoples (albeit potential converts to Christianity), could continue with their usual celebrations at this time of year, but the reason for the merrymaking could be redefined and attributed to Christ’s birth rather than to pagan rituals. As paganism eventually died out and Christianity became widespread, Christmas became more associated with its religious foundations than any others (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 2).

Christmas 1644 Rushwortha It was left to the Puritans to denounce everything. For them, Christmas was rightfully part popish, part pagan, and was forbidden to be kept as a holiday or feast day. The attack began in 1644 when the Puritans controlled the Parliament; December 25th was changed to a Fast Day. By 1647, even the Fast Day was abolished as a relic of superstition, synonymous with the Church of Rome. No observation on December 25th was any longer permitted, but the day was to be observed as a normal market-day. Christmas was accurately depicted by such names as the “Profane Man’s Ranting Day”, the “Superstitious Man’s Idol Day”, the “Papist’s Massing Day”, the “Old Heathen’s Feasting Day”, the “Multitude’s Idle Day”, and “Satan-that Adversary’s-Working Day”. In those days, any Christmas celebrations would be broken up by troops, who would tear down decorations and arrest anyone holding a service. Some who celebrated it in Europe were also thrown into prison. Because of the riots that broke out following the banning of Christmas, the celebrations and revelry were restored in 1660 by King Charles II, a Catholic (Sulgrave Manor, “A Tudor Christmas,” p. 3).

F. American Xmas Traditions America’s settlers (the “founding fathers” of so-called “Protestant America”) rightfully considered Christmas a “popish” holiday. In fact, it was only in the early 1800s that several founding members of the New York Historical Society “invented” Christmas. Before then, it was illegal in colonial Massachusetts to even take December 25th off work. Christmas was forbidden as “unseemly to ye spiritual welfare of ye community.” (It was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, and this law remained on the books for 22 years. In Boston, public schools stayed open on December 25th until as late as 1870!) It wasn’t until 1836 that any state declared Christmas a holiday (Alabama), and then there were no more state declarations until the Civil War. It was not until 1885 that all federal workers were given Christmas Day off. The so-called Xmas customs and traditions were later concocted more for commercial purposes than for religious.

Quoting from a 12/23/83 USA TODAY article about Christmas: “A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century.” Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist, wrote in 1874 of his New England boyhood:

“To me Christmas is a foreign day, and I shall die so. When I was a boy I wondered what Christmas was. I knew there was such a time, because we had an Episcopal church in our town, and I saw them dressing it with evergreens, and wondered what they were taking the woods in the church for; but I got no satisfactory explanation. A little later I understood it was a Romish institution, kept by the Romish Church.”

II. Scriptural Support Against Celebrating Christmas — Unacceptable Worship

A. 2 Chronicles 33:15-17

5  And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 
6  And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. 
7  And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: ~ 2 Chronicles 33:15-17

The Israelites had kept the old pagan form (the high places of Baal), but had merely introduced the worship of God into that form — a refusal to let go of pagan worship forms (i.e. God was to be worshiped in the Temple, not on the high places). This was unacceptable worship because the right object of worship was mixed with wrong forms of worship; i.e. the mixing of godly worship with ungodly form. [Likewise, is not the celebration of Christmas the taking of a celebration established by pagans and for pagans, and then introducing the worship of Christ into that pagan form?]

B. Deuteronomy 12:29-32

29  When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 
30  Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 
31  Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 
32  What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. ~ Deuteronomy 12:29-32

God warned His people Israel to destroy all vestiges of pagan worship that they found in the “Promised Land.” Not only did God want to prevent His people from being enticed to worship false gods, but He specifically revealed that He did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner in which the heathen worshiped their gods. We know, therefore, that our Lord is displeased by practices which profess to honour Him, but which are copied from the tradition of false religions. The command here was to worship God only in His way, i.e. do only what God commands — not adding to God’s commands nor taking away from them. [Is not “putting Christ back into Christmas,” worshiping “the Lord your God their way”? Is there any command in the Bible to give special reverence to the Scriptural account of Christ’s birth more so than to any other Scripture, let alone even a suggestion to celebrate or commemorate His birth in any way whatsoever? God never intended for His people to be imitators of the pagan customs of the world, but has called us to be separate and set apart.]

C. Leviticus 10:1,2

1  And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 
2  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. ~ Leviticus 10:1,2

Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord. [Is not the celebration of Christmas, with all its pagan symbols and forms, a “strange fire” unto the Lord, and is not this form of worship contrary to God’s commands?]

D. 1 Samuel 15:1-3,7-9,21-23

1  Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. 
2  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. 
3  Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. ~ 1 Samuel 15:1-3

7  And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 
8  And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 
9  But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. ~ 1 Samuel 15:7-9

21  But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 
22  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 
23  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. ~ 1 Samuel 15:21-23

Saul disobeyed God’s prophet in order to worship God in his way. [Is not the celebration of Christmas one of man’s ways of worshiping Christ? There is no Biblical command to offer worship in this manner.]

E. 2 Samuel 6:2-7

2  And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. 
3  And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. 
4  And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. 
5  And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. 
6  And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 
7  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. ~ 2 Samuel 6:2-7

David attempts to transport the ark on a “new cart” instead of using the rings and poles as the Law required (Exo. 25:12-15). Additionally, the “transporters” of the ark were not even authorized to carry it (1 Chron. 15:2,13-15); i.e. the ark was not only transported in the wrong way, but was transported by the wrong people! [Is not the celebration of Christmas the wrong way (pagan forms and tradition) with the wrong people (the heathen of the world join right in with the professing Christians)?]

F. 1 Kings 12:26-33

26  And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 
27  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. 
28  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. 
29  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 
30  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. 
31  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. 
32  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. 
33  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. ~ 1 Kings 12:26-33

In order to unify the northern ten tribes of Israel, ungodly King Jeroboam set up pagan idols, not in place of God, but as new focal points for directing worship to God. He even instituted a new festival on a new day; i.e. a new religious holiday of his own choosing. Even though the true God of Israel was still to be the object of worship in the new religious holiday, both the holiday and the worship were not authorized by God nor accepted by Him (1 Ki. 13:1-3, 15:29,30). Why? Because the concocted mixture of error with truth constituted false religion! [Is not the celebration of Christmas a religious holiday of man’s own choosing, replete with pagan symbols and forms, all under the guise (by sincere Christians at least) of worshiping the one true God and Saviour? But does not this worship form and system still constitute false religion, and thereby, make it unacceptable to God? And besides, where in the Bible do Christians have the right to add a new holy day to the so-called Christian calendar, any more than King Jeroboam had the right to add a new holy day to God’s theocratic calendar?]

G. 1 Corinthians 8:4-13; Romans 14:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:14,18-21

4  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 
5  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 
6  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 
7  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 
8  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 
9  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 
10  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 
11  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 
12  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 
13  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:4-13

1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 
2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 
3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 
4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 
5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 
6  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 
7  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 
8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 
9  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 
10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 
11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 
12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 
13  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. ~ Romans 14:1-13

14  Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. . . .  
18  Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 
19  What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 
20  But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 
21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:14,18-21

These passages concerning Christian liberty are discussed in more detail under Roman numeral IV. [Christian liberty can best be defined Biblically as “the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by the Scriptures or denying oneself what is permitted (i.e. a moral choice of self-discipline) in order to be a more effective witness for God.” So the question must first be answered, “Is Christmas permitted?”] Briefly, some claim that Paul is teaching that the participation in pagan forms condemns no one, and therefore, participation in Christmas and its forms, even though arising out of pagan idolatry, is inconsequential. Paul nowhere approves participation in acts of idolatry, of which the participation in the pagan forms of Christmas comes dangerously close to doing. Instead, Paul is speaking of the liberty to continue in Jewish days of worship/festival that had been previously ordained under the Jewish law. There is certainly no liberty to bring outside pagan forms into the church’s worship services. Likewise, there is no liberty to Christianize Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days as special days.

Christians in the first century churches had the liberty to observe Old Testament holy days and feasts (days that had previously been revealed by God) if they were so immature as to do so. The weaker brother, Paul wrote, was at that time not to be censured for continuing to attach some importance to the Old Testament holy days, as a clear knowledge of their abolition in Christ was not yet given to him (the weaker brother). But to observe a pagan holy day is something this passage does not sanction. They certainly did not have the liberty to regard Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days (days that were invented by the devil) as special days. Again, that would have been idolatry, worldliness, and perhaps even a form of Satan worship on their part. Therefore, how can the observance of Christmas Day, or any other Babylonian/Roman Catholic holy day, be a matter of Christian liberty?

Yet when some of us refuse to regard the pagan holy days as special days, we are the ones often referred to as the “weaker brother” in this matter! Are we opposed to such days because we are “weak in faith”? Faith would be defined as believing what the Word of God says about a matter and acting upon it. It was by faith that we stopped regarding pagan holy days as special days. Would we be more mature Christians if we would start regarding such days again? It would certainly be much easier on us and our families.

III. Christmas and Violation of the Ten Commandments (reverse order)

10. Do Not Covet Children learn to covet the gifts of others, to drool over the Christmas catalogue, to drag their parents endlessly through toy stores, all in the name of “the Christmas spirit.”

