Origins of Christmas Dec 16, 2010 6:30:26 GMT -5
Post by mary on Dec 16, 2010 6:30:26 GMT -5
Origins of Christmas
Around December 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere marks the shortest day of the year as measured between the times of sunrise and sunset. In 274 AD, Roman Emperor Aurelian declared December 25th as a cause for celebration because the sun begins anew its journey toward longer days... and so the Winter Solstice pagan festival (or Yule) was born.
The early Church, which was being persecuted by ancient Rome, believed they could convert some pagans by assimilating this holiday into Christian beliefs. As the Pagans were celebrating the Light and the rebirth of the Sun, early Christians took this opportunity to teach them about Jesus, who is the "Light of the World". (And so Christians started Christmas in 336 AD.)
(Many scholars believe that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is around September.)
Even the popular Roman pagan festival Saturnalia led to a Christmas tradition. Saturnalia was held in mid-December to honor the pagan-god of agriculture, Saturnus, with feasting and gift giving. Early Christians found the gift giving tradition endearing, because it is a reminder that God gave his only Son to save us.
Let us pray:
Father, help us to prepare the way of Jesus, the Light of the world.
May we, who believe He will come again, always serve You.
Let us proclaim this mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
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John 8:12 - "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness."
John 3:16 - For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.