Monday, December 24, 2007

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

I always thought Christmas was Christianity triumphing over a pagan holiday - baptizing it if you will. Even if that were true it would be fine but check out this post disproving that myth from Mike Aquilina. Ya learn something new every day.

2 comments:

TheDen said...

Tim,

I posted this on that other site and thought I'd share my thoughts here too:

First off, Merry Christmas!

The way I understand it, the date was chosen as it was the Winter Solstice (back then at least…it shifted over time) and from that day forward, the days grew longer–which makes sense that it would coincide with the feast of the Sol Invictus.

This was the natural day of choice to pick the Incarnation as the day points to Scripture in at least a couple ways:

1. On this day, the “Light overcame the darkness” as the days start to grow longer and longer.

2. This day is the exact opposite of 6/25 (St. John the Baptist’s Feast Day) signifying, “Where He must increase…I must decrease”

In all, I don’t know how important it is to know exactly when the birth of Christ is. We need to celebrate it sometime and now’s as good of time as any other day.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Well what you're saying is exactly what I'm saying the post linked to disproves. The important thing to note is that Christian usage of the date predates the Roman empire's adoption of the pagan holiday on the winter solstice (what they thought was the solstice). I don't know when they first started using that date as the solstice.

Note the comments by Carl Sommer:

"Here’s what Hippolytus wrote: “The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born in Bethlehem, took place eight days before the Kalends of January [which would be December 25], or Wednesday, in the forty second year of the reign of Augustus…” (Commentary on Daniel, 4:23.) This does not prove that Jesus was born on December 25, but should put to rest the old shibboleth about December 25 being chosen to counteract the pagan festival of Sol Invictus. Sol Invictus did not have a date on the Roman calendar until about 275 A.D., and Hippolytus wrote his Commentary on Daniel at least fifty years earlier. So Merry Christmas, everybody! I think December 25 has a greater likelihood of being Jesus’ actual birthday than any other day that has been put forth."