Friday, December 26, 2014

SATURNALIA OR CHRISTMAS? ANSWERING THE CRITICS


Bobservations
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz
 
   Todays, December 21st, is the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight all year. Back in September, the path of the sun crossed over the Equator as the Earth’s southern hemisphere’s summer months were to begin. Today marks the midpoint of the sun’s summer down south, and begins its change to blaze brightly over the northern hemisphere for our summer months next year. March 20 will mark another Equatorial crossing for the sun, but our hours of daylight begin to increase again tomorrow. 

    This weekend (December 17-23) also marks the ancient pagan holiday of Saturnalia. It is a holiday of Pagan Rome when the deity Saturn was worshiped. (The ancient Greeks had a corresponding festival called “Kronia.” ) Saturnalia marked the dying age of Roman mythological greatness, and it was a day when even slaves would enjoy being served at tables. A variety of Saturnalia rituals took place, from the burning of Yule Logs, to bringing boughs of evergreens into the home, to celebrate long life in the midst of a dying age. Sacrifices were made at the Temple of Saturn, banquets were public affairs, and gift giving took place privately.  

    The similarities to our Christmas holiday seem uncanny. Yet, I cannot remember a single Christmas during my lifetime when I was mourning mythology, worshiping the God Saturn, and banqueting publicly. 

    Christians do not celebrate Saturn this time of year. Some practices on the surface seem to have been borrowed, but for Believers, it is a celebration of renewal and new life. And though our critics continue, let me assure you that we have not “borrowed” anything from Saturnalia. For as surely as the 9/11 hijackers commandeered airliners to use them for their own purposes Christians hijacked this pagan holiday to make it a festival of hope and new life; one of prophecies fulfilled! Quite literally, we have taken a negative holiday, and made it a positive one, dedicated to the birth of our New Born King! The stars were given to us for signs. We have re-interpreted the signs to glorify Jesus.
   
The Christ Child is not mythology, He is real.
“For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given.”
- Isaiah 9:6 -







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