Christmas Traditions: Pagan not just Christian

Original Link: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/12/christmas-traditions-pagan-or-christian/

 

BY 

 

 

Christmas is a holiday with numerous traditions and a very long history. Some of that history can be traced to the paganisms of antiquity (perhaps even more so than Halloween), and some of it also arose from Christian tradition.

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The modern Christmas holiday arose from a third source as well: secularism. There’s nothing religious about overtly Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Clement Moore’s A Visit From St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas) and both were highly influential in establishing Christmas as the Western World’s most popular holiday over the last two hundred years. Dickens and Moore didn’t invent Christmas, but they popularized the holiday in a completely secular way. (Yes, A Christmas Carol contains the words “God bless us everyone” but it’s not Jesus who comes to visit Ebenezer Scrooge.)

It doesn’t matter where our holiday customs come from, but it’s fascinating (and fun) to trace their various origins. Some of them are only a few hundred years old or less, and some are literally thousands of years old. Decorating with holly doesn’t suddenly make one a Pagan, nor does using the word Christmas make one a Christian. Christmas is a confluence of religious traditions, capitalism, story telling, and the human need to simply connect with those we love. Christmas is more powerful because it reflects a wide range of influences.

What follows are twelve different holiday traditions (of course it had to be twelve, twelve days of Christmas and all that) and an outline of their various origins. At the end of each tradition I render a verdict on whether that tradition is Pagan, Christian, or Secular. It’s all in good fun, but the information is accurate. Happy Holidays!

Image by Alex Borland, from publicdomainpictures.net.  License CC
Image by Alex Borland, from publicdomainpictures.net. License CC

Holly and Ivy: I’ll always associate holly and ivy together during the Holidays, no doubt due to the song The Holly and the Ivy. Holly remains a popular Christmas decoration with its distinctive green leaves and red berries, but sadly about the only time ivy turns up during the holidays is when someone is singing the song I just mentioned. Decorating with holly (and ivy) is an ancient pagan tradition (1) and was used by the Romans to decorate at Saturnalia celebrations. Like most plants (or trees) on this list early Christians were well aware of the pagan origins of decorating with holly. Pope Gregory the Great even encouraged the continuation of some pagan traditions. In a letter written in 601 CE (Common Era) he wrote:

“The idol temples of that race should by no means be destroyed, but only the idols in them. Take holy water and sprinkle it in these shrines, build altars and place relics in them . . . When this people see that their shrines are not destroyed they shall be able to banish error from their hearts and be more ready to come to the places they are familiar with, but now recognizing and worshipping the true God . . . . .Thus while some outward rejoicings are preserved, they will be able more easily to share in inward rejoicings. It is doubtless impossible to cut everything at once from their stubborn minds . . . .”

As we shall see, Gregory’s advice was taken on more than one occasion when dealing with Midwinter traditions.

Verdict: Holly and Ivy are most certainly Pagan Traditions, but to be fair, if you are looking to decorate in December with greenery your choices are pretty limited.

Mistletoe: Mistletoe was a popular decoration at Roman winter festivals and is probably better known for killing Balder in Norse Mythology (darn Loki!) and as an alleged sacred plant of the Druids if Pliny the Elder is to be believed. (2) Ancient pagans most certainly decorated with it, but it didn’t become the kissing plant we are familiar with until centuries later. The “kissing bush” was first popularized in the late 18th Century and originally contained more than mistletoe.

Image by Alexbrn, from WikiMedia.  CC License.
Image by Alexbrn, from WikiMedia. CC License.

Holly, evergreens, fruit, and mistletoe were often bunched together and then hung over doorways to instigate kissing. No one is exactly sure why mistletoe became my favorite doorway ornament, but by the middle of the 19th Century it was a popular custom. (3) Mistletoe, like holly, stays green and produces berries over the winter, making it a natural for Yuletide decoration.

Verdict: A little bit of Christian and Pagan. Pagans certainly decorated with it, as did later Christians, but it was Christians who began the kissing custom.

Christmas Tree: The Christmas Tree has a possibly long and tangled history. Ancient Romans and Greeks decorated their homes with evergreen branches and there’s even a Roman mosaic depicting Dionysus with what appears to be an early version of the Christmas Tree. Pagans certainly used evergreens, but pictures of Dionysus aside, no one is completely sure if they used entire trees. Pagans in what is now Poland used to hang evergreen branches from their ceilings and decorate them as well.

“Happy Christmas” by Viggo Johansen. From WikiMedia.

There are two early Christian traditions which seem to foreshadow the Yuletide tree. The first is the Paradise Tree, usually an evergreen tree decorated with apples, and used as a prop for Christian mystery (or miracle) plays. December 24 was the old feast day of Adam and Eve so they were often around near Christmas. German families also used to build Christmas Pyramids or Lichstocks, which were wooden frames often decorated with evergreen branches, fruit, and gifts. (4) The first “Christmas Tree” dates back to the early 1520’s in Germany and spread from there, becoming popular in the United States and Britain during the Nineteenth Century. (5)

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm

 

All about the Christmas Tree: Pagan origins,
Christian adaptation, and secular status:

 

 

Quotation:

John Silber: "Many Americans celebrate both Christmas and Xmas. Others celebrate one or the other. And some of us celebrate holidays that, although unconnected with the [winter] solstice, occur near it: Ramadan, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa."1

Note: Silber's statement was correct when he wrote it in the year 2000. The first day of Hanukkah (a.k.a. Chanukah) occurs on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which can fall between NOV-28 and DEC-26. The first day of Kwanzaa each year falls on DEC-26. However, Islam follows a lunar calendar, in which its holy days move earlier each year by about 11 days. Thus, by 2015, the first day of Ramadan had moved to the evening of JUN-17. Circa 2026, it will return to late December. 

 

 

Overview:

 

Some have traced the Christmas tree back at least as far as the Prophet Jeremiah who wrote the book Jeremiah in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

 

Opposition to the Christmas tree was intense in past centuries. The early Christian Church in the third century CE strictly prohibited the decoration of their houses with evergreen boughs. The decorated Christmas tree only caught on in the mid-19th century.

Modern-day opposition continues: some condemn the Christmas tree because they believe that the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating it is a Pagan custom. 1

For many people today, it is  primarily as a secular symbol of hope for the New Year and the future return of warmth to the earth. Its future is assured in spite of opposition.

 

Objections to the Christmas Tree:

In the past, there have been many objections to Christmas trees:

 

1. The Prophet Jeremiah condemned as Pagan the ancient Middle Eastern practice of cutting down trees, bringing them into the home and decorating them. Of course, these were not really Christmas trees, because Jesus was not born until centuries later, and the use of Christmas trees was not introduced for many centuries after his birth. Apparently, in Jeremiah's time the "heathen" would cut down trees, carve or decorate them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlay it with precious metals. Some Christians currently feel that this Pagan practice was similar enough to our present use of Christmas trees that this passage from Jeremiah can be used to condemn both:

 

 

Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute commented:

 

"This Christmas season, as in those gone by, it is commonplace to hear Christians condemn trees adorned with ornaments as idolatrous. The following passage from Jeremiah is often cited as support for the condemnation:

Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).

While this passage may sound to modern ears like an uncanny description of Christmas trees from the sixth century [BCE] ..., the historical and biblical context precludes this anachronistic reading of the text. The very next verse precludes the pretext:

Jeremiah 10:2-4: 'Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk...''

Jeremiah’s description of a tree cut out of the forest and adorned with silver and gold and fastened with a hammer and nails so that it would not totter is, therefore, a reference to wooden idols, not Christmas trees."


 

2. In Europe, Pagans in the past did not cut down whole evergreen trees, bring them into their homes and decorate them. That would have been far too destructive of nature. But during the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their God, Bacchus.

