Daddy Freeze, Christmas and “the Paganization of Christianity”

An ancient Jewish proverb says: “If you wish to strangle, be hanged on a good tree.” It means, if you must rely on an authority, you do well to make sure it’s a reliable one.

This was my deduction after watching an hour-long YouTube interview with Daddy Freeze by Abimbola Adelakun in July 2019.

For those who might not be familiar with these two figures, here’s a brief background:

Ifedayo Olarinde (popularly known as Daddy Freeze) is a Nigerian broadcaster who who propelled himself to national fame in 2016 by calling out and virulently criticizing the doctrines and practices of popular pastors and ministers in Nigerian churches. His regular boiler-plate rhetoric against Pentecostal clerics carved for him a niche, and in 2018, he declared himself the founder of the Free Nation In Christ Online Church (or “Free The Sheeple” movement).

Abimbola Adelakun is an Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas. She is also a columnist with Punch Newspapers. Her research interests include Critical spirituality, Pentecostalism and Pentecostal culture, religious creativity and modern African cultural performances and expressions. She identifies as a “non-theist” and is obviously a Secular Humanist.

With the pedigree of both the interviewer and interviewee, I was hoping to gain some insights into the ideological underpinnings of this man who is frequently vaunted as an “undefeatable critic” of Nigerian Christianity.

But after ten minutes of listening to this man talk, I cringed at the wide gap between his bombastic claims and his supporting arguments. By the time the video got halfway through, I bristled and pressed “Stop” because I could no longer stomach his harsh, bullying tone and mutilation of basic facts, history and logic.

Since he touched on the topic of Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit that interview and address some of the things he said. His words appear in blue while Dr. Adelakun’s words are in green.

I’m going to throw some light on Christmas … A lot of people argue that, “Oh yes, we agree Christmas was a pagan festival, but Christ came to replace it.”

This a straw man. Whatever pagan worship that was occurring on December 25 prior to Christ, lacked any coherence or a chain of continuity that could be directly traced down to those observing Christmas today.

Granted, many customs, words, concepts and styles of one civilization pass on down and influence one another. But if some of them had pagan significance at some other time or place, it doesn’t mean it still does.

The fact that December period was observed in some old festivals doesn’t mean that they have the same influence or significance today. After all, people can choose any day of the week or month to observe whatever is of importance to them. You don’t have to forge a connection between theirs and the past.

Not to mention, our modern calendar is not the same as ancient calendar of other cultures.

Let me give you this example: you are the river goddess, I’m Christ, okay? We are both born on the same day. It makes no sense for us to shift Christ’s birthday if it happens to fall on the river goddess’ birthday. Hey, we are both born on the same day, let’s do it together, you understand? But we know the Christians are separated from the river goddess’ worshippers…

This is a vapid oversimplification of paganism and it does nothing to strengthen his argument.

Pagan religions don’t specify a date for the nativity of their deities. Most ancient festivals were based on local geographical weather, seasonal cycles, moon phases, and astrological dates. In plain terms, their festivals rarely fell on the same day each year.

For example, Tammuz, which the Encyclopedia Britannica defines as a Mesopotamian “god of fertility embodying the powers for new life in nature in the spring” had varying festival periods in the pagan calendar.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary says his festival was observed in Chaldea in “the month of July, the beginning of the summer solstice.”

The Fausset’s Bible dictionary says “an annual feast was kept to him in June” at Byblos.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says the “mourning by Tammuz was celebrated in Babylonia by women on the 2nd day of the 4th month… [while in Syria his death was celebrated] in midsummer.”

Now Christ was born three months before Christmas, and you took him from his birthday. You didn’t bother finding out what day he was really born and of all days you are matchmaking with the river goddess.

This is a frozen argument. The claim of Jesus being born on September or October is debatable, but Mr Freeze says it dogmatically. No one is definitely sure which exact month Jesus was born on, neither does it matter. What matters is that He was born.

The allegation of matchmaking a deity’s birthday to another also assumes that all ancient cultures or geographical locations used the same calendar or shared the same concept of their deity’s “birth.”

People like Daddy Freeze suppose that if something once had a pagan significance, it must always be of pagan significance! That’s untrue.

The days of the week and months of the year were named after pagan deities. They had pagan significance in the past, but it doesn’t mean they still do so.

Friday was named after Frigg and Thursday after Thor. That you hold a religious service on a Friday doesn’t mean you worship Frig. Neither does having your religious festival on a Thursday mean you worship Thor.

