Why do Christians celebrate Christmas?

(103 Posts)
MrsSpoon Tue 19-Dec-06 16:42:28

Most people seem to know that Christmas has it's roots in the pagan Solstice celebration, that 25th December was not Jesus' birthday and there is no mention of Jesus celebrating his own birthday in the Bible?

Many people ask me about my beliefs (I'm a JW) but thought I would turn the tables as I am genuinely interested.

MadamePlatypus Wed 20-Dec-06 17:45:53

easter is also timed to coincide with a pagan spring festival.

Tortington Wed 20-Dec-06 17:47:04

still doesn't negate the celebration of the risen Christ.

why is it mrs spoon?

Tortington Wed 20-Dec-06 17:56:08
PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Wed 20-Dec-06 17:57:44

Easter has roots in Paganism yes, Spring and new life and all that. Its all done by moon pahses.

Passover is calculated as :
The Lord's Passover always falls on the first full moon after the spring equinox. The time
of the full moon is calculated from Jerusalem time. The full moon must occur before sundown
there. The equinox always occurs on March 21st of each year. The first "FULL" moon after this signals the Lord's Passover


To get Easter:

Easter Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first official full moon following the official vernal equinox. The official full moon may differ from the real one by a couple of days. To calculate this date perform the following:

Calculate the Golden Number.
Every 19 years the phases of the moon fall on the same dates (or they would do if it were not for leap years). The Golden Number is a measure of how much in sync the phases of the moon are to the tropical year.

Golden Number = ( Year modulus 19 ) + 1
Example: 12 = ( 2006 modulus 19 ) + 1


Calculate the Julian Epact.
The Epact is a measure of the age of the moon for a specific date. For the Julian Calendar (the one created at the command of Julius Caesar in 45BC) the Epact is related to the Golden Number. By convention the Epact is between 1 and 30.

Julian Epact = ( ( 11 * ( Golden Number - 1 ) ) modulus 30
Example: 1 = ( ( 11 * ( 12 - 1 ) ) modulus 30

if Julian Epact = 0 then Julian Epact = 30
Julian Epact = 1 so Julian Epact = 1


Calculate the Gregorian Epact.
To get the Epact for the Gregorian Calendar we need to adjust for leap years, for slight inaccuracy in the calculation of the Golden Number, and add eight to make it the age of moon on the 1st of January. Of course, the age of the moon is always between zero and 29 days so it needs adjusted. However just as with the Julian Calander convention places the Epact between 1 and 30.

Gregorian Epact = Julian Epact - 0.75 * Century
Example: -14 = 1 - 0.75 * 21

Gregorian Epact = Gregorian Epact + ( 8 * Century + 5 ) / 25
Example: -8 = -14 + ( 8 * 21 + 5 ) / 25

Gregorian Epact = Gregorian Epact + 8
Example: 0 = -8 + 8

Gregorian Epact = adjust to between 1 and 30
Example: 30 = adjust 0


Calculate the 'Paschal' Full Moon before Easter
Now that we know how many days had passed since the New Moon on January the 1st we can use a simple table to look up the date of the Full Moon after the 'official' vernal equinox.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
12/31 11/31 10/31 9/31 8/31 7/31 6/31 5/31 4/31 3/31 2/31 1/31 31/21 30/21 29/21
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
28/21 27/21 26/21 25/21 24/21 23/21 22/21 21/21 18/31 ** 17/31 16/31 15/31 14/31 13/31

** if Golden Number > 11 Full Moon Date = 17/3
else Full Moon Date = 18/3

Example Full Moon Date = Thu 13 / Apr / 2006


Calculate the Sunday following the Full Moon.
Lastly we need the Sunday following the day of this Full Moon to obtain the date for Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday = Sunday after the Full Moon
Example Easter Sunday = Sun 16 / Apr / 2006

my head imploded after that

mmmmmmmmmm

Tortington Wed 20-Dec-06 18:03:09

whats that mean? mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

i take it as clitoral stimulation?

it means that i'm a bit about the reasones for not celebrating birthdays.

it all sounds a bit.....joyless to me.

Mincepiedermama Wed 20-Dec-06 18:08:37

What an interesting thread. I didn't know you were JW MrsS. My children on their post dinner high so I can't post at the moment but look forward to revisiting this.

poinsettydog Wed 20-Dec-06 18:08:56

"still doesn't negate the celebration of the risen Christ."

exactly

Tortington Wed 20-Dec-06 18:16:30

pointydog you just killed the thread.

ihave 15 mins of xmas bashing before i have to go get pissed.

no lets not let it be killed!!!!!

Tortington Wed 20-Dec-06 18:22:00

liveth - liveth longeth thread..eth

and so it came about that it was not dropped off the active convos list, and it was not dropped off and they did rejoiceth.

amen.

.

I celebrate Christmas because a baby was born, and he grew up and gave the ultimate sacrifice for me, for all of us. That touches me in a way that I can't describe. I understand that a lot of people get synical about pagan dates and what have you, but at the end of it all I could care less about that. Fussing about that loses sight of that precious babys birth. Even for people who don't believe in Christ I think its special. A time to be with your family in warmth and light, sheltered from the darkness. A season of Charity and Goodwill. Whatever your religion its hard to argue with that.

