Volume Three is straight quotes derived from academic and other reference sources TRUTH ON THE WEB MINISTRIES PRESENTS:


Volume Three of "The X-mas Files"


Encyclopedia Britannica - lengthy quote from www.Britannica.com


The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun" (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to Lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky. The traditional customs connected with Christmas have accordingly developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances at midwinter. In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain, and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, and gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. Since the European Middle Ages, evergreens, as symbols of survival, have been associated with Christmas. Christmas is traditionally regarded as the festival of the family and of children, under the name of whose patron, Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, presents are exchanged in many countries.


One of the best-known festivals of ancient Rome was the Saturnalia, a winter festival celebrated on December 17-24. Because it was a time of wild merrymaking and domestic celebrations, businesses, schools, and law courts were closed so that the public could feast, dance, gamble, and generally enjoy itself to the fullest. December 25--the birthday of Mithra, the Iranian god of light, and a day devoted to the invincible sun, as well as the day after the Saturnalia--was adopted by the church as Christmas, the nativity of Christ, to counteract the effects of these festivals.


An evergreen, usually a balsam or douglas fir, decorated with lights and ornaments as a part of Christmas festivities. The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands as a symbol of eternal life was an ancient custom of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime; it survived further in the custom, also observed in Germany, of placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house in the midwinter holidays.

The modern Christmas tree, though, originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples (paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid, a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.

The custom was widespread among the German Lutherans by the 18th century, but it was not until the following century that the Christmas tree became a deep-rooted German tradition. Introduced into England in the early 19th century, the Christmas tree was popularized in the mid-19th century by the German Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The Victorian tree was decorated with candles, candies, and fancy cakes hung from the branches by ribbon and by paper chains. Brought to North America by German settlers as early as the 17th century, Christmas trees were the height of fashion by the 19th century. They were also popular in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and The Netherlands. In China and Japan, Christmas trees, introduced by western missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, were decorated with intricate paper designs.


.......... In some parts of Europe the midsummer gathering of mistletoe is still associated with the burning of bonfires, a remnant of sacrificial ceremonies performed by ancient priests, or druids. Mistletoe was once believed to have magic powers as well as medicinal properties. Later, the custom developed in England (and, still later, the United States) of kissing under the mistletoe, an action that once was believed to lead inevitably to marriage.

Mistletoes are slow-growing but persistent; their natural death is determined by the death of the hosts. They are pests of many ornamental, timber, and crop trees and are the cause of abnormal growths called "witches' brooms" that deform the branches and decrease the reproductive ability of the host. The only effective control measure is complete removal of the parasite from the host.

ROMAN RELIGION - The survival of Roman religion

For a time, coins and other monuments continued to link Christian doctrines with the worship of the Sun, to which Constantine had been addicted previously. But even when this phase came to an end, Roman paganism continued to exert other, permanent influences, great and small. The emperors passed on to the popes the title of chief priest, pontifex maximus. The saints, with their distribution of functions, often seemed to perpetuate the many numina of ancient tradition. The ecclesiastical calendar retains numerous remnants of pre-Christian festivals--notably Christmas, which blends elements including both the feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithra. But, most of all, the mainstream of Western Christianity owed ancient Rome the firm discipline that gave it stability and shape, combining insistence on established forms with the possibility of recognizing that novelties need not be excluded, since they were implicit from the start.

Above quoted from www.Britannica.com



Holidays Preferred Over Holydays by World

"The PRELATE, by his doctrine, practice, example, and neglect of discipline, declareth that he hath no such reverend estimation of the Sabbath. He doteth so upon the observation of Pasche [Easter], and Yule [Christ-mass], and festival days appointed by men, that he preferreth them to the Sabath, and hath turned to nothing our solemn fasts and blessed humiliations."—David Calderwood, The Pastor and the Prelate. (1628).