The names, Mercury, Venus, or Mars for planets were originally pagan names. But no one today supposes that planets are deities.

And you can’t hide behind Jewish calendar because during the Babylonian captivity, the Jews renamed some of their months in Babylonian terms. The month of Abib was renamed Nisan and another one was even named Tammuz! Yet no one would accuse Jews of worshipping Tammuz.

This time it was a god, Nimrod with Christ. And then you say you’re replacing Nimrod with Christ. Oh brilliant! But you’re still celebrating with Nimrod’s tree and the Yule and the mistletoe and the gifts and the parties, so where is the Christ?

It’s there

This is where he sounded so lopey that it was embarrassing for me to watch or listen to. Notice that even Dr. Adelakun who had no intention of defending Christianity had to point it out to him: the Christ you say is absent in Christmas is there. But daddy Freeze sees Nimrod.

Many anti-Christmas/anti-Easter zealots are like a close circuit; they read the same set of hogwash, rehash the same lines of arguments and repeat the same trope of misinformation which they never bother to fact check in any objective or valid sources.

So most of the time, when you’re dealing with the “Christmas-is-of-pagan-origin” folks, you’re stuck with a self-perpetuating and self-validating worldview. Mr so-and-so (who isn’t even a scholar in the field he’s pontificating on) says it or wrote it, and he is in our coterie, so that settles it.

I’ve written about the fatal flaws of the “Nimrod-is-god” assertion and I do not wish to repeat it here. Both the Bible and history indicate that Nimrod was never worshipped as a deity (whether a “father god” or “king of the gods”); he founded no religion and has no valid link to deities in the Babylonian, Persian Greek, Roman, or Nordic pantheon.

In plain terms, the old theory of the “Babylon connection” of Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz to pagan deities (both ancient and modern) is at best, tabloid sensationalism.

I don’t see it, unfortunately. I don’t see it. What I see is the paganization of Christianity and here is the biggest point that everybody misses, Christ never asked for his birthday to be celebrated. Never. There were many years that Paul went to meet Peter… no birthday. They remembered to do so many things but never remembered to celebrate his birthday? It was never part of the doctrine.

Daddy Freeze’s Free the Sheeple movement is simply one of the versions of the Sacred Name cults or Hebrew Roots movement. These are aberrant religious groups that teach that all of Christianity except theirs is irredemably infected with hellenized paganism, that Christianity went off the rails right from 325 AD.

Yup, no one got it right for 1700 years. The real name of God was lost, the name of Jesus was paganized. The gospel was paganized. Everyone was in darkness, lost and doomed for hell until the light came on in the 20th century when some pockets of people knew “the restored truth.”

And what’s their truth? That using the Hebrew name of God and Jesus, following the laws of Moses and disavowing apostle Paul and the epistles of the New Testament as “Greek pagan corruption” brings you to the light…yes, new light. Doesn’t that sound familiar yet?

So when Mr. Ifedayo goes off in tangents and tells us about how the only two birthdays in the Bible were instances where men were executed (the second through a chain of manipulation and indirect assassination), he’s not deriving this from either Scripture or history, but his cultish ideology – the kind that is inconsistently selective about pagan origins.

According to Browser’s Book of Beginnings, the earliest evidence of a game that featured two opposing teams kicking, tossing, and aggressively advancing a ball in opposite directions was practiced 5,000 years ago in Egypt—as a fertility rite. Sounds like football doesn’t it?

So why do they rail against Christmas and still play or watch soccer?

There are so many issues with Christmas. The paganization is not even the date (which even is paganized), the paganization is even the celebration…

In the Bible, Jesus is called a Lion (Rev. 5:5), Satan is also called a lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Using Daddy Freeze’s logic, Jesus is Satan!

The woman called Mystery Babylon had a cup in her hand; the Lord has a cup in his hand (Ps. 75:8). Using Daddy Freeze’s logic, God is mystery Babylon.

Pagan kings sat on thrones and wore crowns; the Lord sits on a throne and wears a crown (Rev. 1:4; 14:14). Using Daddy Freeze’s logic, the Lord Jesus is pagan.

Pagans worshiped the sun; the Lord is the “sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). Pagan gods were likened to stars; the Lord is called “the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). Using his logic, the God of the Bible was “paganized.”

