Debunking the myths about why Christmas is Dec. 25

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 26, 2013 9:32 p.m.

    I think we are making a simple thing complicated. The Roman Empire had gone through the transition of persecuting Christians to acceptance to embracing Christianity as the official religion. They also had many Pagan holidays, one of which involving worshipping Saturn I believe which was December 25. I think celebrating Christ's birth evolved from this holiday. Again, I wish we all think this could be deeper but it was what it was...

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 26, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    Weston Jurney posted: Shepherds don't abide in fields keeping watch over their flocks by night in the winter.

    Average temperatures in the Jerusalem/Bethlehem area are only a few degrees different in the months of December, March and April.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 26, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Mr. Erickson has a well-deserved reputation as an ultra-right political columnist. His tweets about the retirement of Justice David Souter and women in general reveal that he's not only ultra-right, he's also not above making outrageously offensive remarks better suited to a junior high bully.

    He thinks God called him to become a commentator on CNN.

    But here's what's really galling - he basically cherry-picked sections from the Wikipedia article on the pre-Christian holiday Sol Invictus and pasted them into his article in an effort to convince people that December 25 really is the historic birthday of Jesus.

    The "evidence" he offers is highly dubious (that's being charitable), and ignores abundant historical evidence that pre-Christian Europeans did in fact celebrate the Winter Solstice with lights, yule logs, singing, gift-giving, feasts and decorating evergreen trees when the calendar in use at the time placed the solstice on the 25th of each December.

    And yet the Deseret News uncritically chose to publish it.

    Are you so insecure about this holiday that you have to publish distortions to make you feel good about it?

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Dec. 26, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    The bigger question is who cares? Christians decided to celebrate the birth of Christ and picked a day because they did not know on what day it actually occurred. Does it really matter if the day they picked was also during the same time frame as someone else used to celebrate something? Perhaps we should look into the sinister background of "Law Day" - May 1, because many socialist countries celebrate "May Day" - their workers' holiday, on May 1.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 25, 2013 3:48 p.m.

    We have loads of historic evidence to the contrary, but the author proposes to refute all that by referencing an agenda-packed religious book meant to proselytize.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Dec. 25, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    This article actually doesn't disprove the theory about Saturnalia at all. Here are the facts the article establishes:

    Christmas was celebrated early on, perhaps by 200AD
    It was being celebrated in December by 300AD

    But the thing is Saturnalia was being celebrated the whole time. What the article has established is that Christians started celebrating Christmas in December about the same time that Constantine adopted Christianity. Nobody is arguing that Christmas was entirely invented to supplant Saturnalia. On the contrary, the argument is that is was already there and was placed on top of Saturnalia to help ease the transition of the empire to Christianity. If anything, the information in this article reinforces that theory. This is consistent with other pagan/Christian blendings, such as the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, as well as the consistent blending of Christ with Apollo, as well as similar actions elsewhere, such as the merging of Yule with Christmas.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 25, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    Shepherds don't abide in fields keeping watch over their flocks by night in the winter. That's what they have folds for. But ewes can't travel in the spring, when Lambs are born.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 25, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    The difference between mortals and immortals is reason. The reason is , is because you matter. You matter, That's the spirit of things. The name of the spirit is Jesus who was a gift from God because he so loved the world. The three gifts we can give and keep are your smile your heart and your word. All the words don't mean any thing unless ya keep them It's what you do . Thus the gifts for Christmas.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Dec. 25, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    Really great information.