Sunday, December 3, 2017

Christmas, Epiphany & the Feast of Dedication

Overview

I started researching the Christmas celebration wanting to know why we observe this date since many Christians know that Jesus Christ could not have been born on December 25th.  Early in my research I found out that many early American settlers, called the Puritans, did not celebrate Christmas because they knew this celebration was a tradition established by a Pope based on the lie that Jesus was born on this day.  I do agree with the early Americans and the Puritans that December 25th is not Jesus’ birthday; Jesus was conceived on January 6th and was born on September 29th on the Day of Atonement.  Atone means ‘at one’; therefore this is the day he was ‘at one’ with us. 
The Puritans were part of the Protestant reformation that wanted to rid themselves of all the traditions that were established by the Popes. What the Puritans and many other Christians did not realize though is that the Pope created this story that December 25th was Jesus’ birthday because he wanted Christians to forget about the Feast of the Dedication.  This feast is also called the Festival of Lights.   The Feast of the Dedication was established in 164 BC by the Maccabees and it was to celebrate the anointing of the new temple altar.  This feast continued on into during the life of Jesus and Jesus did attend this feast.

And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.” John 10:22-23


Christmas is actually two words; Christ in Greek means anointed and mas, at the end of a word, is an old English word that means sacred day.  So in current day English we could call this day ‘anointed sacred day’ or ‘anointed festival’.  We use to celebrate the anointed altar and now we celebrate Jesus’s conception and HE was the Christ or ‘anointed one’.



According to the Laws of Moses, a seven day purification process was required for a new altar which did include the process of anointing the altar. 

And thou shalt sacrifice the calf of the sin-offering on the day of purification, and thou shalt purify the altar when thou dost perform consecration upon it, and thou shalt anoint it so as to sanctify it. Seven days shalt thou purify the altar and sanctify it; and the altar shall be most holy, every one that touches the altar shall be hallowed.” Exo 29:36-37

The Levites were required to make special oil for the purpose of anointing the holy items including the altar.

“And thou shalt make it a holy anointing oil, a perfumed ointment tempered by the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint with it the tabernacle of witness, and the ark of the tabernacle of witness, and all its furniture, and the candlestick and all its furniture, and the altar of incense, and the altar of whole burnt-offerings and all its furniture, and the table and all its furniture, and the laver. And thou shalt sanctify them, and they shall be most holy: every one that touches them shall be hallowed.” Exo 30:25-29

Many traditions were established at past dedications that are still part of our Christmas traditions today; therefore I will document each of the dedications below.   I will start though with Noah’s covenant with our Father in Heaven though since the first winter festival was started then. 

3238 BC – Noah’s Winter Solstice Festival

In 3238 BC, at the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) Noah’s covenant with our Father in Heaven given stated that Noah’s descendants would celebrate the start of each season (spring, summer, fall, & winter).  Therefore, Noah’s descendants would hold a Winter Solstice Festival on about December 19th of each year.  The day of the Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and Enoch described it as being 6 parts day and 12 parts night.  The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter. As Noah’s descendants multiplied and were scattered on the earth they developed many traditions for celebrating the winter solstice.  Some of these traditions are probably still part of our Christmas season celebration.

And on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the first month, and on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the fourth month, and on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the seventh month, and on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the tenth month are the days of remembrance, and the days of the seasons in the four divisions of the year. These are written and ordained as a testimony for ever. And Noah ordained them for himself as feasts for the generations for ever, so that they have become thereby a memorial unto him. And on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the first month he was bidden to make for himself an ark, and on that (day) the earth became dry and he opened (the ark) and saw the earth. And on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the fourth month the mouths of the depths of the abyss beneath were closed. And on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the seventh month all the mouths of the abysses of the earth were opened, and the waters began to descend into them. And on the new moon [sic.. 1st day] of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen, and Noah was glad. And on this account he ordained them for himself as feasts for a memorial for ever, and thus are they ordained. And they placed them on the heavenly tablets, each had thirteen weeks; from one to another (passed) their memorial, from the first to the second, and from the second to the third, and from the third to the fourth. And all the days of the commandment will be two and fifty weeks of days, and (these will make) the entire year complete. Thus it is engraven and ordained on the heavenly tablets. And there is no neglecting (this commandment) for a single year or from year to year. And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning- three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.” Jubilees 6:22-32

Please see this article that shows the words ‘new moon’ should not be in the text above and are a translation error.  http://kingdomhereamerica.blogspot.com/2016/02/noahs-flood-jubilees-calendar.html
Our seasons are dictated by the circuit of the sun and not the moon.   
Note:  The Enoch calendar and the calendars we purchase do not always agree regarding the date of the Winter Solstice.  I believe this is because the ancients calculated equinoxes and solstices based on a sidereal year and today we use a topical year.  I have been working on documenting this fact.

Therefore, it was ordained that we are to celebrate the Winter Solstice with gladness.
Since it was a short day they probably lite many candles and had bonfires at night. 
I believe this is where the tradition of Yule and the Yule log originated. 
The English word jolly is derived from the word Yule.  


