Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FW: Calculating Christmas - In the Archives


More history…


Feed: Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments
Posted on: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:39 AM
Author: James M. Kushiner
Subject: Calculating Christmas - In the Archives


This article by William J. Tighe from the December '03 issue is one of the most read in the Touchstone online archives and December is when the numbers really go through the roof. I suppose it's because people like to do a little research before Aunt Trudy gives her annual spiel on how Christmas is nothing more than a Christianized pagan festival while she is digging into the figgy pudding at the Christmas party.

Calculating Christmas

William J. Tighe on the Story Behind December 25

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ's birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus' birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the "Birth of the Unconquered Son" instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the "pagan origins of Christmas" is a myth without historical substance.

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