This Christmas I was reflecting on a conversation I had with a friend whom I considered to be very smart, but he argued over the legitimacy of my views of Christmas. I had explained that December 25th wasn't really the known date for the birth of Christ, and his reply was of course it was and his proof was that we celebrate New Year’s a week later.
So I'm guessing many of you readers never really considered the idea of when or how the tradition of Christmas got started. To me, this is something I love knowing about and decided this year I'd share what I've learned. The Bible was never clear as to the season of Jesus' birth, let alone a specific date. Some had estimated it to be in the spring, others September and then there was another that would have put the date around January 7th. So why did they decide on December 25th?
Well, the Romans were adopting this new religion, replacing what had been sun-worshipping. In fact they had a temple to Sol Indiges on the Quirinal that was said to have been established by Tatius, king of the Sabines. And for them December 25th was a major festival, dies natalis solis invicti (birth of the invincible sun god). So one could easily perceive this as a ‘hijacking’ of another’s day of celebration, when people would have come to the city to take part in events. Basically, so as to be able to convert the people in droves, this was why the date was chosen.
For a more modern take on this, it would be like all the people flocking to the city thinking there was a Coca Cola giveaway and find they were being served up Pepsi and asked to convert. And if you act now, we will even throw in forgiveness of sin at no extra charge.
Well, no matter what you choose to celebrate, we here at akaawol.com would like to wish you and yours a happy holiday. After all, regardless of the whens and the whys, the spirit of the season should prevail.