The Ancient Origins of Christmas

“Through your mercies, Lord, may the months
be for us the source of joys, the years, of delight;
let them bequeath to us in peace, O Lord:
Nisan has its flowers, Iyyar its lilies too,
Haziran its sheaves, Tammuz its heaps of grain;
let Ab and Illul bring along grape-clusters on poles,
let the two Teshris give response to each other in the grape-pressing;
let the two Kanuns bring rest, Shebat and Adar, the Fast.
To you, Lord, be the praise.”

There are many New agers and pagans that insist that Christmas is a celebration ‘stolen’ by the Christians and that the true Christmas is actually called ‘Yule’. Yule is a Germanic festival which was adopted by the Celts and like all pagan religions, it was taken from the Mesopotamians who were the originators of these rites and religious traditions. For the sake of accuracy and to attempt to give knowledge instead of the profaning of the mysteries, I will explain the true origin of the dying and resurrected sun god festival and how the root of the Christian mysteries hail from the Sumerian sacraments.

I will try to summarize the ancient stories in order to bring you greater understanding of the pattern of the divine matrix.

It all begins with the Goddess Inanna who is the epitome of the Morning Star, Venus. Mother Inanna is the Queen of the Mysteries and the Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld and she is given this title of the ruler of these realms because she conquered the heavens and then descended to Earth and conquered the Earth and then after descended to the underworld where she conquered death.

The Goddess Inanna descended into the underworld to sacrifice herself for the sake of humanity. By doing so, she passed her last journey where she would learn the mysteries of the underworld and its funerary rites. Within the underworld she was killed by her great aunt, Ereshkigal for no one enters the underworld and lives. For 3 days the Goddess hung on a stake until her grandfather, Enki, resurrected her by giving her the life giving waters of the Abzu.

While the queen was gone from the Earth the vegetation died and the people cried to be saved and upon her resurrection, the plants and leaves began to grow once again. In her place, he husband would descend and it would be his divine bride, Inanna, who would descend to resurrect him thereafter for she had gained the rite and power to do so as she was now the resurrector of men and gods.

How does the Easter story fit in with Christmas? All patterns are connected and all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the matrix of life fit together in order to give us the true picture as you will understand in the next part which introduces you to the god Marduk who is the divine groom of the Goddess Inanna (Ishtar).

So who and what is the god Marduk?

The god Marduk, who’s name means ‘Golden Calf of the Sun’ and Mar-Duku/Damu (Damuzi) which means ‘Divine Chosen Child of the Holy Chamber, was born in a cave to the god Enki and the Goddess Damkina. He had been specifically created to destroy the dragoness Tiamat which represents chaos. The gods also resided in the belly of Tiamat and had no free will of their own and so to gain free will for themselves which was also given to humanity, Tiamat had to be defeated by a hero who would inherit the attributes and titles of the chief gods, Anu (heaven/sky) and his sons Enlil (Lord of the Air) and Enki (Lord of the Earth).

The god Marduk was known as the Word (Logos) and upon defeating chaos/Tiamat, he was granted 50 new titles as well as the rulership over the universe. As chief of the gods, he charted the course of the planets, moons and constellations and became the Saviour of the gods and humanity who had freed gods and humans from chaos, bringing order to chaos, and given them their own free will.

When Marduk decided to created humanity, he took the clay/earth and created forms and to give these forms life, he cut of his head and allowed the blood from his head to pour into these forms which then was animated by the souls of the gods which descended into them. Thus human beings were created. This formed a covenant with the gods and humanity for an eternity, binding them by blood, soul and thought.

And Lord Marduk cut off his head and poured his head-blood into the forms that he had created out of earth, sharing the divine nous with the human beings he had created…
-Babylonian Texts of Creation

The temple of Marduk in Babylon is called Etemenanki which means ‘The Foundations of Heaven and Earth’ and it was believed that in this temple the gods and humanity communed as one.

