- Holidays and Celebrations
Christmas is Not Necessarily Christian
Jesus' Birth or Some Other Reason?
Whatever you may call this time of year or how ever you may celebrate it, we as a whole are some what misinformed of the origins of Christmas falling on the 25th December every year. Today's Christmas is often recognised as a birthday of Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, son of God - or at least the Christian God. By secular society - it is recognised as a holiday with religious significance yet is more about getting together to celebrate with family and friends over a large meal.
It did not begin in this way. The 25th of December has been recognised since Pre-Christian times - so, before Jesus was a 'twinkle' in God's eye. Even the other symbols associated (aside from Jesus) with Christmas are from Pre-Christian Roman Pagans. So it is my intent to provide more information - not to take it away from the Christian population nor give it to anyone else - more give more information as to the actual significance of the holiday aside of JC's birthday.
Popular myth does put Jesus' birthday around the 25th of Dec the year 1 C.E. However the New Testament gives no date, nor year on the date of his birth. This suggests that early Christians had no knowledge or interest in his birth. The first mention is the baptism of an adult Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. A Roman monk worked out his birth date using a series of calculations as follows:
- In the Roman, pre-Christian era, years were counted from ab urbe condita (“the founding of the City” [Rome]). Thus 1 AUC signifies the year Rome was founded, 5 AUC signifies the 5th year of Rome’s reign, etc.
- b. Dionysius received a tradition that the Roman emperor Augustus reigned 43 years, and was followed by the emperor Tiberius.
- c. Luke 3:1,23 indicates that when Jesus turned 30 years old, it was the 15th year of Tiberius reign.
- d. If Jesus was 30 years old in Tiberius’ reign, then he lived 15 years under Augustus (placing Jesus birth in Augustus’ 28th year of reign).
- e. Augustus took power in 727 AUC. Therefore, Dionysius put Jesus birth in 754 AUC.
- f. However, Luke 1:5 places Jesus’ birth in the days of Herod, and Herod died in 750 AUC – four years before the year in which Dionysius places Jesus birth. (http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm)
Pre-Christian Pagans are a little different to modern Pagans, though the Modern Pagans have had a bit of technological advancement and the understanding of the world around us than previously. Pagans were considered to be the "non-christians" as the religion of Christianity began to rise in popularity - so were considered to be many of the Romans.
The longest night, or solstice, is often around Dec 21st for those populations who are in their winter at the end of the year (unlike myself - Dec 21st is the shortest night/longest day in Summer). This is a significant time in the life of people trying to forge an existence - it's significant to crops, nature and many other things. The Roman's celebrated a period of 'lawlessness' where the courts were closed, and no one could be charged for bad behaviour. It also involved huge feasts, and indulgence - both of food and other activities (wink wink). At the end of this week (17th-25th Dec) those who had been taken in by those who were up in the world of Romans were...discarded or murdered. So, not really a celebration - at least for those who died.
Pagans again pre-exist the Romans. Yet little is known to this author about their existence and what it entailed other than the celebration of the solstice and it's significance to nature. Perhaps this will be another hub in progress.
It Matters Not
Really, it doesn't. Celebrate it how you want to celebrate it - hannukah, Christmas as Christ's birthday, Christmas as a celebration of family and friends. What matters is that you remember what is important - education, information, and those who you love. Regardless of their religious beliefs, their orientations, their thoughts on Christ. Christmas is about celebrating the existance of other people in our lives.
For an idea about the importance of other people - perhaps a good thing to do this Christmas is take someone in who is spending it alone. Be that a family member ousted from Xmas years ago for something - being gay in a religious family, a previous transgression that all have forgotten but not forgotten, an old family feud that no longer bears relevance. OR be it someone who doesn't have family to spend it with, or heck, even a home to spend it in.
It's about being good to one another.
Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah!Blessed Yule/Solstice!