Author Topic: Twas The Month Before Christmas  (Read 4650 times)

George Erdner

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2009, 09:13:21 AM »
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

You've just described how you respond to my posts, though Pastor Johnson will no doubt delete this one as soon as he sees it.

James Gustafson

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2009, 10:04:44 AM »
Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P

From the Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, under "Worship (Seasons)"

In Rome, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) had fixed December 25 (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) as the feast of the sun-god. By the time of the conversion of Constantine the day was no longer identified with the birth of the day star but with the Sun of Righteousness. Scholars claim that the date of December 25 is connected with the erection by Constantine of a basilica around the tomb monument of St. Peter at the site of the sanctuary of Mithras, the Persian sun-god.

From A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, under "Christmas"

In Egypt in 1996 B.C. the calendar recorded the winter solstice as being on January 6, but by the time Alexandria was founded in 331 B.C. the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25. The dates of the Christian festivals of Christmas and Epiphany are both linked with the winter solstice, transmuting celebrations of the pagan world. It is at Rome in the early fourth century that we find the first evidence for Christmas. In the year 274, the emperor Aurelian introduced in the imperial capital the festival of the Invincible Sun. Natalis Solis Invicti, on December 25. At some point before 336, the church must have established on this date the commemoration of the incarnation, the birth of the Sun of Righteousness.

I haven't seen you quote any resources with your view.

How exactly is my view different than those dates?  I was laughing about saying they got the solstice wrong, those articles do not say they got the solstice wrong.  The solstice by their calender was Dec. 25th, our calender corrects the leap year problem and moved the solstice to the modern day 21st and 22nd. (i.e., solstice stayed with the solar calander and the holiday moved with the gregorian calander so now they are not on the same day anymore).  

You know, perhaps that's why you have a such a large response of people debating your position, you end up fighting even those that are on your side.  Perhaps you should go back and read my statement and precisely find exactly what it is that you disagreed with.  Your summary of their position was incorrect, I took your word for what they said, it turns out that they didn't say what you said they said.  They said what I said: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25, they didn't "Get the date of the solstice wrong" the solstice was on Dec. 25, like I said.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 10:38:08 AM by James Gustafson »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2009, 10:09:38 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Erme Wolf

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2009, 10:22:53 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

The Sons of Norway will be calling on you.

GoCubsGo

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2009, 10:48:24 AM »
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

It depends.  Did he say it in Greek?  What was the theological intent of the greeting in the ancient Greek?  How was "Good morning" said in other places in the New or Old Testament?  Given Brian's penchant for over-analyzation and the "hermenuetic of suspicion" one must be very careful to take what he says not at face value.  Who knows he may simply be qouting a book, the ELCA constitution or the PB and not at all expressing his own "good morning." ;D

Now please return to worshipping the Sun god everyone and stop trying to argue that there is any "war" on Christmas. :-X

Richard Johnson

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2009, 11:26:27 AM »
Amazing dynamic here.
The dust-up over how Dec. 25 got to be Christmas - an essentially no-big-deal issue - took off and flew higher than it should.
Why?
Because Pastor Stoffregen was the one who mentioned it.
If Pastor Stoffregen says "Good morning!" to someone; does that automatically mean it's a lousy day?

You've just described how you respond to my posts, though Pastor Johnson will no doubt delete this one as soon as he sees it.


Let's see. . . considering. . . considering. It does violate the instruction to him not to respond to Austin's posts, which may merit removal . . . but on the other hand, he's essentially right in what he has said, and he has said it without using any vulgarities, untasteful expressions, or slanderous remarks . . . Oh, OK, I'll leave it.  ;D
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #51 on: November 23, 2009, 11:29:09 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Mike Bennett

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #52 on: November 23, 2009, 11:32:37 AM »
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Gary Hatcher

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2009, 11:39:09 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks:
Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond:
May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D
We (the Swedes) have regarded it as the day that we graciously let the Norwegians begin to govern themselves.  ;D
Gary Hatcher STS,
Pastor St. Paul & First Lutheran Churches
Garnavillo & McGregor, IA

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2009, 11:44:08 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks: Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond: May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D

Yes, Dick, but do you celebrate it.  And, are Norwegians a culture or civilization?
 ;)

Frid och allt gott, fader Steven
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Lutheranistic

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2009, 11:55:07 AM »
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett

Well, that and the use of the word "hoopla".

