The Myth of the Pagan Origins of Christmas

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

John Kissinger you may appreciate this article.

John Kissinger [12/19/2015 12:43 PM]
in New England it was illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 25 years in the 1600s – The Puritans hated the holiday and if the Catholic Church gradually came to embrace Christmas, the Protestant Reformation gave the holiday a good knock on the chin. In the 16th century, Christmas became a casualty of this church schism, with reformist-minded Protestants considering it little better than paganism. In England under Oliver Cromwell, Christmas and other saints’ days were banned, and in New England it was illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 25 years in the 1600s.If you want to look at a real ‘War on Christmas,’ you’ve got to look at the Puritans – They banned it!

Ricky Grimsley [12/19/2015 1:04 PM]
On the first christmas i was youth pastor…..the sunday school teacher came to me furious. She said “pastor ricky your daughter told all the other kids that santa was dead.” (She was three). I said ” Im sorry i will correct her. I told her santa was the devil”.

John Kissinger [12/19/2015 1:06 PM]
key word here: “was pastor”

Ricky Grimsley [12/19/2015 3:03 PM]
Yep a different life.

John Kissinger [12/19/2015 4:20 PM]
Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History the following admission: “December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival…” (p. 331).
Keller goes on: “Meteorologists as well as historians and astronomers have something of importance to contribute to this question of fixing the date of the birth of Jesus. According to St. Luke: ‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night’ (Luke 2:8).

“Meteorologists have made exact recordings of the temperature at Hebron. This spot in the southern highlands of Judah exhibits the same climatic conditions as Bethlehem, which is not far distant. The temperature readings show over a period of three months that the incidence of frost is as follows: December — 2.8 degrees; January — 1.6 degrees; February —0.1 degrees. The first two months have also the greatest rainfall in the year: approximately 6 inches in December, and nearly 8 inches in January. According to all existing information the climate of Palestine has not changed appreciably in the last 2,000 years, consequently modern meteorological observations can be taken as a basis. At Christmas-time Bethlehem is in the grip of frost, and in the Promised Land no cattle would have been in the fields in that temperature. This fact is born out by a remark in the Talmud to the effect that in that neighborhood the flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in again at the beginning of November. They remained out in the open for almost eight months. Around Christmas-time nowadays both animals and shepherds are under cover in Palestine. What St. Luke tells us points therefore to the birth of Jesus having taken place BEFORE the onset of winter…” (p. 331-332).

John Kissinger [12/19/2015 7:37 PM]
History of Rome, by Michael Grant: “Yet there was also another pagan belief during this same epoch, that much more nearly competed with Christ for the control of the Western world. This was the cult of the Sun, which was revered by millions of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, and its religion for a time even became the state worship…. In Rome, the divinity of the Sun came very early on; and then, centuries afterwards, in the superb dome of Hadrian’s Pantheon, the central opening, surrounded by star-like rosettes, represented the solar orb….Before long, the emperor Aurelian established a massive temple of the Unconquerable Sun as the central and focal point of the entire religious system of the state (274). The birthday of the god was to be on DECEMBER 25, AND THIS, TRANSFORMED INTO CHRISTMAS DAY, WAS ONE OF THE HERITAGES THAT CHRISTIANITY OWED TO HIS CULT” (p. 391- 392, emphasis mine).

John Kissinger [12/22/2015 8:49 PM]
NOT ALL is lost http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/the-myth-of-the-pagan-origins-of-christmas/

John Kissinger [12/27/2015 12:34 PM]

60 Comments

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Ricky Grimsley in New England it was illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 25 years in the 1600s – The Puritans hated the holiday and if the Catholic Church gradually came to embrace Christmas, the Protestant Reformation gave the holiday a good knock on the chin. In the 16th century, Christmas became a casualty of this church schism, with reformist-minded Protestants considering it little better than paganism.

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    I wish christmas would go away personally

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    and I wish it was Christmas every day personally 🙂

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    It makes Christians look silly. Celebrating the birth of our God on the wrong day with with traditions that are mostly pagan even from bible standards? Not to mention the historical inaccuracy of the nativity scenes, the obscene commercialism, and horrible music…..nah. Im over it.

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    birth of our God ? God had a birth? #hello

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    Last time i checked Jesus was my God.

  • Reply December 21, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Jesse Morrell Is all this true?

