Season Is the Reason for Jesus

The snow is falling upon a small village in Northern Europe. The adults have set out the Yule log and the children are waiting in anticipation to celebrate the birth of their Lord. The night is full of celebration and preparation. Adults and children decorate a fir tree in the middle of the village with candles and ornaments of gold and silver [1]. The women make sugared bread.

Jesus or Mithras or Isis? Just too hard to tell the difference sometimes.

The local priest is giving the children a lesson about their Lord and telling them how the Lord was born of a virgin. He goes on to say, “The Lord is the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Life, and the Word. Our Lord is the Son of God and the Good Shepherd. Tomorrow is his birthday. Tonight we will pay homage to him and celebrate in his name. We will dance around a bonfire singing hymns to him. We can then look forward to the spring when we celebrate his resurrection after being buried in a tomb for three days.” [2]

The children leave the lesson and run off to join their parents before the singing of hymns begins. The bonfire crackles and the fir tree glitters with candles, silver, and gold; ready for gifts to be laid underneath the next morning. The children know that the evergreen is a symbol of life in the harshness, darkness, and cold of winter, that it is a sign of the green to come, of the resurrection of their Lord; the Son of God. The adults begin the first hymn and the children join in singing at the top of their lungs, “Mithra! Oh, Mithra! Praise thee Son of God!”

The year is 500 BC on the eve of the Winter Solstice and the villagers are celebrating the birth of Mithra, also knows as “the Way, the Truth, and the Light.” Sound familiar?

As I drive along the streets of Mobile, Alabama, I see that it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas lights, Christmas trees, red ribbons, snowmen (fake, of course), and a new trend of signs proclaiming,“ Put Christ Back in Christmas” and “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

The “Put Christ Back in Christmas” signs are associated with a growing Fundamentalist movement to get rid of the commercialistic celebration that Christmas has become. Even the Puritans in England back in 1552 banned Christmas for similar reasons (a move they duplicated in the Americas seven years later). King Charles II returned Christmas to England in 1660 but the celebration did not really pick-up again until the Victorian times. The point missed by this new movement is that Christmas never belonged to Christ in the first place. Yes, we call it Christmas. Why do we call it Christmas? When did the end of the year become what it is now?

While Christmas as we know it today is associated with Christianity, it is not truly a Christian holiday. If a thief steals your car, is the car truly his just because he says it is? This brings us to the sign that proclaims, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Is that statement accurate? Is Jesus the reason for this season?

Of course, Mithraism does not hold the only claim to the origins of Christmas, or Christianity for that matter. Saturnalia, which Pagans and Romans celebrated, incorporated many of the same traditions. In ancient Babylonian times, they celebrated the birth of the God Tammuz on the winter solstice. The God Nimrod would visit the evergreen trees of the people and leave gifts upon them.

The evergreen tree is a symbol of the green to come at the re-birth of Mother Earth. In ancient Egypt, they laid gifts under Palm Trees during the winter celebration. In ancient Rome, they used the fir tree (called the Baal Berith) as a testimony to the Pagan messiah, Baal Tamar.

The Sun: the real reason for the season!

The Pagan celebrations of the Romans included Mithraism. The winter solstice was the “nativity of the Sun” (Son) and became known as the “festival of Saturn” or Saturnalia. They called the celebration of the birth of Mithra “The Nativity” throughout the Greek and Roman worlds. Historians credit the Romans and Saturnalia celebrations with the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. The Romans used mistletoe to get a pretty girl to kiss you during the celebration and ultimately instigate an orgy [3]. The Druids in Scotland and Ireland also believed that mistletoe was a symbol of fertility; a husband and wife desiring a child would hang the mistletoe around their bed during intercourse.

The Yule log and Yule Day have Babylonian origins. Yule is the Chaldee name for an infant or little child. December 25th was called Yule Day by Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors. They called the night preceding Yule Day, Mother’s Night.

Historians credit St. Francis of Assisi with the first Christian Nativity scene (manger). St Francis (then called Brother Francis) was teaching about Christianity in the villages of Greccio in central Italy in 1223 CE. He was attempting to get across the “true meaning” of Christmas. He assembled livestock and persons from the crowd to duplicate his interpretation of the “manger.” From there the manger scene interpretation of “The Nativity” spread and perpetuates to this day.

Of course, if you go to Bethlehem today and visit the “manger,” they take you to a cave, where shepherds kept livestock in the first century. Queen Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, assigned the current “Cave of the Nativity” location in 326CE.

The early Christian Church frowned upon the exchange of gifts because of its Pagan origins. People refused to give up the customs of their old Pagan religions, though. Ultimately, around 700 years ago, the Christian Church decided to attribute the gift exchange to symbolize the gifts given to Jesus by the three Wise Men. It took the Church over 1,300 years to finally “borrow” the Pagan ritual of gift exchanging and call it their own.

There are many Gods that were “born” during the winter solstice such as Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Adonis, Jupiter, Tammuz, Mithras, Bacchus, and other sun gods. This brings us to the big question. Was Jesus born on December 25 or even in December at all?

The Bible does not tell Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Bible does not even tell us when Jesus was born. Of course, we can look for “clues” within the gospels to when Jesus might have been born, and people have done that. The assumption of course is that these “clues” are authentic and not stolen from other Pagan mythology.