1446 BC - The First Tabernacle Dedication in the Wilderness

In 1446 BC, on the first day of the first month which was New Year’s Day, the items built for the tabernacle in the wilderness were completed.  On our current day calendar this date would have been about March 21st that all the required items were completed.  Our Father in Heaven told Moses to start the process of assembling the tabernacle and anointing the holy items.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: The first month, the first day of the month, thou shalt set up the tabernacle of the testimony, And shalt put the ark in it, and shalt let down the veil before it: And thou shalt bring in the table, and set upon it the things that are commanded according to the rite. The candlestick shall stand with its lamps, And the altar of gold whereon the incense is burnt, before the ark of the testimony. Thou shalt put the hanging in the entry of the tabernacle, And before it the altar of holocaust: The laver between the altar and the tabernacle, and thou shalt fill it with water. And thou shalt encompass the court with hangings, and the entry thereof. And thou shalt take the oil of unction and anoint the tabernacle with its vessels, that they may be sanctified: The altar of holocaust and all its vessels: The laver with its foot: thou shalt consecrate all with the oil of unction, that they may be most holy.” DR Exo 40:1-11

 “And Moses took of the anointing oil, and sprinkled of it seven times on the altar; and anointed the altar, and hallowed it, and all things on it, and the laver, and its foot, and sanctified them; and anointed the tabernacle and all its furniture, and hallowed it. And Moses poured of the anointing oil on the head of Aaron; and he anointed him and sanctified him.” Lev 8:10-12 

As soon as the tabernacle, the altar and other holy items were anointed, the princes of Israel started bringing gifts for the dedication.  They brought lots of gifts to be used for service at the tabernacle.  This is probably where we get the tradition of gift giving at Christmas which was the anointing festival.

And it came to pass in the day in which Moses finished the setting-up of the tabernacle, that he anointed it, and consecrated it, and all its furniture, and the altar and all its furniture, he even anointed them, and consecrated them. And the princes of Israel brought gifts, twelve princes of their fathers' houses: these were the heads of tribes, these are they that presided over the numbering. And they brought their gift before the Lord, six covered waggons, and twelve oxen; a waggon from two princes, and a calf from each: and they brought them before the tabernacle. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take of them, and they shall be for the works of the services of the tabernacle of witness: and thou shalt give them to the Levites, to each one according to his ministration. And Moses took the waggons and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites. And he gave two waggons and four oxen to the sons of Gedson, according to their ministrations. And four waggons and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari according to their ministrations, by Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But to the sons of Caath he gave them not, because they have the ministrations of the sacred things: they shall bear them on their shoulders. Sep Num 7:1-9 

The dedication of the altar for the tabernacle was a twelve day festival where our Father in Heaven wanted each tribe to present their gifts for the altar on their own assigned day.  This is probably where the tradition of the 12 days of Christmas started and it reminds me of the popular "Twelve Days of Christmas" song.

“And the rulers brought gifts for the dedication of the altar, in the day in which he anointed it, and the rulers brought their gifts before the altar. And the Lord said to Moses, One chief each day, they shall offer their gifts a chief each day for the dedication of the altar.” Sep Num 7:10-11 

The tribe of Juda was assigned to bring gifts the first day and this is because he was the lead tribe from the east.  The Old Testament always orders east first when ordering items and places.  These were the gifts from the tribe of Juda.

“And he that offered his gift on the first day, was Naasson the son of Aminadab, prince of the tribe of Juda. And he brought his gift, one silver charger of a hundred and thirty shekels was its weight, one silver bowl, of seventy shekels according to the holy shekel; both full of fine flour kneaded with oil for a meat-offering.  One golden censer of ten shekels full of incense.  One calf of the herd, one ram, one he-lamb of a year old for a whole-burnt-offering;  and one kid of the goats for a sin-offering.   And for a sacrifice of peace-offering, two heifers, five rams, five he goats, five ewe-lambs of a year old: this was the gift of Naasson the son of Aminadab.”  Sep Num 7:12-17

For twelve days each tribe brought exactly the same gifts as the tribe of Juda did above (Num 7:18-83).  First the tribes from the east side of the camp, then the tribes from the south side of the camp, then the tribes from the west side of the camp and then ended with the northern camps bringing their gifts.  The table below reflects the gifts brought each day, by each tribe.  It also indicates the order in which the gifts were brought and the approximate date the gifts were brought. I did skip the Sabbath days since the Levites would not be expected to receive gifts on their day of rest. 




After the twelve days were completed, this summary is given regarding the dedication of the altar:

“This was the dedication of the altar in the day in which Moses anointed it, by the princes of the sons of Israel; twelve silver chargers, twelve silver bowls, twelve golden censers:  each charger of a hundred and thirty shekels, and each bowl of seventy shekels: all the silver of the vessels was two thousand four hundred shekels, the shekels according to the holy shekel.  Twelve golden censers full of incense: all the gold of the shekels, a hundred and twenty shekels.”  Num 7:84-86

All the cattle for whole-burnt-offerings, twelve calves, twelve rams, twelve he-lambs of a year old, and their meat-offerings, and their drink-offerings: and twelve kids of the goats for sin-offering.  All the cattle for a sacrifice of peace-offering, twenty-four heifers, sixty rams, sixty he-goats of a year old, sixty ewe-lambs of a year old without blemish: this is the dedication of the altar, after that Moses consecrated Aaron, and after he anointed him.”  Num 7:87 

“When Moses went into the tabernacle of witness to speak to God, then he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him from off the mercy-seat, which is upon the ark of the testimony, between the two cherubs; and he spoke to him.”  Num 7:89  


Then our Father in Heaven spoke to Moses he told him to have Aaron, who was the anointed one to perform this task, to set-up the seven lamps to light up the tabernacle.

 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron, and thou shalt say to him, Whenever thou shalt set the lamps in order, the seven lamps shall give light opposite the candlestick. And Aaron did so: on one side opposite the candlestick he lighted its lamps, as the Lord appointed Moses. And this is the construction of the candlestick: it is solid, golden--its stem, and its lilies--all solid: according to the pattern which the Lord shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.” Num 8:1-4

Once the seven lamps were lite they were to burn continually. 