Someone needs to school Daddy Freeze (and Reno Omokri, another kook in the barrel) that taking a stand against paganism shouldn’t be taken to foolish extremes. If you want to fish for pagan origins behind every bush and shelf, you will have to reject the Bible as pagan!

All of the following practices or beliefs mentioned in the Bible were also known among pagans: raising hands in worship, taking off shoes on holy ground, a holy mountain, a holy place in a temple, offering sacrifices without blemish, a sacred ark, a city of refuge, bringing forth water from a rock, laws written on stone, fire appearing on a person’s head, horses of fire etc.

That some primitive tribes worshipped trees in the past doesn’t mean people decorating trees during Christmas today are worshipping trees. That’s the dumbest argument in the book.

When was Christ’s birthday celebration decided? 317 years after He died! Oh wow, it took you 300 years, and who decided it? The Council of Nicaea and Constantine who worshipped the sun all his life and “gave his life,” why because there was a problem in his kingdom. Come on.

This was the lowest water mark. Anyone who is so lacking in intellectual dignity to the point of claiming that the Council of Nicaea and Constantine decided on Christmas shouldn’t be taken as an authority on any Christian doctrine, no matter how large his YouTube subscribers might be. It’s simply irresponsible for Daddy Freeze to spout such an outright falsehood for public consumption.

At this point in the video (at 20:00-20:06) you could see the look of “My goodness, I can’t believe you’re this wack” on Dr. Adelakun’s face.

Okay, so I think this is where I’ll disagree with you. First of all, the things that you highlighted, it’s like you seem so much invested in faithfulness to an origin rather than looking at it as an appropriation of the past to meet the exigencies of the present. So if we say Jesus… [DF rudely interrupts her mid-sentence to ramble].

There is really nothing you can do because what you have called Christianity today is a composite of all these past paganism, Jewish culture

[DF quickly interjects again aggressively]:

My Christianity is a Christianity that starts in the red Bible which is the highlighted words of Jesus. Anything else that history has is history’s business.

Notice how he contradicts himself. He appeals to history to bolster his hypothesis that Nimrod is the figure being honoured at Christmas and leans on Constantine and the council of Nicaea, but when he was given a picture of history that conflicts with his bias, he quickly throws history into the bin and dives into that oh-so-cool solo scriptura jibe.

Daddy Freeze only considers history as  valid so long as it supports his abstractions, fancies and self-canonized authority. This is a very unreliable man, a hack who pretends to do serious research – a false teacher who shouldn’t be teaching you – that is, if you don’t wish to go astray.

Are Christmas Trees Idols?

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One of the arguments presented by Christians who oppose Christmas celebration is that Christmas trees are idols.

I think the first material where I encountered this teaching was one of the Alberto series titled “The Force” published by Jack Chick. In it, Alberto Rivera, a self-acclaimed ex-Jesuit priest, said without a shred of documentation:

“As time passed, all over the world on the 25th of December, the sun was worshipped by these various names: Tammuz, Horus, Osiris, Sol, etc. It was a time for orgies, sacrificing of babies to Baal, drunkenness, and merriment. Semiramis ordered trees to be decorated with little balls representing the sun. God fought this evil holiday by forbidding the Jews to decorate trees as the heathens were doing (Jer. 10:1-4).” (The Force, The Crusaders Vol. 15 by Jack T. Chick, 1983, p. 26).

You don’t have to be a scholar to see how groundless these statements are. All you have to do is enter the names of these idols into a search engine and you will realize that there were no specific fixed dates on which they were worshipped, much less on December 25th.

The hackneyed tale of Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz often tied to Christmas by some religious groups is not my issue here. I’ve addressed that hypothesis in my article, The Mirror Image Syndrome.

Also, if you need more info on the yak milk and powdered sparrow eggs being put out by Chick Publications, you can read this. My main concern here is that Bible passage often trotted out, Jeremiah 10:1-5 (KJV):

“For one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree…”

Using the principles of sound Biblical interpretation, here are reasons why these Bible verses do not refer to Christmas trees:

1. One of the ways to properly interpret the Bible is to cross reference, to examine parallel passages. It’s dicey to build a doctrine on just one verse of the Bible, especially when other passages go in an opposite direction.

For instance, the passage says, “One cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman.”

Reading this, one would picture a lumberjack going into the forest to cut down a Christmas tree, but this is not the intended meaning.

When you read the entire chapter, you will see that this “workman” was one who took material—in this case the wood from a tree—and formed it into an idol.

