Christmas Trees, Yule Logs, Santa Claus and Christ
Although the Christian Bible states that Jesus was
"The Lion of Judah" (LEO)
and born of a virgin (on the VIRGO cusp),
the Christian Church persists in calling December 25 his birthday.
Several and diverse were the cultures that have come together
in the development of Christmas as it is celebrated today.
The tradition began in about the Third Century.
Nicholas, a Bishop in the Greek Church at Antioch,
started a custom that he called "Children's Day.
He loved the children - so much so
that he set aside one day of the year in their honor.
He gave them parties, presents and special treats,
and soon everyone began to follow suit, continuing to this day.
After his death, the Greek Church at Constantinople
recognized his good works and made him a saint -
Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of children.
But parties are a pleasure,
and the Church of Rome considered pleasure to be a sin.
The Roman bishops first tried to fight this Greek celebration.
They condemned Children's Day the work of the Devil,
and their writings even equated the name of St. Nick
with the devil. Greek Saint = Roman Devil.
Despite the Roman ban on the celebration of Children's Day,
the legend of St. Nicholas and his day of joy and giving
spread throughout the Celtic Tribes of Northern Europe.
The Scandinavian tribes had always looked to the North
as a place of Strength and Safety.
and so St. Nicholas was given a new home at the North Pole.
Over the years, and through the telling of the legend
in many lands and many different dialects and tongues,
the name of the Patron Saint of Children became corrupted from
Saint Nicholas, to Saint Nick-Claus, to Santa Claus.
But independant of the Children's Day celebration,
which was held at the first day of the year,
there were also many ancient pagan traditions and customs
that the Roman Church also condemned as the Devil's Work.
On December 21, Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year,
there was a Druidic tradition of decorating a tree,
and celebrating with feasting, dancing and singing.
This custom was in honor of the Sacred Groves of trees
and could be traced back to the Age of Gemini
when trees were first worshipped by the Celtic priesthood.
The custom continued because of the dependence upon trees
for warmth and shelter throughout the cold winters.
The Yule Log was also lit on this day.
People would gather in their local castle
and the festivities and good times would continue
as long as the log burned.
If it was large enough, it would burn throughout
the entire 12 days of the Yuletide season.
In the more isolated areas where people could not attend
a large Yule celebration, they would travel from house to house,
lighting log after log, feasting, singing and dancing.
It was common for people to spend their entire year's savings
on this one big party - savings that could have been given
to the increasingly powerful Roman Church.
Naturally, the Bishops of Rome disapproved of this frivolity.
But people do not easily give up their ways, and so
during this time of conflict between the Celts and Romans
Pope Gregory had a vision of how these differences might be
reconciled, and thus win the Celts into the Christian fold.
He recognized the importance of native cultural traditions
and embraced the pagan celebrations into the Roman faith
by giving them "a veneer of Christianity."
Thus the Roman Church became known as
Catholic, meaning "all encompassing" or "universal".
The many seasonal festivals that had been celebrated for
centuries by the Celtic tribes found a new home within
the Gregorian Calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.
Two centuries later, another pope received a further vision
in which he saw a baby born beneath a brilliant star.
And in this revelation he saw a date - December 25th,
the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and Children's Day.
He interpreted the vision to mean that that
the birth date of Christ was December 25.
Thus the Winter Solstice, celebrating the birth of the Sun God
became a Christian festival for the birth of the Son of God.
Now the Christian Church had reason to accept the customs
of the pagan festivals, and so the Christmas tree, Yule Log,
joyous Christmas parties, St. Nicholas and the giving of
gifts to children all came to be integrated into the
celebration of Christ's birth - all on one day of Peace.
But the Pope's vision of that day would have a further sign.
Did the birth of the child symbolize
the future birth of the New Age of Aquarius?
On December 25th, 1970 the Aquarian Star appeared in the sky
as Saturn, Jupiter and Mars formed a conjunction
over the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota
at the center of the North American continent.
Is it not fitting that our "Christmas celebration"
had it's beginning on the celebration of "Children's Day?
Our children are our hope in the New Age,
for will we not be born again into the Aquarian Age?
The values that we teach our children can build a bridge
of Peace, Love and Caring to lead them into the Golden Age
when all the Ancient Wisdom shall return to the spirits
of the Children of the Earth and Sun.
from the writings of Eli, the Teacher
edited by Diogenes MacLugh