And do thou charge the children of Israel, and let them take for thee refined pure olive-oil beaten to burn for light, that a lamp may burn continually in the tabernacle of the testimony, without the veil that is before the ark of the covenant, shall Aaron and his sons burn it from evening until morning, before the Lord: it is a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations of the children of Israel.” Exo 27:20-21


Our Father in Heaven also told Moses to purify the Levites. 

Take the Levites out of the midst of the children of Israel, and thou shalt purify them. And thus shalt thou perform their purification: thou shalt sprinkle them with water of purification, and a razor shall come upon the whole of their body, and they shall wash their garments, and shall be clean. And they shall take one calf of the herd, and its meat-offering, fine flour mingled with oil: and thou shalt take a calf of a year old of the herd for a sin-offering. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of witness; and thou shalt assemble all the congregation of the sons of Israel. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord; and the sons of Israel shall lay their hands upon the Levites. And Aaron shall separate the Levites for a gift before the Lord from the children of Israel: and they shall be prepared to perform the works of the Lord. And the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the calves; and thou shalt offer one for a sin-offering, and the other for a whole-burnt-offering to the Lord, to make atonement for them. And thou shalt set the Levites before the Lord, and before Aaron, and before his sons; and thou shalt give them as a gift before the Lord. And thou shalt separate the Levites from the midst of the sons of Israel, and they shall be mine. And afterwards the Levites shall go in to perform the works of the tabernacle of witness; and thou shalt purify them, and present them before the Lord. For these are given to me for a present out of the midst of the children of Israel: I have taken them to myself instead of all the first-born of the sons of Israel that open every womb. For every first-born among the children of Israel is mine, whether of man or beast: in the day in which I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them to myself. And I took the Levites in the place of every first-born among the children of Israel. And I gave the Levites presented as a gift to Aaron and his sons out of the midst of the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of witness, and to make atonement for the children of Israel: thus there shall be none among the sons of Israel to draw nigh to the holy things. And Moses and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites as the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the sons of Israel did to them. So the Levites purified themselves and washed their garments; and Aaron presented them as a gift before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to purify them. And afterwards the Levites went in to minister in their service in the tabernacle of witness before Aaron, and before his sons; as the Lord appointed Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.”  Sep Num 8:6-22 

Therefore, the Israelite’s first Dedication of the Altar and all of the holy items was started on New Year’s Day, March 21st and was all completed on April 3rd which was the day of Passover.  They had completed the purification process and anointing in time for the spring holy feast days. It was a huge 12 day Christmas anointing-festival celebrated with gifts presented daily and lots of food.  This festival included Aaron, who was anointed with oil and purified by the sprinkling of water, to light the seven lamps that were to burn continually.

961 BC - King Solomon’s Dedication of the Temple & Altar

In 961 BC, king Solomon held a huge feast to dedicate the altar during the Feast of Tabernacles.  Solomon dismissed the attendees the day after ‘The Last Great Day’ of the Feast of Tabernacles; ‘The Last Great Day’ was to be a solemn assembly and always to be held on the 22nd day of the seventh month (Numbers 29:35). Therefore, this feast of the dedication was held according to our current calendar starting on October 3rd and ending on October 10th.  This temple contained all the holy items that the tabernacle in the wilderness contained. As scripture shows below, this was a major festival with lots of food and music. 

And it came to pass when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and his own house after twenty years, then king Solomon assembled all the elders of Israel in Sion, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, this is Sion, in the month of Athanin [seventh month, Athena the Virgin or Virgo]. And the priests took up the ark, and the tabernacle of testimony, and the holy furniture that was in the tabernacle of testimony.  And the king and all Israel were occupied before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, without number. And the priests bring in the ark into its place, into the oracle of the house, even into the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubs. For the cherubs spread out their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubs covered the ark and its holy things above.” Sep 1 Ki 8:1-7

And all Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon on the festival day in the month of Ethanim, the same is the seventh month.” DR 1 Kings 8:2

convenitque ad regem Salomonem universus Israhel in mense hethanim in sollemni die ipse est mensis [month] septimus [seventh]”  Latin Vulgate 1 Kings 8:2

And the king and all the people were offering sacrifices before the Lord. And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of calves twenty and two thousand, of sheep a hundred and twenty thousand: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. And the priests were standing at their watches, and the Levites with instruments of music of the Lord, belonging to king David, to give thanks before the Lord, for his mercy endures for ever, with the hymns of David, by their ministry: and the priests were blowing the trumpets before them, and all Israel standing. And Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was in the house of the Lord: for he offered there the whole-burnt-offerings and the fat of the peace-offerings, for the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not sufficient to receive the whole-burnt-offerings, and the meat-offerings, and the fat. And Solomon kept the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entering in of Æmath, and as far as the river of Egypt. And on the eighth day he kept a solemn assembly: for he kept a feast of seven days as the dedication of the altar. And on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he dismissed the people to their tents, rejoicing, and with a glad heart because of the good deeds which the Lord had done to David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” Sep 2 Ch 7:4-10 

Since this anointing festival was held during the Feast of Tabernacles, all of their tents or booths were constructed with tree branches.

And on the first day ye shall take goodly fruit of trees, and branches of palm trees, and thick boughs of trees, and willows, and branches of osiers from the brook, to rejoice before the Lord your God seven days in the year.”  Sep Lev 23:40 

And you shall take to you on the first day the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.” DR Lev 23:40

And they found written in the law which the Lord commanded Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths, in the feast in the seventh month: and that they should sound with trumpets in all their cities, and in Jerusalem. And Esdras said, Go forth to the mountain, and bring branches of olive, and branches of cypress trees, and branches of myrtle, and branches of palm trees, and branches of every thick tree, to make booths, according to that which was written.” Sep Neh 8:14-15

Therefore, instruments of music, hymns of David, trumpets and lots of food were part of this dedication and anointing festival.  Plus they had tree branches that were probably displayed very decorative as we do at Christmas time.