Later in this passage, the “workman” is portrayed as plating an idol with silver and gold. He was clearly not a lumberjack; he was fashioning a “graven image… they are all the works of cunning men” and they are “the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth” (vv. 9-14)

In a parallel passage, we read, “The workman melteth a graven image…”

Then he makes an idol with wood from a tree:

“He… chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image…” (Isa. 40:19, 20).

Therefore, the “workman” was an idol carver. The Hebrew word is “charash” meaning “an engraver” or “artificer.” And we all know images of idols were fashioned out of wood, gold, silver, brass or adorned with them.

2. One of the ways to have a good understanding of the Bible is to read it in a clearer and more accurate modern translation.

For instance, the tool the workman uses is called an “ax.” Though the word ax (or axes) appears 18 times in the King James Version, the Hebrew word here (maatzad) translated ax is a different word.

It is not the ax that a lumberjack would use to cut down a tree, but is a carving tool or tong. The workman would use this tool to form an idol from the tree already cut down.

Some translations, more correctly, use the word chisel: “…they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel” (NIV).

3. Just quoting a Bible passage isn’t enough, we must look to see if the passage actually describes what we are saying. Otherwise, we are unfairly reading our preconceived notions into it.

The idol described in Jeremiah 10, was carved from the “stock” of a tree (margin: “wooden idol,” vs. 8). Positioned “upright as a palm tree,” it was fastened with “nails and hammers” so it would not fall over (vv. 4, 5).

While this could be true of a Christmas tree, what is described here is a wooden idol in a standing position. Being lifeless, it cannot stand on its own, and must be fastened down to avoid falling over.

4. Reading the preceding and proceeding verses of a passage is vital to Bible interpretation.

When we take a look at the whole of Jeremiah 10, it’s contrasting the Living God who made the heavens and the earth to man-made idols that “cannot speak…have to be carried, for they cannot walk.”

It speaks of “the living God and the everlasting King” and derides man’s idols “for his images are false, and there is no breath in them” (vv. 5, 10, 14 RSV).

The prophets commonly pointed out the foolishness of believing in “idols…the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not” (Psalms 115:4-7).

The idols Jeremiah described, “speak not”— implies a mouth, but no speech. This would make no sense if Jeremiah was speaking of a Christmas tree— after all, no one expects a Christmas tree to talk!

These idols apparently had legs, yet could not walk. They must be carried, “because they cannot go” (Jer. 10:5).

Had Jeremiah’s subject been a Christmas tree, his whole argument would break down at this point since everyone knows a Christmas tree must be carried—no one expects a Christmas tree to walk.

5. The idols that Jeremiah was describing were dressed in clothing: “…blue and purple is their clothing” (Jer. 10:9).

A Christmas tree may be decorated, but no one puts clothing on it—not blue, purple, red or any other colour of clothing.

The fact that he even uses the term “graven [carved] image” (v. 14) to describe them is proof that he was not referring to a Christmas tree but an idol carved in the likeness of a man.

Isaiah described the same thing (Isa. 44:9-15). Though the wood from a tree can be carved into the shape of an idol resembling a man, it is merely a lifeless idol. “There is no breath in them” (Jer.10:14).

Again, the subject could not be a Christmas tree – no one supposes a Christmas tree has breath! (cf. Hab. 2:18, 19).

It has been documented that the custom of decorating with a Christmas tree, as we know it, extends back 500 years to Europe, especially Germany. But the custom originated among Christians.

They were not apostates trying to inject paganism into the church. Fruit or round decorations placed on the tree, to them, spoke of the fruit on the Tree of Life in Scripture. The traditional star at the top represented the star that guided the wise men to the place of Jesus’ birth.

While the Bible condemns worship of trees and fertility deities (such as Baal and Asherah) under green trees, it also shows us that trees were created by God. There were trees in the garden of Eden and even trees in the New Heaven.

Yes, we need to guard against pagan influxes, but at the same time, we also need to guard against extreme and fanatical teachings that see paganism behind every wall, shadow and everything God has created. That mindset is not typifying freedom but spiritual bondage.

That a Christian decorates a tree doesn’t imply idolatry unless he/she is worshipping or praying to it. That I have pictures of a dozen birds in my room doesn’t mean I worship birds or I’m a sorcerer.

I don’t know of any Christian that bows to Christmas trees or looks up to them as a conduit of sympathetic magic, so what is this false accusation based on?

