… or ever thought about the origin of Christmas ?
In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would become troubled as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold. After the passage of the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate and regain hope in the future as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they took heart that the return of the warm season was inevitable.
The concept of birth and or death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice. The aboriginal people had no elaborate instruments to detect the solstice. But they were able to notice a slight elevation of the sun’s path within a few days after the solstice – perhaps by Dec-25. So celebrations were often timed for about the 25th.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun.
In Christianity any record of the date of birth of Yeshua of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) has been lost. There is sufficient evidence in the Gospels to indicate that Yeshua was born in the fall, but this seems to have been unknown to early Christians. By the beginning of the 4th century AD, there was intense interest in selecting a day to celebrate Yeshua’s birthday. The western church leaders selected Dec-25 because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various Pagan gods. And since there was no central Christian authority at the time, it took centuries before the tradition was universally accepted.
Many symbols and practices associated with Christmas are of Pagan origin: holly, ivy, mistletoe, yule log, the giving of gifts, decorated evergreen tree, magical reindeer, etc.So today seems to be a good day to remember and have a look what has become out of this origin.