Volume Four is quotes all derived from various sources TRUTH ON THE WEB MINISTRIES PRESENTS:


Volume Four of "The X-mas Files"


"The day [of Christmas] was not one of the early feasts of the Christian church. In fact the observance of birthdays was condemned as a heathen custom repugnant to Christians." (George W. Douglas, The American Book of Days, p. 658)


"The celebration of the Nativity of Christ on 25 December, just after Saturnalia, is first attributed in the calendar of Philocalus in AD 336, and the day may have been chosen in opposition to the festival held that day in honour of Sol Invictus, whose temple was dedicated in AD 274 by Aurelian." [H.H. Scullard, Festivals and Ceremonies of the Ancient Roman Republic. New York: Cornell University Press, 1981, p.207]


"From the Romans also came another Christmas fundamental: the date, December 25. When the Julian calendar was proclaimed in 46 C.E. [A.D.], it set into law a practice that was already common: dating the winter solstice as December 25. Later reforms of the calendar would cause the astronomical solstice to migrate to December 21, but the older date's irresistible resonance would remain" (Tom Flynn, The Trouble With Christmas, 1993, p.42)


"The time of the winter solstice has always been an important season in the mythology of all peoples. The sun, the giver of life, is at its lowest ebb. It is [the] shortest daylight of the year; the promise of spring is buried in cold and snow. It is the time when the forces of chaos that stand against the return of light and life must once again be defeated by the gods. At the low point of the solstice, the people must help the gods through imitative magic and religious ceremonies. The sun begins to return in triumph. The days lengthen and, though winter remains, spring is once again conceivable. For all people, it is a time of great festivity" (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p.15).


"We do not know its beginning...we do not really know when the Christ Child it venerates was born; or the time and place when Christmas was first celebrated: or exactly how it was that, over the centuries, a bishop-saint of Asia Minor and a pagan god of the Germans merged to become Santa Claus. "Although the Christmas story centers in the Christ child of Bethlehem, it begins so long before his coming that we find its hero arriving on the scene after more than half of the time of the story has gone by....Christmas began there [Mesopotamia], over four thousand years ago, as the festival which renewed the world for another year. The 'twelve days' of Christmas, the bright fires and probably the Yule log; the giving of presents; the carnivals with their floats; their merry makings and clownings; the mummers who sing and play from house to house, the feastings; the church processions with their lights and song all these and more began three centuries before Christ was born. And they celebrated the arrival of a new year." (Earl W. Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, pp.11,18)


"Saturnalia and the kalends were the celebrations most familiar to early Christians, December 17-24 and January 1-3, but the tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ's birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the third century [274] the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.~(Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).


Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome's latest official religion with the patronage of Aurelian. It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith" (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).


"For that day [25th of December] was sacred, not only to the pagan Romans but to a religion from Persia which, in those days, was one of Christianity's strongest rivals. This Persian religion was Mithraism, whose followers worshipped the sun, and celebrated its return to strength on that day. The church finally succeeded in taking the merriment, the greenery, the lights, and gifts from Saturn and giving them to the Babe of Bethlehem" (Earl W. Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, p.27)


"Christmas is a very old holiday. It clearly started as a celebration of the passing of the winter solstice, and the start of the sun's return journey from the north to the south...The ancient Romans observed this time with a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and it was called Saturnalia...When Emperor Constantine decreed Christianity as the new faith of the Roman Empire, early in the fourth century, the Christians gave the holiday an entirely new name and an entirely new meaning." [Joseph Gaer, Holidays Around the World. Boston: Little Brown, 1953. p133.]


"Christmas, as we have seen, is of the Mediterranean...for the Mediterranean world already had not merely centuries, but millennia behind it, when Christ was born; and even the religion which he founded had traveled several centuries before it discovered its need of Christmas" (Earl W. Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, p.86).


"25 December was a particularly good date for a Christian festival celebrating new life, because there were several pagan festivals all doing much the same thing. The Romans honoured their god Saturn between 17 and 23 December. Saturnalia was a festival in celebration of Rome's Golden Age, which all hoped one day would return. Many of its festivities became part of the traditional Christmas...When Christianity became the official religion of the Emperor Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century AD, the pagan celebrations of the 25th stayed to become part of Christmas." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p14.]


"Christmas was generally celebrated in the West only after the triumph of Constantine when the time of Christ's birth was reckoned with the Day of the Unconquered Sun on 25 December" (Smith, From Christ to Constantine, pp.150-151).


"The assimilation of Christ to the sun god, as sun of righteousness, was widespread in the fourth century and was furthered by Constantine's legislation on Sunday, which is not unrelated to the fact that the sun god was the titular divinity of his family" (Walker, A History of the Christian Church: Revised, Section 13, page


"During Saturnalia, everyone feasted and rejoiced, work and business were for a season entirely suspended, the houses were decked with laurel and evergreen, visits and presents were exchanged between friends, and clients gave gifts to their patrons. The whole season was one of rejoicing and goodwill, and all kinds of amusements were indulged in by the people." [J.M. Wheeler, Paganism in Christian Festivals.]


"Although it now celebrates the birth of Jesus, Christmas has its roots in holidays far more ancient and retains strong traces of pagan festivals incorporated as Christianity spread across Europe and the world." [The Mystical Year. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, no date. p120.]


The "12 Days of Christmas" are a Roman Catholic invention: "By 529 AD, it was a civic holiday, and all work or public business (except that of cooks, bakers, or any that contributed to the delight of the holiday) was prohibited by the Emperor Justinian. In 563, the Council of Braga forbade fasting on Christmas Day, and four years later the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days from December 25 to Epiphany as a sacred, festive season." [Mike Nicholas, "Midwinter Night's Eve: Yule."]


[A writer in 1633 said,] "If we compare our Bacchanalian Christmasses and New Year's Tides with these Saturnalia and Feasts of Janus, we shall find such near affinity between them both in regard of time (they both being in the end of December and on the first of January), and in their manner of solemnizing (both of them being spent in revelling, epicurism, wantonness, idleness, dancing, drinking, stage plays and such other Christmas disorders now in use with Christians, were derived from these Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalian Festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them." [Ashton, A Right Merrie Christmas, p. 6]


"The largest pagan religious cult which fostered the celebration of December 25 as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek worlds was the pagan sun worship -- Mithraism...This winter festival was called 'the Nativity' -- the 'Nativity of the SUN'," (Frazer, Golden Bough, p. 471)


"It was the policy of the early [Roman Catholic] Church to transform pagan festivals wherever possible instead of trying to abolish them, and by giving ancient practices a Christian significance, to purify and preserve for the new faith whatever was innocent and deeply-loved in the old. In the yet-unconverted world of the fourth century, December 25 was already a sacred day for thousands of people throughout the Roman Empire. It was Dies Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun." [Christina Hole, Christmas and its Customs. London: Richard Bell, 1942. p.9]


"In early times this day [Christmas] was not one of the feasts of the Christian Church. In fact, the church fathers frowned upon the celebration of birthdays and thought them a heathen custom." [The New Book of Knowledge. New York: Grolier, 1979. p289.]


"Practically every country in the world, from China to India, from South America to the Middle East, held celebrations at this time of year...it was not until the fourth century that Pope Julius I declared that December 25 should be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, and Christmas as we know it began. We now celebrate Christmas every year, with a little bit of pagan superstition, a Norse Yule log, Druid candles, a drop of wine from Saturnalia, and a feast from the winter solstice." [Gyles Brandreth, The Christmas Book. London: Robert Hale, 1984. p9.]


"Many of our Christmas customs have their roots in pagan ceremonies that were already hoary with age in the fourth century AD." [Christina Hole, Christmas and its Customs. London: Richard Bell, 1942. p9.]


"The Saturnalia, extending from December 17 to December 24, was an age-old observance of tribute to the god Saturn, whose name means plenty or bounty. It was a time of rejoicing, hilarity and merrymaking....Of prime significance is the spirit of brotherhood that prevailed at that season of the pagan year. And this humanitarian touch was carried over into the Christmas observances of Christians." [Daniel J. Foyle, The Christmas Tree. New York: Chilton, 1960. p17.]