Tinker Wed 20-Dec-06 19:25:31

"Why do people who aren't Christians celebrate Christmas?"

I don't "celebrate" it, I enjoy it, excuse for good nosh and to drink booze in the morning.

poinsettydog Wed 20-Dec-06 19:43:28

custardo, I didn't think you were xmas bashing - I've got confused somewhere along the line or maybe I should stick to .

In fact, this thread generally confuses me.

At least you're going to get pissed.

poinsettydog Wed 20-Dec-06 19:44:04

Don't know what that full stop's doing there. I'm all over the place this evening.

christie1 Wed 20-Dec-06 20:04:09

As a regular church goer, christmas is one the most important events after easter to be celebrated each year. Its true no one knows the exact date of jesus birth, but if one believes he was born and is the son of god, then it is very meaningful to us to celebrate this time. But it is more than that, it is a spirit, a hope for good, of what people can be. I think Dicken got it right in the novel A christmas Carol in that chritmas means we turn our hearts and mind to those that need our help, and we try to live good lives no matter how humble, and, even the coldest heart can be moved (scrooge). I know, its a story but I think dickens was inspired by the spirit and hope the christmas season can inspire in people. Yes, it is incredibly commerical (what isn't really) but there is a spirit, people smile more, they feel happier (and not just from too much drinking) and for those who do practice christianity, it is a true celebartion of why we do show up every week to worship. Have I helped at all?

MadamePlatypus Wed 20-Dec-06 20:49:26

paulaplumpbottom, completely agree. I am not a 'christian' (and there is whole other thread I suppose on what a christian is), but the story of the birth of christ is very important to me. I don't believe literally that Christ died for our sins, but for me the story of his birth represents the world stopping for an instant because a baby was born, and valuing what is important. I don't think it is a negative thing that Christian festivals like Christmas and Easter are timed to coincide with older festivals. Christmas is a light in the darkness of midwinter, and Easter is about rebirth.

Mrs Spoon, I can see the JW point of view, but I think the celebration of these festivals represents a basic human need for people to mark the ebb and flow of the year.

MrsSpoon Wed 20-Dec-06 23:09:36

Not worrying in least Tommy, just nosey!

Poinsettydog, re paganism, I don't feel any need to come out and say I "despise paganism" because ultimately we were created with free will, we choose what to do with our lives including religious beliefs. I don't really have any 'ranking' system going on as far as religions go.

"You obviously think any pagan foundation would demean a religion." I suppose the answer to this is yes I do think this. Surely Paganism and Christianity are polar opposites, I just don't see how the two can be gelled together.

Custardo, I haven't and won't read your link. There is a vast amount of rubbish written about Jehovah's Witnesses, particularly on the internet . However do not take this as naivity, Jehovah's Witnesses are encouraged to question their beliefs and research and study them for themselves not just blindly believe.

Liquidclocks, I get a bit hazy about Easter, never understood it when I celebrated it nevermind now, but the rolling of the eggs is supposed to symbolise the stone being rolled away from the mouth of the tomb that Jesus' body was in. However the eggs, rabbit etc come from pagan fertility celebrations. We celebrate the passover (last supper) which happened before Jesus died and he specifically asked us to keep doing this in rememberance of him.

We don't celebrate birthdays is that the only two birthday celebrations spoken of in the Bible were held by persons who did not worship God. (Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21, 22, 24-27) The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The custom of celebrating birthdays comes from ancient false religions.

Although it does make me sad sometimes to think that people think this means we never have a party for our children or we never surprise them with presents because we do, usually 'just because' rather than for a particular reason.

Someone also asked what we will be doing on Christmas day. I'm not saying for a minute that this is what all Jehovah's Witnesses do but certainly we take full advantage of the day, view it as a bonus holiday day, if we are up early enough I'll make pancakes, crispy bacon, maple syrup and we'll sit down and eat that, then watch the TV, usually go out late morning for a walk, either end up at the park or get in the car and go to the beach for a walk, come back about 2pm, might open a bottle of wine, get the chocolate out for the kids, then I make a roast dinner, might play a board game, this year have bought a big jigsaw to do over the holidays with the kids. Put the kids to bed and sit down and watch the TV with DH, cue more chocolate and wine.

In addition to this over the next two weeks I am throwing three dinner parties because most of our family and friends have time off so it's a natural time to catch up with everybody (hence I am as anxious as the rest of you on www's x-mas shopping thread), going to my Mum and Dad's for the day, my Mum's coming to stay and we are going to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Beginning to panic that I may run out of time to make the butterfly cakes that DS2 saw on Big Cook, Little Cook today, that I promised to make him and also the caramel shortbread that I for some reason have a need to make at this time of year.

poinsettydog Wed 20-Dec-06 23:20:51

The two are gelled together by man's desire to make sense of life.

POlar opposites suggests you think paganism is evil.

MrsSpoon Wed 20-Dec-06 23:26:09

You are putting words in my mouth again Poinsettydog, I have already said I don't have any sort of 'ranking' system going on in my head but Christianity and Paganism are very different and I find it hard to see how you can mix them without diluting one or the other.

MrsSpoon Wed 20-Dec-06 23:26:52

Are you usually Moondog BTW?

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