More Christmas stuff

Before I get into what everyone got me for Christmas let me just post this…I’m a big history buff and everyday I receive an e-mail from the History Channel (I’m a big dork what can I say) about what happened on this day in History (Sometimes its more than just e-mail–on those special occasions when more than one thing happened or something like that–and let me tell you how shocked I was to open up the e-mail on July 4th and by habbit thought to myself “I wonder what happened today” kind of like today with Christmas…).

So I opened today’s e-mail and I know its Christmas but I also know that this really (historically) isn’t the day the Jesus was born and to back it up here is the portion of the History Channel e-mail that explains where Christmas came from:

December 25, 6 B.C.

Although most Christians celebrate December 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ,
few in the first two Christian centuries claimed any knowledge of the exact day
or year in which he was born. The oldest existing record of a Christmas
celebration is found in a Roman almanac that tells of a Christ’s Nativity
festival led by the church of Rome in 336 A.D. The precise reason why Christmas
came to be celebrated on December 25 remains obscure, but most researchers
believe that Christmas originated as a Christian substitute for pagan
celebrations of the winter solstice.To early Christians (and to many Christians
today), the most important holiday on the Christian calendar was Easter, which
commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, as
Christianity began to take hold in the Roman world, in the early fourth century,
church leaders had to contend with a popular Roman pagan holiday commemorating
the “birthday of the unconquered sun” (natalis solis invicti)–the Roman name
for the winter solstice.Every winter, Romans honored the pagan god Saturn, the
god of agriculture, with a festival that began on December 17 and usually ended
on or around December 25 with a winter-solstice celebration in honor of the
beginning of the new solar cycle. This festival was a time of merrymaking, and
families and friends would exchange gifts. At the same time, Mithraism–worship
of the ancient Persian god of light–was popular in the Roman army, and the cult
held some of its most important rituals on the winter solstice.After the Roman
Emperor Constantine I converted to Christianity in 312 and sanctioned
Christianity, church leaders made efforts to appropriate the winter-solstice
holidays and thereby achieve a more seamless conversion to Christianity for the
emperor’s subjects. In rationalizing the celebration of Jesus’ birthday in late
December, church leaders may have argued that since the world was allegedly
created on the spring equinox (late March), so too would Jesus have been
conceived by God on that date. The Virgin Mary, pregnant with the son of God,
would hence have given birth to Jesus nine months later on the winter solstice.
From Rome, the Christ’s Nativity celebration spread to other Christian churches
to the west and east, and soon most Christians were celebrating Christ’s birth
on December 25. To the Roman celebration was later added other winter-solstice
rituals observed by various pagan groups, such as the lighting of the Yule log
and decorations with evergreens by Germanic tribes. The word Christmas entered
the English language originally as Christes maesse, meaning “Christ’s mass” or
“festival of Christ” in Old English. A popular medieval feast was that of St.
Nicholas of Myra, a saint said to visit children with gifts and admonitions just
before Christmas. This story evolved into the modern practice of leaving gifts
for children said to be brought by “Santa Claus,” a derivative of the Dutch name
for St. Nicholas–Sinterklaas.

Glad that cleared things up…


2 thoughts on “More Christmas stuff

  1. flammable says:

    Yup…it’s the winter solstice! Then the Christians tried to convert all of the Pagans, and so that’s why December 25th is considered Christmas…I mean, that’s like a week before January 1st.

  2. socramforever says:

    and a month after thanksgiving…and don’t think those damn pagans weren’t thinking that in about 1600 years some pilgrims were going to be eating at some table with some indians and they were just trying to cash in even then. Those crazy pagans…

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