"The period was characterized by 'processions, singing, lighting candles, adorning the house with Laurel and green trees, giving presents' . . . it is to the merriment and bestowing of favours at the Saturnalia time that we owe our common Christmas practice." [Alfred Carl Hottes, 1,001 Christmas Facts and Fancies. New York: A.T. De La Mare, 1954. p14.]


"During the Saturnalia, normal life turned upsidedown. Gambling was declared legal, courts were closed, and no one could be convicted of a crime...Christians began absorbing these old customs and infusing them with Christian meaning in order to spread their faith." [The Glory and Pageantry of Christmas. Maplewood, NJ: Time-Life Books, 1963. p114.]



"For modern Witches, Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon 'Yula', meaning 'wheel' of the year) is usually celebrated on the actual Winter Solstice, which may vary by a few days, though it usually occurs on or around December 21st. It is a Lesser Sabbat or Lower Holiday in the modern Pagan calendar, one of the four quarter-days of the year, but a very important one.

"Remembering that most Christmas customs are ultimately based upon older Pagan customs, it only remains for modern Pagans to reclaim their lost traditions. In doing so, we can share many common customs with our Christian friends, albeit with a slightly different interpretation. And thus we all share in the beauty of this most magical of seasons, when the Mother Goddess once again gives birth to the baby Sun-God and sets the wheel in motion again." (Mike Nicholas, "Midwinter Night's Eve: Yule)

"Witches celebrate eight major festivals or sabbats each year....The first is Yule, 20 or 21 December." [Jeffrey B. Russell, A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans. London: Thames and Hudson, 1980. p168.]

Yule Logs

"The ceremony of the Yule log, like so many of the oldest Christmas traditions, was thoroughly pagan in origin." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p59.]

"The Yule Log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex and fertility god Jul, or Jule (pronounced 'yule'), was honored in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log (generally considered to have been a phallic idol) was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, a different sacrifice to Jul being offered in the fire on each of the twelve days." -Holidays and Holy Days, by Tom C. McKenney

"The Yule log was originally an entire tree, carefully chosen, and brought into the house with great ceremony. The butt end would be placed into the hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room. The tree would be slowly fed into the fire and the entire process was carefully timed to last the entire Yule season." -The History of Christmas

Christmas Trees / Evergreens / Ivy / Holly

"The tradition of bringing holly and ivy, or any evergreen, into the house is another Christmas practice which goes back to the Romans." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p62.]

"Christmas incorporated many other pagan customs. Holly and ivy, for instance, sacred to the ancient gods Saturn and Dionysus, were believed to have magic power against evil." [The Mystical Year. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, no date. p121.]

"Many other Christmas decorations used today were once pagan symbols. The Romans used flowers and leafy boughs in their rites. Records show that the Saxons used holly, ivy, and bay in their religious observances." [The New Book of Knowledge. New York: Grolier, 1979. p291.]

"Some authorities maintain that its [the Christmas tree's] origins lay in the pagan worship of vegetation." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p64.]

"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 denoting the pagan messiah as Baal-Tamar (Judges 20:33) [Baal-Tamar = lord of the tree (palm)~kh], the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith [Baal-Berith, meaning "lord of the covenant"--another false title that resembles the true~kh]. 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 "the man of the branch" and this accounts for the putting of the yule log into the fire on Christmas Eve, and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning" (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p.97)

"Even the Christmas tree, which came into common use only in nineteenth-century Germany, is perhaps a throwback to a great tree from Norse mythology that was named Yggdrasil." [The Mystical Year. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, no date. p121.]

"The Christmas tree is the symbol of the spirit of the Yuletide in many homes. The custom came from Germany and dates to long ago when primitive people revered trees-particularly evergreens." [The New Book of Knowledge. New York: Grolier, 1979. p291.]

