CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION IN HISTORY FROM 336 A.D. – 2017

Many modern church historians are in agreement that Christ began his ministry during the month of October in 29 A.D. -“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is Near”, during in the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius’ reign. Second Century Christian scholars, such as Irenaaus, said that Jesus “was beginning to be about thirty years of age” [Against Heresies h, II, xxii, 5]. The generally assumed date range for when John the Baptist was active, based on the reference to the reign of Tiberius in Luke 3:1-2, is from about 28-29 A.D., with Jesus beginning to preach shortly thereafter.

jesus-with-the-diciples

This satisfies the statement in Luke 3:23 “And when He began his ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age…” Based on the reference in John 2:13 to the Temple being in its 46th year of construction, scholarly estimates for Jesus’ Temple visit in John 2:20 are around 28-29 A.D., when Jesus was “about thirty years of age.” By working backwards from this date, it would appear likely that Jesus was born in 2-3 B.C.E. 

The Birth of the King of the Jews and His Star In the East

Herod the Great (74-1 B.C.E.) was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian Kingdom. After the birth of Jesus, some astrologers (magi) from Babylon visited Herod to inquire the whereabouts of “the one having been born king of the Jews”, because they had seen his star in the east (or, according to certain translations, at its rising) and therefore wanted to pay him homage (Matthew 2:1-12). Herod, as King of the Jews, was alarmed at the prospect of an usurper. Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the “Anointed One” was to be born. The astrologers answered, “In Beit-Lechem of Y’hudah,” citing the prophesy of the birth of a Jewish king from Micah 5:2, “because the prophet wrote, ‘And you, Beit-Lechem in the land of Y’hudah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Y’hudah; for from you will come a Ruler who will shepherd my people Isra’el.'” (Matthew 2:4-6)

Herod therefore sent the magi to Bethlehem, instructing them to search for the child and, after they had found him, to “report back to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” However, after they had found Jesus, they were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod. Similarly, Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he and his family fled to Egypt. When Herod realized he had been outwitted, he gave orders to kill all boys of the age of two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until Herod’s death, then moved to Nazareth in Galilee to avoid living under Herod’s son and successor Archelaus.

In 4 B.C.E., around the age of 70 years, Herod became very sick with chronic kidney disease complicated by Fourier’s gangrene.  Herod’s sons, between whom his kingdom was to be divided, were printing his coins as early as 4 B.C.E. to ensure their succession of rulership in Judea, with Archelaus exercising royal authority during Herod’s final years of rule.

Herod’s Death and Jesus’ Birth

The Roman historian Josephus tells us that Herod died after a lunar eclipse. He gives an account of events between this eclipse and his death. A Lunar Eclipse took place on January 10th, 1 B.C.E., about 18 days after the Eclipse. Jesus therefore was most likely born in 3 B.C.E. — as confirmed by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Africanus, Hippolytus of Rome, Hippolytus of Thebes, Origen, Eusebius, and Epiphanius.

Taking this further, we can speculate on the month of Jesus’ birth based on the conception story of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25). John the Baptist was conceived during the period of time Eighth Course of Abijah, which was May 26 to June 1 in 4 B.C.E. (Leviticus 21:16–23). The human gestation period is about 280 days ― nine months and ten days. This indicates that the birth of John the Baptist occurred near March 10th, 3 B.C.E. Jesus was conceived sometime in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:26, 36). Therefore, Jesus was born six months after, near September 11th, 3 B.C.E. [Tishri One on the Jewish calendar] during the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles, a very holy day in Judaism.

Jesus' Birth Timeline

Jesus’ Birth Timeline

Event Charts of Early Christianity :

The First Christmas Celebration by the Early Christian Church

For the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence, Jesus Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all. The religion’s most significant holidays were Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus’ birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. The first Christmas celebration by the early Christian Church occurred 331 years after Christ’s Crucifixion in Jerusalem on April 3rd, 33 A.D. (during the Lunar Eclipse at 5:12 PM LMT) and Pentecost, which is considered to be the inception date of the Roman Catholic Church. In an old list of Roman bishops, compiled in 354 A.D., these words appear for 336 A.D.: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae.” Translation: December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.

