“It is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties, that the day of our Lord’s birth cannot be determined; and that, within the Christian church, no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century. Not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romanish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas Day? Why, thus? Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen at that precise time of the year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ.
“This tendency on the part of Christians to meet paganism halfway was very early developed; and we find Tertullian, even in his day, about the year 230, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect, and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the pagans to their own superstition . . Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition.
“That Christmas was originally a pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves—Yule day—proves at once its pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’; and, as the 25th day of December was called by our pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, ‘Yule day,’ or the ‘Child’s day,’ and the night that preceded it, ‘Mother night,’ long before they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. Far and wide, in the realms of paganism, was this birthday observed.
“This festival has been commonly believed to have had only an astronomical character, referring simply to the completion of the sun’s yearly course and the com- mencement of a new cycle. But there is indubitable evi- dence that the festival in question had a much higher reference than this—that it commemorated not merely the figurative birthday of the sun in renewal of its course, but the birthday of the grand Deliverer.
“Among the Sabeans of Arabia, who regarded the moon, and not the sun, as the visible symbol of the favorite object of their idolatry, the same period was ob- served as the birth festival. Thus we read in Stanley’s ‘Sabean Philosophy’: ‘On the 24th of the tenth month,’ that is December, according to our reckoning, ‘the Ara- bians celebrated the birthday of the Lord—that is, the moon.’ The Lord Moon was the great object of Arabian worship, and that Lord Moon, according to them, was born on the 24th of December, which clearly shows that the birth which they celebrated had no necessary con- nection with the course of the sun.
“It is worthy of special note, too, that if Christmas day among the ancient Saxons of this land was observed to celebrate the birth of any lord of the host of heaven, the case must have been precisely the same here as it was in Arabia. The Saxons, as is well-known, regarded the sun as a female divinity, and the moon as a male. It must have been the birthday of the Lord Moon, therefore, and not of the sun, that was celebrated by them on the 25th of December, even as the birthday of the same Lord Moon was observed by the Arabians on the 24th of December.”— The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, 7th edition, 92-94.
Christmas, Easter, and Halloween
by Vance Ferrell