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12 And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' 13 And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours. But many years after their fixing the canons, this festival was invented, as some say, by the disciples of the heretic Cerinthus; and was accepted by the Greeks, because they were truly fond of festivals and most fervent in piety; and by them it was spread and diffused all over the world. Twelve days before January 6th is December 25th (see also Conybeare F. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. December 25th also took place during the Saturnalia, hence it was acceptable to at least two groups of pagans. At this late point, Christmas may well have acquired some pagan trappings.
15 Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.' 16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. But in the days of the holy Constantine, in the holy Council of Nice, this festival was not received by the holy fathers (Ananias of Shirak, On Christmas, The Expositor, 5th series vol. Followers of Mithra represented an influential group in the Roman Empire. But we don’t have evidence of Christians adopting pagan festivals in the third century, at which point dates for Christmas were established.
9 An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed.
They were terrified, 10 but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown). The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs.
(Here is a link to a related sermon: ) Saturnalia, Sigalia, and Christmas The early Catholic Church did not celebrate Christmas. To live with heathens is lawful, to die with them is not. If it is for a man's sake, let us again consider that all idolatry is for man's sake; let us again consider that all idolatry is a worship done to men, since it is generally agreed even among their worshippers that aforetime the gods themselves of the nations were men; and so it makes no difference whether that superstitious homage be rendered to me of a former age or of this. Saturnalia began in the very early history of Rome. The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries until it was supplanted by the Christian festival of Christmas... And did not care if the party was related to pagan gods. The truth is that Christmas reminds us that people are often unwilling to worship God as He intended, but instead often prefer pagan substitutes that they rationalize as somehow acceptable if they pretend the holiday is about Jesus.
Furthermore, Tertullian (one of its leading 2nd/3rd century writers, whom it sometimes refers to as "the father of Latin Christianity") warned that to participate in the winter celebrations made one beholding to pagan gods. Let us live with all; let us be glad with them, out of community of nature, not of superstition. Idolatry is condemned, not on account of the persons which are set up for worship, but on account of those its observances, which pertain to demons (Tertullian. "Just like our festive season, it seems that the whole of Rome geared up early for Sigillaria. It is interesting to note that Tertullian objected to keeping a celebration lasting until the Roman New Years, putting up wreaths, and giving gifts. 66) If the candles which were formerly distributed at the Saturnalia are now identified with the feast of the Purification of our Lady? Those who truly believe Jesus’ words, “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NJB) will not celebrate a compromised pagan holiday such as Christmas because it contains practices and symbols (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?
Here is a Catholic-accepted translation of the account in the Gospel According to Luke: 1 Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world.
2 This census -- the first -- took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, 3 and everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
Specifically, he felt that those who profess Christ should not celebrate Saturnalia, New Year's, or other pagan days, as even the observance is a form of idolatry (click here for an article titled Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? And he was also pointing out that his 'Christians' even used laurel wreaths and lights more than the heathen. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, Douay OT, DOT, a Catholic translation).Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: : “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea. From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals.