Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas Was Originally a Pagan Festival, Right?

Wrong. 'Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism [and many neo-atheists - MH], who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.'

Read it all by clicking here.


Terry Maher said...

Christmas was not originally a pagan festival, but many pagan festivals were held at the same time "Christmas" came to be located.

The contrast, rather than the similarity of light and new life imagery, particularly wrt to the myth behind Saturnalia, makes the co-location not something derivative but clearly addressing it.

I would say the matter is treated on my annual Christmas post, but that would be shameless self-promotion beyond the ability of my English descended sensibilities to accept.

At any rate, Happy Christmas to you! It has been one of the delights of this year to become a visitor to your blog.

Oh and David, if you're lurking out there, Happy Christmas to you too!

Pr Mark Henderson said...

'English descended sensibilities'?
And there I was thinking with a name like 'Terry Maher' you must be a good Irishman! Like me, you must be a conglomeration of ethnicities.

In any case, thanks Terry for your kind words re the blog.

Marry Christmas to you!

(Do you have a blog? Your blogger ID doesn't list one)

Terry Maher said...

A word about my name will explain both.

My blog is not under my name, but the blog's name, Past Elder. That name was chosen because I am a past elder. And that was in WELS. I switched later to LCMS.

I am under my name. I got the name by adoption, not birth. The people who adopted me were Irish-American (and RC). Years later, I was damn near 50, I found out my birth name was Douglas John Clutterham. The surname comes from East Anglia, Suffolk specifically.

So I am English descended, Irish-American-RC raised, adult Lutheran convert, and blog as Past Elder.

Generally I am logged on to Google as Terry Maher unless I am working on my blog, so most of the time combox comments get posted under my real name rather than the blog's name.