  • Reply December 10, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Tom Steele Link Hudson as usual yall are both wrong 🙂

    • Reply December 10, 2018

      Link Hudson

      That guy looks a bit like Anthony Hopkins? In what way do you say I was wrong?

    • Reply December 10, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      right on on the true Christmas story

    • Reply December 10, 2018

      Link Hudson

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      seems like fake news

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      John David Barton

      The Jehovah’s Witnesses had it right. Jesus’s birth had to occur around October because of the weather as Troy Day has said. It would be way too cold for a baby in a manger on December in Bethlehem.

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      John David Barton

      But to appease the pagans and not to offend Samhain or All Saints day they moved it to around the same time as Yule or Candlemas which was winter solstice in Wicca Craeft.

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Link Hudson

      John David Barton If the stable was just the front room of the house where the animals were kept, (on the floor level as people slept on the raised floor above), then the manger may have been on a raised floor in the house with the parents. How much warmer was it inside than outside before the flue was invented?

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Link you comment makes little sense again. Most inns at that time were not 2 stories The cave assumes ground level There is also a good scholarly article which explains the lack of multilevel barn-type like in the American West https://members.bib-arch.org/biblical-archaeology-review/14/3/3

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      The article is from a scholarly journal so if you dont have access here is the actual diagrame https://goo.gl/images/jRmZvS

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      John David Barton

      and He slept with the animals. I doubt they would go through the hassle of bringing the animals up Two stories all the time

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      We dont know about sleeping BUT He was born among the animals as any true sacrifice for the Temple should have. The testimony of the Bethlehem shepherds who tended to the actual flocks intended for Temple sacrifice is a confirmational testimony to that affect

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day I’ve read an article that promoted the idea that one-room houses had a front room with a raised floor several feet up, with the animals being placed on the ground level in the house which offered some shelter for them without their owners having to build a separate shelter. If the guest room were given to guests, already, Joseph and Mary could have had to sleep in the front room. I’m not talking about full stories. And it is only one theory.

      The article I read (don’t know where it is now) wrote a reference to untying a donkey and leading it out to drink. If they had homes like that in the time of Jephthah and he had sheep, goats, and cows on the ground floor right inside the door, it would explain why he would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house. A more serious shepherd might have had special-purpose facilities.

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day Your link isn’t working for me. Do you have to be a member and be logged in?

  • Reply December 12, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Link Hudson I got lost on the comment Ed Brewer made

    Joseph must have been worshipping Jacob then when he brought Ephraim and Manasseh for their blessing….

    pls explain

    Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History the following admission: “December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled carnival…” (p. 331).
    Keller goes on: “Meteorologists as well as historians and astronomers have something of importance to contribute to this question of fixing the date of the birth of Jesus. According to St. Luke: ‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night’ (Luke 2:8).

  • Reply December 12, 2018

    Tom Steele

    First, you have a typo there. It should be A.D. 354, not A.D. 324. While the document dates to that time, the event to which it refers (the first official celebration of “Christmas” or commemoration of the Nativity event on Dec. 25 took place in 336 A.D. That is not clarified in Keller’s book, but it is available in many other sources. Google “First Christmas 336” and you will find plenty of information.

    Also, Keller states that Herod died in 4 B.C. This claim has been challenged and I feel those challenges are warranted. One of the major “proofs” used in dating Herod’s death is a lunar eclipse mentioned by Josephus. The eclipse in 4 B.C., it turns out, was a partial eclipse and likely few people, if anyone, even was aware of it. There are full lunar eclipses that took place in 2 B.C. and 1 B.C. that seem to fit much better with the record of Josephus and also help with other major problems that arise from the 4 B.C. dating. This would allow for the birth of “Jesus” to take place as late as 1 B.C., though I feel like it was probably sometime between 3 and 2 B.C. because the only year in the possible candidates for the crucifixion is in 30 A.D., because that’s the only year that Passover falls on a day in harmony with the biblical record allowing Him to rise both on the third day (after the crucifixion) and the first day (of the week). That year Passover began I believe on Thursday after sunset, according to a Jewish day.

    The point about shepherds tending their flocks is a very important point in the whole discussion, and has long been a “smoking gun” in deciding that Dec. 25th could not possibly be the birthday if “Jesus”. Many scholars use this to place the birth in the fall, typically during one of the major festivals (Rosh Hashanah and the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles being the popular choices). Rabbi Jonathan Cahn chooses to present a birth in the spring, in line with the Passover. He makes a good argument, but I don’t find it convincing.