James_Gale

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2009, 11:56:53 AM »
Mr. Erdner asks: Is anyone aware of any day out of all 365 that wasn't celebrated as a holiday by some culture or civilization at some time in history?

I respond: May 17.

Excuse me? Even I, without a drop of Norwegian blood, know that is Syttende Mai, Norwegian constitution day. You, sir, are an ignorant or malicious Swede, slandering one of the most important days of the year! For shame!  ;D

Yes, Dick, but do you celebrate it.  And, are Norwegians a culture or civilization?
 ;)

Frid och allt gott, fader Steven


As a person of German and English descent who grew up in the Swedish Church, I have frequently wondered out loud to my Scandinavian friends whether there is any real difference between a Swede and a Norwegian.  After all, both groups eat that rancid fish thing at Christmas time.  

Mike Bennett

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2009, 11:58:13 AM »
I usually tell parishioners that we celebrate "two Christmasses."
One involves the secular hoopla. It's fun; you can't avoid it; it begins the day before Thanksgiving

I can tell Charles is roughly my age.  That's when secular Christmas used to begin (although I was thinking it was the day after, not the day before).  Now it begins sometime before Halloween.

Mike Bennett

Well, that and the use of the word "hoopla".

OK, young 'un.  You and your chums have a bang-up time, cut a rug and paint the town red!. ;D

Grampa Mike
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2009, 12:02:19 PM »
Since the Julian Calender and almost fifty years before the birth of Christ, the winter solstice did fall on December 25.  The difference between the calendar year and the solar year moved the actual solstice forward about three days every four hundred years when in the sixteenth century Pope Gregory XIII corrected the calendar, giving us our modern winter solstice to the 21st or the 22nd of December.

They got the date wrong…. LOL  ::) :P

From the Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, under "Worship (Seasons)"

In Rome, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) had fixed December 25 (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) as the feast of the sun-god. By the time of the conversion of Constantine the day was no longer identified with the birth of the day star but with the Sun of Righteousness. Scholars claim that the date of December 25 is connected with the erection by Constantine of a basilica around the tomb monument of St. Peter at the site of the sanctuary of Mithras, the Persian sun-god.

From A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, under "Christmas"

In Egypt in 1996 B.C. the calendar recorded the winter solstice as being on January 6, but by the time Alexandria was founded in 331 B.C. the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25. The dates of the Christian festivals of Christmas and Epiphany are both linked with the winter solstice, transmuting celebrations of the pagan world. It is at Rome in the early fourth century that we find the first evidence for Christmas. In the year 274, the emperor Aurelian introduced in the imperial capital the festival of the Invincible Sun. Natalis Solis Invicti, on December 25. At some point before 336, the church must have established on this date the commemoration of the incarnation, the birth of the Sun of Righteousness.

I haven't seen you quote any resources with your view.

How exactly is my view different than those dates?  I was laughing about saying they got the solstice wrong, those articles do not say they got the solstice wrong.  The solstice by their calender was Dec. 25th, our calender corrects the leap year problem and moved the solstice to the modern day 21st and 22nd. (i.e., solstice stayed with the solar calander and the holiday moved with the gregorian calander so now they are not on the same day anymore).  

You know, perhaps that's why you have a such a large response of people debating your position, you end up fighting even those that are on your side.  Perhaps you should go back and read my statement and precisely find exactly what it is that you disagreed with.  Your summary of their position was incorrect, I took your word for what they said, it turns out that they didn't say what you said they said.  They said what I said: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar meant that the solstice was on December 25, they didn't "Get the date of the solstice wrong" the solstice was on Dec. 25, like I said.

