December 25th as Yeshua/Jesus Our Lord's Birthday
(This is taken from a discussion in a newsgroup in 1997)

I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a specific document or council which decided on the Christmas date? Of course the earliest Christians would not be found observing it. When in the history of the church did it become official? Did early Christians oppose it. How easily did Babylonian priestcraft infuse the church? Where were the fathers of apostolic succession and the guiding Spirit of Ruach Hakodesh.

I believe the Spirit guarded against the heresies which Paul spoke about in his days,and brought the Word of scripture to us intact down to present times. I am hoping that the observence of Christmas was approved of by the early church, however my search for the historical truth has been unrevealing to me.

Who can tell me of the correct references to search. Can someone recommend a good text book? I would be grateful if anyone can help!

The following section is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia under the article of Christmas. You can get a copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia in most libraries across the USA.


THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS

The feast is first mentioned at the head of the Depositio Martyum in the Roman Chronograph of 354 (ed. Valentini-Zucchetti) (Vatican City 1942) 2:17]. Since the Depositio was composed in 336, Christmas in Rome can be dated back that far at least. It is NOT (capitals mine) found, however, in the lists of feasts given by Tertulian (De baptismo 19; CSEL 20:217) and Origen (Contra Celsum 8:22, PG 11:1549). (Tertulian and Origen were early Church Fathers ... Eddie)

Why then was December 25 (the date for Christ's birth as observed by the Western Roman Empire .... the Catholic church) and January 6 (the date of Christ's birth as observed by the Eastern Roman Empire ... the Greek Orthodox Church) ??? (As you can see the Protestant world follows the date of the Roman Catholic Church and not the date of the Greek Orthodox Church ... Eddie). Several theories are offered in explanation.

Some (John Chrysostom, B. Lamy: see Kellner, 143-145) actually believed December 25 was the birthday of Christ and tried to prove it by arguing from the conception of St. John the Baptist. Assuming, gratuitously, that Zachary was high priest and that the Day of Atonement fell on September 24, John would have been born on June 24 and Christ 6 month's later, on December 25. This theory is now considered completely UNTENABLE (capitals mine ... Do you see how twisted logic can become when this story is not understood from a Hebraic perspective? ... Eddie)

According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener, developed by B. Botte (Les Origines) and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian Calander and January 6 in the Egyptian) because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On December 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong in Rome. This theory finds support in some of the Church Fathers' contrasting the birth of Christ and the winter solstice; indeed, from the beginning of the 3rd century "Sun of Justice" appears as a title of Christ (Botte, Les origines 63).

In the East (Eastern Roman Empire), the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) was kept originally on January 6. Nevertheless, toward the end of the 4th century the Western feast of December 25 was admitted. The earliest testimony to an Eastern Feast of Christmas is a sermon of Basil (d. 379; Homilia in s. Christi generationem, PG 31:1457-76). On December 25, 379 or 380, Gregory of Nazianzuz preached a Christmas sermon in Constantinople (In theophaniam oratio 38, PG 36:311-334); he later referred to himself as the founder of the feast (In sancta lumina oratio 39.14; PG 36:349). In Palestine, however, the birth of Christ was celebrated on January 6 until the middle of the 7th century when December 25th was permanently accepted.