Saturday, December 05, 2009

Does The Lengthening Of Daylight Have Only Pagan Significance?

Something I posted in a recent Stand To Reason thread, which some of you may find helpful:

March 25 was being used by Christians, in multiple contexts, in the ante-Nicene church. Some Christians assigned Jesus' death to March 25. Some assigned His conception or birth to that date. It was often believed that some men, such as prophets, were conceived or born on the same day they died. Thus, if Jesus was crucified on March 25, some people would estimate His conception or birth at March 25. For those who estimated His conception at March 25, His birth would be estimated at December 25. A December 25 birthdate for Christ was just one date among others that was circulating, but it does seem to have been one of the early dates proposed, largely or entirely independent of pagan influences. It later became popularized as the mainstream estimate for Jesus' birth. It seems that paganism had more of a role in the popularization of the Christian use of December 25 than it had in the origination of it. And even that popularizing role seems to have been less than people often suggest. Some Christians were partially motivated to choose December 25 in order to compete with paganism by using a day that already had Christian significance and natural significance (the lengthening of daylight) that was independent of paganism. Notice the italicized words in my last sentence. Those qualifiers are often neglected in discussions of this issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment