25 December 2022
The celebration of birth days originated in Egypt and was also a big thing with Herod.
It was 300 years after Christ before the Roman church kept Christmas, and not until the fifth century that it was mandated by Justinian to be kept throughout the empire as an official festival honouring “Christ.”
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition, states, “Christmas…was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”
Consider these quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under “Christmas”: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” Further, “Pagan customs centring around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” Under “Natal Day,” Origen, an early Catholic writer, admitted, “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world”
Consider the following admission from a large American newspaper (The Buffalo News, Nov. 22, 1984): “The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, the festival began on December 17 and was a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun or a new birth of the Sun—and honoured Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday.
December 25th was the Saturnalia Festival of emancipation, gift giving and the triumph of light after the longest night. The Christian sees the truth implicit in this pagan tradition that reflects: Christ the Light of the world, His triumph over the night of sin in Luke 1:78-79:
We must also consider the Roman Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birth of the Unconquered Sun)
Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding terms in other languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French—all probably denote nativity. The German word Weihnachten denotes “hallowed night.”
The celebration of Christmas reached its peak—some would say its worst moments—in the medieval period when it became a time for conspicuous consumption and unequaled revelry. This is the time when the Merchants took hold in the British Isles after 1066 and installed the feudal system. Merchants regularly report that over 60% of their annual retail sales occur during the Christmas shopping season. This represents a tremendous amount of gift buying or consumerism.
Many believe the gift giving comes from the nativity story in particular the three kings who came bearing gifts, but if you take this tale from the perspective of law, we would better understand the symbolism as referring to the fact, Jesus would walk the land without holding Title, as such gifting material things was acceptable in the world of goods and wealth for one who walks in tune with Genesis I.
The Bibliotheca Sacra states, “The interchange of presents between friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows” (Vol. 12, pp. 153-155).
Santa Claus is a Dutch word that is actually Sinter Claus, Saint Nicholas, in English. The term is not native to England and the celebrating of Christmas. According to Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History, (article “Santa”), “Santa” was a common name for Nimrod throughout Asia Minor. This was also the same fire god who came down the chimneys of the ancient pagans and the same fire god to whom infants were burned and eaten in human sacrifice among those who were once God’s people. It is claimed that Santa Claus takes its root from St Nicholas which opened the door for Washington Irving, in 1809, to remake the original old, stern bishop of this same name into the new “jolly St. Nick” in his Knickerbocker History of New York. (Most of the rest of America’s Christmas traditions are even more recent than this.) “Old Nick” has long been recognised as a term for the devil. In Revelation 2:6 and 15, we read about a “doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,” which Jesus twice tells His Church “[He] hates.” To analyse the word Nicolaitane; means “follower of Nicholas.” Nikos means “conqueror, destroyer.” Laos means “people.” Nicolaitanes, then, are people who follow the conqueror or destroyer—Nimrod.
The other origin of Saint Nicholas was the supposed early Bishop of a church in Asia Minor [the modern country of Turkey]. He became aware of some desperate needs in his congregation, and a family having to sell their children into slavery, so one night he came and left money on their doorstep. It was gold in a stocking.
Frederick J. Haskin’s Answers to Questions states, “The Christmas tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christmas Era.”
The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany. But the Germans got it from the Romans, who got it from the Egyptians. Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia. (Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 242).
“An old Babylon fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolised the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolised that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz. Interesting it is that we find a cover up story for this Babylonian definition in the story of St. Boniface. In the 8th century, he was a missionary to some of the remotest tribes of Germany. He is probably best known for what is called the “Felling of Thor’s Oak.” It is said that upon entering a town in northern Hesse (Hessia), Boniface learned that the people worshiped the god Thor who they believed resided in a great oak tree among them. Boniface determined that if he wanted to earn an audience with the people, he would have to confront Thor. He announced before the people that he was going to cut down the oak, and he openly challenged Thor to strike him down. Miraculously, as Boniface began to chop the oak, a mighty wind blew and hurled the tree to the ground. Tradition holds that a fir tree was growing in the roots of the oak, and Boniface claimed the tree as a symbol of Christ. Needless to say, the people readily accepted Boniface’s message, and the tree eventually came to be associated with the birth of Christ and a celebration of the day when the mighty God (who could hurl a gigantic oak to the ground) chose to humbly enter the world as a babe.