Iulius_I

Pope Julius I, the bishop of Rome (from February 6, 337 to his death in 352), declared the nativity celebration of Christ on December 25th because it coincided with the existing pagan festival honoring Saturn (the Roman God of Agriculture) that began several days before the Winter Solstice.

Horoscope of the First Christmas Celebration – 336 A.D.

first-christmas-celebration

Horoscope of the First Christmas Celebration: Rome, December 25th, 336 A.D.

Above is the horoscope of the first Christmas celebration that occurred in Rome on December 25th, 336 A.D. during the first Mass upon sunrise 7:30 AM Local Mean Time. In the First Christmas Celebration event horoscope, we note the placement of the Moon in Pisces. Many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fish. The twelve apostles were called the “fishers of men,” and early Christians called themselves “little fishes,” and a code word for Jesus was the Greek word for fish, “Ikhthus.”

Uranus on Cardinal Axis at 0 Aries

We also note from the First Christmas Celebration horoscope, the ingress of Uranus on the cardinal axis at 0 Aries, and the Neptune-Pluto square alignment, both mundane astrological portents that augur Christianity’s remarkable rise to prominence from a tiny persecuted cult to the established religion that would dominate in the medieval West over the next 1,500 years.

Neptune-Pluto Alignment

The Neptune-Pluto alignment often coincides with profound historical transformations within the collective, that usher in the seeding of a new cultural worldview that sets in motion the destruction of the old one. During the Neptune-Pluto square alignment during the early 4th century, there was a”changing of the Gods”, as powerful archetypal subterranean forces were unleashed that led to the destruction the of the Roman Empire and the death of its Gods, as a nascent underlying matrix emerged based on the metaphysical beliefs and dogma of Christianity that offered spiritual comfort and the prospect of salvation, decreed by the spiritual authority of the Church that would later eclipse Roman authority and rule by the early 5th century.

Precessional Shift into Pisces

Finally, the First Christmas Celebration by the early Church occurred within 40 years of the precessional shift into the sign of Pisces that occurred in 3rd century in 221 A.D. (based on the Fagan\Bradley Ayanamsa), which was the last year that the Sun last rose in the constellation of Aries in both the tropical and sidereal zodiac at the Spring Equinox. The Edict of Milan, an agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire, occurred in February 312 A.D., a mere 91 years after the precessional shift into the sign of Pisces.

age-of-pisces-begins-age-of-aries-ends-fagan-bradley-ayanamsa-221-ce

AGE OF PISCES BEGINS – AGE OF ARIES ENDS Fagan-Bradley Ayanamsa 221 C.E.

The Celebration of Christmas – From Rome to Constantinople

The celebration of Christmas spread over the next several centuries throughout the Roman Empire, from the Western capital of Rome to the Eastern capital of Constantinople which acted as a gateway between East and West. Christmas was promoted in the Christian East as part of the revival of Nicene Christianity following the death of the pro-Arian Western Roman Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378.

Christmas Celebration in Constantinople in 379.jpg

Christmas Celebration in Constantinople in 379 A.D.

 

Christmas festivities were introduced in the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople in 379, and at Antioch in about 380 A.D. After the collapse Western Roman Empire in 411 A.D., the celebration of Christmas ceased during the remainder of the 5th century. During the Dark Age (500 – 800 A.D.), Christmas Day was overshadowed by the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th), which focused on the visit of the magi. However, the medieval church calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays.

early-middle-age-charlemagne-is-crowned-holy-roman-emperor

The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in Rome on Christmas Day in 800 which marked the transition period from the Medieval Dark Age to the Early Middle Age (800-1066).

early-middle-age-charlemagne-is-crowned-holy-roman-emperor

Early Middle Age – Charlemagne Is Crowned Holy Roman Emperor

 

Also, William the Conqueror, the first King of England, was crowned on Christmas Day 1066, which marked the transition of the Early Middle Age to the High Middle Age (1066-1307).

early-middle-ages-william-the-conqueror-crowned-at-westminster-abbey-england-on-christmas-day-1066

Early Middle Ages – William the Conqueror Crowned at Westminster Abbey, England, on Christmas Day 1066

Christianization of Europe

spread-of-christianity-300-600-ad

After the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D., the Christianization of the Germanic peoples began. Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the celebration of Jesus’ birth, with many elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations throughout Europe who were later converted to Christianity from 300-600 A.D.