"The use of evergreens was so closely associated with the garlands of pagan days that in many of the early Church celebrations they were forbidden." [Alfred Carl Hottes, 1,001 Christmas Facts and Fancies. New York: A.T. De La Mare, 1954. p15.]

"The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas. The Christmas tree is from Egypt and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christmas era." (Frederick J. Haskins, Answers to Questions)


"Mistletoe was always known to have played an important part in the rituals of the Druids, and consequently, was never really accepted by the Church." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p63.]

"The Druids gave the world the tradition of hanging mistletoe in the house." [The New Book of Knowledge. New York: Grolier, 1979. p291.]

Gift Giving

"The idea of giving presents goes back to the Romans." [Frank and Jamie Muir, A Treasury of Christmas. Glasgow: William Collins, 1981. p84.]

"The custom of presenting friends with gifts at Christmas dates back to the time of the ancient Romans." [Everymans Encyclopedia. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1967. p1,672.]

The wise men gave their gifts to Christ, but did not exchange gifts with each other. The gifts presented to Christ were to a king, because of his royalty, and not because of his birthday: "He was a king, and the people of the East never approached the presence of a king without a present in their hands" (Adam Clarke Commentary, Volume 5, Matthew 2:11, page 34).

"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." (Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol 12, pages 153-155)

"The early church...cleverly transferred its significance [pagan gift-giving at Saturnalia] to a ritual commemoration of the gifts of the Magi." [Discovering Christmas Customs and Folklore.]

"The giving of presents at this time of year has been a custom that has quite naturally lingered through the ages from the Saturnalia and Kalends celebrations when garlands of flowers, candles and dolls were presented as symbolic gifts to bring good luck and prosperity for the future. Although the early Christian Church turned its nose up at pagan rituals, its members saw that they were missing out on the present-giving and cleverly decided to adopt the practice in remembrance of the gifts brought to the infant Jesus by the kings and the shepherds." [Gyles Brandreth, The Christmas Book. London: Robert Hale, 1984. p100.]

"Because gift-giving was so essential a part of the pagan celebrations [of Saturnalia], the early Church frowned upon it as sternly as upon other and more questionable New Year celebrations." [Christina Hole, Christmas and its Customs. London: Richard Bell, 1942. p25.]

Santa / St Nick

"He is the patron of storm-beset sailors (for miraculously saving doomed mariners off the coast of Lycia), of prisoners, of children...which led to the practice of children giving presents at Christmas in his name and the metamorphosis of his name, St. Nicholas, into Sint Klaes, or Santa Claus, by the Dutch. It should be noted though that the figure of Santa Claus is really non-Christian and is based on the Germanic god Thor, who was associated with winter and the Yule log and rode on a chariot drawn by goats named Cracker and Gnasher." [The Catholic Pocket Dictionary of Saints.]


Old "St." Nick: devil--(usu. the Devil) (in Christian and Jewish belief) the supreme spirit of evil; Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelebub, Abaddon, Belial, Prince of Darkness, Tempter, deuce, archenemy, evil one, colloq. Old Nick [boldface emphasis here mine]..." (Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, p.388, article: devil)


"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, Loizeaux Brothers, 1916, pp. 94, 97)


"...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)


"Horus (Eg.). The last in the line of divine Sovereigns in Egypt, said to be the son of Osiris and Isis. He is the great god ‘loved of Heaven,’ the ‘'beloved of the Sun, the offspring of the gods, the subjugator of the world.’ At the time of the Winter Solstice (our Christmas), his image in the form of a small newly-born infant, was brought out from the sanctuary for the adoration of the worshipping crowds..." (H.P. Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary, London: 1892, p.145)


"As Christianity spread to northern Europe, it met with the observance of another pagan festival held in December in honour of the sun. This time it was the Yule-feast of the Norsemen, which lasted for twelve days. During this time log-fires were burnt to assist the revival of the sun. Shrines and other sacred places were decorated with such greenery as holly, ivy, and bay, and it was an occasion for feasting and drinking.


