The Pagan Christmas by David King 1866
See also The Pagan Origins of Christmas - 40 Books on CDROM and The Pagan Christ, Over 200 Books on DVDrom (Christ Myth) Mithras, Buddha etc
Of the times and the seasons, brethren, it is needful that we write to yon, both because we promised to do so and also because of the revival, in certain quarters, of a zeal for the holy-days of Mother Church.
To thousands there is something pleasing about Christmas, but, after all, what is it to the Christian? The day which commemorates the birth of our Saviour! But who has required this commemoration? For setting apart a day in remembrance of his resurrection we have divine authority, but for this Christmas business none whatever. But has it not come to us from the Apostles? Certainly not. The best informed writers of all parties admit that the birthday of Jesus cannot be determined and also that the church did not observe Christmas till the third century, and not then to any considerable extent. It is also clear that the birth of Jesus did not occur in mid-winter, for it took place at that season of the year when the shepherds watched their flocks at night in the open field, for thus did the angels appear to them. True the Eastern winter was not as severe as our's, but still it was too cold for sheep and shepherd to lodge in the open plain at the end of December. The flocks, according to Maimonides, were removed to the cities before the early rain, which fell in the month Marchesvan and consequently about October. Thus far then our course is clear— there is no Bible authority for keeping the birthday of the Saviour—no evidence of any attempt to observe it till the third century, and the time set apart for the observance is not the right time. When then we teach our children that Christ was born on Christmas-day we teach them falsehood, and when we observe the day we honour not Christ but an Apostate Church whose deeds we are bound to renounce. But may it not have come from the apostles? Certainly not! Had it been of divine appointment. The Bible would have certified the fact. Had the apostles set apart a day for this purpose they would have appointed the right one, and we have seen that this is not the day. Then, too, we know that this same day was observed in honour of an infant god and his mother centuries before the birth of Christ. But how can this be, seeing as we have said the church had nothing to do with it till the third century, and that the birth of the Saviour could not have been commemorated before it took place? It was not observed ua referring to Christ till the third century, but when thus first observed it was not invented but transferred from Pagan Worship, like other days and ceremonies of which we hope to write hereafter.
Here the subject might be left but some of our readers want to know some little of the history of their old friend Christmas, whom they have looked upon with considerable veneration and whom, even now, they can hardly bring themselves to regard as an impostor. But there is no help for it, and the hoary-headed deceiver must be turned out of doors. How then came the Apostate Church to select December 25th as Christmas day? That the selection is remarkably appropriate we do not deny. The Apostacy is designated Babylon, Ancient Babylon is the type of Mystic Babylon. What more fit than for the dwellers in Modern Babylon to observe a day which originated in the Literal Babylon, and which has been observed yearly since the days of Semiramis? From this same day and from this same Babylonian Queen come the Madonna and child of the Roman Church, and from the early rites and observances of Ancient Babylon came most of the religious ceremonies of Pagan nations, including Egypt, Greece, Rome and Britain. When then the apostatic church allowed itself to be converted to a large portion of the superstitions of the heathen and to adopt heathen rites and observances by way of making conversion more easy and certain, it was most appropriate to designate the thus corrupted church by the name of the Kingdom in which those corruptions first originated, and hence we have Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots.
Long, then, before the Christian era, and long after, the heathen celebrated a festival at this precise period of the year in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian Queen of Heaven, and without doubt this day was adopted to conciliate the heathen and increase the nominal followers of Jesus. This absorption of heathen observances into the church is not matter of conjecture. Tertullian boldly protests against it. He says "By us who are strangers to Sabbaths, New Moons and festivals [Jewish], once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia, are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, New Year's day presents are made with din, and sports, and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt nothing from the Christians." The Babylonians supremely worshipped a Goddess Mother and a Son, who were represented in pictures and images as a mother with child in arms. This worship spread to the great nations of the earth. In Egypt, the Mother and Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. So in India to this day they worship Isi and Iswara —in Asia Cybele and Deoius. In Pagan Rome they appeared as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer, or Jupiter the boy. In Greece, as Cere's the great Mother with the babe at her breast, or as Irene, the Goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms. In China and Japan, the Jesuit Missionaries were surprised to find the counterpart of their own Madonna and Child as devoutly worshipped as in Papal Rome itself; Shing Moo, the Holy Mother, in China being represented with a child in her arms and a glory round her head exactly as in Roman Catholic pictures. The name, "My Lady," by which Romanists designate the Mother of Jesus, comes from the same source. Belus and Beltis are the titles of the great Babylonian God and Goddess. The Greek Belus was Baal, "The Lord." Beltis, therefore, as the title of the female divinity, was equivalent to "Baalti," which put into English is "My Lady"—in Latin "Mea Domina"—and in Italian corrupted into the well-known "Madonna."
