Friday, August 14, 2015

Pagan Christmas?

This morning while running I listened to a podcast about the history of Rome. The podcast's Christmas special (yeah, I know, Christmas in August--bear with me) explained how the date we use to celebrate Christmas probably stemmed from the pagan celebration of Sol Invictus, or the unconquered sun. The celebration recognized that, after months and months of shrinking days and growing nights, the light was finally going to push back the darkness.

I've sometimes wondered about our decision to celebrate Christmas on December 25th, which really wasn't the day that Christ was born. However, I today I decided that I'm okay with it. Even if it isn't Jesus's literal birthday, the symbolism is stirring. The coming of the sun, or of the Son, will push back the darkness and save us from the bitter cold.

He is risen! He is risen!
He hath opened heaven's gate.
We are free from sin's dark prison,
Risen to a holier state.

Mike Duncan, "The History of Rome Christmas."
"He Is Risen!" LDS Hymns No. 199.

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