Pope Gregory I
English historian Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum contains a letter from Pope Gregory I (Pope from September 3rd, 590 to his death in 604) to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the pagan Anglo-Saxons. Pope Gregory I, suggested that converting heathens would go easier if they were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the Christian God instead of to their pagan “devils”: “to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God.”

Christmastide

In 567 the Council of Tours, located in central France, proclaimed that the entire period between Christmas and Epiphany should be considered part of the festive celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus, creating what became known as the twelve days of Christmas.

CHRISTMASTIDE

Christmastide Horoscope

After Christianity became fully embraced in Northern Europe by the 11th Century, Yule later underwent a Christianised reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide. Christmastide begins upon sunrise on Christmas Day and last 12 days, from December 25th to January 5th, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night (marking the visit of the three astrologers to the Christ child in Bethlehem).

Yuletide

Yule, or Yuletide, is an ancient pagan twelve-day festival of feasting beginning on the date of the Winter Solstice (marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year). During which time drinking, singing, hunting and exchanging gifts was celebrated by the Germanic peoples in pre-Christian Europe. The Yuletide custom was the sacrifice and offered up goods and animals (horses too), to the gods in order to conquer the darkness of winter. They then drank a toast the first toast to the Norse God Odin “for victory and power to the king”, the second toast to the god’s Njörðr, and Freyr “for good harvests and for peace”, and the third toast was to be drunk to the King himself. In addition, toasts were drunk to the memory of departed kinsfolk, and to thank each other and the gods for the past year and welcome the new year to come.

Yule Viking Celebration

Church missionaries from Rome during found it convenient to provide a Christian reinterpretation of popular pagan holidays such as Yule and allow the celebrations themselves to go on largely unchanged, versus trying to confront and suppress them. After Christianity became fully embraced in Northern Europe by the 12th Century, Yule later underwent a Christianised reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide. Christmastide begins upon sunrise on Christmas Day and last 12 days, from December 25th to January 5th, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night (marking the visit of the three astrologers to the Christ child in Bethlehem).

Many pre-Christian elements of the Yuletide , such as the Yule Log (a specially selected hugh block log that was burned on a hearth, lasting for the Twelve Days of Christmas) based on Germanic paganism, that had magical properties (particularly in parts of Northern Spain and Southern France) that became one of the most widespread Christmas traditions in medieval Europe, with the first recording of its appearance dating to 1184.

Yule Log Horoscope

Yule Log Horoscope

After Christianity became fully embraced the Yule Log became integrated into Christmas over the centuries. The burning of the Yule Log, the decorating of Christmas trees, the eating of ham, the hanging of boughs, holly, mistletoe, etc. are all historically practices associated with Yule. The tradition of slaughtering a boar at Christmas (Christmas ham) is probably salient evidence of this. The tradition is derived from the sacrifice of the boar to the god Freyr at the Yule celebrations.

By the High Middle Ages (962 – 1307) Christmas in Europe had become so prominent that many chroniclers of the era routinely noted where various knights, counts, earls, dukes, and territorial princes, and high level clergy celebrated Christmas. By the late Middle Age (1307 – 1453) King Richard the II of England, hosted the first formal Christmas Celebration feast in 1377 in London, at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten.

King Richard II of England Hosted a Christmas Feast

King Richard II of England Hosted a Christmas Feast

The Yule boar was a common feature of of late medieval Christmas feasts. Also during this period caroling (singing of songs and dancing, in a group performing public going from house to house) became popular. The caroling group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various medieval chroniclers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that “misrule” —drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival.

Christmas during the Renaissance (1453 – 1518) was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens along with the Yule log. Gifts were exchanged on Christmas Day between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated particularly in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I of England insisted that a nativity play be acted on Christmas night in the public square in London, and that the court indulge in games.

