12 Myths of Christmas: December 25th

Today I will begin to explore the history of Christmas with a short series of blogs titled The 12 Myths of Christmas. Many of these myths you might already know. However, there is a chance you may not know. There was a time when I just took these myths as fact. Although that was way back before the internet. Seriously, with all the information about the history of religion available at your fingertips, I am flabbergasted that people can still pretend to believe. I’m sure that is why fundamentalist claim technology is the devil’s tool.

LMyth #1: Jesus was born on December 25th

I wonder how many people actually believe this myth. In 2013, I will be producing a Reason With Me Youtube series. The series will focus on man-on-the-street style interviews with believers. I probably will get beat up a few times. But it should be fun either way.  This myth would be a great question to ask people on the streets.

Most people, I assume, know that this date was picked by the Church. A google search will give you all the details as to when and why so I will just give the short answer. December 25th was picked around the 4th century CE. All the super-cool pagan religions had awesome solstice parties this time of year–Rome had Saturnalia which began on December 17th and concluded on December 25th. The feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Basically, if you were a party dude, you went pagan. If you know anything about the history of Christianity, the 4th century is where Christianity puts its marketing program in full gear. Prior to that its growth wasn’t all that remarkable.

So the Church, in an effort to make conversion easier for the Greco-Roman world, adopted December 25th as Jesus’ birthday. Now pagans could convert and keep their party.

If Jesus was actually the Son of God why would the Church need to use party hats to sway people to their side? Shouldn’t these people, who lived at a time much closer to Jesus than us today, know the truth? Shouldn’t it be a no-brainer? More importantly, why didn’t the original Christians like Peter, Paul & James, the founders of the faith, give a shit about when Jesus was born? Of course, the writers of the gospels cared enough to write mythology around the nativity to make it appear that Jesus was important, kinda like what a good publicist does. But they didn’t focus on it beyond that. They didn’t care when he was born. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Everyone is born. Everyone dies. But not everyone rises from the dead and is raised up to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Lord. What’s with this right hand shit anyway? I’ll have to make a note to blog about that in the future. Jesus’ death and resurrection is what matters. In fact, hard core Christians today hate Christmas because it isn’t important and they think only phoney-baloney Christians like it. They know it is pagan.

Let me use a modern day analogy of how Christianity used this holiday celebration to compete and eventually succeed. The Dot-com bubble, which occurred between 1997-2000, saw corporations jump on the internet bandwagon. Some were older companies, most new. They would create a name, like, eJesus for example and add a .com. Brick & Mortar companies knew that in order to compete they would need an internet presence. The same thing is occurring currently with companies attempting to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to stay relevant. In the end, most companies failed miserably but some, Amazon.com for example, thrived and is one of the biggest sites today.

Imagine Christianity, a new corporation struggling its first two hundred years. The people in charge think they have a good thing but the only people buying are lunatics and losers. Their market share is piss-poor. Meanwhile, Rome is kicking ass, celebrating with all kinds of parties and has a strong customer base. Christianity, despite going against its mission statement, makes the decision to get into the holiday business. They start turning every pagan holiday they can find into a Christian one. They stamp Jesus’ face on every celebration around. Business picks up, they become popular and then powerful. Once they reach that goal they don’t worry so much on cheesy tactics. If you don’t join them you will die. Just like the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.

palpatine_edit

So, yes, we all know December 25th was originally pagan. And if you search the internet you will find very polite articles about why that is. And people like Bill O’Reilly who are fighting a non-exisitant War on CHristmas should do their research. Because before the War on Christmas there was a War on Paganism and that war actually had a very high body count. For those fallen in the War on Paganism, we should take December 25th back from the Christians and make it one fucking awesome secular celebration.

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5 responses to “12 Myths of Christmas: December 25th

  1. 1) I’m not a fundamentalist, but I’ve found most to be quite media savvy. That is why they are growing in such numbers.
    2) “Shouldn’t these people, who lived at a time much closer to Jesus than us today, know the truth?” Actually no, for the reason you listed above. Most people in the 4th century were illiterate, history and archaeology were a joke, and the dissemination of information was nothing like it was today. Even though they were much closer chronologically to the time of Christ, they had far less ability to understand who He was than we do today.
    3) “In fact, hard core Christians today hate Christmas because it isn’t important and they think only phoney-baloney Christians like it.” This is as much of a straw man as point 1. Who are these “hard core” Christians you refer to? What makes them any more hard core than other Christians?
    4) “Imagine Christianity, a new corporation struggling its first two hundred years.” You would have to imagine, because there is no basis for this in reality. “Rome is kicking ass, celebrating with all kinds of parties and has a strong customer base.” Actually, traditional Roman religions were on their way out. Christianity was one of many “new” religions gobbling up the market share that was abandoning Rome in droves. Constantine endorsing Christianity was a political decision both to distinguish himself from his rivals and because he had a good eye for where culture was moving. Most of what you describe here happened after this point and made for an easy transition for nominal “pagans” to become nominal “Christians”. You’re right it was a marketing ploy.
    In all, I could care less when Christmas was celebrated. One day is just as good as another. I love Christmas. I’m not a big fan of the commercialism and honestly I could do with a bit less Christmas music, but it is something important to be able to have traditions and rituals that connect me with my past. It is important to know that I am celebrating the same thing on the same day (or close to it) as people throughout the world. It is important to have a day to intentionally reconnect with family and friends. Even those who couldn’t care less about Jesus should be able to agree with all this. But for me, far more, it is important to be able to step back in awe at the Divine Mystery of God becoming a man.

    • Thanks for reading and replying. You gave me lots of things to debate in future blogs. I’m not suggesting doing away with Christmas or ritual holidays, just eliminating the belief that god or Jesus is real. I enjoy Santa and the Easter bunny but I don’t believe they are real.

  2. Let’s not forget Samhain (Halloween a.k.a. All Saint’s Day) and Ostara (Easter). You already mention the Yule. I love this blog. It is helping me figure out the myths. 🙂 Thanks.

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