Monday, December 26, 2005

In the Sandbox...

Pagan Roots a Fallacy
"In response to “Real reason for the season” (letter, Dec. 21), the fallacy that Christmas started as a pagan celebration is common.

According to an article by Gene Veith in the Dec. 10 World Magazine, Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25 because of an “ancient belief that God appointed for the great prophets an ‘integral age,’ meaning that they died on the same day as either their birth or their conception.” By following that belief, and knowing that Christ died at the time of the Passover, either his birth or conception occurred in March. In the early second century, consensus arose to celebrate Christ’s conception on March 25 as the Feast of the Annunciation, which placed the celebration of his birth on Dec. 25, nine months later.

On the other hand, Roman religions in the early second century had no winter solstice festival. This festival was started by Emperor Aurelian on Dec. 25, 274, to mark the time of year when the length of daylight began to increase. He started this festival in an attempt to breathe new life into declining paganism that, according to Veith, “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 winter solstice celebration was in imitation of the already-established Christian celebration of Christmas. So, the writer of “Real reason for the season” is welcome to celebrate a very happy winter solstice, while I will happily celebrate (and wish for everyone else) a very Merry Christmas and celebration of Christ’s birth, the true “real reason for the season.”"
-Col. John Ekstrand, Baghdad (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...US Navy girls...
one, two, three, four, five, six

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