Thursday, December 23, 2010

Did the Church REALLY turn a pagan festival into Christmas . . . or was it the other way round?

I heard it again yesterday. A well-meaning TV commentator patronisingly telling us that he doesn't mind if Christians celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world; but as Christmas was not originally a Christian festival, why should we be allowed to complain if secularists and atheists want to return Christmas to it's pre-Christian character?

So, for those readers who have joined this blog since last year, it's time I referred again to the article by Dr Bill Tighe, an historian of note, who shows how the Ancient Romans actually copied the Christians!!!

William J. Tighe on the Story Behind December 25

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus' birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the "Birth of the Unconquered Sun" instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the "pagan origins of Christmas" is a myth without historical substance.

Go HERE for the rest of the article. It's a fascinating read, and it will resource you with something to say at all those (secular) parties and barbeques!


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