9. Do Not Bear False Witness — “Jesus is the reason for the season!” is the Christian battle cry to “put Christ back in Christmas,” when in actuality, there is not only no Biblical warrant for Christmas, but its roots are in pagan worship systems. Nevertheless, professing Christians lie to their children about Santa Claus, the supernatural, sorcerous false “god” of Christmas, whose “gospel” is one of works salvation along with unconditional acceptance and rewards. Parents lie to their children for years about the god-like character of Santa Claus, in effect asking them to trust in a false god and a lie, and then don’t understand why later in life their children won’t believe and trust in the true God, Jesus Christ.

8. Do Not Steal Christmas spending patterns could never stand the test of Biblical stewardship; Christians “steal” the Lord’s resources by lavishly spending money on worthless and useless trinkets (in many cases); and withhold resources from those in need, while at the same time claiming to never have enough money to buy good Christian books, pay for home schooling, or buy Bible helps for their children. (Christians could also be helping the spiritually needy by giving them tracts, books, etc.) We “steal” from our families what they need and what we owe them in order to buy gifts for those who don’t need them.

7. Do Not Commit AdulteryAt this “special” time of the year, lustful thoughts are actually encouraged; e.g. teens are allowed to go to parties and stay out later, thereby having temptations put in front of them that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Christmas parties for adults also encourage evil thoughts through the use of the mistletoe, etc. (According to Matt. 5, such thoughts constitute adultery. At the very least, spiritual adultery is encouraged by the “season.”)

6. Do Not MurderEnvy and hate of my brother (which, according to Matt. 5, is equal to murder) because he has more than me or because he receives a larger Christmas bonus than me, is encouraged at Christmas time. We also tend to spiritually sacrifice our children to the “god of Christmas” via greed, selfishness, etc.

5. Honour Father & Mother Christmas gift-giving is not an honour to parents; the term “exchanging” gifts (i.e. giving in expectation of a return) is a dead give-away of the mockery associated with this tradition.

4. Remember the Sabbath & Keep It Holy Although we recognize that the Lord’s Day is not the “Christian Sabbath,” clearly the Lord’s Day is to be kept for worship and observed as such. Yet when Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the day after Christ-mas falls on a Sunday, most churches adjust the Lord’s Day to accommodate Christ-mas, usually by cancelling the regularly scheduled Sunday evening service. Most of its members are too busy or too tired to attend services anyway.

3. Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain “Christ” and “mass” are two words that are totally opposite from one another, and to connect the two is to blaspheme the name of Christ. By taking a pagan celebration, “Christianizing” it, and calling it a celebration of the birth of Christ, is most certainly taking the Lord’s name in vain. (A good example of the willingness of the professing church to profane the name of the Lord would be the title of a popular children’s Christmas concert production — The Divine Ornament. Imagine, identifying our Lord with a pagan ornament to hang on a pagan tree! What insult! What blasphemy!) In addition, some professing Christians use religion (“Christ’s birthday”) as a cloak to cover the evils of covetousness, idolatry, greed, immorality, etc. — all excuses to give vent to evil lusts.

2. Do Not Make Yourself Any Carved ImageNativity scenes, “pictures” of Christ, Christmas cards with “pictures” of Jesus, etc., all violate this command. God has given us His Word, not images, to teach us about Christ (1 Pe. 1:23; Dt. 4:12,15-19).

1. Have No Other gods Before MeThe “god of Christmas” is an idol! Looking to Christmas season for happiness, joy, and fulfilment, rather than through a pure, personal, and Biblical relationship with Jesus Christ, is idolatry.

IV. A Christian’s Decision to Celebrate Christmas – is it Christian Liberty?

A. Romans 14:1-13 (see II.G. above) This passage is speaking of Jews who were observing the Old Testament Jewish holy days/festivals and dietary laws even though they were now believers in Christ; but they were also judging their Gentile brothers-in-the-Lord who did not observe the Jewish customs. Likewise, the Gentile Christians were judging their Jewish brothers who were seemingly caught-up in ceremonial law. Paul was thusly saying, “To you Gentile Christians — leave the Jewish Christians alone, because they are not violating any Scriptural commands by their actions (i.e. it’s a “disputable” matter [doubtful or grey area] and not a moral issue). To you Jewish Christians — it’s okay for you to observe the Jewish festivals and dietary laws because they were given by God in the Old Testament, and thereby, are considered to be previously approved worship forms, but don’t judge your Gentile brothers because there is no Biblical command for either of you to continue to observe these things.” (Actually, it wasn’t “okay” [see IV.C. below], but Paul allowed it as an act of an immature/weaker brother [see II.G. above].) If a moral issue is involved (i.e. a practice that is covered in Scripture), then this passage and its application to Christian liberty (i.e. the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by Scripture) would obviously not apply. The celebration of Christmas appears to be such a moral issue, because it is not only not from God, but is from ancient paganism itself!

B. 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (see II.G. above) The Gentile Christians, who had been raised in an idolatrous system, were having a problem with the their Jewish brothers who were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. (Apparently, this was the only “healthy” meat available.) Similar to the Romans 14 passage above, Paul says that eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols is not a moral issue, and thereby, is not prohibited. However, Paul does not say that it is okay to go into the pagan temple itself; in fact, in other passages (1 Cor. 10:14,18-21), Paul specifically prohibits getting involved with the pagan feasts. In other words, it’s not a moral issue to partake in the by-products of a pagan religious system (note, however, that there is no indication here that the Jewish Christians were using the “idol meat” as part of their worship), but it is not okay to partake in the religious system itself (because the corrupt character of the participants would be harmful for believers). Rather, we must be separate from the worldly system (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). Therefore, when items (by-products) associated with a pagan religious system not only develop religious associations of their own, but have been integrated into what would otherwise be true Christian worship (as the celebration of Christmas has clearly become in our culture), then we should pull away from them so that there is no confusion over our allegiances.

C. Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16-17

9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 
10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. ~ Galatians 4:9,10 

16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 
17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. ~ Colossians 2:16,17

Both these passages of Scripture refer to the Jewish holy days under Old Testament law. If Christians were not even to observe the Old Testament holy days — days which did have divine sanction, for a time — they certainly don’t have the liberty to observe pagan holy days!

D. James 4:11

11  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. ~ James 4:11

James is saying that Christians may only judge a brother on matters determined in God’s Word (i.e. moral issues). If a matter is not covered in the Word, then these are matters of Christian liberty (Rom. 14:1-13; 1 Cor. 8:4-13). He who judges in these areas of Christian liberty is judging and condemning the Word of God as being an imperfect standard to which the judge, thereby, refuses to submit. Since we have clear Scriptural precept that condemns the things that go on around December 25th in the name of Christ, the celebration of Christmas does not appear to be a matter of liberty, but one of moral conduct.

V. The Right Response

A. Quench Not the Holy Spirit (1 Thes 5:19-22)

19  Quench not the Spirit. 
20  Despise not prophesyings. 
21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 
22  Abstain from all appearance of evil. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Test all things against the Scripture and line-up beliefs and actions with what is true (i.e. do not treat with contempt the Word of God). If one is convinced that to celebrate Christmas is sin, then he and his family must not compromise with the world or the church by participating in any Christmas celebrations (Rom. 14:23).

B. Avoid Traps of the Devil:

1. Lack of ZealOne who never considers why he does certain things, but he just does them because he always has or because his parents always have; one who acts on emotions rather than on facts.

2. Lack of TruthOne who does things for good reasons and right motives (i.e., plenty of zeal), but not in truth.

C. Realize that Christians Celebrating Christmas as the Day of Christ’s Birth Makes No More Sense than Adding Any of the Following Days as Special Days of Christian Celebration:(Remember, The Bible’s focus on the birth of Christ is for the sole purpose of documenting his virgin birth, his incarnation, and the fulfilment of His prophetic Messiahship. Like the tongue-in-cheek suggestions below, one must also remember that there is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for the remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration.)

1. Baptism CelebrationWhy not have three days of swimming parties in the summer in order to celebrate/symbolize Christ’s three days in the grave? We could even pick a time based upon our speculation of when John the Baptist baptized Jesus!

2. Ascension Celebration Why not have one day set aside every year for hot-air balloon rides in order to celebrate Christ’s ascension to heaven?

3. Miracle Celebration There is considerable Biblical focus on Jesus’ miracles (even more than on his birth), so why not have one day set aside every year to celebrate the first of Christ’s miracles? And since that was the turning of water into wine (Jn. 2), why not have “Christian” wine-tasting parties?!

D. Avoid the Rationalizations that:

1. “Christmas Provides a Festive Time to Share the Gospel” One cannot take something condemned in God’s Word and “use it” to spread the Gospel; neither will God bless it to spread His Word. Unacceptable worship and the “mixing-in” of unholy/pagan forms is surely not the normal means through which God blesses the faithful. Satan works to blend together his system with God’s system, because when unacceptable worship (paganism) is blended with true worship (God’s truth), true worship is destroyed.

In fact, any time one mixes pagan ideas and practices with the pure religion of Christ, it is condemned in Scripture as the heinous sin of idolatry! God has always detested taking those things dedicated to idols and using them to worship Him. [In fact, this “special time of the year” is probably more a hindrance to the receptiveness of the gospel message than a help. Much of the celebration observed by our contemporary society deludes people into assuming that God is pleased, when in reality, He is offended by false religion, pseudo-worship, and alien philosophies. The ecumenical spirit and counterfeit “love” under the guise of “peace and goodwill among men,” dulls one’s sensitivity to his desperate need to repent of sin and be reconciled to a holy God.]

