“The celebration of Christmas was not introduced in the church till after the middle of the fourth century. It originated in Rome, and was probably a Christian transformation of regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals, the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia, which were celebrated in the month of December in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honor of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children. (See my [J.P. Lange’s] Church History, N.Y., Vol. ii, 395 ff.) In the primitive church there was no agreement as to the time of Christ’s birth. In the East the 6th of January was observed as the day of his baptism and birth. In the third century, as Clement of Alexandria relates, some regarded the 20th of May, others the 20th of April, as the birthday of our Saviour. Among modern chronologists and biographers of Jesus there are still greater differences of opinion; and every month, even June and July (when the fields are parched from want of rain), has been named as the time when the great event took place. Lightfoot assigns the nativity to September; Lardner and Newcome to October; Wieseler to February; Paulus to March; Greswell and Alford to the 5th of April, just after the spring rains, when there is an abundance of pasture. Luchtenstein places it in July or December, Strong in August; Robinson in autumn, Clinton in spring; Andrews between the middle of December, 749, to the middle of January, A.D. 750. On the other hand, Roman Catholic historians and biographers of Jesus, as Sepp, Friedlieb, Bucher, Patritius, also some Protestant writers, defend the popular tradition, of the 25th of December.”—John Peter Lange, D.D., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, “Luke 2:36.” New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1870.
Christmas, Easter, and Halloween by Vance Ferrell