The Great Courses

Put the Cronus Back in Christmas!

Dec 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM
4 years ago

This is a familiar sight every December.

keep Christ in Christmas

To those protesting so adamantly that we should keep the Christ in Christmas: Do you also keep the Moon in Monday (Moon's Day)? Thor in Thursday? On Halloween, do you don your Druid priest robe and summon the ghosts of the dead?

Oh. Those are ancient myths, rituals and customs that no longer apply to the current acknowledgment and/or celebrations of those days? 

Fine. Welcome to Christmas.

If you're going to keep the original meaning of the holiday, you probably won't be talking much about Jesus Christ, anyway.

Centuries before the supposed birth of Christ, evergreen trees (the precursor to the Christmas tree) were brought into people's homes in the month of December to celebrate the Winter Solstice and offer welcome to the sun god(s) that would soon bring a bountiful spring harvest.

Ancient Egyptians honored their own god, Ra, and the early Romans honored the deity Saturn/Cronus, the god of agriculture, with evergreen boughs. Not to be left out, the vikings of Scandinavia honored their sun god, Baldur, with the evergreen tree, and they burned Yule Logs as part of the feast that honored him.

The Christian tradition of the Christmas tree didn't show up until the 16th century, in Germany (not the United States), and in fact, Christmas was actually banned in America during that time by Puritans and Protestant Christians because of its pagan origins and penchant for sinful merrymaking. 

Yes. Christmas was illegal in the USA. And it wasn't declared a national holiday until a declaration of Congress on June 26, 1870.

And December 25th wasn't selected because a guy named Jesus was actually born on that date. It was part of the Winter Solstice festivities which celebrated the birth of the sun (not Son) and the warmer months and bountiful harvests ahead.

Gift exchange? Pagan in origin, stemming back to the Festival of Saturnalia. In fact, it was once banned by the Catholic Church for that very reason.

Christmas carols probably stem from common folk songs sung during harvest celebrations in the Middle Ages. Mistletoe? It was once considered a magical plant by the Druids and Greeks, a symbol of life and fertility.

Is XMAS an attack on Christmas? Actually, no. The "X" stands for the first letter in the Greek word for Christ, Χριστ?ς. XMAS is Christmas.

Finally, despite what Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly so vehemently declared, if Jesus Christ truly existed, he almost certainly wasn't a white guy.

Megyn Kelly

Take note that most ethnic groups have a representation of Christ that reflects them: African American Jesus, Mexican Jesus, Asian Jesus, etc. And if existed, he also wouldn't have sported the flowing, long hair we so often see in the portraits, as according to the Apostle Paul, long hair was "a shame unto" a man. 

I could continue, getting into the strange historical incongruities and contradictions within the bible's own telling of the Jesus story, but I'll simply leave you with this summation:

1) There is no War On Christmas. (Look around. It's everywhere.)

2) If you're adamant about truly keeping the origins of the holiday intact, prepare the sacrifices and tributes to ancient, pagan gods, because the majority of the Christmas holiday has more to do with them than the plastic manger scene on your front lawn.

Merry Christmas.  

-Seth Andrews

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