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Book review: “Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths” by J. P. Holding

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“Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths” by J. P. Holding


Print Length: 63 pages

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See end of this article for a list on his other books.

In essence, Tekton - Education and Apologetics Ministries’ J. P. Holding’s book “Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths” tackle the various anti-Christmas arguments made by, both, Christians and non-Christians. As the season approaches, the war on Christmas is in full swing and that Christmas is non-biblical is that upon which both sides agree.

It may be of interest to note that the very first article I posted to Examiner was I had a Merry Jehovah's Witness Christmas. The point was that, despite that which Christmas has become, celebrating a Jesus centered Christmas is biblical because God celebrated Jesus’ birth and sent the declaration via the angels. The angels celebrated Jesus’ birth and sent the declaration via the shepherds. The shepherds celebrated Jesus’ birth by visiting Jesus at the manger. Mary and Joseph obviously celebrated Jesus’ birth and did so with the shepherds. Later on, a few years after Jesus’ birth, the wise men celebrated Jesus’ birth by visiting Him. Also later, Simeon and Anna the prophetess celebrated Jesus’ birth when He was circumcised at the Temple. And on it goes.

Of course, there is a huge difference between celebrating the fact that Jesus was born, on the one hand, and burning a log, making cookies for a morbidly obese guy, etc., on the other hand.

J. P. Holding takes on the “Anti-Christmas Crusaders” and elucidates:

“The genesis of this small e-book is a set of encounters I’ve had lately with some earnest people who are concerned about celebrating Christmas, who had run into a few sources out there which claimed that anyone observing the Christmas holiday was buying themselves a one-way ticket to an eternal fiery barbeque (hell).”

So, according to some, celebrating Christmas can lead to you roasting on an open fire.

Holding further notes:

“in this little volume, we’re going to take a look at some of the more outlandish arguments that claim Christmas is some sort of pagan celebration.”

Indeed, therein you will encounter various arguments (most are actually mere assertions) about why Christmas is the worship of pagan gods in disguise…and what all of this has to do with “the Westminster Dog Show,” whether “James Dobson is pretending to be Jesus” and how a book about Christmas leads to have to research “the ten deadliest earthquakes on record.”

Well, the topics covered are actually serious matter since, as noted, some are prepared to rain down brimstone and fire upon Christmas observers. Yet, J. P. Holding handles the issues with his usual mix of scholarship (providing quotations and citations) and sarcasm. For example, part of his reply to the claim “You have to bow down to place gifts under the tree, which is like bowing at an altar and presenting gifts to a pagan god!” is “I can only suppose that those who make this argument are worshipping the gods of plumbing when they place a container of Drano under their kitchen sink.”

Another argument is “We shouldn’t celebrate anyone’s birthday, including that of Jesus! We almost never see anyone’s birthday celebrated in the Bible, and when they are celebrated, they are associated with evil events in Scripture (Gen. 40:20; Matt. 14:6; Mark 6:21)!” Well, there you have it; assertion plus citation must make right! This is where actually looking up the texts makes the difference.

Then there are historical claims such as, “Some early church authors said it was evil to celebrate birthdays!” to which Holding replies “‘Some’, well…maybe one” and goes on to iron the issue out.

An interesting historical note is:

“the oldest reference to any birth date of Jesus comes from Clement of Alexandria, who wrote at the end of the second century. Some, he says, fix it on May 20th. He also reports that a group of heretics, who followed the teacher Basilides, fixed Jesus’ birth date at January 6th. Others, he says, date it to April 19th or 20th. None of these dates are observed today, although members of the Orthodox Church observe Christmas on January 7th.”

This leads to the question, “how about December 25th?” and the appended claims such as, “December 25th was chosen as Jesus’ birthday because it was also the birthday of certain pagan gods!” and “December 25th was chosen because it was the date of pagan festivals, and Christians wanted to be popular with the pagans!” and “December 25th was chosen because it was the winter solstice!,” etc.

So why December 25th? Oh yeah, it was to get Christians to worship false gods…right?:

“Several deities were alleged to have been born on that date: The Persian deity Mithra; the Hindu deity Krishna; the Phrygian deity Attis; the Greek deity Dionysus; and the Egyptian deity Horus. Even Buddha was claimed by some critics to have been born on December 25th!”

The further claim is that Christmas borrowed from and took the place of Sol Invictus or Saturnalia or Brumalia or bits and pieces of them all.

And what about that Christmas tree? After all Jeremiah 10:3-5 condemns them directly (unless your tree is plastic, I guess). J.P. Holding notes, “Despite the fact that Jeremiah lived hundreds of years before Jesus, there are those who insist that Jeremiah is talking about – I am not making this up – a Christmas tree” along which comes the claim that “The Christmas tree was originally known as an asherah pole!” that the decorative ball are, well, just that; representative of a male god’s gonadial region.

There are also a historical and theological issue about gifts; “Exchanging gifts is seen as evil in the Bible (Revelation 11:10)!”

Of course, there is also the whole Santa issue, for example:

“The way Santa is depicted is based on the Norse god Odin, who had a long white beard and dressed in red!...

Santa is made up to be a replacement for Jesus! Look at these parallels!”

On this issue, it would have been interesting to see Holding not solely take on the issue historically and logically but how a child sees it. This is because, one-to-one correspondence or not; children often believe that Santa is a god-man of sorts with superpowers only to find out that, let us face it, their parents straight up lied to them. This leads some to what has been termed Santa syndrome whereby they grow up rejecting God as they think that God is just a tall tale just like Santa.

The book ends with an interesting and detailed consideration pertaining to “Harmonizing the Nativity Stories.”

This books is highly recommended for all sides of the issues; those who celebrate Christmas, anti-Christmas Christians and anti-Christmas non-Christians.


Here is a list of J.P. Holding’s books:

Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths

Hitler's Christianity

Was Hitler a Christian? Was Nazi Germany a "Christian nation"?

Shattering the Christ Myth

The ultimate resource for debunking the claim that Jesus didn't even exist! Takes on writers like Earl Doherty, G. A. Wells, Acharya S, and many more!

Trusting the New Testament

Was the information in the New Testament transmitted reliably? Looks at oral transmission, textual transmission, authorship issues, and the canon.

Defending the Resurrection

Our full-orbed historical defense. Looks at all the usual theories (swoon, stolen body, etc.) and makes a positive apologetic for the Resurrection.

The Impossible Faith

A "food for thought" version of arguments in Defending the Resurrection.

The Mormon Defenders

Analysis of Mormon truth claims related to the Bible, and how Mormon apologists use it.

What In Hell Is Going On?

Is hell really literal, fiery torture? A fresh look at hell from a social-contextual perspective.

Direct Application New Testament

The moral teachings of the New Testament distilled and applied for today.

The Atonement Contextualized

A fresh look at the doctrine of the atonement from a first century perspective.

Know Your Enemy

A response to the "Know Your Enemy" e-book and video series by Mark Fairley.


An intelligent alternative to those "other" cartoon tracts.



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