In this issue . . .
Q: Was Christmas once a pagan holiday?
A: This is a common, but good question—especially around this time of year—and the answer is much deeper than most realize. Up front, the Bible simply doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s entrance into the world, so any estimates would only be inferences. But first, let’s discuss the pagan holiday.
This celebration was the pagan holiday Saturnalia, which was the Roman festival for their god Saturn. It ran from about December 17–23. Saturn is the Roman god analogous to the Greek god “Cronus” or “Kronos.”
The land of Greece was inhabited by the descendants of Noah’s grandson Javan. In fact, the Hebrew name for Greece is still Javan. Javan had 4 sons, and they were:
In Greece and the surrounding area, these names are still a reflection on the landscape. Many of Javan’s sons’ names and variants have cities, islands, and other geographical features named for them. Paul, the biblical author of two-thirds of the New Testament came from “Tarsus,” a variant of Tarshish. There were also the “Taurus” mountains in Turkey, and the “Tanais” is the old name for the Don River flowing into the Black Sea.
Read our full answer to the question in our special holiday feedback, The Origin of Christmas.
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News to Note Quick Look
A rat’s fifteen minutes of fame: Among a myriad of new species discovered in Asia’s Mekong River region is a rat. What’s so surprising about that? Read more.
Our father?: LUCA: I am your father? Read more.
Also: what we believe; an ardent evolutionist agrees with us?; web of ages; is religion being taught in state schools?; and that’s crazy talk. Read more.
This Week . . .
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