Thus we see that the Providence of God has kept the day secret from the knowledge of men; and it is in vain for any to determine the particular day. Nevertheless, as to the month, a probable Judgement may be made. The Great [De Emendat. Temp. l. 5] Scaliger, [In Chronol. Isag. c. 47.] Calvisius, and L’Empereur [In Scholiis ad Iarchiadenia Dan. 9.] conclude that it was in the latter end of September, or the beginning of October. And before them, Beroaldus, Wolfius and Hospinian were of that Judgment. And this suits well with what is recorded of the shepherds, Luke 2:8. It is not probable that the Shepherds would be abroad watching their Flocks in the Depth of Winter. The month of December is by Hesiod called Meis kalepos probatois, And though in Judaea the summer be hot, yet the winter is cold. Matth. 24:20. Ps. 147:17. But in September or October this might well be. [Wolphius de Tempore p. 81, 82.] Nor is it likely that Augustus should enjoin all his Subjects throughout the whole Roman World to travel into their own cities in the midst of Winter, as he did at the Time when Christ was born. Luke 2:1. Moreover, the Feast of Tabernacles, which signified the Incarnation of Christ, was in the seventh month. Inasmuch as the Passover typified Christ’s Death, he was crucified in that month. Why then may we not think that since the Feast of Tabernacles typified his Nativity, he was in that month born? ~"A TESTIMONY Against several Prophane and Superstitious CUSTOMS, Now Practised by some in New-England, The Evil whereof is evinced from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Writings both of Ancient and Modern Divines." By Increase Mather, 1687.


Christmas Holidays were at first invented and institute in compliance with the Pagan Festivals, of old observed at that very time of the Year. [De Antiq. Conviv. p. 133.]


And [De Origine Festorum Christ.] Hospinian speaketh judiciously, when he saith, that he doth not believe that they who first of all observed the Feast of Christ’s Nativity in the latter end of December, did it as thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian. Hence December was called Mensis Genialis, the Voluptuous Month. Whilst the Saturnalian Days lasted, the observers of them were wont to send Gifts one to another, which therefore Tertullian calls Saturnalitia, and Jerom giveth them the Name of Saturnalium Sportulae. The like is done by many in Christmas time. ~"A TESTIMONY Against several Prophane and Superstitious CUSTOMS, Now Practised by some in New-England, The Evil whereof is evinced from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Writings both of Ancient and Modern Divines." By Increase Mather, 1687.


We object to the observance of Christmas by the church, because we believe that its original appointment as a Christian festival was not only unauthorized but wicked. It was foisted in among the observances of religion, along with many other things, for which there can be imagined no reason but a willingness to make a compromise with heathenism. The facts were simply these. The sagacity of the Romish church was not long in making the discovery that the chief obstacle in the way of an easy and universal embrace of Christianity, was the world’s natural dislike of the simplicity and purity of its doctrines and practices. The old heathens of the Empire were very loath to abandon their voluptuous and flesh-pleasing system for one which offered so little in return to gratify their appetite for display and self-indulgence. To the ecclesiastical Solomons of that time the idea occurred, that the work of conversion might be facilitated by rendering Christianity more attractive in its form, and more agreeable to the popular tastes. In a word, by compromising the matter, and carrying the gospel at least half-way in the work of conformation, to meet the reluctant idolaters~Excerpt of article titled "CHRISTMAS" from the THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE, January, 1851.


"...within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and...not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it the name of Christ." -Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p 93.


"The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and MUST HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY CHRISTIANS FROM THE PAGANS, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows." (Emphasis added). -Bibliotheca Sacra (vol 12 pp 153-155)


"This festival has been commonly believed to have had only an astronomical character, referring simply to the completion of the sun’s yearly course, and the commencement of a new cycle. But there is indubitable evidence that the festival in question had a much higher influence than this--that it commemorated not merely the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but the birth-day of the grand Deliverer...the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity." Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons pp. 94, 97.


"The wassailing-bowl of Christmas had its precise counterpart in the 'Drunken Festival' of Babylon; The candles, in some parts of England, lighted at Christmas eve and used so long as the festive season lasts, were equally lighted by the pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honor to him, for it was one of the distinguishing peculiarities of his worship to have lighted candles on his alters. The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in pagan Rome and pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm tree denoted the pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar; the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith.... On Christmas day the continental Saxons offered a boar in sacrifice to the sun, to propitiate her. In Rome a similar observance had evidently existed; for a boar formed a great article of Saturn, as appears form the words form Martial, 'That boar will make you a good Saturnalia.' Hence the boar's head is still a standing dish in England at the Christmas dinner, when the reason of it is long since forgotten. Yea, the 'Christmas goose' and 'yule cake' were essential articles in the worship of the Babylonian Messiah, as that worship was practiced both in Egypt and at Rome." (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, pages 97, 100, 101)


"The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt it was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm-tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as ‘Man the Branch.’ And this entirely accounts for putting the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas Eve and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning. As Zero-Ashta, ‘The seed of the woman,’ ...he has to enter the fire on ‘Mother night,’ that he may be born the next day out of it, as the ‘Branch of God,’ or the Tree that brings divine gifts to men." -The Two Babylons, p. 97.


