Christians throughout the world celebrate the birthday of Jesus’s on December 25th. We call it Christmas however the accounts mentioned in the Bible’s New Testament do not ever speak in regards to the day when Christ came into this world. In fact, there are just two Gospels which discuss the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those books are Matthew and Luke and both books acknowledge many things such as Jesus’s was born in Bethlehem. Both authors agree on the name of Jesus’s parent’s names were Joseph and Mary plus they
basically, acknowledge Christ was born during the reign of Herod the Great.
There is however absolutely no mention of what year his birth took place. That begs to question why December 25th an extremely accepted theory these days might be that the ecclesiastical representatives selected December 25th to coincide with a Roman holiday with the idea to
use it to help spread Christianity by using an already popularly accepted pagan holiday.
Today we are going to look examine the pagan origins theory of selection of December 25th much more closely. Elements of this particular hypothesis may, in reality, be historical yet there are several issues with it which should cause us to be somewhat skeptical.
The main reasons regarding the pagan origins theory of celebrating a December 25th Christmas are that when Christianity started to increase in popularity during the third and fourth centuries the Romans had happened to have been celebrating a significant festival near the end of December for centuries. This celebration was known as the Saturnalia. The Saturnalia appears throughout Roman text however a single document that describes the festival in its entirety. Because of this and historians have been trying to figure out exactly what this festival was like. This has proven difficult since those who celebrated Saturnalia differed wildly based on region and era.
The Saturnalia was the festival of God Saturn and it was at its height celebrated for three to seven days based on the historical period. The festivities consisted of massive public banquets and human sacrifices at the local temples of Saturn. The biggest part of the Saturnalia was residential feasts. Roman homes included the male head of the household known as the paterfamilias in addition to all his children, his slaves, and their families.
Saturnalia dinners were strange since they ritually enacted role-reversal. The Roman writer Seneca said the Masters dined with their slaves during Saturnalia. This was a huge deal for the Romans at the time. The festival ended up being fairly wild because the feasting goes on for days and Roman freedmen put on brightly colored party garments for the festival.
Roman freedmen and slaves would get drunk, start gambling and arguing amongst your other about philosophy. When the Roman Empire was Christianized the Saturnalia was substantially entrenched in Roman society that it wasn’t able to merely go away. Regardless of what the Romans would Maddix have eliminated a celebration in the month of December. It became obvious that either Romans would have to be forcibly converted to Christianity or Christians needed to make a compromise allowing some type of celebration to take place.
After much deliberation church authorities relabeled the late December festivities specifically December 25th as Christ’s official birthday and eliminated Saturn from any festival mentions.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, some scholars have suggested Christians chose to celebrate Christmas on December 25th since it was exactly nine months after March 25th when
Christians had calculated Jesus to have died based on the Gospel of John. These scholars also believed Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day of the year.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.