The "True" Meaning of Christmas
Chances are you've heard it, seen the bumper sticker or even "liked" a page on Facebook to "Keep Christ in Christmas" or "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". However, nothing is further from the truth. The meanings and origins of today's common Christmas traditions have nothing to do with mainstream Christianity. In fact, all commonly celebrated Christmas traditions were birthed from pagan beliefs, and have nothing to do with a manger and three Wisemen.
Why is December 25 such a significant date in mainstream Christianity today? It has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, who in the Bible was sent by heaven to redeem mankind from their sinful ways. According to records, from the Roman Census-the event that inspired Joseph to pack up a pregnant Mary and travel to his place of birth to be counted by the Empire-occurred in March or April. Historians and scholars place the birth of Jesus much closer to March 28, very different from December 25th, the date currently marketed by Hallmark and major retailers as the birth of Jesus.
The date chosen for Christmas was an effort by medieval Chrisitian leadership (primarily from the Catholic church in Northern Europe) to combine an ancient Pagan festival called Saturnalia which was a week long celebration commencing between December 17th and 25th. As Christianity gained in popularity as a result of murderous efforts from those in leadership, early Christians made an effort to combine beliefs in order to increase pagan conversion rates to the new religion, in order to collect more money for the church, and quell some of the bloodlust of those devoutly slaying non-believers.
Just as the date itself was derived from pagan beliefs, the Christmas tree is another adaptation of early pagan ritual. Pagans often worshipped trees and nature, and would often bring trees into their homes and decorate them as part of their nature worshipping rituals. Thus, the Christian church adapted the custom in order to further bring more of the tax paying public's money into the church.
Mistletoe (you guessed it), is another pagan custom. Mistletoe was part of a legend of a Norse god being killed by a rival with an arrow dipped in mistletoe.
How does such a violent demise translate into kissing under the holiday decorations? Simply put, the custom of kissing underneath mistletoe was another adaptation of pagan custom, describing sexual license of gods worshipped during the ritual of Saturnalia. Since Saturnalia came after the pagan festival for the winter solstice (December 21), which celebrated the birth of a horned God to a devout Goddess in early pagan tradition, mistletoe is a celebration of sex and fertility.
Rome's early Christian influence on customs and traditions that we celebrate didn't end with dates and trees and mistletoe. The tradition of giving presents for the holiday are also derived from a much older tradition. Before Christianity swept Rome, tyrannical and cruel emperors called on the citizens of the state whom were most hated to bring them gifts and offerings during the festival of Saturalia. Over the years, this ritual became adopted by the general populous, and has become what we are familiar with as traditions and customs today.
Nicholas was a Turkish born Bishop who was declared a saint in the 19th century-hence St. Nick. The legend of the saint began with the story of a Grandmother consort to Nicholas who would fill children's stockings with gifts on the 6th of December. Again, in the spread of the legend, pagans adopted the story, as it fell in line with the story of the horned God being born, his consort and the celebration of Saturalia. Eventually, this tradition was taken over by the Catholic Church in Northern Europe as a bid for even more of a growth into the fold of Christianity.
Thus, sayings about "Jesus being the reason for the season", displaying Nativity scenes, Christmas pageants, and stories told at Christmas time are not founded in fact. Early Christianity was birthed of blood, torture, and manipulation tactics worthy of the most devious Socialists among us. Many lives of pagans, Jews, and other innocents were taken in order to perpetuate a lie told by the Catholic Church in Rome and early Christianity. Thus, when you celebrate Christmas this year, or any other, do so with the knowledge that it isn't what you may want to believe, and the holiday continues to become commercialized and cheapened by efforts of merchandisers and retailers around the globe.