2. “Christmas is Merely the Honouring of Christ’s Birth” Someone says, “I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it’s not wrong for a church to have a special time for honouring Christ’s birth.” But since when did Protestants believe that Christians have the right to add to the Bible? Is the church a legislative body? Are we to follow the Bible in our faith and practice, or the thinking of fallible men? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will be no better than the false cults and the Roman Catholics who follow heathen traditions! [Celebrating Christ’s birth is a form of worship. But since Christmas is a lie, those who celebrate it are not worshiping in “spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).]

3. “All I’m Doing is Putting Christ Back into Christmas” The modern conservative cry to put Christ back into Christmas is absurd. As detailed earlier in this report, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas. It’s a lie to say He was. He has no part in a lie. When anyone takes the truth and mixes a lie with it, they no longer have the truth. They have changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and mix enough truth with it to change the lie into the truth. You still come out with a lie. One may say, “Well, I know it’s not the truth, but I’ll put Christ back in Christmas and glorify God in it then.” No, you won’t. Christ never was in Christmas. You cannot change a lie into the truth. It should in reality be Baal-mass, Nimrod-mass, Tammuz-mass, Mithras-mass, or Mary-mass. Christ-mass is a lie. Why use a lie as a good time for a cardinal truth (the incarnation) of the Christian faith?

4. “I’m Using Christmas to Witness for Christ, Just Like the Apostle Paul Did”Some say that all they are doing is taking the “truth” from Christmas (i.e. the incarnation of Christ) and “cultivating” it as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 17/Mars Hill), taking the opportunity of the season to witness to a lost world. This would be fine if these Christians were actually doing only as Paul did. Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, proclaimed to them that their “unknown god” to whom they had erected an altar, was none other than “the God who made the world and all the things therein.” Paul was not intimidated by the pagan surroundings and symbolisms, nor did he berate the Greeks for their error, but merely showed them the truth of the gospel of Christ.

But do Christians really use the “opportunity presented by the season” in the same way as Paul used the opportunity of the pagan altar? Do Christians personally stand in front of their home-town public displays of Xmas (Nativity scenes, etc.) and preach the gospel? To paraphrase Paul, do they say: “Men of Indianapolis, I see that in every way you are very religious; what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you”? Do they come out of the public schools where they have just attended their children’s Xmas programs and preach to the attendees about the true God who has been grossly misrepresented in the program they have witnessed? Hardly. Even to most of those who understand the true origin of Xmas, this “unique time of year” means inviting unbelievers into their homes to gather around the Xmas tree, are only using pagan forms and the pagan festival season as an opportunity to witness. If Paul meant this in Acts 17, he would have met the people in the Athenian temple or in his or their homes, gathering around their idols which he had Christianized and was now using as a part of his worship.

Most of the people who decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees, holly wreaths, Nativity scenes, etc., all supposedly to be used as “opportunities” via “Xmas coffees,” neighbourhood “grab bag” gift exchanges, Xmas concerts, etc., are convinced that they’re doing God a service. And since they are not involved in the crass secular “commercialization” that the world revels in, but have instead “put Christ back in Xmas”, they reason that all is Biblical and pleasing to God.

5. “It Doesn’t Mean Anything to Me”Many Christians who routinely make a habit of picking-and-choosing which Biblical commands they will obey or not obey, have likewise carried this practice over into a justification for celebrating Christmas. They claim, “but the Christmas tree, mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc., don’t mean anything pagan to me, so I’ll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it.” Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e. “I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison”), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God’s spiritual warnings?

6. “The ‘Connection’ Has Been Broken” There are those who clearly recognize the pagan nature of the various Christmas worship forms and practices. Nevertheless, many of these Christians claim that because of the long passage of time from their pagan inception to the present (6000 years?), the “connection” to paganism has been sufficiently diminished to allow the adoption of these forms and practices into our Christian worship and celebration. While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that Christendom seeks to commemorate Christ’s birth with the faded symbols of Satan. And even though some of God’s people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, surely God is not. Can such things please Him? And think about this — if it were possible to “disconnect” current practices from their pagan/occultic roots, why does Scripture not provide us any guidelines as to:

(a) how much time is necessary for the “neutralization” / disassociation process to occur; and

(b) which of the hundreds of ancient pagan rites would then be acceptable for adaptation into Christian worship (since some are obviously much more pagan/occultic than others)?

7. “There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin”It is said, “Such things as the wedding ring, certain clothing customs, the modern division of time into hours and minutes, the names of the days of the week, etc., all have pagan connections in their origins, so isn’t it a contradiction on your part to say that their meanings have sufficiently changed while Christmas’s meanings have not?”

That’s not what we’re saying. We would ask the question back, “Which of these pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? Or which of these is ‘Christianized’ and brought into our weekly worship of, or our daily devotion to, Christ, as you do with the pagan forms and traditions of Xmas?” The origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship. As we have already detailed in the section on Christian liberty (Section IV.B.), these rings, clothing customs, etc. would be merely the by-products of paganism, not paganism itself, and they have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Xmas customs and traditions.

8. “Baptism (and Circumcision) Have Pagan Origins and God Still Gave Their Use in Scripture, So What’s Wrong With Using the Pagan Forms of Christmas?” This argument is frequently made by pastors who say that to be consistent, those who would have us forbid the forms, symbols, and traditions of Christmas should also be calling for us to abandon believer’s baptism; i.e. shouldn’t the would-be banners of Christmas be saying, “Since the ancient mystery religions practiced forms of baptism, therefore baptism is a pagan custom and should be outlawed for the believer in Christ”? This is a strange argument for anyone to make (and, in our opinion, reveals a low view of Scriptural admonitions). If baptism were absent from the Bible, as using pagan forms and traditions to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birthday are absent, there would then be no Biblical justification for baptism. God has not commanded us to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birth. He has commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).

E. Abstain From the Observance of ChristmasWhat, then, ought to be the Christian’s response to this and other pagan and Roman inventions? It cannot be denied that they are pagan pure and simple, from beginning to end. God gives us specific instructions in His Holy Word: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen . . . (Jer. 10:2). These words are perfectly clear. What rational options does a Bible believing Christian have?

VI. Conclusion

The very popularity of Christmas should cause the Christian to question it. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question — outright pagans, nominal Christians, and even Buddhists and Hindus. If, in reality, December 25th was a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, you could be sure that the world would have nothing to do with it. After all, God has commanded one day in seven — the Lord’s Day — to worship Him. Does the world observe it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 15:18,23-25). It shuns anything pertaining to true religion. Shouldn’t the Christian be just a little suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?

One way to test the Scripturalness of our practices is to reflect on what we would expect missionaries to teach new converts in a foreign culture. With the Bible as their guide book they could start new local churches without importing American culture encumbered with Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, and crass commercialism. Missionaries who have urged new converts to forsake all pagan superstitious relics have later been questioned about the apparent inconsistency of their own American Christmas customs. Nationals perceived them as idolatrous even though the missionaries were oblivious to that possibility!

When Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers Protestant people! And there is reason why it does so. When the pagan celebration of Christmas is rooted up, and rejected, then what has become a Protestant tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And that is why people become angry. It began as a Roman Catholic holy day, and then it became a Protestant holy day. And if anyone dares show it up for what it really is, they face the wrath of the Protestant religious machine.

Christmas is a thoroughly pagan holiday — in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions. Perhaps we should contemplate the words of the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon, delivered in a Lord’s Day sermon on December 24, 1871:

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it’s] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. . . .

“It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; . . . Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. . . . We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. . . . regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”

And from Dr. H.A. Ironside’s Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920: p. 301):

“It is a lamentable fact that Babylon’s principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ’s Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas. . . . some of these festivals . . . when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother’s characteristics . . . ”

And, finally, from Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons: Or the Papal Worship:

“Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition. That Christmas is a pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is celebrated, prove its origin.”

We can summarize by saying that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence, it will always remain unknown and is not to be ceremoniously remembered and celebrated. (In fact, God has warned us about getting entangled with any special days [Gal. 4:10]). Notice though, that we are commanded to remember Him in His death (but no special day was specified for this either):

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; this DO in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:18,19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).

To commemorate His death is Scriptural. Any day of the year will do. To commemorate His birth is non-Scriptural, even extra-Scriptural (Deut. 4:2, 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19), whether one chooses December 25th or any other day. If God had desired us to remember Christ’s birthday, He could have left us the precise date. But if He had, He would have vindicated every astrologer in the past 2,000 years. In occult circles, the anniversary of a person’s birth is the most important metaphysical day of the year. The Bible recognizes no such significance. It is intriguing that there are only two birthday celebrations recorded in the entire Bible and they were both those of ungodly kings — and both resulted in an execution (Gen. 40:16-22 and Matt. 14:6-10/Mark 6:21-27)!

The Apostle Paul says: “God forbid that I should glory in anything except in the cross [not the manger] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). We find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus by itself, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Saviour, not in a cradle.

