Christmas: Is it Christian or Pagan? – Part 3
Where did Christmas originate?
Isaiah 56:10-12 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
Jon Watkins Online Ministries November 2015
Cynthia Pawl edited, corrected and added to this!
When I first started ministry on the internet, I would get emails from pagans telling me that Christians stole another one of their holy days. Being ignorant at the time, I, like so many today just stuck my head in the sand. After a few years, of being sent info on Christmas from some of them, I started to look into their claims. Sure enough, turns out, they were right. They would also delight in letting me know that paganism and Wicca were older then Christianity and that some practices in the Church were taken directly from them. Now that made me hopping mad, so I looked further. Yes, paganism and Wicca are actually older then Christianity, by thousands of years. However, the history of our faith goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when God taught them, himself, how to worship him. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God is where Paganism entered the human race. The corruption began and by the time Noah was commanded to build the Ark there were very people serving God, it was just Noah and a few of his family out of perhaps millions, hence the flood. Afterward, God called a group of people until himself in Abraham, and taught them how to serve him.If you want to know the truth about something, be it a statement, a tradition, a teaching or a belief, you need to go to the source. Find the root. Everything else is a cover up and a deception. Most would like to hear it from the “horse’s mouth”. So let’s glean from a couple of Wiccan sources to see what they have to say.
“The traditions that we enjoy each Christmas started with the two oldest civilizations known at this time, the Egyptian and Sumerians. Since both were sister civilizations, with Sumer being the oldest, and the written accounts are found within each, it is hard to say which one started them.
The 12 days of Christmas came from the celebration of Horus or Marduk. (both false pagans gods. See links) The celebration for the rebirth of Horus lasted for 12 days, (12 days of Christmas?) also for the celebration of the 12 day battle of Marduk to conquer the deities of darkness. It is in the Sumerian celebration that the next oldest tradition came from, Gift Giving. During their celebrations, the Sumerians held huge parades (Christmas parades anyone), wished good tidings to each other and exchanged gifts. The Greeks adopted the Solstice with celebrations honoring Zeus’s victory over Kronos and the Titans. The Romans also celebrated Saturnalia and their religion of Mithraism (see below). It was the biggest celebration of the year and gift giving was expected from everyone.” Source Houston Chronicle The Wiccan way December 2011.
They are also correct about the practices and rituals being incorporated into the Church, the Roman Catholic Church to be specific.
The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. The celebration of Christmas reached its peak—some would say its worst moments—in the medieval period when it became a time for conspicuous consumption and unequaled revelry.”
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” Further, “Pagan customs centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted, “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world” .
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, adds, “Christmas…was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.” Source
From the 2000 Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 11 ; page 390.
Notice how it says “both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities”.
According to the Roman historian Plutarch (c. 46-120 AD/CE), Mithraism began to be absorbed by the Romans during Pompey’s military campaign against Cilician pirates around 70 BCE. The religion eventually migrated from Asia Minor through the soldiers, many of whom had been citizens of the region, into Rome and the far reaches of the Empire. Syrian merchants brought Mithraism to the major cities, such as Alexandria, Rome and Carthage, while captives carried it to the countryside. By the third century AD/CE Mithraism and its mysteries permeated the Roman Empire and extended from India to Scotland, with abundant monuments in numerous countries amounting to over 420 Mithraic sites so far discovered.Mithra as Sun God
The Indian Mitra was essentially a solar deity, representing the “friendly” aspect of the sun. So too was the Persian derivative Mithra, who was a “benevolent god” and the bestower of health, wealth and food. Mithra also seems to have been looked upon as a sort of Prometheus, for the gift of fire. (Schironi, 104) His worship purified and freed the devotee from sin and disease. Eventually, Mithra became more militant, and he is best known as a warrior.
Mithra wearing a crown of sun rays; Taqwasân or Taq-e Bostan or Taq-i-Bustan, Sassanid Empire, Coronation of Ardeshir II, c. 4th cent. AD/CE (Photo: Phillipe Chavin)Like so many gods, Mithra was the light and power behind the sun. In Babylon, Mithra was identified with Shamash, the sun god, and he is also Bel, the Mesopotamian and Canaanite/ Phoenician solar deity, who is likewise Marduk, the Babylonian god who represented both the planet Jupiter and the sun. According to Pseudo-Clement of Rome’s debate with Appion (Homily VI, ch. X), Mithra is also Apollo. Source
The Roman Catholic Church was trying to get more converts so they tried to make Jesus look more like the idols found in sun worship, all under the guise of making Him more attractive to pagans.
In fact, one of their rituals proves it! See here the Sun Worship Mass ceremony.
Continued in Part 4 – The meaning of Merry Christmas and the Mass