2020/12/14

Christmas Isn't Pagan

The return of the Advent season brings with it fresh invitations for Christians to undergo temporal mortifications and perform works of charity. Living as we are in the narrow sliver of history when glib mockery of the Almighty is tolerated, those mortifications temporarily include suffering high school-tier attacks on Christmas from atheist redditors. Happily, their fedora-bedecked antics give us occasions to do the merciful work of correcting their ignorance.

In light of the above, I thought it a good time to pull the following viral post out of the archives. Use it in a spirit of good will.

Christmas

December 25 really is the date of Jesus' birth.

Zechariah was in the priestly course of Abijah. Thus he served in the temple in the 8th and 32nd week of the year.

Luke's Gospel has him serving on the Day of Atonement (at the end of September) and conceiving John the Baptist right when he got home.

This places John's birth in late June.

The Catholic Church has traditionally celebrated the Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24, which fits Luke's time line perfectly.

The Protoevangelium of James flat out confirms St. John's late September conception. Sure, it's apocryphal, but that doesn't disqualify it as a source of historical data.

Luke clearly states that Jesus was conceived when Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John.

Scriptural, traditional, and historical evidence place John's birth in late June. Adding 6 months puts Jesus' birth in late December.

This is nothing new, either. The Church Fathers knew the evidence & reached the same conclusion.

St. John Chrysostom preached his famous Christmas Morning Homily on December 25, 388.

St. Hippolytus, who died in AD 235, wrote, "The first advent of Our Lord in the flesh occurred when He was born in Bethlehem on December 25."

But the tradition goes back even further than that!

St. Theophilus, d. AD 181, wrote, "We ought to celebrate the birthday of Our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen."

There you have it. The Bible, eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry who knew and loved Him--including His mother--and His Apostles' early successors, give strong testimony that Jesus really was born on December 25.

There are really only 3 objections to affirming December 25 as the actual date of Christ's birth. I'll answer them in turn.

Objection 1: Luke has shepherds tending their sheep on the night of Jesus' birth, but shepherds don't graze their flocks in winter.

Answer: Bethlehem has a similar climate to Houston. You'll find sheep out in the pasture in both places year-round.

Objection 2: The Church "baptized" Saturnalia, an ancient Roman feast, by setting the celebration of Christmas to the same date.

Answer: Saturnalia was held on the Winter Solstice, between December 17 and 23. The dates simply don't match. Close only counts in horseshoes & hand grenades.

Objection 2: OK, if not Saturnalia, then Sol Invictus.

Answer: The Emperor Aurelian did decree the feast of Sol Invictus in 274, prior to the first documented celebration of Christmas on December 25, 336. But there's no record of Sol Invictus' celebration on December 25 until 354, when Julian the Apostate moved it in the original War on Christmas.

TL; DR: Scripture, tradition, & history attest to December 25 as Christ's actual birthday. Pagans got nothin'. Merry Christmas!

Looking for fun adventure fiction by an author who doesn't hate Christians? Look no further!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

14 comments:

  1. Brian

    Thanks. The pagans always become insolent now and at Easter.
    Whenever the pagans act up I always retort where were the pagan hospitals, orphanages and universities?

    xavier

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    1. Easter is where you really get to see who has honestly been misled and who is just willing to accept anything anti-Christian.

      Had a conversation with an atheist who believed Easter was pagan with his argument being based on the idea that it's in the Spring and there were probably pagan fertility holidays in the spring or something. When I brought up the idea of the date of Easter being based on Passover, he called it a conspiracy theory with no historical evidence.

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    2. Easter is called Pascha (Passover) in every other language I have ever bothered to check except Chinese (where it's called Resurrection Day). In English, it's named after the month of Eostre. Nobody knows what Eostre meant in Old English, so they fell back on anthropology's default answer of "must be religious," and conjured up a festival to the fertility goddess Eostre which happened to have all of the trappings if Easter, despite those trappings having originated in Continental Europe.

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    3. Is anthropology an academic discipline, or a genre of hyper-pedantic fiction?

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  2. The solstice argument is really the one by which you can tell an atheist never so much as opened a history book of their own volition. Romans were obsessed with astrology, and pre-moderns could track and predict celestial object movements very nearly down to the minute. The Church of Dawkins really does think that all people born before them were blind superstitious rubes with no appreciable knowledge or reasoning skills.

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    1. The firm, fixed belief unsusceptible to evidence that everyone born prior to them is stupid forms a vital part of atheists' creation myth.

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    2. This also accompanies the annual canard Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweets out that the New Year has no astronomical significance. The pre-Julian Roman calendar featured a ten day period between the end of one year and the beginning of another. It was called 'calibration,' and was used to adjust the calendar when it was found to be out of synch with the stars.
      Lo and behold, subtract 10 days from New Years' Eve and you get...the Winter Solstice.

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    3. I’m glad that the likes of Neil Tyson have mostly faded into obscurity and the nu-atheist and youtube atheist sphere had the shelf life of cottage cheese left on the radiator

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  3. "tHe So-CaLlEd ChRiStMaS tReE iS a PaGaN sYmBoL!"
    Wring, brainlets. The pagans used a deciduous tree to symbolize death and rebirth until Saint Boniface cut it down and replaced it with an evergreen, symbolizing eternal life. I'm a rural Protestant and even I know that.

    Also, point and laugh at anybody pointing to the similarities between Saturnalia and Christmas. Virtually nothing is known about Saturnalia. The 'similarities' come from academic works that assume a priori that Christmas came from Saturnalia.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Actual conversation with an internet atheist:

      Internet Atheist: Christmas is pagan. The church "baptized" the date of Saturnalia to co-opt the Roman holiday's popularity.

      Me: Saturnalia was a week-long holiday celebrated from December 17-23. Celebrating Christmas on a date that doesn't fall within Saturnalia is a strange way to baptize Saturnalia.

      IA: Close enough!

      Delete
  4. The take-home here is that it is totally legitimate to celebrate Saturnalia for a week and then Christmas two days after. Internet Atheists are just scared of a good time.

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    Replies
    1. That would be putting the celebratory cart of Christmastide (and Epiphanytide!) before the preparatory horse of Advent, my friend.

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    2. Hush, I'm syncretizing.
      Syncretize watches.... now!

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