Come to think of it, if Christians regarded these decorations as deities would they be throwing them out in the trash after a while?

The true Christian conduct is to avoid passing judgement on issues that are disputable. If you believe Christmas trees defile your faith, fine, don’t buy one, but then, don’t judge others doing so as idolaters.

Christmas: Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

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Over the years, I’ve encountered some topics that have become rather emotion-charged and controversial among Evangelical Christians e.g KJV onlyism, the Jewish sabbath, emphasis on the Hebrew name of God or Jesus and celebration of Christmas (or Easter).

When it comes to Christmas, there are two main camps Christians fall into: those who believe the birth of Jesus is worth celebrating regardless of its origin and those who see it an innovative, pagan festival adopted by Roman Catholicism.

I have observed a heavy dose of dogmatism and self-righteousness in the latter camp and such patterns of thought often call for attention.

I believe Christians can (and should) respectably disagree with one another on minor issues but when one party relegates another to a pagan pit or condemns them to hell over a minor disagreement, then there is a problem somewhere.

There is always a balance to every extreme position.

Christ and Christmas

One of the merits of Christmas celebration is how it annually brings a reminder of Jesus Christ’s birth. Indeed, it’s about the only time people who never darken the door of a church all through the year attend one.

So, if there is a time people should learn more about Jesus – who He is and what He came to do – it’s during Christmas.

We mustn’t minimise the significance of Christ’s birth. His ancestral lineage, the place and timing of His birth were fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies.

The coming of the Messiah was primarily to die for man’s sins (Jn. 1:29, 33-34). Many Jews (including the disciples) didn’t believe the Messiah would first come to die. They were expecting Him to deliver them from the oppression of the Romans, reign as king and establish His kingdom.

They failed to understand that the Messiah would come twice: first to die for man’s sins and second to reign as King.

Christ’s birth exemplifies the humility of God coming as Man and taking on the form of a Servant. He related with the despised, ministered to children, washed the feet of His disciples and humbled Himself to the death on a cross – the most shameful and painful death.

Even in His teaching, He calls us to deny ourselves, carry our crosses and follow Him (Mt. 8:20; Jn. 6:12).

Christmas should be a time when we examine our own lives to see whether we have displaced the cross from the centre of our lives.

Christmas is a time to show love. God so loved the world that he gave His Son (Jn. 3:16). Where there is love, there is giving, forgiveness and fellowship.

Now, let’s examine some misconceptions that those opposing Christmas present to justify their stance.

#1. “Christmas makes people indulge in wasteful spending, frivolities, immorality and drunkenness.”

This is not an argument since it lacks a premise. It’s more of an excuse. Any holiday can be used by people to commit excesses, drunkenness or frivolities, that doesn’t make that day “evil.”

The problem is not with the day but with people who look for avenues to indulge their depravities – and they will choose even a housewarming or graduation party – to commit the same.

People who throw around this banal line about Christmas need to get one fact: it is not a day that makes an act sinful but the act itself, and it remains a sin regardless of the day on which it is committed.

#2 “No where did Jesus command us to celebrate His birth.”

This argument presupposes that only holidays or celebrations directly commanded by God are to be observed. In other words, we are to do away with birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or any dated event because they are not commanded by the Bible.

If we can voluntarily regard one day as higher than another, then a holiday doesn’t have to be directly commanded by God to be acceptable (Rom. 14:5).

People who claim observing Christmas is a sin because it wasn’t commanded by Christ believe they are saved and approved by God because of their asceticism. This is legalism.

It was a reverse of this aberration that apostle Paul condemned among the Galatian Christians who added special days, months and seasons as conditions of salvation. These are “weak and miserable principles” (Gal. 4:9).

No Christian is obliged to celebrate Christmas and no Christian is obliged to avoid it either, since it’s not essential to our salvation. Christians who reject Christmas should stop condemning those celebrating it.

We are approved before God by faith in Christ not on the basis on which holiday we keep or don’t keep (Gal. 2:16).

#3 “Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. The shepherds were tending their flocks outdoor at that time so it couldn’t have been in the middle of winter.”

True, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. This date came about in the early church because of a widespread Jewish belief that the great prophets died on the same dates as their birth or conception.

Since March 25 (or April 6) was fixed as the date of Christ’s death, they dated His conception as March 25 and added 9 months to this date to arrive at December 25 (or January 6) as His birth date.

This “potentially establishes 25 December as a Christian festival before Aurelian decree, which, when promulgated, might have provided for the Christian feast both opportunity and challenge” (The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 114).