515 BC - Second Temple Built & Dedicated

 In 586 BC, Solomon’s temple was destroyed and in 538 BC, king Cyrus of Persia issued an edict that the temple in Jerusalem was to be rebuilt.  Twenty years later, in 515BC, the second temple was completed in the month of Adar which was the twelfth month of their calendar. The king also commanded that the gold and silver holy vessels that were sized during the fall of Jerusalem be placed in the new temple.  These vessels were probably the same ones that the Israelite tribes gave as gifts at the dedication of the first tabernacle in the wilderness. However, this second temple did not contain the lamp and the Ark of the Covenant (2 Maccabees, chapter 2). 

But in the first year that king Cyrus reigned over the country of Babylon Cyrus the king wrote to build up this house. And the holy vessels of gold and of silver, that Nabuchodonosor had carried away out of the house at Jerusalem, and had set them in his own temple those Cyrus the king brought forth again out of the temple at Babylon, and they were delivered to Zorobabel and to Sanabassarus the ruler,  With commandment that he should carry away the same vessels, and put them in the temple at Jerusalem; and that the temple of the Lord should be built in his place.” 1Es 6:17-19

According to the book of Ezra the temple was completed on the 3rd day of Adar which would be February 19th on our Gregorian calendar today.

Then Thanthanai the governor on this side beyond the river, Satharbuzanai, and his fellow-servants, according to that which king Darius sent, so they did diligently. And the elders of the Judeans and the Levites built, at the prophecy of Aggaeus the prophet, and Zacharias the son of Addo: and they built up, and finished it, by the decree of the God of Israel, and by the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Arthasastha, kings of the Persians. And they finished this house by the third day of the month Adar, which is the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of the house of God with gladness. And they offered for the dedication of the house of God a hundred calves, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, twelve kids of the goats for a sin-offering for all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their separate orders, for the services of God in Jerusalem, according to the writing of the book of Moses. And the children of the captivity kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and Levites were purified, all were clean to a man, and they slew the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. And the children of Israel ate the passover, even they that were of the captivity, and every one who separated himself to them from the uncleanness of the nations of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel. and they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with gladness, because the Lord made them glad, and he turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the works of the house of the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:13-22

According to the book of 1st Esdra the temple was completed on the 23rd day of Adar which would be March 11th on our Gregorian calendar today.

Did very carefully oversee the holy works, assisting the ancients of the Judeans and governors of the temple. And so the holy works prospered, when Aggeus and Zacharias the prophets prophesied. And they finished these things by the commandment of the Lord God of Israel, and with the consent of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. And thus was the holy house finished in the three and twentieth day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of Darius king of the Persians. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and others that were of the captivity, that were added unto them, did according to the things written in the book of Moses. And to the dedication of the temple of the Lord they offered an hundred bullocks two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; And twelve goats for the sin of all Israel, according to the number of the chief of the tribes of Israel. The priests also and the Levites stood arrayed in their vestments, according to their kindreds, in the service of the Lord God of Israel, according to the book of Moses: and the porters at every gate. And the children of Israel that were of the captivity held the passover the fourteenth day of the first month, after that the priests and the Levites were sanctified. They that were of the captivity were not all sanctified together: but the Levites were all sanctified together. And so they offered the passover for all them of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. And the children of Israel that came out of the captivity did eat, even all they that had separated themselves from the abominations of the people of the land, and sought the Lord. And they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days, making merry before the Lord, For that he had turned the counsel of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the works of the Lord God of Israel.” 1 Esdras 7:2-15

All of the rebuilding of the second temple and altar was at the instruction of king Cyrus who our Father in Heaven anointed one.

“Who bids Cyrus be wise, and he shall perform all my will: who says to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built, and I will lay the foundation of my holy house.” Sep  Isa 44:28 

“Thus saith the Lord God to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, that nations might be obedient before him; and I will break through the strength of kings; I will open doors before him, and cities shall not be closed.” Sep Isa 45:1 

It appears that they finished building the temple on Adar 3rd, February 19th and then on Adar 23rd, March 11th is when they actually started the Feast of the Dedication. Therefore the Feast of Dedication would have started on March 11th, lasting seven days and ended on March 17th.  Then the Levites were purified or sanctified in preparation for the feast of Passover held on the 14th day of the first month, which is April 3rd on our current day calendar.  Therefore, the dedication of the second temple and the first tabernacle in the wilderness were both completed in time to have the temple prepared and the Levites purified in time for Passover.

Therefore, all of these festivities were held around their New Year celebration.   The holy items would have been anointed and sanctified.  The Levities would have been purified and anointed.  So this would be considered a Christmas day or anointing festival.  The return of the gold and silver vessels would have been considered a blessing.  Everything being restored would was celebrated with gladness.  It was a celebration liberty since they were now able to worship their Father in Heaven again as the law states.

164 BC - Dedication of the New Altar - Feast of the Dedication or Festival of Lights

In 164 BC, the second temple altar had been defiled by heathens.  Therefore, they decided it would be best and according to law to build a new altar and make new holy vessels.  Then they lighted the candlestick.  They held an eight day dedication for the altar festival.  This festival or feast would have started on December 12th and ended on December 20th.  Judas Maccabee and the congregation of Israel ordained that this festival would be kept each year. 