Tertullian (circa 160 - 230 
CE), an early Christian leader and a prolific writer, complained that too many fellow-Christians had copied the Pagan practice of adorning their houses with lamps and with wreathes of laurel at Christmas time. 8,9,10,11

 

3. The English Puritans condemned a number of customs associated with Christmas, such as the use of the Yule log, holly, mistletoe, etc. Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event." 2,4 

 

4. In America, the Pilgrim's second governor, William Bradford, a Calvanist, tried hard to stamp out all "pagan mockery" at Christmas time. Christmas trees were not generally used by Puritans in colonial times. However, if they were, they would certainly have been forbidden. 

 

5. In 1851, Pastor Henry Schwan of Cleveland OH appears to have been the person responsible for decorating the first Christmas tree in an American church. His parishioners condemned the idea as a Pagan practice; some even threatened the pastor with violence. But objections soon dissipated. 

 

today, the complaints continue:

 

6. At Christmas 2000, the city manager of Eugene OR ordered that Christmas trees could not be erected on city properties because he considered them Christian religious symbols. He felt that their presence would violate the principle of separation of church and stateThis is just one of countless conflicts that have surfaced at Christmas time over religious and quasi-religious observances.

 

7. A few fundamentalist Christian groups continue to oppose Christmas trees and even the celebration of Christmas for their members. This includes the Jehovah's Witnesses and, until recently, the Worldwide Church of God. Part of the opposition is caused by the Pagan origin of Christmas tree decoration. They also oppose trees because of their literal interpretation of the quotation from Jeremiah. Choosing DEC-25 to celebrate Jesus' birthday is based on earlier Pagan practice. Internal evidence in the Bible shows that he was born in the Fall of a year, probably between 4 and 7 BCE

 

Origins of the Christmas Tree: 

 

bullet Pagan traditions: Many Pagan cultures used to cut boughs of evergreen trees in December, move them into the home or temple, and decorate them. 7Modern-day Pagans still do. This was to recognize the winter solstice -- the time of the year that had the shortest daylight hours, and longest night of the year. This occurs annually sometime between DEC-20 to 23; most often, it is DEC-21. As the solstice approached, they noticed that the days were gradually getting shorter; many feared that the sun would eventually disappear forever, and everyone would freeze in the dark, and starve to death because of the failure of next-year's crop. But, even though deciduous trees, bushes, and crops died or hibernated for the winter, the evergreen trees remained green. They seemed to have magical powers that enabled them to withstand the rigors of winter.
 
bullet Not having evergreen trees, the ancient Egyptians considered the palm tree to symbolize resurrection. They decorated their homes with its branches during the winter solstice. 3
 
bullet "The first decorating of an evergreen tree began with the heathen Greeks and their worship of their god Adonia, who allegedly was brought back to life by the serpent Aessulapius after having been slain.5
 
bullet The ancient Pagan Romans decorated their "trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus [a fertility god]. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god2 Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice.
 
bullet In Northern Europe, the ancient Germanic people tied fruit and attached candles to evergreen tree branches, in honor of their god Woden. Trees were viewed as symbolizing eternal life. This is the deity after which Wednesday (Wodensday) was named. The trees joined holly, mistletoe, the wassail bowl and the Yule log as symbols of the season. All of these predated Christianity. 5
 
bullet Christmas traditions: 
 
bullet One Christmas tradition was that St. Boniface (675? - 755 CE; a.k.a. Winfred) cut down a deciduous tree in the presence of some newly-baptized Christians. The tree was an oak -- once sacred to the former Pagans. It miraculously split into four pieces, revealing an evergreen tree growing from the center of the oak stump. This was interpreted as symbolizing the death of Paganism and the establishment of Christianity. 3
 
bullet

Another is that Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) was so impressed by a forest scene that he allegedly cut down a small fir tree, took it home, and decorated it with lighted candles. This may be a myth, because the earliest documented record of a Christmas tree in Germany is dated to almost 60 years after his death.

 

 

History of the Christmas Tree: 

The modern Christmas tree tradition dates back to Western Germany in the 16th century. They were called "Paradeisbaum" (paradise trees) and were brought into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on DEC-24. 4  They were first brought to America by German immigrants about the year 1700. Christmas trees became popular among the general U.S. population about 1850 and have remained so ever since. 2

President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) arranged to have the first Christmas tree in the White House, during the mid-1850's. President Calvin Coolidge (1885-1933) started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923. 4

Today, the Christmas Tree has become accepted by most Christians, by people of other faiths, and for those who do not follow an organized religion. It has become a popular late-December tradition and part of our present-day culture. Christmas Trees grace households and office buildings alike.

