This past week I wrote about the history of the Christmas tree, linking to accepted sources of scholarship, and got into the history of Christmas itself along the way. I wrote,
“Christians have not always embraced Christmas trees. Ancient pagans used evergreens to decorate homes and temples at the winter solstice to celebrate the rebirth of the sun god. The Roman Catholic church appropriated pagan holidays they could not stamp out in the common culture, but turned their meaning to Christian themes. Thus the celebration of the rebirth of the sun god at the winter solstice became the celebration of the birth of the Son of God on December 25 – Christmas, or Christ’s Mass.”
Gene Edward Veith in his latest column in World Magazine writes that the whole pagan winter solstice celebration is a myth, and that Christians were celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25 from very early on. He cites two sources of scholarship. I want to read his sources, it would be wonderful if true (and I do not doubt that it is; I find it hard to believe that Veith would publish something which could be easily proved false).
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