And then comes to story known as ‘Marduk’s Ordeal’ were evil, imposter gods (humans that believed they were above the gods/divine) came and invaded the lands of the gods and Marduk told the other gods and humans to step back, that he would be the sacrifice in order to save them from death.

The evil imposter gods took Marduk and tortured him. They beat him until his clothes were drenched in his blood. They then took him to a mountain and murdered him.

Only one deity could save him and this was his divine bride, Inanna/Ishtar. Their son, Nabu, sent the bloody clothes of Marduk to his mother who came and resurrected Marduk and together, the gods and humanity defeated the evil, imposter gods.

How does this tie in with Christmas?

Around 5,000 years ago the in the cradle of civilization, the Sumerians and Babylonians celebrated the festival of Zagmuk (Sumerian) also known as Akitu (Akkadian) which means ‘Beginning of the Year’ and this was a New Year festival that was held in the month of December and which lasted for 12 days. Zagmuk centered around several points being

*The birth of Marduk
*The defeat of Chaos by Marduk
*The sacrifice, death and resurrection of Marduk
*The reconnection of the gods with humanity
*The Hieros Gamos, performed by Inanna (Ishtar in Babylon) with the fertility archetype of Marduk known as Damuzi.

Just like all chief gods such as Zeus and Jesus etc Marduk was born in a cave and each Zagmuk the Mesopotamians would reenact this divine birth of the divine child. They would re-enact the defeat of chaos by Marduk and they would choose a mock king who was a criminal to take the place of the real king:

Many of today’s Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ Child was born. The Twelve Days of Christmas, blazing fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals or parades complete with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, holiday feasts and church processions are all rooted in the customs observed by early Mesopotamians.

Many of these traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of the New Year. The Mesopotamians worshipped many gods, the chief of whom was Marduk. Each year as winter arrived, it was believed that Marduk would battle the Monsters of Chaos. In order to assist Marduk during his struggle, the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. They called this celebration Zagmuk and the festivities lasted for twelve days.

The King of Mesopotamia would return to the Temple of Marduk and swear his faithfulness to the god. The tradition called for the King to die at the end of the year and then return with Marduk to battle at his side. To spare their King, the Mesopotamians utilized a “mock” king. A criminal was chosen and dressed in royal clothes. He was given all due respect and the privileges of a true king but, at the end of the celebrations, the “mock” king was stripped of the royal garments and then put to death, thus sparing the life of the real monarch.

Ishtar would come to resurrect her divine husband by descending into the underworld to bring him back to life and back into her arms. Together they would create the divine child and this would be done by the Goddess Inanna/Ishtar performing the Hieros Gamos/Divine Marriage rite between her and Damuzi through a priestess of hers who would waiting in the bed chamber of the Etemenanki temple for the god Marduk to descend into the king and together they would make love.

During the first five days, the rites within Esagila (Marduk’s temple in Babylon) reflected a somber mood, where priests and priestesses attuned to desolation, utter bereavement and grief for the uncertainties of the coming future. It is known that the people of the city also gave expression to misery and anxiety by ritual wailings, which, nevertheless, seem not to have been part of any temple service, though many temple hymns reflect this mood.

Each morning, before sunrise, the high priest, after a ritual washing, entered the temple alone and prayed to Marduk and to other gods. Afterward the other priests commenced their daily tasks. Typical of the mood of those days is the Kyrie Eleison sung before dawn on the second day and called The Secret of Esagila:

Lord without peer in thy wrath,
Lord, gracious king, lord of the lands,
Who made salvation for the great gods,
Lord, who throwest down the strong by his glance,
Lord of kings, light of men, who dost apportion destinies,
O Lord, Babylon is thy seat, Borsippa thy crown
The wide heavens are they body….
Within thine arms thou takest the strong….
Within thy glance thou grantest them grace,
Makest them see light so that they proclaim thy power.
Lord of the lands, light of the Igigi, who pronounces blessings;
Who would not proclaim thy, yea, thy power?
Would not speak of thy majesty, praise thy dominion?
Lord of the lands, who livest in Eudul, who takest the fallen by the hand;
Have pity upon thy city, Babylon
Turn thy face towards Esagila, thy temple
Give freedom to them that dwell in Babylon, thy wards!

