Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three Things: Christmas Date

This year, I saw an awful lot of people get upset, because the Catholic Church is responsible for Christmas being on December 25.  It is true, Pope Saint Julian I made this the official date for Christmas, in the year 350.  Why did he do this?

1. One reason he did this was for the symbolism. December 25 is around the winter solstice, when the days start getting longer and there is more daylight.  That is a good metaphor for Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who was born into a world made dark by sin and evil, so he could bring light to fallen humanity.  "This life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5)

The downside is that pretty much every religion has an event for the winter solstice, so Christianity gets accused of copy-catting the religions that came before it.  Because winter is dark, most religious events that take place in winter involve light, such as Jewish Hannukah and the German bonfires and Christian celebration of St. Lucy.

2. With this and other calendar work that he did, Pope Saint Julian did not pick dates out of a hat at random.  He polled the Christians who were living at the time, as to when they celebrated the birth of Jesus.  December 25th was one of the common answers; dates in February and September were also common.

I guess if people in the 300's didn't know the exact date for sure, us people 1700 years later don't have a chance of getting it right.

3. Another reason for picking December 25th for Christmas is that it is exactly one week before New Year's Day.  In accordance with Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised a week after being born.  So by assigning the Feast of Christmas on the 25th, that automatically assigns a feast on New Year's Day.  I have never heard of anyone who complains about having New Year's as a holiday.

Also, the Feast of the Epiphany (celebrating the presentation of Jesus to the Gentiles / when the wise men visited the Christ child) was already set on January 8th.  December 25th is two weeks before that, so it was a good fit.


Anonymous said...

Wow! You really know your stuff, Michael.:) I had fun celebrating Jesus's birthday recently. I need to learn more and more about my Catholic faith.:) Keep it up on informing us about the beautiful Catholic Church and all for which she stands for!:):) It is awesome!!! God Bless you.:)

P.S. Thank you.:)

HoplessFangirl123 said...

*Sigh* Even Michael's very WORDS scream 'handsome'.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't another reason they chose that date because of the pagan ritual Saturnalia?

Anonymous said...

I thought this was going to be about a date you went on :(

Breanna ;) said...

Happy early birthday Michael!!! I hope it's wonderful and that this is the best birthday that you've ever had!!! ;) Also, before anyone says anything the only way I know about it is that I've been following this blog for a long time, so that's how I know and well... yeah. :-) So happy, happy birthday, you're awesome Michael!!!

Vast Universe said...

Michael, I think you're getting trolled again. *sigh*


Did you happen to get my rather long and rambling email back, after we established that my gmail thought you were spam? This was back around early November I believe. I replied but Idk if you received it. :)