Are the true origins of western religions pagan in nature?
Imagine that you live in a very primitive society. A small group of up to a thousand people. Writing has not been invented yet. Of course there is no electricity, no running water, no medicine, no clothing (other than what you can make from animal skins and animal hair,) and no police. Everything you know is from stories that you've heard from other people. Usually elders that have been around and have seen many things.
Every year the seasons change. Wintertime is brutally harsh. Every day the days are shorter and shorter, and the sun rises lower and lower in the sky. The depth of winter is the greatest cause for worry and anxiety among you and your people.
But every year, something wonderful happens. There is a period, right in the middle of the depth of the cold, dark, deadly winter, where the sun reverses it's course. It stops going lower and lower in the sky, and turns around. The days begin to get longer and longer. For three days, the sun remains frozen above the horizon, seemingly hitting the same point, before reversing course and rising higher and higher day. Giving you and your people hope that in the knowledge that spring is coming. Spring means warmth, and food, and fruits and fresh water from the melting snow. Happiness. Abundance. Rebirth.
As the years and centuries go by, the stories around these events begin central to your culture, as the sun is the most important thing to you and your people. Without the sun, you and your people would surely die. This time of year, when the sun reverses it's course, and rises to the same point for three days, is celebrated with great happiness and joy, as it is a sign of the coming rebirth of all that is important to you and your people. Life.
What are these three days? December 23, December 24,and December 25. The birth of the sun.
Is it any mystery that the winter solstice, the most celebrated day in ancient times, coincides almost exactly with Christmas, the most celebrated day in modern western society?
Something to think about next time you celebrate the birth of the sun in the heavens, or the birth of the Son of Heaven.
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