Friday, December 16, 2016
Christmas Manger Scene
The folks who live in this house are very religious and announce their devotion to Jesus at every opportunity. Many others in Ocala feel much the same way and you will see numerous signs on lawns, cars, houses, businesses, etc., claiming "Jesus is the reason for the season."
Actually, that's not correct if you want to get technical. In fact, the early church didn't give a flip about when Jesus was born until the mid-4th century. Then the church fathers argued about the date because no one had any idea. They finally settled on December 25, which was the time that that many other religions celebrated the birth of their savior, not a few of these saviors also being born of a virgin in a cave or manger.
Mithraism was the big competitor to Christianity in the early 4th century and their god/savior was one of those born on Dec. 25. In fact, all of Rome came out to celebrate this birth on Mithras Eve, December 24.
So, it worked out well. People were already celebrating December 25, why not Christians?
But the reality is that this date was chosen, not so much because it was when Mithras was born, but rather because the popular sun god was born on December 25 and and that birth had been a festival in the Roman empire for many years.