The trees take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and costs. Both the Christian and secular worlds have embraced traditional green firs, beautiful white flocked trees, and even pre-lit artificial Christmas trees for those who have allergic reactions to live trees.

As Gail Quick, University of South Carolina - Beaufort's Dean of University Relations, commented on the occasion of a community tree-lighting ceremony.:

"This Christmas event every year is the glue that holds this community together - this and the July 4th fireworks. This always makes me feel good. Some of us still believe in Santa Claus." 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. John Silber, "Anti-Christmas stance isn't rooted in fact," Boston Herald, 2000-DEC-28. See: http://www.bostonherald.com/ Note: The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar that moves each year relative to the Gregorian calendar. Thus it just happend to be celebrated near Christmas during the year 2000. *
  2. Diane Relf, "Christmas Tree Traditions," Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1997-AOR, at: http://www.ext.vt.edu/ *
  3. "Christmas tree: Pointing towards heaven," at: http://ww2.netnitco.net/
  4. "What is a tree?," at: http://www.serve.com/ *
  5. "Should Christians celebrate Christmas?," at: http://www.sovereigngrace.net/ * 
  6. William Dean, "Christmas tree lighting sparks holiday spirit," Carolina Morning News on the Web, at: http://www.lowcountrynow.com/ *
  7. "The Christmas Tree as a Symbol of Pagan Baal Worship," The Ellen White Research Project, at: http://www.ellenwhite.org/ *
  8. "Tertullian," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  9. David Beaulieu, "Christmas Tree Decorating: The History of the Christmas Tree," Landscaping, About.com, at: http://landscaping.about.com/
  10. Turtulian, "On Idolatry," XV.
  11. Hank Hanegraaff, "The Christmas Tree Tradition, Christian Research Institute daily e-Truth, 2015-DEC-15.

* Unfortunately, since the first draft of this menu was written in the year 2000, most of the above references have gone offline. You can sometimes resurrect archived copies of websites as they existed in the past by using the Wayback Machine on the Internet Archive site at: http://www.archive.org/

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Copyright © 2000 to 2015 y Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-DEC-29
Latest update: 2015-DEC-17
Author: B.A. Robinson

 

 

Verdict: Probably mostly Christian, but with a touch of Pagan on the side. I’d love to argue that Dionysus set up the first Christmas Tree but it doesn’t seem all that likely.
 

BUT I JP VANIR BELIEVE PAGAN! 

 

Poinsettia: The poinsettia (pronounced by some, including me, as poin*set*a) was first introduced to the United States in 1825 by the then ambassador to Mexico Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett (who was a bit of an amateur botanist). During the winter the leaves of the poinsettia plant turn bright red (and other colors) making it a natural for holiday decorating. The plant became associated with Christmas due to a few different Mexican folktales. One tale tells of a little girl who wanted to give a gift to the baby Jesus but could only find weeds to bring him, which miraculously changed into poinsettias. Another more logical tale (how does a Mexican child get to the baby Jesus?) tells of a young boy who brought weeds to a Christmas Eve mass as an offering, where they too turned into poinsettias. The Aztecs were well aware of the poinsettia, but apparently didn’t use them for any specific religious purpose. (6)

VerdictChristian.

Yule Log: The custom of the Yule Log is first documented in Britain in the early 1600’s, where it was first called a “Christmas Log.” Later it was dubbed the Yule Log or sometimes the Christmas block. More than just a giant piece of wood, the Yule Log was part of a large procession before entering a home, ending with a round or four of drinks for everyone who delivered it safe and sound. Many Christmas revelers attached supernatural power to the Yule Log; its burning was said to keep a home safe from harm for the next year. (7) The Norse most likely burned large logs to ward off evil spirits near Midwinter, it’s possible that this tradition led to the development of the Yule Log centuries later. (8)

Verdict: Most likely Christian but with Pagan echoes.