On the evening of the fourth day, the Enuma Elish, or the Epic of Creation, was recited in its entirety, for each New Year shared something with the beginning of times, when the world was created and the cycle of seasons started. A recital of that triumphant achievement increased the power of all favorable forces to overcome the hazards which had led to the incarceration of the god of natural life. In later stages of the festival, Marduk´s battle with Chaos was actually represented in the ritual, but on the evening of the fourth day the recital of the Epic was only an interlude in the general preparations for the atonement.

2) Nisan 5: Day of Atonement for the king – the people descends to the suffering god. Increasing commotion of the city during the search for Marduk

In the fifth day, the king is the main participant in the ritual. In the morning, the high priest again offered prayers of appeasement, this time to Marduk as manifest in the heavenly bodies:

The white star (Jupiter) which brings omens to the world is my lord,
My lord be at peace!
The star Gud (Mercury) which causes rain is my lord;
My lord be at peace!
The star Gena (Saturn), star of law and order, is my lord;
My lord be at peace!

Then the temple was purified. Offerings and incantations continued. Craftspeople equipped the chapel of Nabu (Marduk´s son who was to arrive on the morrow) with an offering-table and a gold canopy from the treasury of his father. While these preparations were going on, the king entered Marduk´s shrine. He was escorted into the chapel by priests, who left him alone. The high priest emerged from the Holy of Holies where the statue of Marduk stood. He took the king’s scepter, ring, scimitar and crown and put them upon a “seat” before the statue of the god. Again, he approached the ruler, who was standing deprived of signs of royalty, and struck his face; then, the high priest made him kneel down to pronounce a declaration of innocence:

I have not sinned, O Lord of the Lands,
I have not been negligent regarding the divinity,
I have not destroyed Babylon…
The High Priest replied in Marduk´s name:
Do not fear… what Marduk has spoken…
He will hear thy prayer. He will increase thy dominion
Heighten thy royalty…
The High Priest then took up the insignia and gave them back to the king, striking his face once more in the hope of drawing tears – which were counted a favorable omen and proof of the god’s will. (Lishtar´s Note 1: tears mean emotion, i.e. the king had to display true emotion and humility of the heart during the proceedings. Not difficult to happen if he really became the part)

It is clear that by his penance and confession, the king cleansed himself of the taint of past sins , thus cleansing also the community, becoming fit to officiate in the succeeding rites. It is also clear that his renewed investiture with the insignia of royalty signified a renewal of kingship and the bond with the gods and the community he embodied. At the coronation, too, the insignia had been placed upon seats in front of the god. I would like to point out that the seat is also a sign for the Earth Mother or Ki, as well as a symbol of Anu, the Skyfather, or in the words of the myths “the horned crown upon a shrine”. The meaning is thus is very clear. It tells of the link the king has with Anu and Ki as the ruler of the land and shows the bond between the heavenly and earthly powers the king should protect and ensure through wise leadership in all levels and spheres.

Likewise, the ritual humiliation of the king brought him into harmony with the conditions under which the great ceremony of renewal started. Though communication with Marduk was still possible in the Esagila, in the outer world the god had “disappeared”, as does Inanna during Her annual descent to the Underworld.

In the city, people were disturbed. The king, the shepherd of the land, had been robbed of his splendor, of the protection of the royal insignia and reduced to a minimum of power which corresponded to the low ebb in the life of nature, to the “captivity” of the god and also to the state of chaos preceding creation. Five days of sacrifice, atonement and purification culminated in the king´s degradation and reinstatement.

While the measured rites occupied priests and priestesses at the great temple of Marduk, city dwellers entered a different state of mind. We learn about these popular activities from commentaries, explaining the ritual acts of the people in terms of mythology, for the benefit of a priestly school.

