Let me put out what I understand about Christmas and Sunday, so anyone who wishes can straighten me out.
It is the theologians who actually say “Humbug!” about December 25. The Puritans outlawed it. Experts say Humbug because Christmas is not Christ’s Birthday. Christmas is the day we CELEBRATE the birth of Christ.
Yes, in that sense it is a “pagan” holiday. Not only do we not know the DAY of Christ’s birth, all indications are that we don’t know the YEAR of his birth. So we use the birthday of the Birth of Mithras, the day that Constantine celebrated each year.
It happens that Mithraism HAD a Birthday for Mithras, so Constantine adopted it as the date on which we would CELEBRATE the Birth of Christ. It also falls in nicely with the Winter Solstice, when the sun began to come back to us and another promise was made that each year light would be victorious.
This is no more pagan than believing that the rainbow was created after the Flood of Noah.
We also celebrate the Sabbath as SUN Day. This may relate to the words on Mithraian altars, Sol Invictus, which is translated in a number of ways. Those of us who took freshman Latin in high school assume that Sol refers to the sun, but not as “sun worship.”
Sol Invictus could mean “The Light is Victorious.”
The Jewish Sabbath is based on a premise that even most Creationists would find hard to swallow. It is the exact date, some four and a half millennia ago, when God rested from his six days’ labor creating the world. Unless you think this date is really that specific, the Jewish Sabbath is the day Jews CELEBRATE the creation of the world.
The political question is, why did Constantine impose his own SUNday and his date for the Birth of the Savior? My expertise is political, not theological. There was lot going on in Constantine’s adoption of Christianity than just his seeing a sign in the sky.
When the winning side writes a history you must deal with the politics of it. There seems to have been a major effort to adopt a Christianity which followed St. Paul’s dictum that rather than lose souls, one should be “all things to all men.”
St. Paul said that in dealing with the fact that different Christians had already adopted different forms of worship, like High and Low Church in the Anglican Communion. Paul stated flatly that a good Christian would freely adopt the OTHER Christian’s variation. That statement is in wild contradiction to two thousand years of fighting to the death over which way a person crossed himself.
Yes, Christian Christmas was developed and ADOPTED.
December 25 was adopted in order to include Mithraian. The other traditions of that day, like a Christmas Tree, was adopted so that those who had celebrated the Winter Solstice would not lose their annual day of celebration.
In other words, Christmas represents the Paulist Tradition to INCLUDE people. Puritans outlawed it for that very reason, that it was an INCUSIVE measure.
Our new established religion bans such Nazi words as “Merry Christmas” exactly the way the Puritans did. But our new established religion says Christmas is AGAINST inclusion.
Two bans, two types of Puritans.
Screw them all.