As we were driving back to my parents to celebrate Christmas I got to wondering why it is that we celebrate it at all…. We all know it is supposed to be the birth of Christ, but we also all know that no one knows when that was exactly, so here’s what I discovered.
The date December 25, was selected by the Council of Nicea, who were put in charge of what we consider the Catholic Church today, this took place over 300 years after Jesus’ death. Robert J. Myers states that ‘Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25 was the Roman Natalis Solis Invicti, which is the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun which was a feast that took place just after the winter solstice of the Julian calendar, and was held in honor of the Sun God, Mithras. This date was chosen to replace the pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, in which they celebrated the days begining to lengthen, which was considered the rebirth of the sun.
The Roman Saturnalia which is a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun, also took place at this time, and some Christmas customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration. According to the Bible Jesus could not have born in the wintertime, but is thought to have born in the autumn.
The practice of Christmas gifts is not based on what was done by the wise men. They did not arrive at the time of Jesus’ birth. The scriptures indicate that Jesus was a young child, possibly as much as two years old, living in a house by the time they arrived. They gave gifts, not to one another, but to the child Jesus, which was the custom of the day when visiting notable persons.
So Christmas comes from the Pagan festivals to the sun god that occurred on and near December 25. The choice of the date was an attempt to persuade pagans to accept the Catholic faith, the church took the celebration of the Saturnalia and other festivals, renamed it “Christ’s Mass,” and declared it “Christian.” Other aspects of Christmas were adopted in later from other Pagan sources, such as the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, and the wreath, which were viewed by Pagans as symbols of fertility and life. So, in answer to the question,”Who invented Christmas?”, the Pagans invented the holiday, with all of its customs, and the early Catholic church renamed it, so that today it is called “Christmas.”