King James I of England Public Nativity Play

King James I of England Public Nativity Play

 

Wassail: Yuletide Beverage

Wassail is a hot beverage of mulled punch associated with Yuletide. In England the ancient custom of Wassailing became popular during Late Middle Age.  The word ‘wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’, which means ‘good health’. Historically, the wassail was a hot beverage mulled cider drink made with roasted apples, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar topped with slices of toast. It was served from large bowls, often made of silver or pewter. The medieval Wassail drink mixture was sometimes called ‘Lamb’s Wool’, because of the pulp of the roasted apples looked all frothy and a bit like Lambs Wool.

Traditionally, the wassailing is celebrated on Twelfth Night – January 5th, as a reciprocal exchange between the lords and their peasants as a form of recipient-initiated charitable giving. The wassail bowl was carried into a room with a great fanfare, a traditional Christmas carol about the drink was sung, followed by the serving of the steaming hot beverage.

Modern wassail recipes begin with a base of wine, fruit juice, or mulled ale, sometimes with brandy or sherry added. Apples or oranges are often added to the mix.

Crockpot Wassail

The Wassail Song (traditional English)

Here we come a-wassailing
among the leaves so green.
Here we come a-wand’ring
so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your wassail, too,
may the gods bless you, and send you
a Happy New Year,
the gods send you a Happy New Year.

Good master and good mistress,
as you sit beside the fire,
pray think of us poor children
who wander through the mire.
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your wassail, too,
may the gods bless you, and send you
a Happy New Year,
the gods send you a Happy New Year.

Bring us out a table fine
and spread it out with cloth;
Bring us out a farmer’s cheese,
and some of your Christmas loaf.
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your wassail, too,
may the gods bless you, and send you
a Happy New Year,
the gods send you a Happy New Year.

 

Eggnog: Post-Revolutionary America

Eggnog

In the early days of the United States, celebrating Christmas was considered a British custom and fell out of style following the American Revolution (1775-1783). It wasn’t until 1870 that Christmas became a federal holiday. However, Eggnog is traditionally consumed throughout the United States from American Thanksgiving through the end of the Christmas seasons every year. The word eggnog seems to have been an American invention, first appearing in the late 1700s. However, no one is sure where it came from. It may have evolved from nog, an old English name for a variety of strong beer, or from noggin, a small wooden mug used to serve drinks in taverns.

In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira, or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog. The drink crossed the Atlantic to the British colonies during the early 18th century.

george-washington

George Washington, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, one of the Founding Fathers, and first President of the United States, was a fan of eggnog. Washington had his own eggnog recipe and ordered his servants that it be prepared and served according to his specifications during his Christmas celebration events at his home and plantation at Mount Vernon  and during his Presidency (1789-1797).

  • 8:00 pm – Guest arrival with eggnog served and dancing
  • 10:00 pm – Seated supper
  • Midnight – Dancing resumes
  • 5:00 am – The last guests leave
First Presidential Christmas Eve Celebration at Mount Vernon Manor

First Presidential Christmas Eve Celebration at Mount Vernon Manor

The first President’s brew wasn’t an eggnog for the fainthearted, given its alcohol content (Note the Mars-Jupiter Conjunction):

George Washington’s Eggnog Recipe

One quart of heavy cream
One quart of milk
One dozen tablespoons sugar
One pint brandy
One dozen eggs
½ pint rye whiskey
½ pint Jamaica rum
¼ pint sherry

Directions: Mix the liquor first, then separate the yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let sit in a cold place for several (3-5) days before serving. The recipe ends with a congenial “Taste frequently.”  Nobody could tell a lie after having a few cups.

Great Britain: The English Christmas Revival

A Christmas Carol - a novel by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol – a novel by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a  novella by Charles Dickens (1815 – 1870), first published in London by Chapman & Hall publishing company on December 19th, 1843. A Christmas Carol met with instant success and critical acclaim, telling a story of a bitter cold-hearted old miser named Ebeneezer Scrooge and his psycho-spiritual death-rebirth transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by  the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) and the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley. The tale of Scrooge’s spiritual redemption since Christmas 1843 has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday among the eighty-eight English-speaking nations throughout the world.

