- Today’s Christmas Day was originally Mithra’s Winter Festival, which was called “The Nativity,” “The Nativity of the Sun,” or “The Nativity of the Unconquered Sun.” (See WHERE CHRISTMAS COMES FROM – PART 1 http://wp.me/p158HG-1t )
- Today’s Christmas Season was formerly the mid-December to January 1st pagan celebration of Saturnalia in Rome (January Kalends are included for simplicity’s sake)
I first want to speak to the fact that much of the Christian “history” out there about Christmas appears to contradict itself. It’s up! No, it’s down! No, it’s all around! Hum… Who may be the author of that confusion?
When I tried to get to the root of Christmas when I studied the subject full-time for over 10 years, my devout Christian heart was astonished that I could not find many accurate facts in regard to Christmas in Christian resources. My passion about being a Church founded on truth was ignited at the same time I was grieved to see the Church behave like contortion artists, shaping Christmas, so all of us can feel that we have rightly sanctified our Christmas worship. My number one concern beyond the Christian Church promoting lies was and still is: Where is our love people? Jesus’ disciples are supposed to be known for the love that we show for one another (John 13:35). When a Christian gets-all-up in someone’s face, because they wished them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Where’s your love?
Even though the bulk of the information I received to write SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (www.santa-tizing.com) came from the Bible itself and historically-based books from academia, I found more accurate information about Christmas in books written by atheists and pagans than by Christians. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many accurate facts to Christmas in Christian resources unless they were Catholic (albeit manipulated sometimes) or ancient. I contend, for this reason alone, Christians need to truly examine accurate evidence that does in fact demand a verdict, because the cost is high. It’s not salvation, which is by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). No. The cost is an eternal reward – your being a prepared part of our Beloved’s pure and spotless Bride (Matt 25:1-13; Rev 19:7-8).
Back to the subject at hand, our modern Christmas season’s immediate predecessor being the Roman Saturnalia. Even though the Catholic Encyclopedia admits: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. [Robin’s addition: Because they were celebrating Biblical Feasts of the Lord.] Iranaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts.” On their same webpage (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm), it states: “The origin of Christmas should not be sought in the Saturnalia (1-23 December).” Here’s a case in point of some of the Catholic data being manipulated to suit their own needs, which is interesting because many Catholics have no problem assimilating or mixing things together. Early church father Tertuliian (160-220 AD) lamented, “By us who are strangers to Sabbaths, new moons, and festivals once acceptable to God [Robin’s note: Biblical practices for setting weeks, months and years], the Saturnalia, the feasts of January… are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion.”
Perhaps we should consider whether Christians have run from the dangerous clutches of legalism to only fall into the deadly grasp of license – the self-deceived state of fleshly liberty catering to carnality rather than crucifying it. Statistics reveal that much of today’s Christian Church is carnal; for example, divorce is as common in Christianity as in the world and many of us are constantly feeding the Kingdom of Self.
The Roman festival of the Saturnalia overlapped Christmas for a while. It continued to be celebrated every year right up until the end of the fourth century. James Taylor, author of The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, reports: “The church in Rome was unable to eradicate the heathen celebration of Saturnalia so they slightly modified it [Robin’s note: The church in Rome merged it with Mithra’s Winter Festival called “The Nativity” and added Jesus’ birth celebration to the mix on the day of the ancient winter solstice before the Romans shift in time – Dec 25th – which was also known as the birthday of all pagan sun gods throughout antiquity across all cultures.] and designated a Feast of the Nativity be observed.
Saturnalia developed from the older rituals of the winter solstice into a riotous assemblage of laughter, fun and gift-giving, not to mention drunkenness and promiscuity. During this season, Romans decorated their homes with evergreen. The season of the Saturnalia also celebrated death, which harkens back to the symbolism of the Yule Log and Nimrod being cut down in his prime:
 The Mock King chosen by lot was sacrificed to Saturnus (i.e. Saturn) at the conclusion of the Saturnalia festival, and
 Gladiators fought to death in Saturnalia funeral games in December.
A record of the Roman Saturnalia has survived to this day. In 303 AD, a young conscript – drafted military recruit – named Dasius had the misfortune of being picked as the king of the Saturnalia by soldiers of the Roman legion stationed in a distant province. As such he was to be provided with all the trappings of royalty, and at the conclusion of the festival he was to be made a human sacrifice to Saturnus. But there’s was one little problem, Dasius happened to be a Christian in the fullest sense of the term; and therefore, he refused the honor with some dire consequences. Dasius was promptly martyred.
The Saturnalia was said to be a re-enactment of the golden age when Saturn reigned over the entire earth as its first king. Take your pick from the natural realm , which would have been Nimrod of Yule Log and Tower of Babel fame [I will write more on “Yule” and “Nimrod” soon] – or – from the spiritual realm, which was Satan (Matt 4:8-10).
The late Alexander Hislop in his incredible book The Two Babylons unveils that the golden calf from Egypt was called the Apis and was simply another name for Saturn, because that calf represented the divinity in the character of Saturn. Hislop also declared that Saturn is simply another name for Satan. The Apis (yearling calf or bull) was the golden image Aaron had in mind when he unsuccessfully tried to epitomize God’s divinity; and this same Apis was just another name for Saturn of Saturnalia fame, which is the fount of our modern Christmas Season. Food for thought (and possible action) indeed.
Can Christians afford to justify washing this golden image away, because we just wanna have fun?! That is a personal choice for each and every individual and family. But before you try to sweep this earth-shattering history under your rug, I’d go read about the golden calf in the Bible (the entire chapter of Exodus 32). What will be the eternal consequences if one chooses to believe that their Christmas worship is equivalent to worshiping God with the big “G” (Exo 32:4)? My suggestion? Personally take this pure & spotless kingdom worship issue to God Himself; but before you do, make sure you’ve laid everything on God’s altar or you will simply think you are hearing God when you’re actually hearing the idols of your own heart. The most iconic image of idolatry – the Golden Calf – in your own heart? Take it from one who has been there and done that. Yes. Not only is it possible, but it’s part of the mysterious end-time battle between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Self, which is equivalent to Babylon or the Satanic Kingdom (Please refer to chapter 2 in SANTA-TIZING).
Copyright Nov 25, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.
Most references to the things I write on this blog can be found in my book SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (available on amazon http://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353692179&sr=1-1&keywords=SANTA_TIZING).