The phrases in the quotes: (the winter solstice according to the astronomical calculations of that time) and the inaccuracy of the calendar indicate to me that according to the astronomical calculations of our time, and the accuracy of our calendar, they were wrong. Perhaps  you understand those phrases differently.

I note that Festivals and Commemorations by Philip Pfatteicher, he states: Both Christmas and Epiphany are related to pagan solstice festivals (p. 34). However, in the newer New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, he states: Older studies suggested that both Christmas and Epiphany are related to pagan solstice festivals," but later he writes: "Careful study of the sources, however, fails to establish a close relationship between any pagan festivals and the epiphany, and in the later twentieth century another hypothesis was developed based on the relationship between the date of Jesus' death and conception and birth.... Because Christian devotion understood Jesus' perfect life to have begun and ended on the same date, the beginning of the Incarnation, his conception, was thought to have taken place on what was also to be date of his crucifixion, April 6. His birth therefore would have been exactly nine months later, January 6. (pp. 16-17)

However, in the same book, he also writes about "The Nativity of Our Lord". (He doesn't in the earlier book.):

According to the older "history of religious hypothesis," the celebration of December 25 was introduced to replace the pagan festival of the Unconquered Sun, Natale Solis Invicti, which the Roman emperor Aurelian, to unite and strengthen his empire, had established throughout the empire in 274 in honor of the Syrian sun-god of Emesa and which he ordered to be kept on December 25, a celebration of the winter solstice. The Church of Rome, according to this hypothesis, remembering biblical passages such as Malachi 4:2, which speaks of the "sun of righteousness," and John 8:12, in which Jesus refers to himself as "the Light of the world," introduced into its worship the celebration of the birthday of the true Sun, which  knows no setting. Such Christ-as-sun symbolism was deeply embedded in Christian consciousness.

During the twentieth century, another explanation developed, the "calculation hypothesis." From the third century Christians had attempted to calculate the date of Jesus' birth. Human life, it was thought, ought to begin and end on the same date to form a compete and perfect cycle. Because Jesus, above all others, lived a perfect life, the day of his death must also be the date of his conception. According to a variety of calculations, March 25 was widely held to be the date of Jesus' crucifixion, and therefore it ought also to be the date of his conception. His birth, exactly nine months later, took place on December 25. (The Eastern Churches, which fixed the date of the conception and crucifixion on April 6, kept the Nativity festival exactly nine months later, January 6.)
(p. 623)

So, there are two hypotheses about the date of the Nativity of the Lord -- and two different dates.

In regards to syncretism, Pfatteicher also writes: Pre-Christmas symbols have easily been incorporated into the Christmas celebration. Evergreen trees and holly tell of life that endured the cold and darkness of winter. Lights and fires were common to encourage the rebirth of the sun. (p. 624)

He also notes: In America the celebration of Christmas was largely  a nineteenth-century creation. Puritan influence suppressed the observance of Chrsitmas in New England and elsewhere. In 1847 no New England college had a Christmas holiday. Early in the nineteenth century a master at Boston Latin School on Christmas Day asked his class whether any students knew what day it was; no one knew. Not until 1836 did the first state, Alabama, declare Christmas a holiday; during the Civil War, thirteen states made Christmas an official holiday. (p. 623)

He suggests for further reading
Coffin, Tristram P. The Book of Christmas Folklore. New York: Seabury, 1973
Kelly, Joseph F. The Origins of Christmas. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2005
Studwell, William E. Christmas Carols: A Reference Guide. New York: Garland, 1984
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Lutheranistic

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Re: Twas The Month Before Christmas
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2009, 12:13:08 PM »

OK, young 'un.  You and your chums have a bang-up time, cut a rug and paint the town red!. ;D

Grampa Mike

Just what I had planned, Grampa Mike...right after I finish my new issue of the AARP magazine  ;)