IMG_7454

Lights and Light: The lights we decorate our homes (and trees) with during the Holiday season have a long history. Ancient pagans lit bonfires and candles on the winter solstice and the holidays around it to celebrate the return of the light. (9) In Christianity holiday lights are represented by Jesus as “the light of the world” and the star above Bethlehem that guided the magi written about in the book of Matthew. Solar deities such as Sol Invictus were also celebrated at Midwinter adding to the solar imagery.

Verdict: Most definitely Pagan, though Jesus as the “light of the world” is a nice play on the idea.

 

Gift Giving: For many folks (especially of the younger variety) the highlight of Christmas is the receiving of gifts. Christians often look to the magi (more famous as “The Three Wise Men”) as the originators of the custom, but pagans were doing it long before Jesus was born. The Romans exchanged gifts at during Saturnalia (a winter holiday lasting the week of December 17-23), including toys and edible treats. (10) For several centuries gifts were given not at Christmas or the Winter Solstice but on New Year’s Day. Queen Victoria didn’t start giving out Christmas presents until 1900, instead she followed the old custom of New Year’s gifts. (11) It’s taken several centuries to slot out the various customs we now associate with Christmas, New Year’s, and Halloween.

 

VerdictPagan, but don’t underestimate the power of capitalism for the importance placed on gift-giving during the Holidays. Both Christians and Pagans tended to give little gifts during their Winter revels in the centuries leading up to the modern era.

Santa Claus: The modern Santa Claus arose from a multitude of sources, but the least celebrated and most important is probably the Norse Odin (the Anglo-Saxon Woden). Early pictures of the man we’ve come to know as Santa are closer to the iconography of Odin than that of a Saint from Asia Minor. In the Netherlands Sinter Klaus’s first steed was not a reindeer but a horse, just like Odin. There’s most certainly a trace of the Turkish St. Nicholas in our modern Santa Claus, most notably his generosity, and Nicholas’s popularity certainly helped carry the Santa Claus myth to lots of places around the world. The Dutch words for Saint Nicholas are Sinter Klaus, which has been corrupted into Santa Claus, so he has that going for him if you’re keeping score at home.

Santa Claus’s most famous appearance owes very little to Catholic or Norse myth, and is pure fairytale. Clement Moore’s A Vist From Saint Nicholas is a fanciful and secular take on the figure and has helped shape Santa myth for nearly two hundred years now. The modern appearance of Santa is a gift from Madison Avenue.

Verdict: I think Santa is the perfect blending of the Pagan, Christian, and secular forces which gave rise to the modern celebration of Christmas. This one is kind of a wash .

Santa by F. O. C. Darley  back in 1862.  From WikiMedia.  CC License.
Santa by F. O. C. Darley back in 1862. From WikiMedia. CC License.

Stockings: According to legend Saint Nicholas once helped an old widower provide dowries for his three daughters by anonymously tossing three bags of coins into some stockings. (12) In popular myth, that story of Saint Nicholas is the reason why people hang stockings “by the chimney with care” today, but the inclusion of the stockings are most likely a late addition to the tale. The first (and in some places still the most common) receptacles for toys at Christmas were shoes. In many countries Saint Nicholas still puts presents in hopefully not smelly shoes. Clement Moore wrote about stockings in his poem guaranteeing their prominence in the United States and in some parts of Europe.

VerdictChristian as far as I can tell.

Christmas Cards: The first Christmas Cards were produced in England in 1843, by the 1860’s the custom caught on and began to spread across the pond. The Christmas Card tradition usurped the previous tradition of New Year’s cards, a tradition that dates back to the 1400’s. Christmas Cards also ended up eclipsing the once popular tradition of sending out cards on Valentine’s Day to people other than one’s sweetheart. Early Christmas Cards often used Valentine’s Day imagery. (13) Most early Christmas Cards were completely secular in nature with very few religious depictions. (14)

VerdictSecular, and most likely a money grab, but it’s something we still do at my house.