"Equally old was the practice of the Druids, the caste of priests among the Celts of ancient France, Britain and Ireland, to decorate their temples with mistletoe, the fruit of the oak-tree which they considered sacred. Among the German tribes the oak-tree was sacred to Odin, their god of war, and they sacrificed to it until St Boniface, in the eighth century, persuaded them to exchange it for the Christmas tree, a young fir-tree adorned in honour of the Christ child . . . It was the German immigrants who took the custom to America" (L.W. Cowie and John Selwyn Gummer, The Christian Calendar, 1974, p.22).


"In midwinter, the idea of rebirth and fertility was tremendously important. In the snows of winter, the evergreen was a symbol of the life that would return in the spring, so evergreens were used for decoration . . . Light was important in dispelling the growing darkness of the solstice, so a Yule log was lighted with the remains of the previous year's log . . . As many customs lost their religious reasons for being, they passed into the realm of superstition, becoming good luck traditions and eventually merely customs without rationale. Thus the mistletoe was no longer worshiped but became eventually an excuse for rather nonreligious activities" (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, p.18).


"Christmas gifts themselves remind us of the presents that were exchanged in Rome during the Saturnalia. In Rome, it might be added, the presents usually took the form of wax tapers and dolls, the latter being in their turn a survival of the human sacrifices once offered to Saturn. It is a queer thought that in our Christmas presents we are preserving under another form one of the most savage customs of our barbarian ancestors!" (William Walsh, The Story of Santa Klaus, p.67).


"This was no mere accident. It was a necessary measure at a time when the new religion [Christianity] was forcing itself upon a deeply superstitious people. In order to reconcile fresh converts to the new faith, and to make the breaking of old ties as painless as possible, these relics of paganism were retained under modified forms...

Thus we find that when Pope Gregory [540-604] sent Saint Augustine as a missionary to convert Anglo-Saxon England he directed that so far as possible the saint should accommodate the new and strange Christian rites to the heathen ones with which the natives had been familiar from their birth.

For example, he advised Saint Augustine to allow his converts on certain festivals to eat and kill a great number of oxen to the glory of God the Father, as formerly they had done this in honor of [their gods] . . . On the very Christmas after his arrival in England Saint Augustine baptized many thousands of converts and permitted their usual December celebration under the new name and with the new meaning" (William Walsh, The Story of Santa Klaus, p.61).


"The worshippers (of Mithra) held Sunday sacred and celebrated the birth of the Sun on the 25th of December."~ (Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra, trans. by Thomas J. McCormack, p.191)


"In the early ages of Christianity, its ministers frequently experienced the utmost difficulty in inducing the converts to refrain from indulging in the popular amusements which were so largely participated in by their pagan countrymen. Among others, the revelry and licence which characterised the Saturnalia called for special animadversion. But at last, convinced partly of the inefficacy of such denunciations, and partly influenced by the idea that the spread of Christianity might thereby be advanced, the church endeavoured to amalgamate, as it were, the old and new religions, and sought, by transferring the heathen ceremonies to the solemnities of the Christians festivals, to make them subservient to the cause of religion and piety. A compromise was thus effected between clergy and laity, though it must be admitted that it proved anything but a harmonious one, as we find a constant, though ineffectual, proscription by the ecclesiastical authorities of the favourite amusements of the people, including among others the sports and revelries at Christmas." (The Book of Days, Article: Christmas Day)


Cardinal Newman admits in his book that; the "temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holidays, and seasons of devotion, processions, blessings of the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure (of priests, munks and nuns), images, and statues... are all of pagan origin." -The Development of the Christian Religion Cardinal Newman p.359


The valuable testimony of J. Murdock, D. D., is in harmony with the above: "It was Julius I (Bishop of Rome, A.D. 337-352) who first ascertained this to be the right day; and though his authority is not the best, yet it is generally admitted that the designation of the twenty-fifth of December for the festival was first made about the middle of the fourth century."-- Ecclesiastical History, by Mosheim, Vol. I, page 279.


"A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century." -The Origins of Christmas," Rick Meisel, Dec. 19, 1993, p. 4.




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