Putting The Saturn Back In Saturnalia

Earlier today a friend of mine sent me a link about a petition from pagans trying to take back the yule season from “Christians” who had falsely considered it to be the time of the birth of Jesus Christ not on calendar grounds, but as a way to demonstrate superiority over pagan religions who had holy days based on the winter solstice [1]. Though I am certainly not a pagan myself, I believe that it is illegitimate for people to steal days and practices from others and pretend that it honors Jesus Christ. Since Jesus Christ has never been in Christmas except as a facade to existing heathen festivals, I say forget putting Christ back where He never was [2], and put Saturn back in Saturnalia.

First, we need a brief recap as to why Jesus Christ was never a part of Christmas. For one, the biblical information from 1 Chronicles 24 and Luke 1 indicates that John the Baptist was conceived shortly after Pentecost, and Jesus Christ was conceived about six months later, in the early part of winter, being born very close to (if not exactly on) the Feast of Trumpets. The fact that there were a lot of Jewish people out and about on the roads to give a loyalty oath and take an apparently irregular census and the fact that shepherds were out in the field instead of in winter quarters gives this indication of timing as well, making it no later than the fall festival season. Even assuming that Jesus Christ wanted us to celebrate His birthday, anyone would be insulted by people celebrating three months late and pretending to honor them by it.

Aside from issues of chronology, there are a host of Christmas rituals that have nothing to do with Jesus Christ whatsoever. These include the lighting of candles, the hanging of wreaths, the putting up of pagan evergreen trees with the hanging of tinsel, yule logs, mistletoe (with its hint of heathen fertility rites), the common deceptions about Santa Claus and his reindeer, and so on. The reason why these customs have gotten attached to Christmas is because they represent attempts by the early Roman Catholic Church to appropriate the customs of the heathen and give them a Christian veneer to better win over the pagans to worship without needing to convert them to alien ways. It is easier to co-opt the ways of the heathen and put a new surface on them than it is to teach them and persuade them to change their ways of worship and our cultural mindset entirely, which is what the Bible seeks of its believers. So, since Christ has never been in Christmas except as an afterthought and a post hoc rationalization, let us give Saturnalia and yuletide back to the pagans–it was their day to begin with.

Believers are not losers in this process at all. If someone really feels the need to worship in winter, there are better ways to do it. Right now there is a festival that Jesus Christ actually kept [3] [4], the Festival of Dedication, which is better known as Hanukkah. Here we have actual documented evidence (see 1 Maccabees) of the divine and miraculous intervention in the purifying of Judah from the corruption of heathen Greek ways, allowing the temple to be cleansed for worship by believers after it had been desecrated in the time of King Antiochus Epiphanes. It is entirely appropriate to practice this festival, and I like to do so whenever I am around friends who are able to throw celebrations better than I am (truth be told, I’m not much of an event planner nor do I have a lot of experience in parties or festivals in house, or have the necessary accoutrements to do so). Again, if you want to honor God, one does so by celebrating His involvement in the affairs of man at the time when He was actually involved, and without appropriating the ways of the heathen. Let them have their days and their ways of worshiping false gods. God does not need to pander to the heathen–if you want to worship Him, He is rather particular about people obeying Him as He has commanded. Are we ready to do so?

[1] http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/RESTORE-YULE-TO-PAGANS/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/you-cant-put-christ-back-where-he-never-was/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/hanukkah-the-festival-of-lights/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/why-jesus-kept-hanukkah-lessons-from-john-1022-30/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Biblical History, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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