    Removing the Nativity event from December 25th, what is Christmas? It is what it always was… a secular/pagan festival that blends in traditions from the Roman Saturnalia festival, the Roman winter solstice celebration of “Sol Invicta” (the Unconquered Sun) and later the incorporation of the Norse-Germanic pagan Yule festival (after Christianity spread across Europe and the natural assimilation of pagan cultures into Christianity occurred) with a Catholic fable that “Jesus” was conceived on the same day of the year He was crucified, which in turn dated His birth on Dec. 25. In other words, Christmas is nothing but misinformation (essentially, lies) and pagan traditions. There’s really no way to get around that.

    We have a responsibility to correct this, but most people don’t want to touch it because what “good Christian person” would dare challenge and attack Christmas?

    But people today have all this information on their phones. They can access the Internet anytime and anyplace. This is a phenomena of just the past 10 years or so really. And because of it, people know the truth of these things.

    I have watched people find these truths and then get caught up in bad ministries that lead them either toward a general hatred of Christianity where they attack everyone that they used to go to Church with or, even worse, they are renouncing “Jesus” as Messiah. If the ministries that actually have common sense and generally sound doctrine want to keep people, they are going to have to face reality and renounce these traditions that the common people are figuring out the truth about.

    This is no longer about being a religious fanatic if you attack Christmas or whatever. This is literally about the state of the Church and the continuing of Christianity. I know it’s still very early in this, like I said, the smartphone effect is only maybe 10 years old and has barely started to show this fruit. But as technology continues to improve and information continues to be disseminated, it’s going to grow. The ministries that don’t renounce man-made traditions that literally oppose the Bible are going to find out sooner or later.

  • Reply December 12, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Tom Steele Seen it both ways However Justin the NOSELESSS (ὁ Ῥινότμητος, “the slit-nosed”), remember his nose was cut off in battle who reign (518–527), Justinian was the emperor’s close confidant. So 324 seems spot on right there as the source explains. Furthermore there has been much falsified information among the stuff you listed JUST to make the glove fit Also fake is the indian surgeon who installed a golden replica of his nose and brought about the whole saturnalia nonsense

    December 25 in ancient Rome as the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the
    birthday of the unconquered (sun)? OR the last day of the Saturnalia if quite iffy too if you know what I mean. Meteorologists have made exact recordings of the temperature at Hebron. This spot in the southern highlands of Judah exhibits the same climatic conditions as Bethlehem, which is not far distant. The temperature readings show over a period of three months that the incidence of frost is as follows: December — 2.8 degrees; January — 1.6 degrees; February —0.1 degrees. The first two months have also the greatest rainfall in the year: approximately 6 inches in December, and nearly 8 inches in January. According to all existing information the climate of Palestine has not changed appreciably in the last 2,000 years, consequently modern meteorological observations can be taken as a basis. At Christmas-time Bethlehem is in the grip of frost, and in the Promised Land no cattle would have been in the fields in that temperature. This fact is born out by a remark in the Talmud to the effect that in that neighborhood the flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in again at the beginning of November. They remained out in the open for almost eight months. Around Christmas-time nowadays both animals and shepherds are under cover in Palestine. What St. Luke tells us points therefore to the birth of Jesus having taken place BEFORE the onset of winter

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Link Hudson

      The reasoning behind arguments for December 25th seem uncompelling to me. It is possible it was on December 25th out of the 360 or so days a year. They could have had an unseasonably warm week or two, and there are mini-ice ages and periods of time where it’s warmer. Has anyone done research that tells the exact temperature. What year is that Talmud entry from?

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Babylonian Talmud – I have not found a solid argument that it was NOT 12.25 OR that 12.25 was pagan or anything

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day It seems like the case for the date itself being pagan is rather weak or non-existent. Specific customs may have pagan roots. But I do not think there is a strong case for December 25th. Figuring it out by loose theological reasoning seems rather silly to me. Assuming HIs conception happened at the same time of year as His resurrection seems an unsupported leap to me.

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      non-existent is what I would call it though many claim otherwise The whole Roman Solar Saturn argument is fake

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day Also, weather patterns could have changed by the time the Mishneh was written if there was an unusually warm decade or two.