And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down,  And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple.   Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make. Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu (ninth month, see Zec_7:1), with mirth and gladness.” 1Mac 4:44-59 

According to Josephus, Judas Maccabees called this celebration the Festival of Lights:

Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days; and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon: but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them, by hymns and psalms.  Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days.  And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.  Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies.”   The Writings of Flavius Josephus, Antiquities 12.7.6: 323-326

Therefore, the yearly celebration of dedication or anointing festival was established in 164 BC with gladness, songs, musical instruments, decor of gold crowns and lights.  It was ordained into law that this festival would be celebrated at this time each year and we have been celebrating it each year.
The lights represented the ‘lights of liberty’.

2 BC – Jesus Conceived which was the “Manifestation of God”

On January 6th, 2 BC the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive Jesus.  Prior to Pope Gregory changing the calendar this date of January 6th was December 25th.

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” DR Luke 1:26-35

This date of January 6th was named Epiphany which is an ancient Greek word:
ἐπιφάνεια (epipháneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”), from ἐπιφαίνω (epiphaínō, “I appear, display”), from ἐπί (epí, “upon”) + φαίνω (phaínō, “I shine, appear”).  It is the manifestation or appearance of a divine or superhuman being.   See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/epiphany#English

In some countries this date is called Theophany:
From Late Latin theophania, corresponding to theo- +‎ -phany, from θεο (theo, “God”) + φαίνω (phaínō, “I shine, appear”).  The manifestation of a deity to a person.  See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/theophany#English

Epiphany is celebrated as a public holiday today in the following places on January 6th:  Austria, Colombia (South America), Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, Ethiopia (but on different date that varies annually), parts of Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Uruguay and the US Virgin Islands.

For more information about Jesus’ birth, please see this article.  http://kingdomhereamerica.blogspot.com/2016/10/yahshuas-birth-on-day-of-atonement.html

I believe that it would be prophetic that the anointing festival or Christmas would be moved and celebrated just prior to Jesus’ conception date of January 6th on our current calendar.  The Anointed One would be conceived during the Anointing Festival. Of course our Father in Heaven knew this would happen.

Epiphany or Theophany is the ‘Manifestation of our Father in Heaven’ here on earth.  It is the first date of HIS actual appearance on earth since life begins at conception.  It was December 25th on the old calendar and January 6th on our current calendar.

Shortly after Jesus’ birth the Magi came to pay homage to Jesus and bring him gifts.  They brought gifts knowing their new king was born.  The gift of myrrh would be used for anointing Jesus (Exo 30:23, Est 2:12, & Psalms 44:80) as their King.

And having come into the house they saw the little child with Mary his mother, and falling down did him homage. And having opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

Jesus would have been anointed King of Israel.  Today the descendants of King David are still anointed as part of the coronation ceremony.  See http://kingdomhereamerica.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-bible-queen-elizabeth-iis-coronation_8.html
In the New Testament we learn that our bodies are now the tabernacles; therefore, Jesus’ body would have been anointed as the custom was to anoint a new tabernacle.

Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens, A minister of the holies, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that he also should have some thing to offer.”  Hebrews  7:1-4

For we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven. For in this also we groan, desiring to be clothed upon with our habitation that is from heaven. Yet so that we be found clothed, not naked. For we also, who are in this tabernacle, do groan, being burthened; because we would not be unclothed, but clothed upon, that that which is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Cor 5:1-4

Today at many churches baby dedications are performed; however the babies are not anointed and sprinkled with water.  Many Greek churches today still perform Christening or anointing of their new babies with oil and water.  They call it a baby baptism; however, many believe that cannot happen until you can repent of sin.  Therefore, a Christening would be an anointing with oil, water of purification (Num 8:7), giving of a Christian name and circumcision if the baby is a boy. 
Shows that oil is put on babies head https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_baptism

The Magi brought gifts for the new baby Jesus who was a new tabernacle to be anointed & be our new King.  The Magi come to see Jesus sometime after HIS birth on September 29th, 2 BC.


33 AD - Feast of the Dedication

As stated earlier, Jesus did attend the feast of the dedication in Jerusalem.  Therefore, it is assumed that this feast was blessed by our Father in Heaven since Jesus did attend and he said nothing to indicate that he was not happy with the observance of this feast. 

And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.” John 10:22-23


70 AD – The Second Temple Fell

In 70 AD after the temple fell the Israelites were scattered to various directions.  They no longer had the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the anointing of the altar also called the Feast of the Dedication or Festival of Lights; however the tribes continued the celebration.  The most well-known celebration was the Roman Saturnalia Festival of Lights.  We do know that the Romans during the Apostle Paul’s life were of Israelite genes since Paul wrote to them.  Paul was an apostle to the gentiles.  Gentiles come from the Latin word ‘gentīlis’ which means belonging to the same family or gēns. Paul confirms the Romans are related to him in these verses:

I say then: Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture saith of Elias; how he calleth on God against Israel?” DR Romans 11:1-2

The Roman Saturnalia Festival was also called the Festival of Lights it was celebrated from December 17th to December 23rd on the Julian calendar.  The table below shows the date conversions comparisons and reflects that Saturnalia was celebrated during the same time as the original feast ordained in 164 BC. 


If you view these pages you will see why it is hard to get good confirmation dates because the Gregorian and Julian calendars differences get greater as time goes on.

The Saturnalia feast was a seven day feast leading up to the Winter Solstice just as the Feast of the Dedication in 164BC did.  They lite lots of candles that were symbols of the quest for truth and knowledge like the light of liberty as Josephus stated (above).  They had a day of gift giving as part of the feast.  A sacrifice was performed at the temple of Saturn probably at the altar.  The temple of Saturn was named after their first king.   The Temple of Saturn housed the state treasury. The temple was among the oldest sites in Rome, and had been the location of "a very ancient" altar (ara) built before the building of the first temple in 497 BC. There was a statue of Saturn at the main temple which normally had its feet bound in wool [lamb of liberty, Jesus], which was removed for the holiday as an act of liberation.  The statue was made of wood and held oil in it.


