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  #1  
Old Dec 23, '11, 9:14 pm
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Holly3278 Holly3278 is offline
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Smile The History of Christmas

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a merry, joyful, and Christ-centered Christmas this year! Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season and it is His birth we celebrate. The holiday (which means holy day) of Christmas exists because we are supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas.

Did you know that the earliest Christians celebrated Christmas first as a Christian holiday? Yep, they were Roman Catholics but back then they celebrate it on the Feast of Epiphany which was also the celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ. They celebrated the baptism of Jesus Christ and His birth on the same day during the earliest days of Christianity.

It wasn't until Saint John Chrysostom preached a sermon in Antioch in 386 that the date of Christmas was established as being on December 25. This was using the Julian calendar though which we no longer use. December 25 in the Julian calendar would be January 7th in the Gregorian calendar which is what we use today. That said, I don't know how Christmas begun to be celebrated on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar system. You can read more about the history of Christmas here:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

Hi everyone. This is a post that I posted on Facebook. I made very few minor edits to it so it would be good for Catholic Answers Forums. That said, I hope that you enjoy it. If there are any inaccuracies in this post, please let me know so I can try and correct them or at least correct my own knowledge of Christmas.
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  #2  
Old Dec 23, '11, 9:31 pm
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Holly3278 Holly3278 is offline
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Default Re: The History of Christmas

I did not post this on Facebook, only here so far but I am also going to post it on some other forums I visit. Here it is:

Did you know that the mythical figure of Santa Clause is based upon a real historical figure? Yep, he was based upon a Roman Catholic saint! His name was Saint Nicholas of Myra! He was a bishop in the early Church! I don't think we know when he was born but he died on December 6 in either the year 345 of 352.

Saint Nicholas was born at Parara which was a city of Lycia in Asia Minor. There is a story about him that says that he heard about a local man who had fallen on hard times and that it was so bad for him that he was going to sell his daughters into prostitution to help him out with money. One night Saint Nicholas went by the house at night and threw three bags of gold into the house through the window. Because he did this, he saved the girls from living an evil life of prostitution. Another story says that he raised back to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in brine in an attempt to hide the crime. He also induced some thieves to return their plunder to their rightful owner. Finally, he was on a voyage by ship to the Holy Lands when a fierce storm blew up that threatened the ship. Saint Nicholas prayed about it and then the storm calmed down.

Saint Nicholas of Myra is patron saint of many things. Here are just a few of the things that he is patron saint of:

  • against imprisonment
  • against robberies and robbers
  • of brides
  • of druggists (or pharmacists)
  • of fishermen
  • of prisoners
  • of perfumeries
  • and of students
You can read more about him at the following links:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11063b.htm

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-nicholas-of-myra/

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=371

http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/nicholas.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas

God bless,
Holly
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--St. Josemaria Escriva

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
--Saint Dominic

"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world."
--Blessed Pope Pius IX


Our Lady's 15 Promises to Those Who Pray the Rosary

Come, pray the Rosary

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  #3  
Old Dec 24, '11, 6:31 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: The History of Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly3278 View Post
First of all, I would like to wish everyone a merry, joyful, and Christ-centered Christmas this year! Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season and it is His birth we celebrate. The holiday (which means holy day) of Christmas exists because we are supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas.

Did you know that the earliest Christians celebrated Christmas first as a Christian holiday? Yep, they were Roman Catholics but back then they celebrate it on the Feast of Epiphany which was also the celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ. They celebrated the baptism of Jesus Christ and His birth on the same day during the earliest days of Christianity.

It wasn't until Saint John Chrysostom preached a sermon in Antioch in 386 that the date of Christmas was established as being on December 25. This was using the Julian calendar though which we no longer use. December 25 in the Julian calendar would be January 7th in the Gregorian calendar which is what we use today. That said, I don't know how Christmas begun to be celebrated on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar system. You can read more about the history of Christmas here:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

Hi everyone. This is a post that I posted on Facebook. I made very few minor edits to it so it would be good for Catholic Answers Forums. That said, I hope that you enjoy it. If there are any inaccuracies in this post, please let me know so I can try and correct them or at least correct my own knowledge of Christmas.
Hey!

Just a few additions, if I could:

The earliest known reference to the date of the Nativity as December 25 is found in the Chronography of 354, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome. It coincided with another 'nativity': that of the god Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun; the calendar records both feasts. In the calendar section, one could find N·INVICTI·CM·XXX ("Birthday of the Unconquered - games ordered: 30 (chariot races)"); in another section known as Commemorations of Martyrs, one could find VIII kal. Ian. natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae (8th of the Kalends of January: Birth of Christ in Bethlehem, Judea).