"...the divine child born at the winter solstice was born as a new incarnation of the great god (after that god had been cut in pieces...on purpose to revenge his death upon his murderers.) Now the great god, cut off in the midst of his power and glory, was symbolised as a huge tree, stripped of all his branches, and cut down almost to the ground. But the great Serpent, the symbol of the life restoring Aesculapius, twists itself around the dead stock...and lo, at its side sprouts a young tree - a tree of an entirely different kind, that is never to be cut down by a hostile power -...and thus shadowed forth the perpetuity and everlasting nature of his power, how that after having fallen before his enemies, he has risen triumphant over them all. Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed in Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth was held at the Natalis invicti solis, 'The birthday of the unconquered Sun." -The Two Babylons, p. 98.


"Lighted candles are foreign to the worship of God in the church of the New Testament scriptures. Yet, they too had their place in the worship of the sun god of paganism and in Christmas today. " -Alexander Hislop, THE TWO BABYLONS, Loizeaux Bros., Neptune, N.J., 1959, p. 94 and 97


"The third one of the great feasts of the church, Christmas, doesn't seem to be kept during the first three centuries. In contrast to it a memorial of Christ's baptism was celebrated in the Orient as a revelation of his Messiahship and glory of his divinity called Epiphania, the sixth of January. This festival was, in Egypt, also given the meaning as a memorial of Christ's birth, and in that way they had in a certain sense a substitute for Christmas, which had not yet begun." (C.A. Cornelius, Ecclesiastical History, part 1, p.139).


"It began first to be celebrated in the Roman Church about 360, and from there it spread to the Orient," After he has mentioned "Saturnalia," the Roman feast of joy, which began the seventeenth and ended the twenty-fourth of December with the "Sigillaria," he continues: "At last the so-called 'Brumalia,' or the winter solstice, was celebrated the twenty-fifth of December. It was also called 'deus natalis invicti solis' (the birth feast of the unconquered sun), because in that season when the short days are gone, the sun again comes forth victorious from the gloomy night to travel on its orbit like an unconquered hero." (C.A. Cornelius, Ecclesiastical History, part 2, p.91)


"During the first three centuries we find no trace of any feast for the birth of Christ." (Frederick Neilsen, Ecclesiastical History, p.224)


"Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins while coming down the chimney. The coins would have fallen through the ash grate and been lost if they hadn't landed in a stocking that had been hung out to dry. Since that time children have continued to hang out stockings in hopes of finding them filled with gifts." -The History of Christmas


"…the golden calf was built and the celebration declared a ‘feast to the Lord.’...The people had declared a celebration to honor God that he did not recognize as being in his honor."(Richard Rives, Too Long in the Sun, Partakers Pub., 1996, pp.129-130.)


"Hathor and Aphis, the cow and bull gods of Egypt, were representatives of sun worship. Their worship was just one stage in the long Egyptian history of solar veneration. The golden calf at Mount Sinai is more than sufficient evidence to prove that the feast proclaimed was related to sun worship. The event at Mount Sinai was just one episode in the Satanic apostasy which began at the tower of Babel. The celebration of December 25th, originally proclaimed in honor of the birth of the sun god Mithra, can only be one of the final events in the long continuing saga of Satanic sun worship." ~(Richard Rives, Too Long in the Sun, pp.130-131)


"The reasons for celebrating our major feasts when we do are many and varied. In general, however, it is true that many of them have at least an indirect connection with the pre-Christian feasts celebrated about the same time of year — feasts centering around the harvest, the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice (now Dec. 21, but Dec. 25 in the old Julian calendar), the renewal of nature in spring, and so on." -The New Question Box - Catholic Life for the Nineties, copyright 1988 by John J. Dietzen, M.A., S.T.L., ISBN 0-940518-01-5 (paperback), published by Guildhall Publishers, Peoria Illinois, 61651., page 554.


"The Calvinists declared that observing Christ's birthday was a human invention....They asserted that Christ would not have approved of it, for it merely furnished excuse for wrong doing...Town criers went around and cried out so loudly so that all might hear, 'No Christmas! no Christmas!' " (Mayme R. Krythe, All About Christmas)




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