Holy Wreaths and Yule Log
The Encyclopedia Americana states, “The holly, the mistletoe, the Yule log…are relics of pre-Christian time.” The Yule log was commonly used in a rite of Germanic nature worship.
Frederick Haskin further states, “The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas.”
The Encyclopedia Britannica, under “Celastrales,” offers the origin of the holly wreath: “European’s brought holly sprays into their homes, offering them to the fairy people of the forests as refuge from the harsh winter weather. During the Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival, branches of holly were exchanged as tokens of friendship. The earliest Roman Christians apparently used holly as a decoration at the Christmas season.”
There are many of different types of holly. Virtually all of them come in male and female varieties—such as “Blue Prince and Blue Princess” or “Blue Boy and Blue Girl” or “China Boy and China Girl.” Female holly plants cannot have berries unless a nearby male plant pollinates them. It is easy to see why the holly wreath found its way into pagan rituals as a token of friendship and fertility!
Like mistletoe, holly berries were also thought to be sacred to the sun god. The original “sun log” came to be called the yule log. “Yule” simply means “wheel,” which has long been a representation of the sun.
Yule is the time of the Winter Solstice, it’s a time to say goodbye to the old, and welcome the new. As the sun returns to the earth, life begins once more. As the sun returns to the earth, life begins once more—it’s a time to bid the Crone farewell, and invite the Maiden back into our lives.
The God is reborn at Yule, having died at the previous Sabbat (Samhain) at the end of October. The weak quality of sunlight during these still-short days is symbolised by the God in his infancy, just born and needing sustenance before he can come back into his full power. The Goddess, who has been in her Crone aspect these past few months, is now once again in her Mother aspect, having just given birth to the God. She represents the Earth, remaining still and silent for a while yet as she rests from her labor. This is a celebration of the renewal of life, but compared to other Sabbats it is a relatively quiet, indoor holiday, as people gather within the warm shelters of their homes to be merry and give thanks.
The Sun will “die” at midnight on December 21, it will “rebirth” on midnight December 24. This occurs at the beginning of winter every year. It is called the Winter Solstice, “Sun stood still”, and is considered the shortest day in the year in terms of hours of sunlight.
It is a three-day period when the hours of daylight are at its shortest and the hours of night (darkness) are at its longest. Noticeably, the sun progressively sets earlier each evening after June 22 (The Summer Solstice – longest hours of sunlight) and night fall comes the earliest on December 21. Hence daylight savings time put our clock one hour back to make up for the shorter hours of day light.
Worshipping the Sun is exactly what all our ancestors more than 6000 years ago. The ancients selected December 21, the Winter Solstice as the ideal time to invoke the sun. Maybe if you were living in the north pole and had long, dark harsh winters to deal with you might want to invoke the Sun too.
In the solar myth, the death of the “old sun” occurs as the length of daylight decreases and becomes its lowest at the Winter Solstice which begins on the midnight of December 21 (early morning December 22) and ends on Midnight December 24 (early morning December 25). The sun stop moving south on December 22, it is then at its lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere, residing in the vicinity of the Southern Cross. It stays at this lowest point for three days (December 22, 23, 24 appearing to not moving south or north and was considered “dead”).
It “returns to life” at midnight on December 24/early morning December 25, when it begins its northern journey again and the hours of sunlight start to lengthen. Therefore, the ancients said that the SUN was born on December 25. As a result, festivals and feasts were done to honour Sol or Mithra.
Interestingly, on December 24, Sirius (star in the east and brightest star in the night sky) aligns with the three brightest Orion belt stars called the Three Kings, (Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka) and on December 25, these all point to the location where the sun will rise on earth that day. In essence, the three kings follow the star in the east to find the sunrise (birth of the sun).
Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms, including:
Ra ~ Egypt,
Mithra ~ Persia,
Apollo ~ Rome
Surya ~ India
Amaterasu ~ Japan
Sol ~ Germanic
Tonatiuh ~ Aztec
Jesus ~ Christianity
For three days, December 22, 23 and 24th, the Sun will rise on the same latitudinal (declinations) degree. This is the only time in the year that the Sun actually stops its movement either northward or southward in the sky. On the morning of December 25th the Sun moves one degree northward beginning its annual journey back to us in the northern hemisphere, ultimately heading to our spring. Anything steadily moving all year long that suddenly stops moving for three days was considered too have died. Therefore, God’s Sun who was dead for three days, moves one degree northward on December 25th and is symbolically raised from the dead and symbolically born again.
Esus, (Celtic: “Lord,” or “Master”), powerful Celtic deity, one of three mentioned by the Roman poet Lucan in the 1st century AD; the other two were Taranis (“Thunderer”) and Teutates (“God of the People”). Esus’ victims, according to later commentators, were sacrificed by being ritually stabbed and hung from trees. A relief from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris portrays him as a bent woodman cutting a branch from a willow tree. This and a related relief from Trier, Ger., associate him with the sacred bull and his accompanying cranes or egrets.
In classical writing Esus was mentioned by the Roman poet, Lucan, (M. Annaeus Lucanus) in the first book of his Pharsalia (Civil War) where he also mentions the Gaulish deity, Teutates.
Savage Teutates, Esus’ bloody shrines
and Taranis’ altar, cruel as those
loved by Diana, whom the Scythians serve;
All these destroyed in war
The locus classicus for the Celtic gods of Gaul is the passage in Caesar’s Commentarii de bello Gallico (52–51 BC; The Gallic War) in which he names five of them together with their functions. Mercury was the most honoured of all the gods and many images of him were to be found. Mercury was regarded as the inventor of all the arts, the patron of travellers and of merchants, and the most powerful god in matters of commerce and gain. After him the Gauls honoured Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva. Of these gods they held almost the same opinions as other peoples did: Apollo drives away diseases, Minerva promotes handicrafts, Jupiter rules the heavens, and Mars controls wars.
According to Poseidonius and later classical authors Gaulish religion and culture were the concern of three professional classes—the druids, the bards, and between them an order closely associated with the druids that seems to have been best known by the Gaulish term vates, cognate with the Latin vates (“seers”). This threefold hierarchy had its reflex among the two main branches of Celts in Ireland and Wales but is best represented in early Irish tradition with its druids, filidh (singular fili), and bards; the filidh evidently correspond to the Gaulish vates.
The name druid means “knowing the oak tree” and may derive from druidic ritual, which seems in the early period to have been performed in the forest. Caesar stated that the druids avoided manual labour and paid no taxes, so that many were attracted by these privileges to join the order. They learned great numbers of verses by heart, and some studied for as long as 20 years; they thought it wrong to commit their learning to writing but used the Greek alphabet for other purposes.
As far as is known, the Celts had no temples before the Gallo-Roman period; their ceremonies took place in forest sanctuaries. In the Gallo-Roman period temples were erected, and many of them have been discovered by archaeologists in Britain as well as in Gaul.
There are dedications to “Minerva” in Britain and throughout the Celtic areas of the Continent. At Bath she was identified with the goddess Sulis, whose cult there centred on the thermal springs. Through the plural form Suleviae, found at Bath and elsewhere, she is also related to the numerous and important mother goddesses—who often occur in duplicate or, more commonly, triadic form. Her nearest equivalent in insular tradition is the Irish goddess Brighid, daughter of the chief god, Dagda. Like Minerva she was concerned with healing and craftsmanship, but she was also the patron of poetry and traditional learning. Her name is cognate with that of Brigantī, Latin Brigantia, tutelary goddess of the Brigantes of Britain, and there is some onomastic evidence that her cult was known on the Continent, whence the Brigantes had migrated.
The Gaulish Sucellos (or Sucellus), possibly meaning “the Good Striker,” appears on a number of reliefs and statuettes with a mallet as his attribute. He has been equated with the Irish Dagda, “the Good God,” also called Eochaidh Ollathair (“Eochaidh the Great Father”), whose attributes are his club and his caldron of plenty.