Was the Messiah’s birth on December 25th?
Authoritative educational books of the world, such as encyclopedias, give us the truth. In our own Holy Scriptures, long before the virgin birth, the Creator speaks of this festival being celebrated, as (Jeremiah) Yeremyah 10:1-5 indicates…
1 Hear the word which Yahweh speaks concerning you, O house of Israyl.
2 This is what Yahweh says: Do not learn the way; religious practices, of the heathen; Gentile nations; and do not be deceived by the signs of heaven; though the heathen are deceived by them; using them to set their feasts.
3 For the religious customs of the peoples are vain; worthless! For one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, so that it will not move; topple over.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree, but they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not give them reverence! They cannot do evil, nor is it in them to do Righteousness!
The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume II (1943-1973), under Christmas, says:
‘‘In the Roman world, the Saturnalia was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts.
December 25th was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian Mystery god, Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness.
On the Roman New Year houses were decorated with greenery and lights and gifts were given to children.
To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites…Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian.’’
In A Book of Christmas, by William Sansom, McGraw-Hill, 1968, pages 28-39, we find the following information:
To get green food for his beasts and later for himself when the first corn was planted, primitive man needed rain and sun. So, with their primitive eyes on the great and mysterious sky…the first religious instincts prayed to the sun! The moment of the Sun’s Annual rebirth in late December was one of the vital religious times of the year. This time of year was also the least laborious. There was time to make merry. Early Northern people, who had no exact astronomical findings began their winter festivals earlier…in November… when the signs of the sun’s recession… (dying) and the scarcity of animal food made the slaughter of the increase of the herd necessary. Later, the ceremonies moved forward to mid-December and the anticipation of the Saturnalia…that wonderful, heartwarming, emotional festival introduced by the Romans by their occupation of the then-known world.
In Roman Times…a Pre-Christian Message of ‘peace and god’s will’ to all men accompanied the Saturnalia! The Saturnalia was within the solstice and Saturnalia-Kalendae period…starting December 17 and going through January 1st. The Roman Saturnalia is recorded in writing and was the function of a highly civilized people. The first period of feasting was generally for seven days. The god celebrated was Saturn… farmer of a former gold age and eater of his own children.
The giving of presents…particularly candles and dolls called Sigillaria also derives from the insistent origin of human sacrifice at this time of year!
Directly following the Saturnalia was the Kalendae…more mathematically concerned with the date of the new Roman year…and the celebration of the god Janus, god of doors (as a two-way engine) who looks back on the past and forward to the future.
One may think of the Saturnalia as ‘Roman in Rome’…but the truth is: The Roman Empire was a World-Ruling Empire at that time. The customs of Rome were spread to all the known world! Britons and Celts, Indians and Egyptians were all called part of the Roman Empire at one time. These nations brought their own Sun Worshipping Cults to join into the Saturnalia Celebrations! It was an Empire-Wide Celebration. All the people in this Empire, save only a few…gathered in their homes to drink wine…to dance and sing…to light their candles and exchange presents…giving their children the little clay dolls that represented their former sacrifices!
The Strenae…honoring the goddess Strenia…were given for ‘good luck!’
The Feast of Fools and the Lord of Misrule derived directly from the Saturnalia.
Many other customs have become engrafted into the ancient celebration occurring at this time of year. Mummers and Wild Men roam the British Isles and Europe. The Mari Lwyd ritual in Wales is reviving. The evergreen tree is an ancient custom incorporated. The Vikings gave their Yule…the druids donated their magic mistletoe…the Father Christmas in Briton and the Santa Claus of German origin were all donated and incorporated into the holidays known worldwide as Christmas and New Year!
It was not until the middle of the fourth century c.e. that the ‘Birth’ of the Messiah was officially celebrated at the time of year when the lighting of fires…the praising of the new sun…relaxation and feasting was set on the very same date as that of the birth of the sun god…Mithra!
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Was the Messiah’s birth on December 25th?