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Christmas: original celebration and today's holiday
The Invention of the Nativity
Today’s Christmas Nativity scene, displayed around the world, usually portrays an infant in a manger under a thatched roof that is sometimes by a barn and in some cases in a cave surrounded by cows, donkeys and assorted other animals paying homage while three kings bring gifts. A young woman, usually portrayed at the approximate age of 20, and a man in his later years are near by, with the woman caring for an older infant. This has no Biblical foundation. There was no barn, no cattle lowing (the word does not appear anywhere before 1000 BCE, and then it is hlœwan that is closest to the sound a contented cow makes), no donkeys or camels, no animals at all (cp. Joan E. Taylor, (1993). Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 99-102) in any contemporary or canonized bible once written under Imperial directive. These are modern inventions, as ancient Palestinian caves were underground cavities, with too steep of inclines for any animal or many mortals to walk down without the danger of falling or even death, no room for a manger except carved out of stone, and no extra space for a company of kings and assorted retainers.
The Bible did not exist before the fourth century when the Eastern Emperor Constantine I created his “catholic [universal] church” at Nicaea. None of the original manuscripts survive today (Elliott, Keith and Moir, Ian (1995). Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament: An Introduction for English Readers. Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, p. 9). Before 325 CE there were only gospels and epistles (letters) whose authorship and authenticity is still being questioned by scholars: linguists, philologists and other men and women trained in textual analysis.
The writings of the leaders of the early communities went to other individual communities to whom they were addressed. There is no evidence that the people in Rome knew anything about a letter to the Colossians, and so forth. Even the nature and alleged divinity of a Jesus, and reason for worshipping Jesus was not universally agreed upon. Christmas was neither celebrated nor mentioned.
There was no "church". Meetings took place in individual homes with very few celebrants or faithful (Matthew 18:20). They took place at night, so the congregants would not be seen. Christians were never popular until Imperial decrees elevated their status. Romans listened to what the "Christians" said and took it literally, especially when the faithful declared they celebrated "love banquets". Many Romans condemned as being sexual orgies (Justin Martyr, Dialogue X, in Latin). Others were condemned for not celebrating religious festivals, especially the feast and extravagance of Christmas: the day reserved for the anointing of the military god Mithras, and the exchange of presents and status in honor of the god Saturn.
Most of the mythology surrounding the Nativity of the Jewish Jesus of the New Testament gave cause for many attacks upon Christians. This escalated with the rise of letters many considered spurious from a source known only as Paul, a pseudonym for Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:4, 26:14 has the name Saul, it is Saul who transmogrified his name to avoid detection as a member leading to a Holocaust against Jews who accepted Jesus). Saul of Tarsus had nothing in common with the Jesus of the New Testament gospels but called upon a Christ (an ancient Egyptian word for chief magician). Saul/Paul's misalignment of the teachings of Jesus is easily exposed. Jesus forbade anyone to judge another (Matthew 7:1), Saul/Paul was quick and frequent to judge others (cf. Romans 1:18-28, cp. Acts 10:34). While Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth, Paul said nothing about either but condemned those who celebrated with merry making. There is no mention of Christmas in any of Paul's writings as Paul never once met the Jesus of the New Testament and cast aspersions on the brothers of Jesus in an effort to elevate himself over them.
Paul's lack of charity and celebration of the birth date of a god is a testimony to the scant influence he played in the early communities--his letters were rolled up as treasures but not as teaching devices until after the second century. As the divisions in the christian community crested, riots broke out especially over celebrations for more popular gods. With the renewed split among people over which god was greater, Constantine was determined to rule religion uniformly throughout his disintegrating empire as a state religion. Seeing Christians as the weakest but fastest growing cult in the empire, Constantine encouraged it and the incorporation of pagan gods into the pantheon of saints. This led to an elaboration of tales that changed the birth of Mithras as a god encased or born in stone to a child placed in a stone "manger" housed in an underground cave--the worship center of Mithra known as Mithraea.