The commentary says that “Marduk was confined in the mountain”, and it is a Mesopotamian formula for the death of a god, characterizing the point from which the festival took its start. Death here means the suffering of the god, and here we have a clear allusion to the Descents of Inanna/Ishtar, who descended, were wounded, died and were reborn. Similarly, it is said of Marduk at the New Year’s festival that “Into the house of bondage, from the sun and light, they caused him to descend”.

And more: “people hasten in the streets, they seek Marduk saying, ‘ Where is he held captive?'” We assume then that much of the commotion centered around the temple tower, the ziggurat, the man-made mountain that links the Underworld to the Realms Above.

6) Nisan 9: Triumphal procession to the Bit Akitu under the king’s guidance. This represents the participation of the community in the victory which is taking place in Nature and renews Marduk´s destruction of Chaos.

When the late Assyrian kings recorded their annual visits to Babylon, they gave as the purpose of their coming participation in the ceremony which we are now to describe. Sargon II, for example, wrote: ” Into Babylon, the city of the lord of the gods, joyfully I entered, in gladness of heart and with a radiant countenance. I grasped the hand(s) of the great lord Marduk, and made pilgrimage to the House of New Year’s feast, the Bit Akitu. The gods, too, came to Babylon ” to take the hands of Bel” – to lead him in the procession to Bit Akitu. The king was privileged to give the sign for departure, “Come, go forth, Lord, the king awaits thee!… By the side of Ishtar of Babylon, while her servants play the flute, Goes all Babylon exultant!”.

The procession was considered so important that every detail of its start and completion was watched carefully and possessed the significance on an omen for the year which was beginning. It seems, therefore, that the procession itself, and not a mock battle, represented Marduk´s victory in the cult. This view is supported by a commentary which enumerates various acts that are evident parallel to phases of the victory as related in the Epic.

Basically, two conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, Marduk´s victory over chaos was celebrated, or realized once more during the New Year’s festival. The Bit Akitu was the place where the Creator´s victory over Tiamat was celebrated, and the bronze figures on the door of Sennacherib appear relevant, as well as an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar in which he calls the “the temple of the sacrifices of the exalted New Year´s festival of Enlil of the gods of Upper and Netherworld”. Secondly, this was most probably a time for peace in the region, once high dignitaries and the gods came to Babylon for celebrations, a peace that should at least be a concerted effort to be maintained in the coming year. The gods´ assembly of the Enuma Elish was re-enacted to show union and stability in the region as well.

7) Nisan 10: Marduk celebrates his victory with the gods of the Upper and Underworld at a banquet in the Bit Akitu and returns to Babylon for the Sacred Marriage Rite in the same night;

If the victory over Tiamat was achieved on the ninth of Nisan (on the eighth the gods met in the Chamber of Destinies), the great banquet may have fallen on the tenth. This is also suggested in the stela of Nabonidus: ” In the month of Nisan, on the tenth day, when the king of the gods, Marduk, and the gods of the Upper and Netherworld take up their abode in the House of Prayer (Bit Akribi), the House of the New Year’s Festival (Bit Akitu) of the Lord of Justice”.

In Babylon, the Bit Akitu was always located outside the city. It was built about two hundred meters outside the city walls, and its outstanding characteristic was the richness of the gardens which surrounded it. The courtyard was filled with regularly spaced trees and shrubs. On either side there were porticoes, an unusual feature in Mesopotamian temples. The enormous “cella”, 25×100 feet, extends over the whole width at the back and may well have served as a banqueting hall. All around the building were elaborate gardens, carefully watered. They remind us of the fact that the god was not merely a conqueror of Chaos, but also the personification of the life in nature. It is this aspect of the complex figure of Marduk or Assur that is especially stressed by the Sacred Marriage Rite, or the following phase of celebration. Of Marduk, it is said that “he hastened to the wedding”.