When the angels appear to the shepherds of Bethlehem to advise them of the birth of Jesus, the shepherds are feeding their flocks at night in the open fields. From late October to early March in Palestine, one will encounter bitterly cold weather, icy rain, and sometimes snow. Tending the flocks, much less tending them at night, is not what one finds Shepherds doing in Palestine (Bethlehem) in the middle of winter. The climate of Palestine dictates that shepherds keep their flocks in the field at night no later than late-October or mid-November, and no sooner than early to mid-March. If we base the birth of Jesus on that clue alone, then Jesus would have been born sometime between March and late October.

It is also interesting to note that the Qur’an in Surah 19 talks about the birth of the prophet Jesus. The mother Maryam shakes the trunk of a palm tree (Qur’an 19:25) so that ripe dates fall upon her. Dates ripen in Palestine in the summer.

The Watchtower in December of 1991 stated, “The date of December 25 does not correspond to Christ’s birth but to the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Roman sun festival at the solstice.” [4]

The celebration of Jesus’ birth on December 25 did not start until 354CE, when Pope Gregory proclaimed the date as that of The Nativity.. Prior to 354CE, the Church had even guessed Jesus’ birth to be in April. After the Church changed the date to December, there were Christians that refused to worship Jesus’ birth in December and continued celebrating it in April. People soon called them “April’s fools.”

The Bethlehem Star? Jupiter? Venus? The North Star? The Sun?

Why did the Christian Church change the date to December 25? They changed it because they were having a difficult time converting Pagans that did not want to give up their celebrations of Saturnalia, Natalis Solis Invicti, and Mithraism (among other winter solstice celebrations). Constantine made the change so Christians could say, “Hey look! We have a party, too!”

Another reason for the change to December 25 was not just to coincide with the five-day Pagan festival but also with Hanukkah. Hanukkah occurs on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which occurs usually in December. Therefore, by creating a Christian holiday around the same times as Hanukkah and the winter solstice, the early Christian Church was able to convert Pagans and Jews with the lure of a “grand party” to replace the one that the Pagans and Jews already celebrated.

Some say that the winter solstice, stars, sun, and moon play a significant role in the mythology of Christianity. The very nature of these borrowed customs leads one to the argument that Jesus never existed in the first place. Astrological symbology flourishes in the theology and doctrines of Christianity. The biggest example is the Son (Sun) and twelve disciples (twelve zodiacs). Even the painting of the Last Supper places the disciples in groups of threes (three zodiacs signs per season) with Jesus, the Son (Sun) in the middle.

Christian crosses are often shown within a circle or intersecting a circle. The intersection of the cross breaks the circle (Sun) into four sections (seasons). Pagan astrology represents the Virgin Mother as “Virgo.” It is common even to this day to find the symbol for Pisces within stained-glass window designs in churches [5]. Is this a coincidence or astrological thievery?

The mythological aspects of Christianity run deeper than the astrological aspects. The borrowing of Pagan rituals and folklore goes beyond simple holidays and traditions. One need only look at a side-by-side comparison of Jesus and Krishna to see how the mythological argument holds validity. Krishna and Jesus were both born of a virgin, had fathers that were carpenters, were both of royal descent, both were crucified between two thieves, and both talked of a “second coming.” Krishna is hundreds of years older than Jesus. Another comparison with Egyptian mythology and Christian doctrine reveals similarities that are more striking and the Egyptian religion goes back thousands of years before Jesus. Is this a coincidence or mythological thievery?

I am of the personal opinion that a man named Jesus actually existed and preached a skewed version of Judaism. Ultimately a sect of Judaism was formed that would one day become what we know today as Christianity. In a way, you could say that Jesus was a first century David Koresh.

The early apologists added the mythological aspects to Jesus that give fuel to the pure-mythology-Jesus-never-existed argument. It is the early Christian Church that created and borrowed holidays and manipulated the doctrine to give Pagans an excuse to convert that added even more fuel to that fire.

The Pagan origins of Christmas, Easter (called Ester by the worshipers of Mithra hundreds of years before Jesus), and other stories within the gospels show that Jesus is not the reason for the season. The season is the reason for Jesus.

Merry Paganmas everyone!

What about the Santa Claus myth? Well, is it just me or does Santa Claus bear a striking resemblance to Bacchus and Saturn? Anyone that knows St. Nicholas (whom has been given credit for the foundation of Santa Clause), knows that he was a thin and wiry man. St. Nicholas certainly did not wear a red suit! :-)

NOTES:

[1] Some argue that the Bible describes the custom of decorating a chopped down tree with silver and gold. However, in the description, God forbids the practice in the passage (Jeremiah 10:1-5):

“Hear what Yahweh says to you, O house of Israel. This is what Yahweh says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”

[2] They called the rolling stone covering the tomb Petra (or Peter). Peter the Rock as described in the gospels.

[3] Drunkenness, nakedness, and all-out partying were stables of the Saturnalia celebrations. Orgies were common during the five-day celebration.

[4] The Watchtower is a pseudo-magazine operated by and for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

[5] The astrological components of Christian theology and doctrine run deeper and are far too extensive to cover in-depth here. There are great resources available on the Internet and your local library and bookstore that discuss the astrology of Christianity.

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