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Now if only Tom Steele can agree with all that

    • Reply December 12, 2018

      Tom Steele

      I’m wrapping up a new blog on this very topic that I will be posting on Monday. I will certainly post it to the group. It should set the record straight.

    • Reply December 13, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      I feel you may be wrong about that as well

    • Reply December 13, 2018

      Tom Steele

      It is possible some of the information in my presentation will be wrong. That’s the chance you take when you present theories… especially when you present multiple competing theories, which one part of the blog will do out of necessity.

      I highly doubt my final conclusions in the message will be wrong though. You might not like them. But I promise you they will be on point.

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      I think some miss representation of the above article has been done by posters in the discussion who seem to have NOT actually read it

    • Reply December 20, 2018

      John David Barton

      Troy Day when i used to practice wicca craeft the winter solstice was the Candlemas or death of the oak king and birth of the holly king. Midsummer is the opposite. In my opinion it’s pagan if you practice the pagan rites. If you love Jesus you give it to Jesus. John 1 :3 everything is for HIM. Amen

  • Reply December 13, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Daniel J Hesse what do other traditions say?

    • Reply December 13, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day you may want to consult cultural vs religious contexts. I am curious how Latin America, Asia, and Africa approach these seasons? I recall time in Europe in the mid 80’s and they were not as commercialized as we are here on the other side of the pond.

    • Reply December 13, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day this may be an invite for the group. You have a wide swath of various people here.

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Are you trying to say Latin America worships a different Latin Jesus? – contextualized theology

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day I wonder and sure curious.

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Link Hudson can tell us about Asia and Tom Steele about Israel A more Latin version could come from Terry Wiles

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day let’s dance with this topic

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      some prefer to massage the issue-not solve it

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Terry Wiles

      In Latin and South America there are nativity displays and Christmas trees everywhere. It is very festive. No problem saying Merry Christmas.

      Some conservatives don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter but they are definitely in the minority.

      As for a “different” Jesus, those who connect to media are definitely prone to worshipping the prosperity gods that much of North American religious media promotes.

      All in all, the common person is sincere about faith in Christ and is very committed to the “triune” God who said let “us” make man in “our” image.

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      you and me both makes 3 of us with Terry Wiles

    • Reply December 15, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      I agree I prefer dialogue and conversation.

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      This is SO true. There are Christians that JUST want to argue that Christmas is not on Dec 25. One even brought the argument that Christmas is not in the Bible, on which I had to respond sharply.

      NEWS FLASH: Christmas is very much in the BIBLE

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day you never win throwing dirt. First you get your hands dirty, second you lose good ground.

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      yap NEWS FLASH: Christmas is in the BIBLE

    • Reply December 16, 2018

      Daniel J Hesse

      Troy Day so is Rudolph

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      do tell 🙂

  • Reply December 17, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    YES Link Hudson that particular article is part of scholarly consortium where I contribute and publish. I posted the diagram for you ti review. It goes with what you said about Jewish housing and customs. However, the article also establishes that inns were typically single floor with room circling the stable area. But then again WHO knows how exactly it was especially when the cave stable is thrown into the equation. Cave were made in the rock with attached housing which excludes second floor by default

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Link Hudson

      If a cave were big enough, it could have had a raised floor. What do you think of the idea that the word translated ‘inn’ was actually a certain room? Is that feasible? Would a tiny hamlet the size of Bethlehem have had the traffic to support an inn?

    • Reply December 17, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      I had done a study on it but will have to dig it up for more detail because I forgot what it was. But it was neither inn, hotel, hostel or even a cave – more like a fort/camp type of a thing outside the village rather than an actual building if this makes any sense

  • Reply December 20, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    keep on rocking that boat Louise Cummings

  • Reply December 20, 2018

    Louise Cummings

    After I get finish studying my
    Sunday lesson. I have something I’m going to look up.

  • Reply December 20, 2018

    Varnel Watson

  • Reply December 20, 2019

    Varnel Watson

    Andrew Sluder pls outline your 3 myths you’ve discovered

    • Reply December 20, 2019

      Andrew Sluder

      Troy Day there are 5. They simply deal with the Christmas story. Not about the pagan roots

  • Reply December 20, 2019

    Isara Mo

    A myth?
    Well I am struggling to find a verse or incident whereby the apostles gathered together to celebrate Christmas..
    Troy Day show me a verse or incident..
    It seems culture affects salvation and not the other way round.

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