• By John Hicks

Do you ever wonder where Christmas lights and decorations have their origins?


"Why, on the day of gladness, do we neither cover our door-posts with laurels, nor intrude upon the day with lamps? It is a proper thing, at the call of a public festivity, to dress your house up like some new brothel... They are there of course, not because they are an honor to God, but to him who is honor in God's stead by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, which is in secret appertaining to demons...You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have renounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel." - Tertullian A.D. 198

The origins of decorating one's house in the winter time has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ but instead have their origins in the winter festivals such as Saturnalia dating back to the Roman Empire's rule.

More from Tertullian:

Yes, and persons who are now daily brought to light as confederates or approvers of these crimes and treasons, the still remnant gleanings after a vintage of traitors, with what verdant and branching laurels they clad their door-posts, with what lofty and brilliant lamps they smoked their porches arts which, as made known by the angels who sinned, and forbidden by God, Christians do not even make use of in their own affairs. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3

What less of defilement does he recur on that ground, than a business brings which, both nominally and virtually, is consecrated publicly to an idol? New-year's gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens' wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honored on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol's birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3

"Then," do you say, "the lamps before my doors, and the laurels on my posts are an honor to God?" They are there of course, not because they are an honor to God, but to him who is honor in God's stead by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, which is in secret appertaining to demons. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3

Let, therefore, them who have no light, light their lamps daily; let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have renounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3

But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for "the world shall rejoice, but you shall mourn." Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3


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