Those who love Jesus should certainly rejoice that He was born and lived amongst us as a man. But if we truly want to glorify Him and bear testimony of who He is, we must stop marrying that blessed gift with the debauchery of paganism. If we want to honour His birth, let it be done as He would have done it: year-round unselfishly serving our fellow man as an unending act of love for our God. Let us put away all of the mixture of pagan customs and take up His mantle and His pure worship, and show the confused world that there is a difference.

D.B. Dicks

Soli Deo Gloria

_______________________

BIBLIOGRAPHY/SOURCES:

1. Assemblies of Yahweh. The Case Against Christmas. Sacred Name Broadcaster, Bethel, PA,23pp.
2. Becker, R.F. The Truth About Christmas. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 36 pp.
3. Blanton, Raymond. The Christmas Lie. Highways & Hedges Tracts, Liberty, SC, 13 pp.
4. Buday, George. The History of the Christmas Card. Putman Pub., New York, 1954, 304pp.
5. Dager, Albert James. “The Origins of Christmas Traditions,” Media Spotlight Special Report Redmond, WA, 1985..
6. Dickey, D.J. & Shetler, Earl. “Should A Christian Celebrate Christmas?” Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Vernonia, OR, 10/89: three-part sermon series — each on a 90-minute audio cassette tape.
7. Dossey, Donald. Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun: Mythical Origins, Scientific Treatments & Superstitious “Cures.” Outcomes Unltd. Press, Asheville, NC, 1995 (paper ed.), 232pp.
8. Elwell, W. A. (Ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984, pp. 218-221.
9. Halff, Charles. The Truth About Christmas. The Christian-Jew Foundation, San Antonio, TX, 13 pp.
10. Halff, Charles. “Is Christmas a Jewish Holiday?” Message Of The Christian Jew. November-December 1993, pp. cover, 1,2 & 7.
11. Helgerson, John C. Considering the Christmas Issue. The Church of the Open Bible, Burlington, MA, 12/31/90.
12. Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons: Or The Papal Worship. Loizeaux Bros., Neptune, NJ, 1959:Second Edition, 330 pp.
13. Kohler, John. Our Baptist Heritage. Heritage Baptist Church, Salem, IN, Vol. 2, No. 3, 11/92, 8 pp.
14. McCurry, Robert. The God Man Has Made. Heritage Press, Sharpsburg, GA, 8pp.
15. Pink, A.W. Xmas . Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 6 pp.
16. Schneider, Michael. Is Christmas Christian? Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 15 pp.
17. Spurlin, Ed. Where Is The Christ In Christmas. Voice in the Wilderness, Milford, NH, 11/92, 8pp.
18. Spurgeon, C.H. “Joy Born At Bethlehem,” A Sermon: Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, December 24th, 1871. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, pp. 697-698.
19. Unknown. My Lord Has Not Told Me To Do It: The Christian andChristmas. ” Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 4 pp.
20. Unknown. 10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Unscriptural. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 8 pp.
21. (Vine, W.E.), Gospel Tract Publications. The Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, Volume 5. Glasgow, Scotland, 1986, pp. 436-439.
22. Willcock, Shaun. The Pagan Festivals of Christmas and Easter. Bible Based Ministries, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 1992, 76 pp.
23. Wilson, Greg. Let’s Keep Christ Out of Xmas. Landmark Independent Baptist Church, Homestead, FL, 4 pp.

_______________________

FOOTNOTE:

* This blog post first appeared on 26 November 2011, which now has been updated with images and insertion of Authorised Version (King James Bible) scriptures.

RELATED LINKS:

The Night Before Christmas*

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and strange as it seems;

I wasn’t indulging in covetous dreams.

But reading my Bible, I searched for a clue;

Why Christians take part in this holiday too.

Word of GodI plainly could see that it carried His name;

But the spirit behind it just wasn’t the same.

The songs spoke of wise men, of virgin and child;

Of shepherds, of God, and all men reconciled.

But nothing was said of the blood and the cross;

Of repentance, and faith, and of counting the cost.

They sang of the babe, His miraculous birth;

But not of the day when He’ll judge the whole earth.

Christmas treeMy Bible said nothing of Santa, or toys;

Of Frosty the Snowman, and small drummer boys.

A reference to Rudolph not once did I see;

But it seems Jeremiah did mention the tree.

I sat and I pondered this curious matter;

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter.

That I knew in a moment he soon would be here;

So I prayed in the Spirit and stood without fear.

Santa Claus a.k.a. Satan ClawsHe slipped down the chimney, quick as a flash;

And stepped from the fireplace all covered with ash.

There stood St. Nick with his bag and his beard;

He looked at the Bible I held, and he sneered,

“Another fanatical Christian, I see;

No stockings, no holly, no pictures of me.”

I asked him if Jesus was God in the flesh;

He said that was something he couldn’t confess.

Krampus and St Nicholas He said, “I am Santa, I come from afar”;

I stood in the truth – “The Devil you are.

That suit and that beard doesn’t fool me one bit;

Your jolly deception is straight from the pit.”

“Beneath all your Ho Ho Ho’s, Lucifer lurks;

With your all-seeing eyes and your gospel of works.

Like a thief in the night you impersonate Christ;

Returning to judge the naughty and nice.”

 

Isis & Horus / Mary and "child" pagan worship “So call Christmas pagan,” he said, “That’s Okay.

‘Cause that’s what my sons at the Watchtower say.”

“You’ll look like a pagan or like a deceiver;

But none will suspect you to be a believer.”

I said, “I don’t care what your servants will say;

My loyalty lies with the Ancient of Days.”

“No matter how many abuses are hurled;

My Bible says be not conformed to this world.”

“You have no power, and no part of me;

So I stand on God’s Word, and command you to flee.”

Santa sleigh He squealed like a pig that was stuck with a knife;

He ran to the chimney and climbed for his life.

And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight;

“Merry Xmas to all, and a long, dark night.”

~ Unknown ~Soli Deo Gloria

_____________________________

Footnote:

* Upgraded with pictures. The blog post “The Night Before Christmas” first appearing at this blog on 24 December 2016.

Daily Devotions by C. H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon November 26

Morning

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”
– Ecc 9:10

10  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,” refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart findeth to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatsoever our hand findeth to do.” One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we “find to do” day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but time present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do-”do it with thy might.” Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do to-morrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of to-day. No man ever served God by doing things to-morrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do to-day. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour, done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength.

But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek his help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand findeth to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for his blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect.

Evening

“They shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.”
– Zec 4:10

10  For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. ~ Zechariah 4:10 

Small things marked the beginning of the work in the hand of Zerubbabel, but none might despise it, for the Lord had raised up one who would persevere until the headstone should be brought forth with shoutings. The plummet was in good hands. Here is the comfort of every believer in the Lord Jesus; let the work of grace be ever so small in its beginnings, the plummet is in good hands, a master builder greater than Solomon has undertaken the raising of the heavenly temple, and he will not fail nor be discouraged till the topmost pinnacle shall be raised. If the plummet were in the hand of any merely human being, we might fear for the building, but the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in Jesus’ hand. The works did not proceed irregularly, and without care, for the master’s hand carried a good instrument. Had the walls been hurriedly run up without due superintendence, they might have been out of the perpendicular; but the plummet was used by the chosen overseer. Jesus is evermore watching the erection of his spiritual temple, that it may be built securely and well. We are for haste, but Jesus is for judgment. He will use the plummet, and that which is out of line must come down, every stone of it. Hence the failure of many a flattering work, the overthrow of many a glittering profession. It is not for us to judge the Lord’s church, since Jesus has a steady hand, and a true eye, and can use the plummet well. Do we not rejoice to see judgment left to him?

The plummet was in active use-it was in the builder’s hand; a sure indication that he meant to push on the work to completion. O Lord Jesus, how would we indeed be glad if we could see thee at thy great work. O Zion, the beautiful, thy walls are still in ruins! Rise, thou glorious Builder, and make her desolations to rejoice at thy coming.Soli Deo Gloria

Daily Devotions by C. H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon November 25

Morning

“To preach deliverance to the captives.”
– Luk 4:18

18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
~ Luke 4:18,19

None but Jesus can give deliverance to captives. Real liberty cometh from him only. It is a liberty righteously bestowed; for the Son, who is Heir of all things, has a right to make men free. The saints honour the justice of God, which now secures their salvation. It is a liberty which has been dearly purchased. Christ speaks it by his power, but he bought it by his blood. He makes thee free, but it is by his own bonds. Thou goest clear, because he bare thy burden for thee: thou art set at liberty, because he has suffered in thy stead. But, though dearly purchased, he freely gives it. Jesus asks nothing of us as a preparation for this liberty. He finds us sitting in sackcloth and ashes, and bids us put on the beautiful array of freedom; he saves us just as we are, and all without our help or merit. When Jesus sets free, the liberty is perpetually entailed; no chains can bind again. Let the Master say to me, “Captive, I have delivered thee,” and it is done for ever. Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord be on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but mightier is he who is for us than all they who be against us. The machinations of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but he who hath begun the good work in us will carry it on and perfect it to the end. The foes of God and the enemies of man may gather their hosts together, and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquitteth, who is he that condemneth? Not more free is the eagle which mounts to his rocky eyrie, and afterwards outsoars the clouds, than the soul which Christ hath delivered. If we are no more under the law, but free from its curse, let our liberty be practically exhibited in our serving God with gratitude and delight. “I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.” “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

Evening

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
– Rom 9:15

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold his mercy according to his own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in his sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins-and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, he may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may arraign him at their bar. Foolish and impudent are all those discourses about the rights of men to be all placed on the same footing; ignorant, if not worse, are those contentions against discriminating grace, which are but the rebellions of proud human nature against the crown and sceptre of Jehovah. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin and ill desert, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer cavil at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if he chooses to save others, as though he were doing us an injury, but feel that if he deigns to look upon us, it will be his own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we shall for ever bless his name.

