24 December 2010

The LORD Jesus Birth & Christians(Catholicism) Celebrating The Birth of Sun Along With Christmas ?

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Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

So the shepherds were watching over their flocks in the field at night. Have you ever thought that it may have been a little cold on a late December night in Bethlehem? Well the Bible says nothing about the birth of Jesus being at that time of year. Indeed, if the flocks were still in the field, it definitely was not during the winter. Since the Bible does not openly declare any particular date for the birth of Jesus Christ, just how is it that December 25 was selected?

Why, then, the 25th of December? Actually, the date was chosen not by the Christians, but by Romans, the traditional antagonists of the Early Church.
Each year as the days became noticeably shorter in November and December, the Roman citizens feared that the earth may be "dying". With the "return of the sun" at the end of December resulting in longer days, the Romans celebrated the "Feast of the Sol Invictus" (Unconquerable Sun") on December 25. Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered in 354 that all Christians celebrate the birth of the Christ child on that day. Scholars believe that the bishop chose this date so that Christians, still members of an "outlaw religion" in the eyes of the Romans, could celebrate the birth of their Savior without danger of revealing their religious conviction, while their Roman neighbors celebrated another event.

The feast of the Epiphany
, which had existed fairly generally in the Greek Church even in the third century, is now found in the Latin Church also. In migrating, the feast acquired, however, a new meaning. Whilst in the East it commemorated more especially Christ's Baptism, in the West it came to be a festival in honour of His manifestation to the Gentiles. The other meanings of the feast gradually passed into the background, one of them, that of Christ's birth, becoming the object of an entirely new festival, Christmas. The origin of the latter is by no means clear: the Armenian Ananias the 'Computer,' writing at the beginning of the seventh century, tells us that it was kept at the imperial court under Constantius (337-61); we have also an illusion of the so-called Chronographer of A.D. 354. If his notice at the head of the Depositio Martyrum is to be taken as indicating that December 25 was merely reckoned as Christ's birthday, then the feast may have arisen subsequently to 354, but if it refers, as quite possibly it may, to a festival, then Christmas must have been kept as a feast not only in 354, but, as is clear from a comparison with the Chronographer's Depositio Episcoporum, as far back as 336. However this may be, the feast certainly existed in Rome before 360, and from thence it spread throughout the Church; Justin I [p. 199] (518-27) was, nevertheless, obliged to issue decrees making its observation compulsory throughout the empire. Armenia alone refused to accept it, and there Christ's birth is still commemorated on the Epiphany. December 25 seems to have been chosen on account of the Roman custom of keeping this day as the festival of Sol Invictus - i.e. of the re-birth of the sun; it was judged fitting to substitute for the pagan feast a Christian one commemorating the birth of the true Sun of the world and Redeemer of mankind.
Source: Manual of Church History, Volume I., by Dr. F. X. Funk, Published by B. Herder, 17 South Broadway, St. Louis, Mo., Copyright 1912, bearing the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur of the Catholic Church, pp. 198-199.
The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days counted from December 25th to January 5, January 6th being the date the Epiphany (Twelfth Night) is celebrated, which is when the three Wise Men, or Magi, visited Bethlehem.

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th?
Although Christmas is celebrated on the 25th day of December each year, the exact date of Jesus' birth is unknown. Most biblical scholars agree that the birth, in fact, did not take place in December at all, but probably occurred during the spring of the year. The Gospel of Luke states that the shepherds to whom the announcement of the birth was made were watching theirs sheep by night (Luke 2:8) which would suggest the lambing time (the spring). Only then did shepherds bother to guard their flocks around the [p. 206] clock. In winter, for example, the sheep would have been kept in the corral.
A star cult, sun-worship, became (in the third century A.D.) the dominant official creed, paving the road for the ultimate triumph of Judaeo-Christian monotheism. So strong was the belief in the Invincible Sun (Sol Invictus) that for example Constantine I (d. 337), himself at first a devotee of the sun cult, found it, indeed perfectly compatible with his pro-Christian sympathies to authorize his own portrayal as Helios. And in 354 the ascendant Christian church in the reign of his pious but unsavory son, Constantius II, found it prudent to change the celebration of the birth of Jesus from the traditional date (January 6) to December 25, in order to combat the pagan Sun god’s popularity—his “birthday” being December 25.
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