In the East, the Nativity was apparently originally commemorated with other events in the life of Jesus during January 6, which most of Christendom now commemorates as the Epiphany/Theophany. The pilgrim Egeria (AD 385) attended an Epiphany liturgy held in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem; her contemporary St. Epiphanius of Salamis in modern Cyprus could still speak of the day as being Christ's "birthday; that is, His Epiphany." (Panarion, 51, 22.3-7, 12-14; 27.4-6)
For the Savior was born during the forty-second year of the Roman emperor Augustus - in the thirteenth consulship of the same Octavian Augustus and the consulship of Silanus, as the Roman consul lists indicate. For these say as follows: "During their consulships," I mean Octavian's thirteenth and the consulship of Silanus, "Christ was born on the eighth before the Ides of January [=January 6], thirteen days after the winter solstice and the increase of the light and the day." Greeks, I mean the idolaters, celebrate this day on the eighth before the Kalends of January [=December 25], which Romans call Saturnalia, Egyptians Cronia, and Alexandrians, Cicellia. For this division between signs of the zodiac, which is a solstice, comes on the eighth before the Kalends of January, and the day begins to lengthen because the light is receiving its increase. And it completes a period of thirteen days until the eighth before the Ides of January, the day of Christ's birth, with a thirtieth of an hour added to each day. The Syrian sage, Ephrem, testified to this calculation in his commentaries when he said, "Thus the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, his birth in the flesh or perfect incarnation which is called the Epiphany, was revealed after a space of thirteen days from the beginning of the increase of the light. For this too must needs be a type of the number of our Lord Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, since, [added to the disciples], he made up < the > number of the thirteen days of the light's increase." [...]

I have been obliged to prove this with many examples because of those who do not believe that "The Epiphany" is a good name for the fleshly birth of our Savior, who was born at the eighth hour and manifested, by the angels' testimony, to the shepherds and the world - but he was manifested to Mary and Joseph as well. And the star was manifested to the magi in the east at that hour, two years before their arrival at Jerusalem and Bethlehem, when Herod asked the magi themselves the precise time of the star's manifestation, and they told him it was no more than two years before. And this very word gave the Epiphany its name, from Herod's saying, "the manifestation of the star." Thus when the magi said, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him," (Matthew 2:2) Herod say that he had not been inquiring about the name of a merely human king.
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Old Dec 24, '11, 6:56 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: The History of Christmas

[...] And so, after completing his thirtieth year in which he was baptized, and after completing his thirty-first by preaching for an entire "acceptable year" without opposition, but [then] preaching another year with opposition, to the accompaniment of persecution and hatred: and after completing [part of] another year after it, a full seventy-four days from his birthday, - (the Epiphany, January 5 at the dawn of January 6 and the eleventh of the Egyptian month Tybi) - until the thirteenth before the Kalends of April, as I said, < on that same thirteenth before the Kalends of April, > the twenty-fourth of the Egyptian month Phamenoth, he had attained a full thirty-two years, plus seventy-four days from the Epiphany. And he rose on the twenty-sixth of the Egyptian month Phamenoth - (this was the day of the equinox and was preceded by the night and the equinox) - the day which followed the twenty-fifth of Phamenoth, the eleventh before the Kalends of April, < and appeared to his disciples. > This makes liars of all who are not sons of truth.
Epiphanius is writing these in the context of a sect (the Alogoi) which rejects the gospel of John and Revelation, claiming instead that both were penned by John's enemy, a certain gnostic named Cerinthus. One of the 'proofs' they apparently presented for their accusation was the inconsistency with the Synoptic Gospels on matters such as chronology. Epiphanius is notably very big on the January 6 date, even applying symbolism of the number 13 (counting from December 25 to January 6).

Even in the beginning of the 5th century, Saint John Cassian mentioned that Egyptian monasteries were still celebrating the Nativity and Baptism together on 6th January, in contrast with the West, where both feasts have their own separate dates. (Conference 10.2)
In the country of Egypt this custom is by ancient tradition observed that— when Epiphany is past, which the priests of that province regard as the time, both of our Lord's baptism and also of His birth in the flesh, and so celebrate the commemoration of either mystery not separately as in the Western provinces but on the single festival of this day, — letters are sent from the Bishop of Alexandria through all the Churches of Egypt, by which the beginning of Lent, and the day of Easter are pointed out not only in all the cities but also in all the monasteries.
It seems to me that the December 25 commemoration of the Nativity was originally a purely Western (Roman?) custom: its mention in the Chronography of 354 suggests that it may have already existed in Rome for quite some time. By the late 4th century, however, it gradually began to spread East, starting from areas such as Cappadocia and Constantinople, at a time when Nicene orthodoxy was gaining the upper hand against the Arianism prevalent at the time. The very first mention we have of an Eastern commemoration of the Nativity in December 25 was from a sermon by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, then archbishop of Constantinople, around the 380s: he calls this day, wherein "the holy nativity of Christ" is commemorated, "the Theophany" (which is now the common Eastern term for the January 6 feast). On January 6 and 7, he preached two more sermons, wherein he declared that the celebration of the birth of Christ and the visitation of the Magi had already taken place, and that they would now commemorate His Baptism.

His later successor, St. John Chrysostom, further popularized and promoted this idea, and eventually most of the Churches in the East came to adopt the date (I guess under the mighty influence of Constantinople). The only one which did not was the Armenian Church: even today it retains the old Eastern custom of commemorating the Nativity (Սուրբ Ծնունդ Surb Tsnund) on January 6.

Now even after the December 25 date came to be established for most Churches, Christmas was at first still a relatively minor feastday compared to Epiphany during the early Middle Ages in the West: eventually, however, the medieval calendar soon came to be dominated by Christmas-related holidays, and sooner or later it outgrew Epiphany itself. It also helped that a number of kings (such as Charlemagne) were crowned on this day. And so Christmas came to have the merriment that it is known for.
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Old Dec 24, '11, 11:05 am
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haroldcrews haroldcrews is offline
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Default Re: The History of Christmas

Taylor Marshall has an excellent article substantiating December 25th as the Nativity.

http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2011/12/...-birth-of.html
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