The Date of Dec. 25: There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that Jesus was born in the winter. The only season slightly implied by the birth narratives found in the gospels is possibly spring due to the inclusion of shepherds, but even that’s just speculation. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 because that date coincided with a whole host of pagan festivals happening around that time of year. In the late Fourth Century the Christian writer Scriptor Syrus commented on the date of Christmas:

“It was a custom of the pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that CHristians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day.”

The “birthday of the Sun” written about by Syrus was not much older than the Christian Christmas, dating back to only 274 CE, but there were several earlier pagan holidays with connections to Christmas. Mid-December through early January were home to a host of holidays in the old Roman Empire. In addition to Saturnalia there were the Kalendae in January, marked, much like Saturnalia, by merry making, feasting, and the exchange of gifts. Various groups celebrated the “Winter Solstice” from December 21-26 as no one was quite sure when exactly the shortest day of the year occurred. (15)

Northern Europeans celebrated Yule (which could mean “wheel” as in the wheel of the year, or perhaps “sacrifice” or “feast,” all worthy reasons for celebration) at the start of Winter with feasting, drinking, and general merry-making. Drinking might have been the most important of the observances. A poem about Harald Fairhair (the king who unified Norway) makes reference to the king intending to “drink jul (Yule)” even when out of Norway. Ritually passing the drinking horn was said to connect those drinking together to the gods themselves. Most likely there were also sacrifices to the gods and fertility rites, but information is sketchy and comes from mostly Christian sources. Eventually Yule became synonymous with Christmas and now the two words are used interchangeably. (16)

Verdict: Most definitely Pagan, as early Christians didn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus for centuries.

“Adoration of the Shepherds” by Gerard van Honthorst. From WikiMedia.

The Birth Narratives of Jesus: For many people Christmas is about the birth of Jesus as related in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke. While most historians think that Jesus was very much a real person, the majority of Bible scholars place little faith in the mythological narratives constructed by the authors of Luke and Matthew (even the authorship of those two books is up for debate). Matthew and Luke were written to express certain theological ideas. The first of those is that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, as such both authors take pains to put Jesus into circumstances they believe were foretold in the Torah. This is why Jesus is born in Bethlehem, and why Luke’s author had to create a census that never happened to get him there. But there are other elements in the two birth stories of Jesus that reflect the pagan religions of the time.

Jesus was born in humble circumstances (at least in Luke) but was born due to the mingling of mortal and divine; Jesus had a god for a father and a mortal for a mother, just like most ancient pagan gods who walked the Earth. There’s nothing particularly Christian (or Jewish) about the magi (later they would become the Three Wise Men and be given names) either, and they could be a reference to the proto-monotheism of the Zoroastrian faith. When gods were born in ancient mythology their arrival was often marked by miraculous occurrences, these occurrences are mimicked in the New Testament with the Star of Bethlehem and angels heralding the birth of Jesus. This is not to suggest that the rest of the gospels depict Jesus as some sort of ancient pagan deity, they do not, but the birth stories in Matthew and Luke do, at least a little bit.

Verdict: A tie. There are certainly pagan elements in the story, but there’s also a lot of stuff related to Jewish prophecy and even some original thinking. The “first Christmas” of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph isn’t much different than our modern ones, a combination of many things.

Notes
I’ve read a great deal on Christmas the last twenty years, but for this article I consulted two books repeatedly in an effort to cite sources. There are a few items that are not sourced, you’ll have to trust that the information in my brain is correct.

1. The Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton, Oxford University Press, 1996. pages 34-35
2. Christmas a Candid History by Bruce David Forbes, University of California Press, 2007. page 120
3. Hutton page 37
4. Forbes page 48-50
5. Hutton page 114
6. Forbes 53-54
7. Hutton 39-40
8. Forbes page 12
9. Forbes page 8
10. Forbes page 8
11. Hutton page 116
12. Forbes page 70
13. Forbes pages 118-119
14. Hutton page 116
15. Hutton pages 1-4
16. Forbes pages 11-12

 

 

Author:JP the DDG Aspie Vamp
Published:Dec 7th
Modified:Dec 7th

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