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Yes Virginia, Christians did Steal Christmas

Even though it has become pretty much common knowledge and has been accepted by just about every scholar including most Biblical scholars (if they even count), I still get e-mails from people telling me that Christmas was not stolen from the pagans and that Jesus is the reason for the season.

One need look no further then one’s own Bible to see that God is not a fan of Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2-4 talks about how these are heathen customs. As for the Christmas Wreath, it was a pagan symbol of fertility and any fundamentalist Christian will tell you that God wants guys to keep it in their pants and women ought to be chase until marriage with no birth-control. God is no fan of fertility either (just ask his brother the fertility god Ba’al Zabul).

The fact is that people from very different religious backgrounds celebrate the start of the winter season. The world gets cold and the days get shorter. During this time of year, people have a tendency to get depressed and as a result the need arose to lift people’s spirits and celebrate. The evergreen tree was seen as a symbol of life since it was one of the few trees which stayed green in the winter (hence the name evergreen).

People of varying religions created myths surrounding this time of year. Most of which had to deal with the birth of a deity. Some pagans celebrated the winter solstice at this time of year while others celebrated the festival of Yule. The Romans celebrated their god Saturn with a holiday called Saturnalia. This feast started on the 17th and grew longer as time went on.

As the Romans conquered the lands of other people, they soon realized that other cultures also had festivals celebrating the birth of their gods at this time of year. So the Romans decided to merge all these holidays in one and called it Sol Invictus which means “unconquered sun.”

During the 4th century when Constantine decided to Christianize the Roman Empire, attempts were made to get rid of pagan holidays. But as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” the Catholic Church decided to create a holiday to celebrate during this time so that they could win converts who were reluctant to stop celebrating winter festivals.

And Christmas was born!

In other words, Christians stole Christmas just like they stole almost all of their other holidays from other religious traditions before their own.

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