How shall those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Last Pass

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 The original article together with videos can be viewed Here.

THE LAST PASS

By Owen Phillips & Andrew Aloia

000On the orders of Captain Wilfred Nevill, a football was booted into no man’s land for troops to follow as they left their trenches.

This was no game.

These men weren’t racing through on goal having breached the defence on a muddy football pitch, they were British soldiers bearing down on German lines on the first tragic day of the Battle of the Somme.

Many only survived a few steps.

WWI Front LinesAt this point the Football League was barely 25 years old, Wembley Stadium was still to be built and there hadn’t even been a World Cup.

Yet scores of British soldiers would clamber over the top to chase down what would be their last pass.

Football was to play a fascinating role during World War One, from England internationals helping to form special Footballers’ Battalions to the emergence of the women’s game, as well as the morale-boosting effect the sport had on the troops both deep behind the lines and all along the front.

Immersed in it all was one footballing family.

Jimmy SeedAt the outbreak of war Jimmy Seed was 19. Life was good.

He had just earned a contract with Sunderland and escaped a miserable, unrelenting life as a coal miner.

"I was thrilled to sign professional forms for the side that had been known as the Team of all Talents, one of the biggest clubs in the land," Jimmy said in his book The Jimmy Seed Story.

"I was supposed to receive a signing-on fee of £10 but was only given £5 for some reason. My three months’ summer vacation wages were £1, which was just enough to get by on at the time, as I lived at home with my parents. It was with joy I folded my miner’s clothes for the last time. I was a professional footballer."

Sunderland were already five-time league champions and Jimmy didn’t care about the sneaky deal which deprived him of £5 (almost three times the average weekly wage).

Jimmy Seed of SunderlandFootball, and Sunderland, was his life. He went to games at Roker Park with his four brothers and now the club was his work as well as his hobby. Football was huge and Jimmy Seed was part of the most exciting period the sport had ever known.

But it wasn’t the smoothest of journeys. Jimmy had "failed hopelessly" in his first trial. He had to borrow boots which were too big and played out of position at centre forward. The match itself came after a full night shift at the colliery.

"I did nothing and realised as I dressed after the trial in readiness for another night shift that Sunderland would not be interested in me," said Jimmy.

"I was in low spirits because I had come to loathe working in the pits."

But his impressive exploits as a teenager with Whitburn’s first team soon led to a second chance, this time playing in his best role as an inside forward. He scored a hat-trick in a dazzling performance.

"Life in the coal mines was dire," Jimmy’s grandson James Dutton, 62, told BBC Sport.

It’s difficult to express how awful it was. Football was like a way out of hell.

"I know he hated it. He said it was an awful existence and couldn’t wait to get out."

But a mining life was the expected path for the Seeds, a working-class family who had relocated from Blackhill in County Durham and settled in Whitburn in 1897, two years after Jimmy was born.

Jimmy’s dad, Anthony, worked in the papermaking industry in Shotley Bridge, but was increasingly concerned about the future of the mill as manufacturing techniques moved on. There were five sons and five daughters to support.

Jimmy (left) and Angus with parents Anthony and Elizabeth Jimmy (left) and Angus with parents Anthony and Elizabeth

Mining at the Whitburn Colliery provided relative security but Jimmy had other plans. He was born in what he later described as "England’s richest soccer nursery", and lived a couple of miles from Roker Park. He said he could "hardly fail to follow the soccer trail because in Whitburn soccer is meat and drink to all the boys".

The Seeds had the football bug, in particular Angus – one of Jimmy’s four older brothers – as well as the youngest of the 10 siblings, his little sister Minnie.

But Jimmy’s joy was short-lived. In April 1914 he was a professional footballer, yet he never got the chance to play for Sunderland’s first team.

After almost 18 months playing for the reserves, fantasy football was soon to be replaced by the horrible reality of war.

On 4 August 1914, as Europe descended into conflict following that summer’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Great Britain declared war on Germany.

By the end of the month, the process of trying to raise the biggest volunteer army ever seen was well under way.

004And footballers were expected to play their part.

Spectators were asked to leave the terraces and rush to recruitment stations – and football’s authorities had a duty to get them there.

When they weren’t seen to be fully backing the war effort, the game’s place in society and its sense of morality was questioned.

"Before the war there was an undercurrent of worry about whether lots of people watching football was good for the nation and the Empire," Dr Alexander Jackson, collections officer at the National Football Museum, told BBC Sport.

"There was the idea, especially of the upper classes, that sport should be played and not watched if it was going to have any value to society.

"Football was attacked early on because it was seen as keeping people away from going into the army."

In Sunderland, Lord Durham even said that he wished the Germans would drop bombs on Roker Park to encourage men to think about where they should be.

Football, unsurprisingly, took offence. Locally the game’s governing body made efforts to compile figures on just how many men the sport was contributing to the cause.

This, Dr Jackson said, was an "information war" on the home front.

In newspapers, the debate raged as football, rugby league and cricket were not immediately suspended. In London, the Evening News went so far as to cease printing its football edition.

Outside the football grounds there were protests, yet inside speeches were delivered by military spokesmen encouraging spectators and players to take up arms.

Footballers answered the call

The great Corinthian FC side of the day – one that inflicted the heaviest-ever defeat on Manchester United, whose colours Real Madrid adopted and style spawned a club by the very same name in Sao Paulo – were one such team.

They returned from a tour of South America, dodging a German gun boat on the way, to fight.

Thirty-four Corinthian players would perish in World War One.

But it wasn’t just the amateur game that responded – there were ‘current’ international players too.

Fourteen men who had represented England during the 1913-14 season went on to serve king and country in the war.

And, from the professional game, Huddersfield Town’s Larrett Roebuck died serving with the 2nd Battalion York and Lancashire Regiment in France just weeks after fighting began.

The talented full-back, 25, was initially recorded as missing in action and eventually "presumed dead".

football8-lr_a7a7z1iWinter arrived and the conflict and killing, which many had hoped would be over by Christmas, continued.

A formal "Truce of God" proposed by the Pope was rejected.

The morale of troops, however, was of concern.

In December, 460,000 parcels and 2.5 million letters were delivered to British soldiers in France. King George V sent a card to every soldier and a brass box of gifts was given to each man serving.

005Among the carnage, a touch of Christmas cheer was brought to the front.

Incredibly, on Christmas Eve deadly rivals sang carols to each other from their trenches.

It’s to this peaceful soundtrack that it is said football brought both sides together for what FIFA describes as "one of the most celebrated" matches.

Unofficial truces undoubtedly took place on Christmas Day, with presents exchanged and makeshift balls kicked around in no man’s land.

But the full-scale match itself, an event further promoted by much-loved BBC comedy series Blackadder Goes Forth, Paul McCartney’s song Pipes of Peace and a popular Christmas advertising campaign, is most likely a myth that has turned into legend.

Blackadder Goes Forth“The Christmas truce is amazing in being one of the most recognised things from World War One in terms of capturing popular imagination," said Dr Jackson.

“It is embraced because of the idea that football is a means of bringing people together. At that level you can see why, philosophically and on a sentimental level, it is taken on.”

Fraternising with the enemy, while a romantic notion and one that was widely publicised in newspapers at the time, infuriated High Command.

Repeat offences would be punished by Court Martial. This was all-out war.

football5-lr_8xlgwsd It’s with a Christmas backdrop that professional footballers began to commit to the cause in greater numbers in England.

Within five months of war beginning, the 17th Middlesex regiment was raised – it would famously be known as the Footballers’ Battalion.

Among its ranks was Jimmy Seed’s big brother, Angus.

On 15 December 1914 a meeting was held at Fulham Town Hall to try to get those involved in the game to think more about ‘doing their bit’.

It was not designed to be a recruitment meeting.

batallion5_cfr88dh-lr_z2pn7x7 But by the end of a series of speeches, including an address by Football Association president and five-time FA Cup winner Lord Arthur Kinnaird, 35 men from 11 clubs enlisted – 10 of which were Clapton Orient players.

The 17th Middlesex – which also boasted football and military pioneer Walter Tull and future Wolves and Notts County manager Frank Buckley – was one of a number of ‘Sporting Battalions’ to be formed.

The 16th Royal Scots, better known as McCrae’s Battalion and made up of a number of Heart of Midlothian players, was formed a month earlier in Edinburgh.

These were examples of how the game, its stars and the emotional connection to clubs were being used in propaganda to appeal to those considering joining the fight.

At home, Jimmy Seed was becoming increasingly torn as the season unfolded.

Still a teenager at 19, he was impressing with Sunderland’s reserves but his dream career path was in tatters, his moral compass no doubt confused.

He was conflicted by the conflict and the need to play his part, yet desperate to lead the footballing life he craved.