Marley's Ghost from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol In Prose - Being A Ghost Story of Christmas" with Illustrations by John Leech

Marley’s Ghost from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol In Prose – Being A Ghost Story of Christmas” with Illustrations by John Leech

The book was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas Cards and Christmas Trees. Also, Christmas Carol singing took a new lease of life during this time. Dickens, being perfectly in-tune with British culture, published his story at precisely the right moment (Note: Mars-Jupiter-Neptune Conjunction Dec 1st, 1843), which reflected a widespread bourgeoisie interest and desire to reinvigorate Christmas and its ancient customs.  Since 1843,  A Christmas Carol remains popular—having never been out of print —and has been adapted many times to film, stage, opera, and other media. (Source: Wikipedia)

Yule Time Celebration

Yule Time Celebration

The United States:  The Globalization of Christmas

Christmas First Federal Holiday

Christmas First Federal Holiday

On June 26th, 1870, Christmas was formally declared a United States federal holiday. Christmas is the most widely celebrated holiday of the year in the United States, commonly celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike with various traditions.

The Cleveland Family White House Tree

The Cleveland Family White House Tree

The first electric lights on a family tree were used in 1894 during the presidency of Grover Cleveland. It was placed in the second floor Oval Room of the White House. The Cleveland Family tree decorated with red, white and blue electric light bulbs, delighted the president’s young daughters.

In the 20th century during the onset of the Industrial Revolution (circa 1900 during the Uranus-Pluto Opposition),  Christmas began to become peak selling season for retailers in the United States, along with many nations around the world. Sales increase dramatically as people purchased gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate. In the United States, the “Christmas shopping season” traditionally starts at the commencement of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at noon, with the arrival of Santa Claus who always closes out the parade, welcomed into Herald Square in Manhattan. The parade is presented and sponsored by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy’s.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa

During the Roaring ’20s – a period of dramatic economic expansion and social experimentation – many of Macy’s department store employees were first-generation European immigrants who quickly reached middle-class status and were proud of their new American heritage, and sought to celebrate the American holiday season of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe. The tradition started in 1924 at 9:00 am in Manhattan, New York (Note Jupiter in Sagittarius rising in the Event Horoscope). With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event.

 

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Christmas Shopping Season

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – “Christmas Shopping Season”

Hollywood: Miracle on 34th Street

Shortly after World War II, Hollywood began making high budget films that inspired dramatic situations at Christmastime, that soon became an essential part of many families’ holiday traditions, such as the 1947 American Christmas comedy-drama film Miracle on 34th Street. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City with the focus of the impact of a portly, joyous, white-bearded man named Kris Kringle who played Santa at Macy’s Department store, who claims to be the real Santa Claus. The film, written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies, was premiered in Manhattan New York at the Roxy Theatre on June 4, 1947.
Miracle on 34th Street Poster
Seventy two year-old Edmund Gwenn who played Kris Kringle in the film won an Oscar for his portrayal of Santa Claus. The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing, Original Story (Valentine Davies), and Best Writing, Screenplay.  The film became a Christmas classic, and is still a firm festive holiday favorite in homes seventy years after its release. In 2005, Miracle on 34th Street was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Miracle on 34th Street (film)

Miracle on 34th Street (film)

The world premiere horoscope of Miracle on 34th Street has Sagittarius on the Ascendant with the Moon rising, with a Sun-Uranus conjunction in Gemini, and highly tenanted Neptune being located at the top of the chart near the Midheaven. These portents represent how this is one of the most original films of its era that has stood the test of time and was able to draw out an impressive level of tongue-in-cheek humor alongside its sentimentality. Much of the delight in the film derives from Santa Claus himself, played by a perfectly casted Edmund Gwenn. The film’s charm is its touching displays of Christmas Magic, such as when he is able to speak Dutch with an orphan girl who knows him to be the real Santa.
Miracle on 34th Street

The magic of the film is in its ability to make a believer of anyone, as it engages the audience to suspend their beliefs and transcend their beliefs to the realm of the imaginal. The film’s charm also has a certain level of mystery, leaving to the audience as to if Kris Kringle was truly Santa or not, while captivating the true of heart and succeeding in its purity to inspire faith, sincerity, and compassion.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET QUOTES

  • Susan Walker: “I believe, I believe, I believe.”

  • Fred Gailey: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

  • Kris Kringle: “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a frame of mind.”

 

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