Indeed, the renewal of nature in Spring, at the New Year’s festival, was conceived as the marriage of the Goddess with the liberated god. Their union took place in the temples, and the change in nature and the temple ritual constituted the Divine Union, being the two events inseparable and equivalent. The king was then made the Divine Bridegroom, and the High Priestess as his Divine Consort, the Goddess incarnate. For your delight, below follows a poem called The Joy of Sumer – The Sacred Marriage Rite found in Kramer´s and Wolkstein´s Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: her hymns and stories from Sumer (1983):

The people of Sumer assemble in the palace,
The house which guides the land.
The king builds a throne for the queen of the palace.
He sits beside her on the throne.
In order to care for the life of all the lands,
The exact first day of the month is closely examined,
And on the day of the disappearance of the moon,
On the day of the sleeping of the moon,
The Sacred Measures, the Me, are perfectly carried out,
So that the New Year’s Day, the day of rites,
May be properly determined,
And a sleeping place be set up for Inanna.
The people cleanse the rushes with sweet-smelling cedar oil
They arrange the rushes for the bed.
They spread a bridal sheet over the bed.
A bridal sheet to rejoice the heart,
A bridal sheet to sweeten the loins,
A bridal sheet for Inanna and Dumuzi.
The queen bathes her holy loins,
Inanna bathes for the holy loins of Dumuzi,
She washes herself with soap,
She sprinkles sweet-smelling cedar oil on the ground.
The king goes with lifted head to the holy loins,
Dumuzi goes with lifted head t the holy loins of Inanna.
He lies down beside her on the bed.
Tenderly he caresses her, murmuring words of love:
“O my holy jewel! O my wondrous Inanna!”
After he enters the holy vulva, causing the queen to rejoice,
After he enters the holy vulva, causing Inanna to rejoice,
Inanna holds him to her and murmurs:
“O Dumuzi, you are truly my love!”
The king bids the people to enter the great hall,
The people bring food offerings and bowls,
They burn juniper resin, perform laving rites,
And pile up sweet-smelling incense.
The king embraces his beloved bride,
Dumuzi embraces Inanna.
Inanna, seated on the royal throne, shines like daylight.
The king, like the sun, shines radiantly by her side.
He arranges abundance, lushness and plenty before her.
He assembles the people of Sumer.
The musicians play for the queen,
They play the loud instruments which drowns out the Southern storm,
They play the sweet algar-instruments, the ornament of the palace,
They play the stringed instrument that brings joy to all people,
They play songs for Inanna to rejoice the heart.
The king reaches out his hand for food and drink,
Dumuzi reaches out his hand for food and drink,
The palace is festive, the king is joyous
In the pure clean place they celebrate Inanna in song.
She is the ornament of the assembly, the joy of Sumer!
The people spend the day in plenty.
The king stands before the assembly in great joy.
He hails Inanna with the praises of the gods and the assembly:
“Holy Priestess! Created with the heavens and earth,
Inanna, first daughter of the Moon, Lady of the Evening!
I sing you praises!”

It is likely that during the Akitu the Sacred Marriage took place in the Esagila, Marduk’s temple in Babylon, and not in the Bit Akitu. We know that Nabu, Ningirsu and Inanna of Isin celebrated their weddings in the temple. The poem above shows full participation of the community in the preparation to the events, before and after the joining of the king with the high priestess. Also, according to our knowledge of Mesopotamian religion, it makes sense to place the Sacred Marriage on the tenth day, because only when harmony and order is restored love and fertility can return to the land in all levels and spheres. Remember that kingship should be acknowledged by the Goddess, from Ninhursag-Ki to Inanna/Ishtar in Mesopotamia.

8) Nisan 11: The Second Determination of Destiny. The gods assemble once more in the Chamber of Destinies to determine the destiny of society in the ensuing year. This was the last act of deities, bringing auguries and omens for the prosperity of the land.

It is extremely meaningful that the Second determination of Destiny is now concerned with the microcosmic scale, and so the gods meet again on the 12th of Nisan in the Chamber of Destinies, Also, remember that in Mesopotamia, by the bond of Heaven and Earth, or Duranki, humankind had been created as a result of the gods´ wish to humanity to continue the workings of existence for Them. Thus, humankind’s destiny and happiness was possible only if man and women lived out their destinies carrying out the deeds of existence for the gods. Basically, the auguries for the coming year were aimed at attuning to the future and once again reaffirm that the gods´ designs were of relevance to humankind who lived to celebrate the gods and Their creation in everyday life.