006It was a familiar story for many and the Seed family were no exception.

Angus was a reserve player with Reading in 1914 but signed up as the recruitment drive proved an astounding success. The call for volunteers had hoped to attract 100,000 men. Within two months, more than 750,000 signed up.

Angus was soon preparing for war and picking up tips for fitness training, as he explained in a letter to Reading’s secretary.

"We are getting on fine here," said Angus. "And if they keep giving us the drills we had this morning, we will have muscles like stones.

"It would do some of the boys good to come down here, it would harden them up a bit."

1908ish Seed concertina band biggerJimmy (left) described Angus as his "champion"

He became part of the battalion’s musical band, who also doubled as stretcher-bearers. And although usurped by Jimmy – who took his place in the local team as a young teenager – on the football field, Angus would excel on the battlefield.

Jimmy was the family’s footballing star, but idolised Angus, reflecting that his big brother was "always my champion".

At the end of the 1914-15 season, Jimmy, who had just turned 20, finally joined up.

"He would have seemed to be one of the least likely people in the world to sign up when he had just got a contract with Sunderland," added his grandson James Dutton.

But Jimmy’s priorities had changed.

Football had ceased to be the most important thing in life for me. Britain and Germany were at war and playing football was no longer such a thrill." ~ Jimmy Seed

Jimmy volunteered alongside fellow Sunderland players Tommy Thompson and Tom Wilson, joining the 63rd Northumbrian Division in the Cycling Corps. They trained in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.

Unsurprisingly, the trio formed the nucleus of a particularly useful team. They beat Grimsby, then a Football League side, in a friendly and quickly became known as the best football side in the military.

The month after Jimmy volunteered, in May 1915, the second Footballers’ Battalion – the 23rd Middlesex – was formed.

Coaches, referees and fans would go on to serve alongside their heroes. Truly a one-for-all approach. By 1918, approximately 4,500 men would serve the 17th Middlesex, with around 900 never to return to Blighty.

A total of 1,500 men lost their lives across the two Footballers’ Battalions.

West Ham play Back home, as football carried on, special leave was granted to players each week to allow them to swap combat boots and military training for football boots and league and cup matches.

It proved to be an important concession.

"It allowed balance," said Dr Jackson. "Players weren’t leaving their clubs in the lurch and clubs had players that could help draw a crowd."

And so the 1914-15 campaign controversially continued. Football absorbed more criticism and by the end some clubs were teetering on the edge of financial collapse because of dwindling crowds.

Everton won the league title and Sheffield United overcame Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Old Trafford in April 1915 – a match known as the Khaki Cup Final because of all the uniformed soldiers in the crowd of nearly 50,000.

football_crowd2-lr Then, professional football stopped.

All competitions were suspended until peace was restored. Players were no longer paid, although unofficial regional competitions would be held for the duration of the war.

These games raised charitable funds for the war effort and matches served as a distraction for civilians and soldiers alike.

Jimmy had just over a year training in England, by all accounts having a pretty grand time, before being drafted to France with the 8th Battalion West Yorkshires.

By that time, his brother Angus was already a war hero.

During a German attack on 1 June 1916, Angus dragged several wounded men, including the Arsenal assistant trainer, Private Tom Ratcliff, back to the British lines while under heavy fire.

Ratcliff had been buried by an explosion, but Angus rescued him and was later awarded the Military Medal.

Later that month Angus was badly injured in his right hip by shrapnel. It was an injury that effectively ended his professional football career.

footballers_battalion2-lr_fu2z06jFootballers and Footballers’ Battalions were clearly fully playing their part in the war effort, dispelling any early talk of not fulfilling their duty.

The idea behind the special units was an extension of the Pals battalion concept, many of which had been raised in northern towns and cities, aimed at assuring recruits that they would serve alongside people they knew. Targeting camaraderie as part of the recruitment process was key. And it worked.

In South Yorkshire, the Sheffield Pals ran through drills at Bramall Lane.

And, in south London, a poster calling on the ‘Men of Millwall’ was particularly direct, reading: "Let the enemy hear the Lions’ roar. Join and be at the final and give them a kick off the earth."

"It was tailored recruiting, picking up on different levels of identity," said Dr Jackson.

"Military messages and posters incorporated sporting terminology with phrases like ‘play in the greater game and join the Footballers’ Battalion’, and ‘positions need to be filled in all areas of the team, join up and play your part’."

007As the stalemate continued on the Western Front, the war was about to enter its most brutal phase.

On 1 July 1916, more than 100,000 British troops left their trenches along a 15-mile front to advance across no man’s land towards the German lines.

That first day of the Battle of the Somme was to become the bloodiest in the history of the British Army.

The Battle of the Somme Seven days of heavy bombardment had left the British military commanders convinced success was a formality. It would be a simple matter of strolling forward and claiming victory.

But the pounding had made little impact on the heavily fortified defences and machine gun positions.

The Germans emerged from their dugouts relatively unscathed and the enemy were butchered in catastrophic numbers. On one of the most infamous days of World War One, British fatalities totalled 19,240 among the 57,470 casualties.

Captain Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill led the men of B Company of the 8th Battalion East Surrey regiment over the top. His approach was different, though. He gained permission from his superiors to use two footballs to lead the attack.

Kick forwardThe balls were a focal point. One had “The Great European Cup-Tie Final. East Surreys v Bavarians. Kick off at zero” written on it. The other simply said “NO REFEREE” in large capitals.

They were a desperately-needed distraction using a common love of the beautiful game to hide the most hideous of prospects.

Petrified but still bravely breaking forward, hoping to nick a one-goal lead as they chased a ball over the top was not the gameplan – surviving the unfolding mayhem was the only thing on their minds.

It was the last pass that many of the men would ever chase. The East Surreys achieved their goal, but suffered a heavy death toll, Billie Nevill among them.

Nevill’s unusual tactics were seized upon by the British newspapers. It was propaganda gold but there was no disguising the gruesome failure of the battle. The Germans had their own spin, dismissing it as pure foolishness in war.

The Battle of the Somme The football influence ran far deeper than the Footballers’ Battalions.

Bradford Park Avenue player Donald Bell would go on to earn the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery" during the Battle of the Somme.

On 5 July, Second Lieutenant Bell was advancing with his troops along a trench known as the Horseshoe.

There, they came under heavy machine-gun fire.

victoria_cross_0o0s3p6-lr_lmpumelThe Victoria Cross was awarded to 49 British soldiers during the Somme

Bell and two others – Corporal Colwill and Private Batey – launched a sneak attack on crews manning the weapon. Bell shot the gunner with his revolver and a grenade was thrown to help the British gain ground.

"I only chucked one bomb," Bell wrote to his mother, "but it did the trick."

Five days later, aged 25, Bell was killed making a similarly audacious raid on an enemy trench. His VC medal was presented to his widow by King George V.

Losses on both sides were monumental during the Battle of the Somme.

A German war grave at Neville-St Vaast is the final resting place for almost 45,000 soldiers, of which 8,000 are unidentified.

Scattered among the sea of crosses, which marks a grave containing four bodies, there are 129 which stand out.

They are stone graves, featuring the Star of David and representing Jewish-German soldiers.

008In 141 days, the British had advanced just seven miles and failed to break the German defence.

More than one million had been killed or wounded on all sides during the Battle of the Somme – yet the conflict was no closer to a resolution.

While German Jews fought alongside all other Germans against the Allies in France, one of Jimmy Seed’s Sunderland team-mates refused to pick teams.

objectors2-lr_squorauNorman Gaudie, a 28-year-old accounts clerk, was a committed pacifist and was to be imprisoned for his beliefs.

While some objectors were granted exemption and served in non-combat units, as Burnley’s England international Edwin Mosscrop did, or contributed to the war effort by working in factories or on farms, like West Ham’s Leslie Askew chose, Gaudie was steadfast against any involvement.

Gaudie’s religious beliefs meant he felt "bound to disobey any military orders in loyalty to those convictions, which are based on the spirit and teaching of Christ".

Lord KitchenerNot everyone answered Lord Kitchener’s famous call

His refusal saw him arrested, fined and locked up in the cells of Richmond Castle in Yorkshire, before being shipped off to Boulogne, France, where he described the conditions as "foul and disgusting beyond words".

It’s there on ‘active duty’ that refusing a direct military order could see him sentenced to death.

And he was.

But faced with the firing squad he – and his fellow ‘conchies’ – were given a reprieve by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith as news of their treatment had caused public outrage in England.

The last-minute intervention meant Gaudie and the other absolute objectors instead faced hard labour in prison.

009Although football had ceased in its pre-war form at home, it had become increasingly important in all areas of army life.

Battalion football was huge. Kickabouts were a daily part of the routine, vital for morale and offering brief escapism from what was happening along the Western Front.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Seed was by now fighting his own personal battle – as well as the bigger battle.

"After arriving in France in the summer of 1916, he struggled, suffering with bad periods of depression, which were only relieved by playing football," explained grandson James Dutton.

"He was captain of his battalion team and his good friend Tommy Wilson was captain of another battalion of the Leeds Rifles. These football games really helped him."

Like so many of those that served, Jimmy remained secretive about many of the details of his time in the army. But his passion for football never wavered and undoubtedly helped him deal with war.

