"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Dec 10, 2009

Jesus, Christmas, December 25

How December 25 Became Christmas

by Andrew McGowan

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.

The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.

cont.@ Biblical Archeology Review


At 1:58 PM , Blogger Zoro said...

I am unable to tear myself away from the suggestion that Jesus throughout his short life, familiarised himself with other terrestrial texts belonging to other spiritual paths. Is it not fairly simple to assert that he was not aware of a Christian religion of which he would be seen as the esteemed leader? Or that when he preached, he drew on influences like buddhism, taoism or hinduism. He would have had the same complexion as modern day Jews or Palastinians. Yet when his image appears in European churches, he has the fairest, almost anaemic complexion, Not surprising when he is being pinned to sticks.

The way he must have imputed his own divinity to his dad was post hoc unlike Jonathon Seagull (reluctant messiah)who came across as more of a twelve stepper. There is definitely no god. If christians continue to let down the rest of humanity, by sanctifying violence and gluttony in the name of an excuse for attrocities, we deserve to die unless we disarm all the christians and chuck away their rule book still holding the rest of us back.


At 3:29 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Ergo the crux of Christianity. OWWWarghhh... Was that the worst possible pun? I reckon. Since I was young, I've felt that the modern church made a mockery of what Jesus was really about (primarily metanoia). And all the hubbub, bub, was useless folderol set slowly into a sort of religious concrete.

By modern, I mean since Justinian started erasing reincarnation and other troublesome aspects from the creed, with later help from Constantine and his bitch-on-wheels wife...Christianity survived in name only.

I'm prone to listening to the gnostic take on it all (listen to John Lash's 10 part intvw here to have the doors blown off the current archetype of Christian malarkey). If you want to dig deep into a reasoned analysis listen to Lash or Terry Boardman at Red Ice Radio interviews. Hugh Montgomery is interesting, as well.

At 5:37 PM , Blogger Zoro said...

Thanks Indi, I shall fit them around my incredibly busy social life and all-consuming work routine. [puke].


At 6:30 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Yeah, it takes time to dig through this, just thought you might be interested. I'm inclined to allnighters, but that's a luxury most can't afford. I sacrifice other luxuries, 'cause I can't really afford it either.

At 8:07 PM , Blogger Zoro said...

I'm up late most nights also. Working nights for a year, got rid of any fear I may have had of la nuit blanche. I won't do research tonight, there's a cookery show I filched from on demand TV.



At 10:31 PM , Blogger La Sirena said...

Maybe you'll get a new recipe for wine, oil and unleavened bread, Z??? (I read the whole thing, too. Well written intriguing hypothesis.)

Sorry you guys are so busy, too. Me -- I'd like a week in which I didn't have finals and/or surgery and/or a data audit. I've got to go into work tomorrow. I wish the xians would stone me, instead.

At 10:42 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

That could be arranged, Sirena.

At 2:04 AM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

I deserve a good stoning, as well, for my historical dyslexia in reversing the order of occurrence of Justinian and Constantine.

At 4:25 AM , Blogger Zoro said...

Ha! Ha!

At 12:54 PM , Anonymous gekkogirl said...

glad you owned up of your own accord Indi...


At 1:33 PM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Got to, Gloria...I can't get away with anything around here.

Notice how I tried to subtly shift the blame?

At 9:16 PM , Blogger La Sirena said...

Oh, jesus! Apparently everybody must get stoned.



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~There is no God and we are his prophets.~

-Cormac McCarthy-

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'The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them'.....'Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.'.....'In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.'.....'War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.' George Orwell

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