Christmas. Christ’s Mass. December 25. Yes, we all know December 25. This is the day that Sextus Julius Africanus declared was the birthday of Jesus back in the third century common era. But was it? No. Not really. It was just an assigned date, but not chosen entirely at random. It was most likely chosen to compete with other Winter Solstice celebrations, and Christianize it… because, you know, Saturnalia was way too much fun and hedonistic for delicate Christian sensibilities.
…because, you know, Saturnalia was way too much fun and hedonistic for delicate Christian sensibilities. #atheist #atheism #christmasTweet
As a matter of fact, other than the assertion that this was Jesus’ birthday, nothing about the celebration of Christmas ties directly to Jesus. The customs and celebratory process is a hodgepodge of ideas from different eras and sources, largely pagan and secular. There is neither scripture nor doctrine that support the idea that it is anything other than a winter solstice celebration.
Oh, Christmas tree… doesn’t appear until the seventeenth century. Gift giving appears in the fifteenth century, but isn’t popularized until the late 18th century. Although this is a secular practice focusing primarily on friends and family, and with zero root in doctrine, Christianity loves to point out the resemblance to the wise men bearing gifts. We’ll just not point out that most people only do the gift exchange within their friends and family social group, not with complete strangers from a strange land. The fact it has no root in doctrine is why the puritans of England and New England banned Christmas-related gift giving for a time.
Oh, Christmas tree… doesn’t appear until the seventeenth century. Gift giving appears in the fifteenth century, but isn’t popularized until the late 18th century. #atheist #atheism #christmasTweet
Saint Nick. Santa Claus. Nicholas of Myra. Most people in America don’t know that a Saint Nicholas might have actually existed, and his Saint Day is actually December 6… and a large number of people from around the world do their gift giving that day.
Historical evidence is extremely lacking for the case of St. Nicholas. According to story and legend, though, he seems like quite a guy. Imprisoned and tortured by Diocletian and released by Constantine, he is said to have been at the council of Nicaea where he punched a heretic in the face. Most significantly however, his generosity was legendary which is likely what gave rise to the modern portrayal of Santa Claus.
So what do we take away from this whole Christmas phenomenon? Is there a war on Christmas? Um, no. The only conflict is Christians trying to play it up and keep it for themselves. The only Christ in Christmas is in the name. That is all. Otherwise, what we’re celebrating is a completely and totally secular holiday designed to conclude the year and spend quality time with loved ones… giving and receiving time, food and libations, and possibly gifts. Christmas is truly a humanist time of the year. Did I mention that it’s very secular?
Anyway, merry fucking Christmas, if that’s your thing. #atheist #atheism #christmasTweet
Anyway, merry fucking Christmas, if that’s your thing.