"I am sure they played whenever they could," added Dutton.

"There was an impression all soldiers were shoved in trenches until they died. But they went back behind the lines for rest and relaxation and played football then."

Soldier footballBut World War One soldiers were not exclusively engaged in trench warfare.

By July 1917, Jimmy was in Belgium.

"He and his fellow comrades were sleeping in a basement of a bombed out building in Nieuwpoort, near Ostend, and the Germans dropped mustard gas from an aeroplane," said Dutton.

"It was a major incident. Nearly 100 soldiers died and about 700 were hospitalised, including Jimmy."

Jimmy underplayed his time in the army as "worrying and uncertain days".

The only aspect of soldiering he missed was the friendship and the football.

Football helped me to escape from periods of mental depression." ~ Jimmy Seed

Whenever the soldiers were afforded a reprieve from the trenches, they could be seen playing behind the lines.

Even with shells falling nearby, they would continue. It perplexed the French troops.

"Certainly the French took the view of ‘what are these crazy British guys doing?’ as often they would be seen playing football behind the lines," said Dr Jackson.

"The French army at the time didn’t integrate sport into their philosophy, and during the war it began to be adopted because they could see the health benefits and how it was serving as a distraction."

World War One would prove instrumental in spreading the popularity of football among the French masses, as it was previously seen as a sport played by Anglophiles and the elite middle class.

"Through constant exposure and playing against British army teams the French got quite good, quite quickly," added Dr Jackson.

In Belgium"The war did pave the way to a post-war football boom."

And it was not just the French who latched onto football during the war. An estimated 250,000 Belgians fled to the UK following the German invasion of 1914.

The game was embraced as a favourite pastime, and football did its best to welcome the monumental influx of refugees.

Blackpool FC even changed the colour of their kit to that of the Belgian flag in an effort to make them feel more at home.

Football was also used as a way to raise charitable funds, with Belgian soldiers coming together to form a team that toured Britain.

The Belgians got so good that they went on to win gold at the 1920 Olympic Games, then the biggest international prize in world football.

And, 100 years on from the end of the Great War, France won their second World Cup, having overcome Belgium at the semi-final stage of the competition in Russia.

Women footballersGreat Britain’s allies were not the only ones to find their footballing feet during the chaos of war.

The demands put on society saw women move into jobs and become accepted in roles that were previously the sole domain of men. Football was no different.

Women footballers By 1918 almost a million women worked in munition factories and they were encouraged to get active. They did.

Football proved a popular leisure activity, but their interest would not be confined to lunch-break kickabouts.

Work teams were founded, charity matches played and competitions established as games pulled in crowds of tens of thousands.

Football, previously deemed unsuitable for the dainty and delicate women, had found its stage.

"Before the war there was a lot of male hostility to the idea of women playing football," said Dr Jackson.

Attitudes towards women and what they could do in society changed during the war.

"There was a huge amount of charitable work during World War One at all levels of British society. Women involved themselves, not just as supporters, but by becoming the attraction and women’s football proved popular."

With her brothers away on their European tour of duty, Minnie Seed stole the spotlight. She worked in a munitions factory but had the family’s sporting genes. She represented numerous sides in her native North East and beyond – including the most famous of all, Dick, Kerr Ladies.

Jimmy’s grandson James Dutton said: "Minnie was playing football in front of crowds of 30,000 at St James’ Park and became something of a local celebrity.

"Jimmy was quite an old fashioned fellow and I don’t think he would have approved of women playing football. But he was on a disabled serviceman’s pension after his gassing and this was what Minnie was raising money for, as well as working to help the war effort."

Minnie SeedMinnie (bottom right) pictured with her team-mates

Some onlookers were more receptive to the new phenomenon of women’s football. Ernest Edwards, sports editor of the Liverpool Echo, at least offered some encouraging, if heavily condescending, support.

"You doubtless wonder whether the playing of football by ladies has come to stay," he said. "I think their stay will be long in the land of football.

"They have a keen sense of the right thing to do, keep the ball on the turf, and show stamina that one could not have thought possible."

Not many agreed with Edwards’ grudging praise. Most definitely not John Lewis, an FA council member who refereed the first game played by the Dick, Kerr Ladies team.

Women war time footballers"After seeing the match and taking part in it, I have no hesitation in repeating the opinion I expressed last week," he said. "Namely that football is not a game suitable for women, and if they continue to play during the war I hope they will cease doing so when the peace is declared."

His views were not alone so, while women’s football played an important role during the war and drew crowds of more than 53,000 after it ended, it was to be banned by the FA in December 1921.

Old prejudices of the game being unsuitable for females were the reason behind clubs being asked "to refuse the use of their grounds for such matches".

Incredibly, the shameful sanction was to last 50 years.

As the war raged towards a bloody conclusion in 1918, the death toll was so horrific that it changed the very structure of the British army.

The birth of women’s football – its first golden age – would coincide with the demise of the Footballers’ Battalions.

011A shortage of manpower in the British Army saw the 17th Middlesex – which had been reinforced a number of times since 1915 – disbanded in February 1918, with troops bolstering other units.

Walter Tull, among the battalion’s earliest recruits, a war hero and pioneering officer with the 23rd Middlesex, was killed a month later.

Tull, who overcame poverty and racism to become one of English football’s first black players, was hit by machine-gun fire trying to rally his troops near Arras.

He was the first black man to command white troops.

While the men he led tried to recover his body, they never did.

"At this stage of the war, you knew that if you left someone out there you may never find their body again," said Dr Jackson. "And it was that love and care for a comrade, even after death, that said volumes about how much they respected him."

Unlike Tull, Jimmy Seed survived the war, but only just.

He had recovered sufficiently to be given the all-clear to go back to France at the end of August 1918.

Less than two months later he was gassed again, this time in Valenciennes, France, about 30 miles south east of Lille.

012 The Battle of Amiens in August 1918 heralded the beginning of the end of World War One, prompting a string of military victories for the Allied forces.

At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, Germany signed an armistice prepared by Great Britain and France.

The war was over, the rebuilding could begin.

For Jimmy Seed, the rebuilding included his football career.

The gassings would affect him for the rest of his life – not least when he tried to resume playing way too early.

Jimmy was getting a train back to Wigan, where he was recuperating, and bumped into the Sunderland team on the platform.

His team-mates recognised him, explained they were a player short and asked him to make up the numbers.

"Foolishly he said, yes," explained his grandson James Dutton.

"But his lungs were not in good order. He had an appalling match in the Victory League (an unofficial First Division fixture).

"It went horribly wrong and, on the back of that, one of the Sunderland directors hauled him in and said ‘we are going to let you go’. They suggested he went back to the pit so he could ‘sort his health out’.

"That was heartbreaking and he was very depressed.

"It must have been astonishingly tough for him having survived near death and seeing his dream of being a professional footballer shattered in front of his eyes."

Jimmy said in his book: "I was hurt when I learnt that my poor display meant I was never to play for Sunderland again. Now I felt bitter for the first time in my life. I was 23, suspect in health and, worst of all, unwanted at Sunderland."

Sam Wadsworth Like Jimmy, Sam Wadsworth was also left "broken hearted" by his boyhood club at the end of the war.

Aged 18, the then Blackburn Rovers defender from Darwen first tried to enlist to fight abroad. He was told to return a month later and encouraged by the Sergeant Major at the recruitment office to lie about his age.

He did, and followed his older brother Charles into the British Army ranks.

Wadsworth was wounded in action, but survived the war. His brother did not.

The atrocities left him physically and mentally scarred, suffering blackouts and grappling with post-traumatic stress.

Among several hours of autobiographical recordings he made in the 1950s, Wadsworth recalled those dark times.

"I had lost my only brother and my best friend and supporter," he said. "I began to realise that I had to forget all the rough times when we still stood up for more. I had to get on with my life."

At first, Wadsworth tried to do this with Blackburn – a club he proudly continued to play for at every opportunity during the war.

"They were glad of my services and I was pleased to play," he said of the matches he played while on leave from the Western Front.

"But when I came home for keeps the late Bob Middleton, manager of the Rovers, said ‘sorry Sam, I have not a vacancy. You may have a free transfer’.

"That was all. What a blow. My life’s dream had gone with the wind. I thought ‘is this what I receive after nearly five years’ service for my country?’ I was very bitter."

That was where his career almost ended, with his father needing to convince the 23-year-old not to throw his football boots on the fire.

Instead, he dropped down to play lower-league football with Nelson before going on to join Huddersfield Town.

With the Terriers he won three consecutive league titles and an FA Cup in 1922 – a triumphant run which saw Huddersfield knock Blackburn out in the third round.

Sam Wadsworth and England The left-back went on to earn nine England caps, captaining his country four times.

In 1925, Wadsworth led England out in front of more than 90,000 spectators at Hampden Park.

The visitors lost 2-0 in what also proved to be Jimmy Seed’s final international appearance – and his footballing journey after the war was every bit as remarkable as that of his skipper for the day.

After Jimmy’s second gassing, he was only deemed fit enough to be discharged from the army five months later, in March 1919.

The rejection by Sunderland left him devastated – and unemployed.

Manual labour and odd jobs replaced his pre-war career to make ends meet. He had kickabouts among the slag heaps with kids near the Whitburn Colliery and turned out for the local cricket team to keep fit.