Under the name of the "Mother of the Gods" the Goddess queen of Babylon became an object of almost universal worship. The "Mother of the Gods" was worshipped by the Persians, the Syrians, and all the Kingdoms of Europe and Asia, Tacitus gives evidence that the Babylonian Goddess was worshipped in Germany, and Csesar found that the priests of this same Goddess, known as Druids, had invaded Britain before him. Herodotus testified that in Egypt this "queen of heaven was the greatest worshipped of all the divinities," and there the worship of the Goddess Mother and Child continued to be observed till Christianity entered when, in too many cases, the name only was changed and the Virgin Mary and her child were worshipped with the old idolatrious feeling.
The very paintings intended to represent the Mother of Jesus remarkably confirm the above facts. The Virgin Mother of our Saviour belonged to a land of dark eyes and raven locks. Who would ever think of depicting a daughter of Judah with blue eyes and golden hair? But until Raphael deviated from the beaten track nothing either Jewish or Italian could be found in the Romish Madonnas. They were yellow-haired, blue-eyed copies of the long honoured Babylonian Mothers of God, agreeing with all that antiquity places to the account of the Goddess queen of Babylon, from whom, in almost all lands, the Golden-haired Lady and Child may be found. Thus Europa, whom Jupiter carried away in the form of a bull, is called by Ovid the "Yellow-haired Europa." The huntress Diana, who is commonly identified with the moon, is addressed by Anacreon, as "the yellow-haired daughter of Jupiter." Minerva is called by Homer "the blue-eyed Minerva," and by Ovid, "the yellow-haired," and so on in too many instances to be cited here, As in Italy the most famed pictures of Mary represent her with fair complexion and yellow hair, so is she invariably to the present day represented in Ireland. What other conclusion can be come to than that she is thus copied from the same original as the pagan divinities? And this argument aino extends to features as well as hair and eyes. In this particular the original Roman Madonnas have nothing Jewish or Italian. They agree completely with the Babylonian Madonnas found by Sir R. K. Porter among the ruins of Babylon. For many of the above illustrations we are indebted to "The Two Babylons," by Alexander Hislop, and in his words we may hasten to conclude "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 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. It was no mere astronomic festival that the Pagans celebrated at the winter solstice. That festival at Rome was called the feast of Saturn, and the mode in which it was celebrated there showed whence it had been derived. At the feast, loose reins were given to drunkenness and revelry, slaves had a temporary emancipation, and used freedoms with their masters. This was precisely the way in which, according to Berosus, the Drunken festival of the month Thebeth, answering to our December, in other words, the festival of Bacchus, was celebrated in Babylon. 'It was the custom,' says he, 'during the five days it lasted, for masters to be in subjection to their servants, and one of them ruled the house, clothed in a purple garment like a king.' This 'purple-robed' servant was called 'Zoganes,' the 'Man of sport and wantonness,' and answered exactly to the 'Lord of Misrule,' that in the dark ages was chosen, in all Popish countries, to head the revels of Christmas. The wassailling bowl of Christmas had its precise counterpart in the 'Drunken festival' of Babylon; and many of the other observances still kept up among ourselves at Christmas came from the very same quarter. The candles, lighted on Christmas-eve and used so long as the festive season lasts, were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian God, to do honour to him; for it was one of the distinguishing peculiarities of his worship to have lighted wax candles on his altars.
Thus then we dismiss old Christmas as a relic of Paganism, discountenancing alike the drunken revelry of the one class and the crosses, choristers, processions, vestments, and candles of the other. Drunkenness of course is an abomination to God, but so also are the relics of heathenism and romanizing machinery in which certain so-called Churches delight. For the one there is no more authority than for the other. Lingerers in Babylon, Come out and be ye separate!
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