Countdown to Christmas --
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

This site uses "cookies". When you use My Merry Christmas we leave a cookie on you computer to remember your preferences and to improve your site experience. These cookies are NOT set for the purposes of collecting data of any kind. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

History of Christmas

Discussion in 'Christmas Controversy & Opinion' started by jefferywinkler, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. jefferywinkler

    jefferywinkler On the Naughty List Merry Forums Member

    I encourage everyone to read my history of Christmas, which I have on my website. Unfortunately, when you first click on the link, instead of taking you to my website, it takes you to the website of the webring. You have to leave the link, and then click on the link a second time, and it will take to my website. Then, you scroll down the main page, which lists articles I have written, until you come to the article about Christmas.

    You can also read a shorter version of the article on my Facebook page.
  2. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    Thanks for sharing. Obviously you're a scientist and have put a lot of thought and research into this.

    But I must respectfully disagree with much of what you've written.

    But we're on different planets when it comes to Christmas.
    Ryan and e_xander like this.
  3. Iteachpercussion

    Iteachpercussion Sugar Cookie Tester MMC Premiere Member Santa's Elf

    Lots of good information presented in your work Jeffery. As a historian, I can say that your information is quite well based in historical fact. Many of the symbols of Christmas predate Christianity. Other symbols and traditions, while perhaps not predating Christianity, certainly do not come from any Christian background. However, in its attempt to spread throughout Europe, the Christian church adopted these symbols and traditions as a way to bring the "common" folk into the church. So, the symbols were kept, but the meanings were changed. The same is true of Halloween.

    Your assessment of Zoroastrianism is spot as well. There are many similarities between Zoroastrianism and Christianity. This is most likely because it was the Persians who rescued the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity. There is a very distinct difference in the Jewish faith after the Captivity period. Most scholars believe this is due to the Zoroastrian influence. It is also during that time in which Judaism begins to splinter into several groups and some of those groups begin to discuss "The Messiah."

    I could go on and on and on... I have done a great deal of study on the religious movements of the Middle East and my favorite time period is the Babylonian Captivity through the development of the early Christian churches. Within that broad area, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a major interest of mine.

    In any case, nice summary of the developments of the modern Christmas celebration.
    Ryan likes this.
  4. jefferywinkler

    jefferywinkler On the Naughty List Merry Forums Member

    Thank you for your kind words. The Christian story of the Nativity is an extremely small part, almost an incidental addition to the holiday of Christmas, but if you are interested in learning about that small part, you can read the following article that discusses the history of artistic depictions of the Nativity.

    These are great works of art, but for anyone to suggest they depict anything other than fantasy is ludicrous beyond belief.
  5. jefferywinkler

    jefferywinkler On the Naughty List Merry Forums Member

    The only historical evidence that anyone can cite for the so-called Babylonian Exile are Jehoiachin's Rations Tablets which lists the rations given to prisoners, including, some claim, the king of Judea, and his family. Even if that's true, all that implies is that the king of Judea and his family were taken prisoner. Nobody else was taken to Babylonia. Despite the fact that the Babylonians kept detailed bureaucratic records that have survived, there is no reference to an entire population being relocated, which was never done in the classical world, anyway. That's modern concept like Andrew Jackson doing the Trail of Tears. The most likely explanation for the lack of written reference is that it never happened. This is similar to the fact that the Romans kept detailed bureaucratic records that have survived but there is absolutely no contemporary written reference to anyone named Jesus claiming to be the Messiah or being executed. The most likely explanation for the lack of written reference is that he never existed. Anyway, it is not necessary for a specific group of people to have ever been in Babylonia or Persia to have been influenced by Babylonian or Persian religion, which they undeniably were, since those ideas were percolating throughout the known world at that time, especially in the Middle East which was a crossroads for trade between Europe, Northern Africa, the western part of Asia, and the Mediterranean.
  6. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    Wow. For a guy that never existed Jesus sure has had a lasting impact.
    Ryan and e_xander like this.
  7. bigben

    bigben On the Naughty List MMC Emeritus Member

    Hey Good morning everyone....... Christmas-and-Winter,-and-the-Beauty-of-Spring,-Summer-and-Fall.-311303189078511-63.jpg keep-calm-its-nearly-christmas!.png
  8. jefferywinkler

    jefferywinkler On the Naughty List Merry Forums Member

    Why would that be surprising? The Mother Earth Goddess has had a more lasting impact than the fictional character called "Jesus". The Mother Earth Goddess has been worshiped for tens of thousands of years, and remains influential today. The modern environmentalist movement is motivated by New Age Religion worshiping the Mother Earth Goddess, invented by the hippies in the late 1960s as a reaction against mainstream religion.
  9. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    Now we're wading deep in the waters of opinion.
    Ryan and e_xander like this.
  10. NcGunny