In Justinus' Epitome of Trogus it reads:

"The first inhabitants of Italy were the Aborigines, whose king, Saturnus, is said to have been a man of such extraordinary justice, that no one was a slave in his reign, or had any private property, but all things were common to all, and undivided, as one estate for the use of every one; in memory of which way of life, it has been ordered that at the Saturnalia slaves should everywhere sit down with their masters at the entertainments, the rank of all being made equal."

During the Saturnalia feast the people wore conical felt caps that represented the mark of freedom.  This cap was a brimless, felt cap worn in Ancient Greece and surrounding regions and in Ancient Rome. This cap is also called a Phrygian cap which was also known as the liberty cap. 



It is interesting that Santa, which means holy or sacred in Latin, wears a Phrygian or Liberty cap.   
Sources:

The ancient Teutons of Germany celebrated a festival that could be called the Festival of Lights.  Their festival also honored Noah’s covenant.  At the time of the winter solstice they would decorate small fir trees with candles.    They celebrated the twelve sacred nights called Weihnachten which means ‘holy nights’.   It is said that they worshiped the sun-god Odin; however, I believe this is the same name for God given in the Latin Vulgate in Exodus 6:3 which was Adonai.  The Phoenician God was Adon also.  The Teutons’ God was the dispenser of all blessings.  

Source: TheChristmas Story written in 1895 by Carol Wenckebach

The Festival of Lights

According to Josephus (above), Judas Maccabees called the Feast of the Dedication the Festival of Lights.  Josephus stated that the lights represented liberty.  This verse in Proverbs tells us that the laws of Moses are a lamp and a light which are a ‘way of life’.  The laws of Moses do give us our liberties. 

For the commandment of the law is a lamp and a light; a way of life; reproof also and correction.” Pro 6:23 

James refers to our Father in Heaven as the ‘Father of Lights’ who gives us perfect gifts.

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” DR James 1:17

The Psalms gives us these verses:

Thy law is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths.” Sep Psa 119:105 
There will I cause to spring up a horn to David: I have prepared a lamp for mine anointed. “ Sep Psa 132:17 

Isaiah regarding the future glory of Israel:

Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and there shall be gross darkness on the nations: but the Lord shall appear upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And kings shall walk in thy light, and nations in thy brightness.” Sep Isa 60:1-3

Matthew tells us that our light shining glorifies our Father who is in Heaven. Our light is the truth of HIS word that gives us liberty.  At this time though we have lost of liberties since we have not been following the laws of Moses.  For example, our children can no longer pray at school.

You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” DR Matthew 5:14-16

John tells us that Jesus is the true light that enlightens every man.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.” DR John 1:6-9

Paul tells the Romans to put on the ‘armor of light’ which would be the word of our Father in Heaven recorded in our bibles.

And that knowing the season; that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light.” DR Romans 13:11-12

HIS chosen people were called into his marvelous light:

But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”  1 Peter 2:9

Exodus tells us that the in the tabernacle there must always be enough oil to keep the lamp or light on:

 “Command the children of Israel that they bring thee the purest oil of the olives, and beaten with a pestle: that a lamp may burn always, In the tabernacle of the testimony without the veil that hangs before the testimony. And Aaron and his sons shall order it, that it may give light before the Lord until the morning. It shall be a perpetual observance throughout their successions among the children of Israel.”  DR Exodus 27:20

In this parable, Jesus tells us to be prepared for him when HE returns.  Therefore, have the oil in your lamp within your body that is the tabernacle – in other words have the have the word of scripture in your mind so that your light will shine.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not.” DR Matthew 25: 1-25

In the 4th century, Ephraim the Syrian wrote 15 hymns for the celebration of Epiphany.  Below is the first part of Hymn 15:

1. In the Birth of the Son light dawned,— and darkness fled from the world—and the earth was enlightened; then let it give glory— to the brightness of the Father Who has enlightened it!
2. He dawned from the womb of the Virgin,— and the shadows passed away when He was seen—and the darkness of error was strangled by Him—and the ends of the earth were enlightened that they should give glory.
3. Among the peoples there was great tumult—and in the darkness the light dawned,— and the nations rejoiced to give glory— to Him in Whose Birth they all were enlightened.
4. His light shone out over the east—Persia was enlightened by the star:— His Epiphany gave good tidings to her and invited her—He has come for the sacrifice that brings joy to all.
5. The star of light hasted and came and dawned— through the darkness, and summoned them— that the peoples should come and exult— in the great Light that has come down to earth.

All 15 Hymns for Epiphany http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3704.htm

Therefore, at Christmas time we display lights which represent the light of liberty that represent keeping the light of the tabernacle lamp burning. 
The light of liberty comes to us by following the words of HIS gospel.
We should remember our Father in Heaven is also called the Father of Lights who gives us perfect gifts. Jesus was the perfect gift that enlightened the earth to bring glory.


The Tree of Life

The tradition of using evergreens for decorations and the Christmas tree is very ancient one.  There are many different thoughts on how the Christmas tree originated.  My belief is that the Christmas tree is the tree of life.

