Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?

Tammuz 1

Q. I feel disgusted for having been deceived for all my life about Christmas. Jesus was not born in December. December 25 is the birthday of Tammuz. Am I being a Pharisee?

A. The Bible did not say when Jesus was born, and no one knows for certain. Dec. 25 was chosen in the fourth century. The Romans at that time celebrated Saturnalia, in honor of Saturn, the end of the autumn planting season (satus means sowing). It was around the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, after which the day would lengthen again and there will be more sunlight. It was therefore also the festival of Sol Invictus, the “invincible sun”. The Christians wanted to honor the Son rather than the sun, and therefore replaced the pagan festival with celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The name Tammuz appears only once in the Bible:
Ezk 8:14 Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
Tammuz was the Babylonian sun-god, born on the winter solstice according to legend. Hence the association to Sol Invictus, Saturnalia and Christmas.

You are disgusted about the origin of Christmas being traced to Tammuz, but you really need not be. Paul taught:

Rom 14:5-6 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
• Gal 4:9-11 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
• Col 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—

In other words, the actual day itself is not important. They are elemental things. Legalistic people are very scrupulous about observing a festival on the exact day. Others consider every day as a gift from God, to be equally received with thanksgiving. No one should judge another person about how he observes or does not observe a festival, for we will all stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom 14:10).

For myself, I am actually glad that the early Christians were able to take over a pagan festival and convert it into a celebration of our Lord’s birth. They were able to impact society and redeem culture in a way we are unable to do now. Over the last two decades Christmas has been secularized and Christians can’t hold back the tide. So to the extent that the early Church was able to and it lasted for nearly seventeen centuries it’s a good thing.

Are you being a Pharisee? You can judge for yourself. Always go for grace, not law, and you will not go wrong.

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9 thoughts on “Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?

    • It is precisely NOT to participate in pagan festivals that the church “Christianized” them by refocusing the emphasis from idols to the One True God. They took a stand not to be yoked together with unbelievers. I believe this is in line with the spirit of 2 Co 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” I think withdrawing from society is following the letter of the law legalistically like the Pharisees. Thanks for sharing but sorry we disagree.

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      • You are welcome to disagree. In the world we do not have to agree with everything, but we also not have to disagree in all things, so we do hope we may encounter on our ways, and may find you visiting us also on other occasions.
        God bless.

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      • The scripture references you quote are taken out of context. Paul was specifically referring to Jewish tradition and observance of the Law – not pagan practices which he would have disapproved of.

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      • Not so. The context of 2 Co 6:17 is 6:14-16:
        Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
        “I will dwell in them and walk among them;
        And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

        The preceding verses are talking about unbelievers, not Jewish tradition as you wrongly assumed.

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  1. This is a dilemma!
    A Christian stands out from the rest by his deeds and the life he leads ( and his going to church on December 24.?!) Isaiah 1:14 As for your New Moons and your appointed festivals, I abhor them. I think God may not care about what day we celebrate Christmas. The most important law is to love God with your heart, body , soul and mind. To love God with my mind, I would want to know the truth. The truth of the matter is Jesus was not born in December but more likely in late September. God has left enough clues in the Bible as to when He was born: the shepherd in the field, the birth date of John the Baptist and his father being a Levite high priest. Don’t we have any consideration for His feeling? I would be angry if a person sends me a birthday card in December when my birthday is in September. To celebrate Christmas in December is not loving God with my mind!!
    Someone, please help!

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  2. Rather than getting disgusted and angry, why not look at it from a different angle. Many scholars agree that Jesus’s birth was more likely in Sep. than Dec. But if it is important to celebrate His birthday on the actual date, couldn’t God spell it out plainly in Scripture? He precisely specified on which day should Israel celebrate the festivals of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering), couldn’t He do the same for Christmas? The fact of the matter is He didn’t. Doesn’t that give us a clue as to how much importance should we attach to which day we celebrate Christmas? Nowadays Christians accuse the early church & fellow Christians of compromising with paganism, when we should be united in fighting the secularization of Christianity. I would rather be labeled as a friend of tax collectors and sinners as Jesus was, than be called a hypocrite as the Pharisees were by the Lord. 1 Co 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. Always err on the side of grace and love. Tammuz is nothing.

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