As for the manager, it is from the Latin mandūcāre. Today it means a locker or trough from which animals chewed food. Originally it was a birthing station for ancient gods such as Mithras. The actual reading of the oldest texts that use the word refer to the "rising up out of the stone a baby": the antecedent for the nativity of the god Mithra. Only in the New International Version of the Bible does "manger" appear in Luke 2:12, 16 (even here it translates as a hollowed stone). The original uses the Greek word phatne that translates as "stall" and refers to a separate room--as the Jesus of the New Testament would have been a young boy when he was visited by the Magi.
The Mithraea became the focus of the mythology of a cave that the mother of Constantine embellished, What became known as the Cave of the Nativity is a pious fraud. The Hill of the Nativity was both a place for sex and the least subtle reference to the aroused labia bordering the vulva and found on cave art celebrating fertility rites.
It is claimed that Helena found--along with numerous fake artifacts such as the spear that supposedly pierced the side of Jesus as he was hung on a pillar or tree--the ultimate source for the Christmas tree that becomes an evergreen when Germany and Scandinavia are forcibly converted to the faith of the empire. The cross is a Latin word (crux) and is not found in the original Greek scrolls. The Latin word Cross was later adopted when the Christmas tree was deemed to demonic in imitation of the tree used on December 25 to celebrate Saturnalia. To that end, the tree trunk was stripped of all branches save for two that formed a cross-bar to emphasize the death of one more crucified saviour.
It was Helena who pushed a Jesus Christmas. Early Christian writers, such as the self-castrated Origen, (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter 51) rejected the mythology of what is today the popular contemporary version of the Nativity. Jerome of Jerusalem did likewise (Jerome, Ad Paulinus Letter 58, Chapter 3).
The god most favored as the foundation for the Christmas carol (a word that appears 1250-1300 in Middle English for a circle of stones (carole that became carrel that became "a place for study") and outlined the setting for a bonfire or reserved land for sexual praise of a god or goddess) favoring the god of Roman soldiers: Mithra (Ulansey, David (1991). The origins of the Mithraic mysteries: cosmology and salvation in the ancient world. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 36). After Mithra, the second most popular deity was Bacchus. The bacchanalia were wild and mystic festivals of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus (or Dionysus), the wine god and found basis in the gospels where Jesus was considered a common drunk (Luke 7:33-34). The bacchanalia, at first reserved for women but later incorporating men into the festivities, led to ribald rivalries and treasured tapestries of sexual excess and license.
The bacchanalia in many places gave way to the increasingly famous Saturnalia and the worship of Saturn whom many consider a prototype for Jesus. Again it was a orgy of sexual surrender upon receipt of gift that came gaily wrapped, masters waiting on slaves and every celebrant permitted to enjoy the pleasure of gambling. The purpose of the Saturnalia was to rejoice at the abundance of the earth and the goodness that came from it. This was accepted by the pagan emperor (he did not die a Christian) who wanted all people to stand in defense of a commonwealth and predated the slogan by Louis XIV: un roi, une loi, une foi ("one king, one law, one faith"): a Pax Romana that never existed any more than the gods.
December 25 was not the birthday of the Jesus of the New Testament. December 25 was the accorded natal day of the gods Mithra, Bacchus and Saturn, all of whom were sons of gods and born to virgins--and none were celibate.
To distance the emerging Jesus of Constantine's Christianity from pagan gods, only four gospels (three being synoptic) were allowed in his bible. Constantine had gospels burned or buried that even hinted at a non-celibate, worldly god-man. To this end, after a series of raids and purges, the Gospel of Philip dating back to the third century; the Gospel of Thomas, a Coptic text of 114 sayings of Jesus; Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Marvin Meyer, Esther A. De Boer, The Gospels of Mary: The Secret Tradition of Mary Magdalene, the Companion of Jesus, pp. 36-7 (HarperCollins, 2004), the ancient Greek text uses the word Jesus was Mary's koinonos, meaning "companion" and implying a possibly sexual, intimate relationship ( Lynn Picknett; Clive Prince (11 November 2008). The Masks of Christ: Behind the Lies and Cover-ups About the Life of Jesus. Simon and Schuster. pp. 171 f); Letter to the Centurions, etc.) were removed from the approved canon of what Constantine would order Eusebius to prepare as "Bibles".
