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Christmas was originally all about Christ

This false Christian dogma has been recited by Christians for centuries. Gene Linzey quoted it in his Dec. 18, 2019, article, "Beyond the Lights." Although this dogma has been in existence for centuries it did not originate 2,000 years ago with any of the New Testament writers, neither the season nor any special day of Jesus' birth is mentioned in the Bible. There is no record of Christians celebrating Christmas in Rome until 336 A.D.

I refer Mr. Linzey and anyone interested in learning the facts about Christmas to the article "How December 25 Became Christmas" by Andrew McGowan who is Dean and President of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and McFaddin Professor of Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School. His article can be found on the Biblical Archaeology Society website.

Clement of Alexandria wrote in about 200 A.D., "There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] ... others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21]." By the fourth century two dates were widely thought to be Jesus' birthday, Dec. 25 in Western Roman Empire and Jan. 6 in the East. By the mid fourth century on, Christians deliberately adapted and Christianized pagan festivals.

The most popular theory is that the Christmas date was borrowed from pagan festivals such as the Roman Saturnalia. In 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on Dec. 25. Christians deliberately chose this date to more easily convert pagans to Christianity.

Another less popular theory originated in the East that Jesus' burial on April 6 was also the month and day of his conception, some 30 years earlier which would equal nine months to Jan. 6. However, in the West he was calculated to have been conceived on March 25, nine months equals December 25.

So, "How did December 25 become Christmas?" McGowan answers, "We cannot be entirely sure." Everyone does know decorated trees, Santa Claus, Reindeer, Yule Logs, and mistletoe have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, but most Christians do engage in these practices.

Oren Piper

Editorial on 01/01/2020

Print Headline: Letter to the Editor

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