#4 “December 25 was the birthday of the pagan sun god. Christmas was adopted from paganism!”

This is a standard argument based on an old hypothesis that Roman Emperor Aurelian instituted December 25, 274 AD as a pagan festival of the “birth of the unconquered sun” which was later adopted fully by Emperor Constantine.

This theory has been set aside by modern scholars.

First, when Aurelian made December 25 a pagan festival, it was almost an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Christians in Rome.

The date seems to have been borrowed from Christians since it had no significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time.

The two temples of the sun in Rome celebrated their dedication festival on August 9th and 28th respectively.

Second, writings of early Christians before Aurelian, such as Hippolytus in his Commentary on the Prophet Daniel (204 AD), Irenaeus (130-202) in his Against Heresies, and Julius Africanus (160-240) made reference to December 25 as Christ’s birth date.

This is also seen in post-Nicene sources as Philip Schaff stated:

“It was at the same time moreover, the prevailing opinion of the church in the fourth and fifth centuries, that Christ was actually born on the twenty-fifth of December; and Chrysostom appeals, in behalf of this view, to the date of the registration under Quirinius (Cyrenius) preserved in the Roman archives” (History of the Christian Church 3:7:77).

Third, while it’s clear that Roman Catholicism adopted several pagan ideas, we need to distinguish properly between what ancient pagans observed and what Christians today celebrate.

It is irrational to claim that Christians today who observe December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth are unwittingly worshipping a pagan sun god.

Taking a stand against pagan origins must not be taken to foolish extremes.

For instance, we don’t refrain from using the word “janitor” even though it came from Janus, the Roman god of doorways.

We don’t throw away the word “panic” even though it came from Pan, the Greek god of the wild, flock and rustic music.

We don’t eschew cereal because the word is from Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain.

We don’t cease from going to museums because the word concept came from Muses, the 9 daughters of Zeus who presided over learning and arts.

All the months of the year and days of a week are named after pagan deities, but should this stop us from praying to God on the days of the week? Will so doing somehow make us pagans?

According to Browser’s Book of Beginnings, the earliest evidence of a game that featured two opposite teams kicking, tossing and aggressively advancing a ball in opposite directions was practiced 5,000 years ago in Egypt as a fertility rite.

What would you think of a Christian who now writes to his football team disassociating himself because soccer purportedly originated from an ancient Egyptian fertility rite? Or if he cites popular promiscuous footballers as “proofs”?

That some pagans in the past observed December 25 to honour their gods doesn’t mean Christians today who honour Christ on that date worship those deities.

#5 “Christmas is from the word Christ-Mass. It’s a purely Catholic celebration.”

The word Christmas is from a Middle English word “Cristenmasse.” Though a shortened form of Christ’s Mass, the term was first used in the 11th century.

To be sure, the Nicene church of 4th century is not the same as Roman Catholicism as we know it today. Therefore, what “Mass” means today is not precisely what the early church believed. In any case, the Catholic Mass is unbiblical.

The intent and the purpose of a holiday also matter. This is what differentiates Halloween from Christmas. The former was instituted to honour the spirits of death and witchcraft while the latter seems to be intended to honour Christ.

Even in so doing we need to avoid some pitfalls:

a) The fairy tales of Santa Claus driving through the night skies and dishing out gifts to obedient kids may work well on children’s imaginations and give them a good night sleep but it displaces the real focus of Christmas – Jesus Christ.

In Nigeria, the same tales of Santa coming from Rome are also told to children. I was told the same too, but I threw it out of the window when I was about 9 or 10.

When children grow up being lied to by their parents about Santa, they may also grow up to reject God and Bible stories altogether as myths. I can’t find a justification for lying to children in order to keep up with a tradition.

b) The alleged subservience of Jesus to Mary, by presenting Jesus as a baby in a crib to be adored by millions of people is another diversion.

So many are deceived to believe they are Christians because they have a bubbly, sentimental feeling for “baby Jesus” but the real Lord and Saviour who calls men to repent and believe in Him has been obscured from their view by a cobweb of traditions.

This also perpetuate the Catholic myth that Mary has the dominant role in showing compassion and offering salvation to sinners. This is a blasphemy that real Christians must not succumb to.

Regardless of our views of Christmas, one thing we must agree on is that, whether we choose to celebrate it or not, our decision doesn’t save us. What saves us is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.