Summary: Christmas originated as a pagan holiday, blessed by the pope in the 4th century. Hanukkah commemorates a miraculous victory of Jews fighting for freedom ~175 BC. The birth of Christ was most likely on the Feast of Tabernacles,
500 years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Jeremiah wrote in the 10th chapter of his book not to learn the ways of the heathen who cut a tree from the forest and deck it with gold; it sounds like Christmas.
If we have warm fuzzy feelings from childhood when we got gifts at Christmas, Hanukkah is also a time for gifts and is a holiday recognized by Christ in the 10th chapter of John. It’s a memorial to God’s blessing the Jews against impossible odds in a battle for their lives against a Greek Emperor, Antiochus. A growing number of Christians celebrate Hanukkah This year it’s December 7 to 14.
500 years before Christ, the prophet Daniel had a vision of a “little horn” that grew out of the 4th beast representing the Roman Empire (after Babylon, Medo-Persia and Grecia) in the 7th chapter of his book. The Protestant reformers believed this little horn was the papacy that grew out of Rome and persecuted the saints, changing times (Sabbath to Sunday) and laws (eliminating the 2nd Commandment that forbid the use of images) and it spoke “great words” as it claimed the title, “Lord God the Pope.”
The papacy boasts of abolishing the annual Sabbaths as “Jewish” festivals, replacing them with pagan holidays in an effort to Christianize the Roman Empire. God called those appointed times His “feasts” in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus where there’s a connection for Christ’s birthday on the Feast of Tabernacles, the 15th day of the 7th month, counting from spring. It’s when shepherds were still in the fields in early fall rather than winter and why “no room in the inn” for Mary when many thousands came to Jerusalem for the feast. Bethlehem (“house of bread”–Bread of Life) was 3-4 miles from Jerusalem.
The Feast of Tabernacles was when Israelites made temporary palm branch booths to commemorate their dwelling in tents in the wilderness, but it was also prophetic of Christ’s pitching His tent to tabernacle (dwell) with us. It was an 8-day feast with a holy convocation or Sabbath on the first and last days. Christ was circumcised according to the law on the 8th day, so its timing fits both events.
It’s interesting that the Jews who don’t accept Christ as the Messiah may be celebrating the timing of His birth better than those who abolished those festivals as Jewish and who celebrate Christmas.
There’s nothing sacred about our birthdays–only two birthdays are specified in the Bible: Herod’s birthday when John the Baptist was beheaded and Pharaoh’s birthday when his baker was hanged. This gives us a good excuse not to celebrate these markers of aging.
In the end, only the religion that comes from God can lead to God, and we should take a close look at the origins of our customs. Seeking a deeper meaning in those times that the Bible enjoins gives freedom from meaningless customs that are based on false information.
Dr. Richard Ruhling is the author of The Alpha & Omega Bible Code. It has a special focus on the book of Daniel and Christ’s wedding parables. As an ebook it has mostly 5-star reviews on Amazon Kindle and is offered cheap at http://amzn.to/1iXKH8n where readers can get an app (no charge) for pc’s if one doesn’t have a Kindle. More information is available at his website, https://News4Living.wordpress.com