How This Pagan Custom
                  Got into the Church

       Then how did this pagan custom creep into the West-
ern Christian world?
       The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious
Knowledge
explains it clearly, in its article on "Christ-
mas": "How much the date of the festival depended upon
the pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) following the Saturnalia
(Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day of the year
and the 'new sun' . . . cannot be accurately determined.
The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply
entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian
influence
. . . . The pagan festival with its riot and merry-
making was so popular that Christians were glad of an
excuse to continue its celebration with little change in
spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the West and
the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity
with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Chris-
tians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of
idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this
pagan festival
."
       Remember, the Roman world had been pagan. Prior
to the fourth century, Christians were few in number,
though increasing, and were persecuted by the govern-
ment and by pagans. But, with the advent of Constantine
as emperor, who made his profession of Christianity in the
fourth century, placing Christianity on an equal footing
with paganism, people of the Roman world began to
accept this now-popular Christianity by the hundreds of
thousands.
       But remember, these people had grown up in pagan
customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of
December 25th. It was a festival of merrymaking, with its
special spirit. They enjoyed it! They didn't want to give it
up! Now this same article in the New Schaff-Herzog Ency-
clopedia of Religious Knowledge
explains how the recog-
nition by Constantine of Sunday, which had been the day
of pagan sun worship, and how the influence of the pagan
Manichaeism, which identified the
SON of God with the
physical
SUN, gave these pagans of the fourth century, now
turning over wholesale to "Christianity," their excuse for
calling their pagan-festival date of December 25th (birth-
day of the
SUN-god), the birthday of the SON of God.
       And that is how "Christmas" became fastened on our
Western world! We may call it by another name, but it's
the same old pagan sun-worshipping festival still! The
only change is in what we call it! You can call a rabbit a
"lion," but it's still a rabbit, just the same.
       Again from the Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Certain
Latins, as early as 354, may have transferred the birthday
from January 6th to December 25, which was then a
Mithraic feast . . . or birthday of the unconquered SUN
. . .
The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6th,
accused the Romans of sun worship and idolatry, con-
tending . . . that the feast of December 25th, had been
invented by disciples of Cerinthus. . . ."