    NcGunny Candycane Wrangler MMC Emeritus Member

    Enjoyed your article and everyones posts so far. I enjoy Christmas every day of the year, but I do not recognize Christmas in any religious sense at all or associate it with religion. My own opinion and respect how anyone else observes it. I think I observe Christmas as a child would think of it..Santa the toy deliverer, elfs making toys, Rudolph, etc..etc..nice historical write up also. You did a good job.
  11. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    One of my favorite academics in ancient script was Hugh Nibley, who once said, ""Spending all my time with the apocryphal, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Pagan- As you may be aware, the present tendency is to see the whole vast literature fusing into a common matrix- you can no longer put Greek Philosophy, Hebrew prophets, Egyptian wisdom literature, Canaanite ritual text, Babylonian mythology, etc. into strictly isolated departments- they must be studied together." -

    I share that in context with this quote from Nibley, who wrote in 1950 --

    "Long before the Christian Church was ever heard of, people throughout the world celebrated one great festival that far overshadowed all other social activities in importance. That was the great Year Rite, the celebration of the creation of the world and the dramatization of a plan for overcoming the bondage of death. It took place at the turn of the year when the sun, having reached its lowest point on the meridian, was found on a joyful day to be miraculously mounting again in its course; it was a day of promise and reassurance, heralding a new creation and a new age. Everywhere the great year festival was regarded as the birthday of the whole human race and was a time of divination and prophecy, marked by a feast of abundance in which all gave and received gifts as an earnest hope of good things to come.

    Much has been written on the shifting of Christ's birthday celebration to make it coincide with the day of Sol Invictus, a late Romanized version of an oriental midwinter rite. In other parts of the world, people had no difficulty identifying the Lord’s birthday with the greatest of popular festivals. When Pope Zacharias rebuked the Germans on the Rhine for their pagan festival at midwinter, Boniface could answer him back, that if he objected to heathen feasts and games, all he had to do was look around him at Rome, where he would see the same feasting, drinking, and games on the same ancient holy days to celebrate the same blessed event—he was referring, of course, to the Saturnalia, the great prehistoric festival of the Romans. Our own Yule, carols, lights, greenery, gifts, and games are evidence enough that a northern Christmas is no importation from the East in Christian times but something far older.

    Now, there is no law of the mind that requires all men everywhere to put just one peculiar interpretation on the descent and return of the sun in its course.This complex and specialized festival, which follows so closely the same elaborate pattern in Babylonia, Egypt, Iceland, and Rome, is now recognized to be no spontaneous invention of untutored minds but the remnant of a single tradition ultimately traceable to one common lost source. The essential feature of this great world festival everywhere is that it aims, if but for a few short days, to recapture the freedom, love, equality, abundance, joy, and light of a Golden Age, a dimly remembered but blessed time in the beginning when all creatures lived together in innocence without fear or enmity, when the heavens poured forth ceaseless bounty, and all men were brothers under the loving rule of the King and Creator of all. Is it at all surprising that the Christian world’s celebration of the Savior’s birth should fall easily and naturally into the pattern of the older rites? In the end they are really the same thing—both are recollections of forgotten dispensations of the Gospel; both are attempts to recall an age of lost innocence and lost blessings."

    Lost? Who can doubt it? There is a nostalgic sadness about Christmas, as there is about the Middle Ages, with their everlasting quest of something that has been lost. Christmas is a small light in a great darkness; it is evidence of things not seen. It is not the real thing but the expression of a wish, for like the great year rites of the ancients, it merely dramatizes what once was and what men feel they can still hope for. -Hugh Nibley, The Christmas Quest, 1950

    In other words it is not good enough to say that Christmas "evolved" or was "stolen" from here or there in ancient mythology. It has an origin.

    For non-believers, it matters not anyway unless they want to forward an agenda that for whatever reason is to be critical or to diminish in some way the beliefs of believers -- Christmas is then merely a nostalgic exercise and a reason to have fun in the least or express good will at the most. And there it ends.

    For believers, it matters a great deal because Christmas is at the essence of connecting one with God, of grasping an understanding of this separation from Him called life and preparing for the reunion known as death. It is part of the light that makes bad men good and good men better.

    The cause for celebration -- for JOY -- for REJOICING -- in all that is Christmas is when through the Divine that understanding is found.
    Storeytime, Ryan and e_xander like this.

Share This Page