Just some facts to ponder.
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of religious knowledge explains, "Christmas, the date of the festival depended on the pagan Brumalia (December 25) following the Saturnalia (December 17-24), celebrating the shortest day of the year and the new sun.
The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were to deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival was so popular that Christians were glad to continue its celebration. It was a festival of merry making and they did not want to give it up. When Emperor Constantine professed to be a Christian, Christianity became very popular. Constantine looking for a way to bring Christians and sun worshipers together renamed the festival Brumalia (birthday of the sun god) to the birthday of the son of god, so that both sides could come together in celebration of the festival."
The origin of the Christmas tree goes back to ancient babylon, with the death of Nimrod, founder of babylon. When Nimrod died his wife, Semiramis, claimed that a full grown evergreen tree grew overnight from a dead tree stump, and that it symbolized Nimrods rebirth into a spirit being. She also claimed that Nimrods spirit would visit the tree and leave gifts upon it each December. Through this claim, Nimrod came to be known as the son of Baal, or son of the son god. This started the ritual use of evergreens, and was so prevalent that Jeremiah makes mention of it in JER 10:2-6.
"The name Santa Claus is derived from the name Saint Nicholis, a Roman Catholic Bishop who lived in the 4th century, the Bishop of Myra, who was honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December. The legend is of his secret bestowal of dowries on three daughters of an impoverished citizen, and thus originating the custom of giving secret presents on the eve of St. Nicholas. It was later moved to December 25th, and thus the association of Santa Claus with Christmas, and the giving of gifts in secret." (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Mistletoe was used during the festival of the winter solstic because it was considered sacred to the sun, and it was believed to have healing power. Kissing under the mistletoe was one of several customs to be observed during the night, celebrating the death of the old sun and the birth of the new winter sun, or winter solstic.
The holly wreath was also considered sacred to the sun god, and its use was that of decorating places of worship during the festival.
The yule log is a symbol of the sun, or sun log. Lighting of fires or candles was meant to encourage the sun god during the winter season, yule tide season, sun tide season.
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