By Joel Luckemeyer
Maybe you have seen one of your friends or family members post something on Facebook that says Christmas and Easter were originally pagan holidays. Maybe you have even heard Christians say that. Some will go as far to say that celebrating Christmas and Easter makes you a sinner because they are of pagan origin, and God never commanded us to celebrate Christ’s birthday or the day of His resurrection. They believe we should celebrate the feasts of the Old Testament. If you are Christian and you want to celebrate the Old Testament Feasts but not Christmas and Easter, fine, that’s your prerogative. However, shaming Christians that do celebrate Christmas and Easter is self-righteous. Our righteousness comes from Christ alone, not from your works. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you.
Of course, there are the atheists who actively spend time trying to “debunk” Christianity. When it comes to Christmas, they regurgitate information that first came from an Englishman named Gerald Massey. Massey born in 1828, fancied himself to be an Egyptologist. Real Egyptologists are highly critical of his work. Massey made claims that the story of Jesus’ virgin birth actually came from the story of the Egyptian sun god, Horus. Horus’ mother is Isis, and until Massey there was no account that she was a virgin. Egyptian mythology states that Isis was married to Osiris, and they were together when they conceived Horus. The myth of how Horus was conceived is probably too graphic for a pastor to write on Christmas day, but rest assured, Isis wasn’t a virgin.
However, atheists like Bill Maher cling to lies like Horus’ virgin birth. In his movie “Religulous,” he ambushes Christians with interviews and says things like, “Jesus’ story wasn’t original.” His film then uses a source written in 1280 B.C., called the Egyptian book of the Dead. However, there isn’t one single “Book of the Dead,” but many. And while they may predate the New Testament, there is no story of Horus being born of a virgin, or being baptized by Anup in a river like Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Anup the Baptizer doesn’t exist in any ancient text concerning Horus.
Let’s talk about the date of Christmas. The Church does not know the exact day of Jesus Christ’s birth. That said, there is evidence dating back to as early as the 2nd century that Christians celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25th. Clement of Alexandria wrote in his “Stromata” that the conception of Christ in Mary was celebrated on March 25th, and therefore, Christ’s birth was celebrated nine months later on December 25th. This leads to two main points. One, the date had nothing to do with the Winter Solstice, and two, Clement’s “Stromata” was written sometime between A.D. 193-215. That was decades if not centuries before any of the Roman and European Pagan traditions celebrated their gods being born on December 25th. Hippolytus of Rome also echoed this in his commentary on Daniel which was written in between A.D. 202 and 211.
Few things drive me crazier than the ignorant misinformation that Christianity and all its traditions are based off of Mesopotamic (Middle-Eastern), Roman, and other European mythology. Most people who fall for this are just echoing what they have heard. But others are being openly dishonest. Research into historical documents instead of Google searches will quickly discredit the arguments that Christianity, and its celebrations, were pagan in origin. Real historians know that Jesus of Nazareth existed. That is fact. Where does faith come in? I have faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and nothing will shake that.
Joel Luckemeyer is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He may be reached by calling 559-592-4070.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.