Many believe that the prophet Jeremiah was referring to the Christmas tree in this verse:

For the customs of the nations are vain; it is a tree cut out of the forest, the work of the carpenter, or a molten image. They are beautified with silver and gold, they fix them with hammers and nails; they will set them up that they may not move; it is wrought silver, they will not walk, it is forged silver They must certainly be borne, for they cannot ride of themselves. Fear them not; for they cannot do any evil, and there is no good in them.” Sep  Jer 10:3-5

If Jeremiah is referring to the Christmas tree he is saying that it would be a waste of time to bow down to them or pray to them since they cannot do anything for you.  He is saying that all prayers and worship must be directed towards our Father in Heaven since he is our living God and can answer prayers.  This tree that Jeremiah refers to is very different from the trees referred to in the Garden of Eden since there was a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

“And God made to spring up also out of the earth every tree beautiful to the eye and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of learning the knowledge of good and evil.” Sep Gen 2:9 

“And the Lord God gave a charge to Adam, saying, Of every tree which is in the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil--of it ye shall not eat, but in whatsoever day ye eat of it, ye shall surely die.” Sep Gen 2:16-17

As we all know that Adam and Eve did partake in the tree of good and evil.  After this we learn that Adam became a god since he could now also create a living person so that his seed or yDNA would live forever. 

“And God said, Behold, Adam is become as one of us, to know good and evil, and now lest at any time he stretch forth his hand, and take of the tree of life and eat, and so he shall live forever-- So the Lord God sent him forth out of the garden of Delight to cultivate the ground out of which he was taken.  And he cast out Adam and caused him to dwell over against the garden of Delight, and stationed the cherubs and the fiery sword that turns about to keep the way of the tree of life.” Sep Gen 3:23-25

The Christmas tree tradition started since it represents the tree of life.  An evergreen tree was used to represent the tree of life since it is green and full of life even in the winter.  People are referred to as trees many times in the bible and today we refer to our ancestry as our family tree.  Here are more verses that mention the tree of life:

“She is a tree of life to all that lay hold upon her; and she is a secure help to all that stay themselves on her, as on the Lord.” Sep Pro 3:18 

Out of the fruit of righteousness grows a tree of life; but the souls of transgressors are cut off before their time.” Sep Pro 11:30 

Better is he that begins to help heartily, than he that promises and leads another to hope: for a good desire is a tree of life.” Sep Pro 13:12 

The wholesome tongue is a tree of life, and he that keeps it shall be filled with understanding.” Sep Pro 15:4 

They shall by no means build, and others inhabit; and they shall by no means plant, and others eat: for as the days of the tree of life shall be the days of my people, they shall long enjoy the fruits of their labours.” Sep Isa 65:22 

“The knowledge of the commandments of the Lord is the doctrine of life: and they that do things that please him shall receive the fruit of the tree of immortality.” Sep Sir 19:19 

He declared the proverbs of Solomon, who saith, He is a tree of life to all those who do His will.” Sep 4Ma 18:16 

He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him, that overcometh, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God.” DR Rev 2:7

“In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” DR Rev 22:2

Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.” DR Rev 22:14

The tree of life will provide them with fragrant ointment, and they won’t labor or grow tired.” 2 Esd 2:12

For you, paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the future time is prepared, abundance is made ready, the city is built, rest is appointed, goodness is perfected, and wisdom is perfected in advance.” 2 Esd 8:52

The tree of life is double in nature since it keeps our seed alive by having children. In prophecy it is the ability to live forever in the kingdom of our Father in Heaven.  Jesus is are path to the tree of life.


Our bibles refer to Jesus coming from the root of Jesse and the ‘Jesse-tree’ has been used in church decoration.  The Jesse-tree was a genealogical tree with its root in Jesse. 

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” Sep Isa 11:1

et egredietur [go forth] virga  [twig or rod] de radice [root or source] Iesse et flos [ flower] de radice eius ascendet [climb up, rise]” Latin Vulgate Isa 11:1  (note: the Latin word for rod is virga which is like virgin or virgo.)

In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.” Sep  Isa 11:10

And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope.” DR Romans 15:12

Below is artwork of the Jesse-tree.  Jesse is normally shown as lying down.  Many show Mary on or holding a white lily.  Mary and Jesus are normally shown with a ray of light around them.  


According to the Dead Sea scrolls there were twelve trees that could be used for burnt offerings on the altar:  cedar, juniper, almond tree, fir, pine, ash, cypress, olive tree, laurel and the myrtle.  Two of the names of trees were not readable. These trees offered fragrance that I assume was pleasing to our Father in Heaven.  (Source: 4Q214b, frs. 2-6)  All of these trees are evergreen trees except for the Almond Tree.

Depending on which version of the bible you read, these trees were to be used for making booths at the Feast of Tabernacles:  palm trees, willows, thick bough trees, olive tree, cypress, and myrtle.  (Lev 23:40, Neh 8:15)

According to Josephus, during the Feast of Tabernacles they would make the booths from the branches plus they would carry in their hands a branch of myrtle, and willow, and a bough of the palm tree, with the addition of the pomecitron. (Antiquities.3.10.4)

These twelve tree types were probably symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel.

The Romans  

The pine tree was part of the custom of the Saturnalia celebration. The holly or holy tree which is sometimes called Christ’s Thron was the symbols of peace and goodwill and the people slipped sprays of it into boxes containing the gifts they exchanged.  The Romans had the tradition of burning a Yule log on what is now called Christmas Eve.  The Yule log was part of the tradition of the Festival of Lights. Today many homes burn fires in their fireplaces in keeping with the Christmas season and it was a method of staying warm.
 
The English word jolly comes from the Middle English jolijolif  which means ‘merry and cheerful’, which comes from Old French jolijolif meaning ‘merry and joyful’.  It is possible that the Old French word is from Old Norse jól  which means ‘a midwinter feast, Yule", hence fest-ive’, in which case, equivalent to yule +‎ -ive; or ultimately from Latin gaudeō

The Norse

The Norseman had a great tree called ‘Yggdrasil’ could be a representation of the tree of life.  Heaven and earth are bound by its roots and branches.  This tree was an Ash Tree; therefore one of the scared trees.   Some say this tree was actually a pine tree. 