Constantine I wanted a religion that taught "render onto Cesar the things that are Cesar's" (Mark 12:17). The emperor was opposed to all iconoclastic works iconoclastic that defined the Jesus of the New Testament as being only a mirage, phantom or less than a god-man as in the writing of Ariun who questioned the nature of Jesus: Arius claimed that Jesus was subordinate to God the Father, for which he won initial support, but later declared a heretic whose writings Constantine ordered burned (Socrates of Constantinople, Church History, book 1, chapter 33). Arius was even condemned to death for questioning the valdity and sacredness of Christmas seeing it more as an opiate for the people so they would not worry about the corruption and decay around them. There were 150 "fathers" at the condemning council who condemned him and what he wrote. They did not represent the entire community of "Christians": chrestianos or christianos), but began to introduce such novelties as Bethlehem as the birth place of Jesus, and Nazareth where Jesus allegedly grew into manhood.
While people have been singing for several hundred years about a "little town of Bethlehem”, there is no proof for such a claim. At best the town of Bethlehem was a small, impoverished military junction without an inn or public houses. It was known as Bit-Lahmi.
Bit-Lahmi is a translation/linguistic and interpretation error, found in the Amarna Letters (c. 1400 BCE) referring to Beit Lachama, meaning "House of Lachama” (in Hebrew, it means “house of bread", and in Arabic it means “house of flesh”). At best Beit Lachama was an eating area for soldiers and wayfarers who could afford to pay a small amount for basic vitals.
The name Beit Lachama comes from Lachamo. Lachamo was the Akkadian god of fertility (his erect penis was referred to as the "staff of life" and from it came "the fruit of life" and is usually portrayed as a Tree of Life. It was this god that the ancient Apiru (predecessors to the Hebrews), who made their living as mercenaries in the Akkadian army, worshiped with Qadesh (male sexual-prostitutes dedicated to Asherah). Later the Apiru soldiers wedded their bull-god Yah to Asherah by killing her priests and destroying her phallic symbols (cf. Ide, Arthur Frederick (1991). Yahweh's Wife: Sex in the Evolution of Monotheism. Las Colinas, Monument Press) to create the future Yahweh. It is from Beit Lachama that ornaments appear on the Christmas tree. In time the tree would be a fir tree from the north--it was considered a promise of eternal life since it was an evergreen.
Mary was not "ever-virgin" (ἀειπαρθένος aeiparthenos, taking a vow of perpetual chastity) when she gave birth in the sense of having a hymen (the "virgin birth" is even in the Qur'an 19:20-22, and reiterated by John Paul II). That would indicate that Jesus was not human and in direct contradiction of science and scripture, the Bible says Jesus was a man (1 Timothy 2:5); it was Peter who said Jesus was a son of god (Matthew 16:16) as all men are alleged to be sons of god (1 Philippians 3:3-8a).
The word "virgin" does not appear until 1150 in Anglo-Saxon literature. Before that time "virgin" meant a young girl who could have been or was not married to a man. Marriage was not a sacrament but a public recognition of the joining of two families into one house as with the mythical House of David. If she was pregnant, she would not have traveled anywhere, as first, Roman law and Jewish law did not recognize women (single, engaged, or married) as having the same legal status as a man, nor would a man take a woman (especially one who was pregnant) as the man would go with other men in a group for the sake of protection, as neither the emperor nor the Herodians could offer travelers any true safety--a reason that Constantine had this error written into his text that he would later have Eusebius publish in his scriptorum in the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sianiaticus when the Arian bishop was ordered to prepare the first fifty bibles (they were actually lectionaries; Schumacher, Heinrich (1922-25). A Handbook of Scripture Study. St. Louis, MO and London, UK: B. Herder Book Co, p. 47) for the churches in the East (Eusebius, Vita Constantini, IV,36-37).