But Jimmy never returned to the mines.

His salvation came with an unlikely move to Wales to play for Mid Rhonnda FC in the coalmining area of Tonypandy.

Jimmy’s signing proved a masterstroke and in seven splendid months he helped the team win three trophies.

His rebirth was noted. Tottenham came calling.

"It was like a dream," Jimmy recalled in his book. "Discarded by Sunderland before the start of one season, and now wanted by the famous Tottenham Hotspur club at the end of the next."

His move to London could hardly have gone better. In 1921 he was an FA Cup winner, then the prestigious pinnacle of a player’s domestic career.

Jimmy made his England debut against Belgium in 1921 The same year he won the first of his five England caps. His redemption was remarkable.

Jimmy left Tottenham for Sheffield Wednesday in 1927 after "eight years without a grumble" when the club insisted on reducing his wages.

It proved a spectacular mistake by Tottenham. The Owls won eight of their 10 remaining games to avoid relegation – at the expense of Spurs, who capitulated towards the end of the season.

As captain, Jimmy then led Wednesday to back-to-back league titles in 1928-29 and 1929-30.

A knee injury forced him to retire from playing in 1931, first managing Clapton Orient and then Charlton, in 1933.

The greatest day in Charlton's history came in 1947, when a 1-0 win over Burnley saw them win the FA Cup. In 23 wonderful years at The Valley, Jimmy Seed became a legend, leading them to consecutive promotions to the top flight and then, in 1936-37, the runners-up spot – their highest-ever position.

The greatest day in Charlton’s history came in 1947, when a 1-0 win over Burnley saw them win the FA Cup.

But the glorious success still hid dark times.

He was "encouraged" to resign in 1956 after a miserable start to the season. It was front-page news and he never truly got over it.

Jimmy’s daughter Gladys went into labour on hearing that her dad had effectively been sacked. James Charlton Dutton was born the same day, three weeks early.

"Grandad really struggled after being sacked by Charlton," added Dutton. "But he still thought he was very lucky.

It’s easy to say ‘poor Jimmy’, but he had a charmed life in a way and he seemed determined to live life to the full.

"Many who fought in World War One weren’t nearly as lucky and he seemed to know it."

The war experiences, and the impact on his health, did not make it easy.

"Depression affected grandad throughout his life," said Dutton. "It came back to bite him a few times. He had problems with his lungs and his breathing and intense headaches.

"He never used to admit it was to do with the war and being gassed."

But Dutton has wonderful memories of his "play-mate".

Jimmy with wife Peggy and daughter Gladys  Jimmy with wife Peggy and daughter Gladys

"Growing up I had heard of my grandad who had played football for England and won the FA Cup," he said.

"My first memory of him is from when I was about six and we moved back to live with my grandparents in Bromley. I thought he was a superstar.

"He was a rather striking looking chap with silver hair but he was just grandad to me.

"We would watch the horse racing together, play football in the garden and he taught me to play cricket and golf."

One day Jimmy suddenly opened up about his war experiences.

"We were gobsmacked," added his grandson. "I remember it clearly.

Jimmy Seed as granddad"I was about eight and he was talking about how they were trying to capture a bridge from the Germans. They were running down this bridge and two or three of his friends were killed running next to him.

"He was a bit choked up and stopped talking and that was the only time I remember him talking specifically about the war.

"Maybe he needed to get it out of his system, as he was getting older."

But the war was a time Jimmy, like so many others, wanted to forget. He cherished his football life.

"He was innovative and firm and fair," said Dutton. "He would explain his decisions and players loved him for that.

Jimmy Seed was revered as a special player and respected as a manager.

"Charlton made a huge amount of money through his transfer dealings, he believed in coaching players.

"He was something of a celebrity and he loved it. People treated him with such reverence. People would ask me to get his autograph, I was so proud of him.

"We became good chums. I was distraught when he died in 1966."

Sister Minnie and brother Angus were both survived by Jimmy.

Minnie married on Boxing Day 1923, with Jimmy missing an away game against Huddersfield to attend the wedding. Minnie had one son, Thomas, and died in 1948.

Following the war, Angus became Aldershot’s first-ever manager and was Barnsley boss for 16 years from 1937. While at the Tykes, he appointed Tom Ratcliff, whose life he saved in 1916, as his trainer. He died at the age of 60 in 1953.

After leaving Charlton, Jimmy went on to be involved with Bristol City and Millwall, where he was still a director when he died midway through England’s World Cup-winning campaign.

It was just over a month shy of 50 years after the football-obsessed young man first set foot in France during World War One.

015 Almost 100 years on from the day the guns fell silent to mark the end of the Great War, the only conflict between German and British armed forces will be on the football pitch.

The Greatest Games of Remembrance, two matches being played in Nottingham, will commemorate this landmark Armistice Day.

None of the participants are full internationals. They are not professionals. But they are football fans.

Their match is not a kickabout behind the trenches on Flanders Fields, a brief and most welcome interlude before returning to the front line. It’s just a game of football.

But there will be a connection through sport as they pay tribute to their footballing forebearers.

The commanding officer of the first Footballers’ Battalion, Colonel Harry Fenwick, perfectly summed up the contribution of the men he led during the Great War . . .

016 "I knew nothing of professional footballers when I took over this battalion.

"But I have learnt to value them. Their esprit de corps was amazing. This feeling was mainly due to football – the link of fellowship which bound them together.

"Football has a wonderful grip on these men and on the army generally."

The End.

_________________________

Credits

Producer – Brendon Mitchell

Authors – Owen Phillips and Andrew Aloia

Sub-editor – Steve Marshall

Images – Rex Features, Getty Images, The National Football Museum, The Priory Collection, Iain McMullen/Football and the First World War, James Dutton

All images subject to copyright

_________________________

Please view this related post Armistice Day.

Soli Deo Gloria

Daily Devotions by C. H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon November 23

Morning

“Fellowship with him.”
– 1Jo 1:61

6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: ~ 1 John 1:6

When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with him, that we were made one with him, and his interests and ours became mutual and identical. We have fellowship with Christ in his love. What he loves we love. He loves the saints-so do we. He loves sinners-so do we. He loves the poor perishing race of man, and pants to see earth’s deserts transformed into the garden of the Lord-so do we. We have fellowship with him in his desires. He desires the glory of God-we also labour for the same. He desires that the saints may be with him where he is-we desire to be with him there too. He desires to drive out sin-behold we fight under his banner. He desires that his Father’s name may be loved and adored by all his creatures-we pray daily, “Let thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.” We have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death, but when he is reproached, we are reproached; and a very sweet thing it is to be blamed for his sake, to be despised for following the Master, to have the world against us. The disciple should not be above his Lord. In our measure we commune with him in his labours, ministering to men by the word of truth and by deeds of love. Our meat and our drink, like his, is to do the will of him who hath sent us and to finish his work. We have also fellowship with Christ in his joys. We are happy in his happiness, we rejoice in his exaltation. Have you ever tasted that joy, believer? There is no purer or more thrilling delight to be known this side heaven than that of having Christ’s joy fulfilled in us, that our joy may be full. His glory awaits us to complete our fellowship, for his Church shall sit with him upon his throne, as his well-beloved bride and queen.

Evening

“Get thee up into the high mountain.”
– Isa 40:9

9  O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! ~ Isaiah 40:9

Each believer should be thirsting for God, for the living God, and longing to climb the hill of the Lord, and see him face to face. We ought not to rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of Tabor awaits us. My soul thirsteth to drink deep of the cup which is reserved for those who reach the mountain’s brow, and bathe their brows in heaven. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem! Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who see not the sun; they eat dust like the serpent when they might taste the ambrosial meat of angels; they are content to wear the miner’s garb when they might put on king’s robes; tears mar their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Satisfied I am that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof, and view the goodly land and Lebanon. Rouse thee, O believer, from thy low condition! Cast away thy sloth, thy lethargy, thy coldness, or whatever interferes with thy chaste and pure love to Christ, thy soul’s Husband. Make him the source, the centre, and the circumference of all thy soul’s range of delight. What enchants thee into such folly as to remain in a pit when thou mayst sit on a throne? Live not in the lowlands of bondage now that mountain liberty is conferred upon thee. Rest no longer satisfied with thy dwarfish attainments, but press forward to things more sublime and heavenly. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!

“When wilt thou come unto me, Lord?
Oh come, my Lord most dear!
Come near, come nearer, nearer still,
I’m blest when thou art near.”

Soli Deo Gloria

Catholic Sacraments: A Ruthless Trafficking in Human Souls

The following video by Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon) and Stuart Quint give a detailed analysis of the pitfalls of the Roman Catholic sacraments that pose as a snare for the human soul.

The many helps of a similar nature that you will find at this blog website have been placed here to expose the Roman Catholic religion that leads multitudes into damnation through the papacy’s false teachings.

This is a merciful cry to the Roman Catholic people to flee and escape the claws of the synagogue of Satan, a.k.a. the Whore of Babylon (see Rev. 17:5). Being a Roman Catholic does not make you a Christian! A true Christian is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, not a follower of the Roman Popes and the mother church!

4  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. ~ Revelation 18:4

Soli Deo Gloria____________________________

Related post: The Gospel According to Rome (15 July, 2018)

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