Scandinavia

In Scandinavia the Christmas tree is said to have originated with the ‘service tree’ which germinated from the soil soaked by the blood of two unfortunate lovers, a claim substantiated by the statement that at Christmastide inextinguishable lights gleamed from its green branches. 

French

In a French romance of the 13th century a great tree is described whose branches are covered with burning candles representing mankind and the child the infant Savior.

Assyrian

The Assyrian’s had a tree called the ‘Tree of Great Light’.



Egyptian

The Egyptians decorated their homes house at the time of the winter solstice with branches from the date palm tree.  The palm tree was one of the sacred trees.  The Egyptians were keeping Noah’s covenant to celebrate the seasons.  The palm tree was a symbol of triumphant over death which maybe a reference to the tree of life.  Trees and pyramids symbolize life, mortal and immortal.   Another article states that these were symbols of immortality and of the starlit firmament.  Below is the Egyptian version of the tree of life.


Germany

The German word for Christmas is Weihnachten  which is two words combined; Weihen means consecrate or to make holy and nacht meaning nightAnointing oil is used to consecrate items for dedicated holy use. Therefore the word Weihnachten and Christmas do have very similar meanings. 

At the summer solstice the " Johannisbaum " (St. John's tree) was decorated, at the May festival the May-tree, and at the winter solstice, the fir-tree.

The German custom is to place the Mother, Mary and her Son, Jesus on top of the tree of the Christmas tree.

Christmas was called Yule which is a Proto-Germanic word that meant festivity or celebration

Celts


"The Celtic Tree of Life is a well-known symbol. For the Ancient Celts, the Tree of Life was a symbol of balance and harmony. The Tree of Life was a representation of how the nature’s forces combined to create balance and harmony. The Tree was a central part of early Celtic spirituality and a source of basic sustenance - a bearer of food, a provider of shelter and fuel for cooking and warmth. Without trees, life would have been extraordinarily difficult. Wood from sacred trees had magical properties... a connection to the world of the spirits and the ancestors, living entities, and doorways into other worlds."



MesoAmerica

"The concept of world trees is a prevalent motif in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cosmologies and iconography. World trees embodied the four cardinal directions, which represented also the fourfold nature of a central world tree, a symbolic axis mundi connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial world."


Christmas Tree History News Articles


1844 news – ‘Kris Kringle’s Christmas Tree’ in
See column 1 – This is the earliest mention of the Christmas tree I could find in the old newspapers and this is an advertisement for a book about the Christmas Tree. 


1904 news - The Christmas Tree, middle bottom of paper
It says in this article that the Greeks call Christmas the festival of lights and the Romans called it Saturnalia.  https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042405/1904-12-22/ed-1/seq-1.pdf



continued


1908 news --Christmas Tree History
See the full page article about the history of the Christmas tree.

Christmas & Epiphany History

Christmas and Epiphany have been celebrated on two different dates in past history.   Some news articles state they were celebrated on the same date in past history.  This confusion is because of changes in the calendar.  The celebration of Epiphany on January 6th is currently the last day of the 12 days of Christmas.  January 6th used to be December 25th on the old calendar called Old Style
In ancient history we celebrated the Winter Solstice and the Feast of the Dedication of the altar in Jerusalem which was named the Festival of Lights.  Today we celebrate Christmas with many biblical traditions that were established in the ancient feasts.  We are really celebrating the Feast of the Dedication called the Festival of Lights and the conception of Jesus which was the ‘manifestation of God’ on earth.

Yuletide was the celebration of the winter solstice and the Feast of the Dedication.

Christmastide or the 12 Days of Christmas is the period between Christmas on December 25th and Epiphany on January 6th.   The final day of Christmastide is on January 6th the date of Jesus’ conception. 

Christmas & Epiphany News Articles


The 1880 Wright’s Almanac that was published here in America showed that Epiphany was celebrated 12 days before Christmas.



1855 news – “Christmas” (shown below)

1921 news - “Last of the Twelve Days” (shown below) This article states that Jesus was baptized on January 6th; however, I really think a cold winter baptism in the Jordan river is unlikely.  The pyramid of Giza records Jesus was baptized on October 14th, 29 AD.


1860 news – “Twelfth Night – Old Christmas – Epiphany”


1967 news – The Epiphany or Twelfth Day


1868 news - The First Traces of Christmas prior to 138AD



1869 news – Epiphany


1871 news – The Episcopal Church


Greeks

The Greeks called Christmas the Feast of Lights still today.



Conclusion

Jesus is the way to the tree of life and HE enlightens the world.  The fir tree, with its lights and fruits, became the symbol of Christ, who was the beginning of a new life in the midst of the wintry darkness, the tree of life, the light of the world.

In the Old Testament it was Aaron and the Levites who were anointed and responsible for keeping the light of the lamp burning.  In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the ‘anointed one’ who enlightens the world with truth.  Christmas is the celebration of the light of truth, knowledge and liberty that Jesus Christ will bring us.

There is no instructions in our bibles for celebrating of Jesus’ manifestation; however lots of our traditions come from the Feast of the Dedications of the ancient tabernacles and temples so we do have some guidance.  Jesus’ manifestation should be celebrated with gladness just like Noah’s winter festival and the dedication feast. 

Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  DR John 8:12

“And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.”  DR Rev 21:23

In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”  DR Rev 22:2

The dates for these feast days are posted here