9) Nisan 12: The visiting gods return to their temples, and life returned to its everyday normalcy, and the business of plowing and sowing and trading for the new crops was taken at hand.

Finally, it is constantly said in the literature that Mesopotamians view life as a burden to be carried by humankind. The picture that emerges when we look at their rituals and meditate on the significance of their values by listening to the words ancient Mesopotamians left inscribed in clay differs from the bleak scenario of more recent times. Think of the cycle of events we have just seen together: there was chaos, there was wailing, but there was also joy, justice and reasons to be happy about, ensured by the right divination procedures, which would aid the king and the land to choose the best courses of actions and guide the requests of help and assistance to the Powers Above and Below when there was a need.

Zagmuk incorporated all of the Christmas sacraments and festivals of baptism, cleansing rites, sacrifice, communion, the death and resurrection of the sun and the union of opposites and the birth of the divine child, none of which are present within Judaism so to say that Christianity is an Abrahamic religion is incorrect and to say that the Christians ‘stole’ the Yule festival is also incorrect. As we can understand, Zagmuk is much more ancient than the Germanic Yule which mirrors which festival so did not the Germanic people also steal from the Mesopotamians??? Did not the Greeks and Romans etc who also celebrated the same??? All pagan cults took from each other yet we can clearly see in the Christian mysteries that the Mesopotamian rites are preserved.

The birth of Jesus and his entire life was not some afterthought; the ancient initiates of the mystery schools who knew the ancient teachings and the stories of the dying and resurrected sun god and Venus his bride/mother understood the patterns of the Christ (an ancient Greek word used before Jesus) and saw them in the story of Jesus, not forgetting what we are told about the Magi, or 3 wise men, who were also initiates of the mystery schools who had prophesied and seen the coming of the Solar King by reading the messages of the Celestial Bodies:

The Magi, living in the valley of the Euphrates, studied the stars and the motions of the heavens from their tall towers in the desert. They measured the seasons, and they discovered the three long dark nights which accompanied the winter solstice. They also learned that immediately afterward the days began to lengthen, and they interpreted this phenomenon as peculiar proof of God’s love. They said that heaven had made a pact and promise with the earth, and that the world would soon again be green and covered with flowers. So these ancient priests of Persia lit their sacred fires, and all the people rejoiced and did honor to the reborn God of light. In Greece, there were great processionals of rejoicing. There were midwinter rituals at Delphi celebrating the rebirth of the beautiful deity Dionysius, who was represented as a cradled infant born from the sea. In the great sanctuary of the State Mysteries at Eleusis, the holy birth was dramatically re-enacted in the quiet hour of midnight.

At this season also, the lusty Romans celebrated their Saturnalia, a long and important festival which terminated on Christmas Eve. In the old calendar, December 25th was marked with the words “Natalis Solis Invicti”—the Birthday of the Invincible Sun. Probably no special calculation was necessary, for everywhere and always even the ancestors of the Latins had kept the birthday of the solar mystery. This was sufficient to make this time and season unique in the spiritual experience of mankind. This festival was always a kindly occasion. Men, either in gratitude or through fear, were motivated to generous and unselfish actions. It was always the worship of the gods, for the Saturnalia was their birthday. But the enlightened pagan had already learned that the God-fearing must also be the humanity-loving. At the winter solstice, families gathered in solemn celebration; friends long separated were reunited; and enemies were reconciled. The very spirit of thankfulness was in the air, and it was wise and proper to remember the good things that had come, and to plan for a happy future.

The priests of ancient Britain were called the Druids, or men of the oak tree. At the winter solstice, these great bearded patriarchs, clad in flowing robes of white, entered their sacred groves to cut the mistletoe. They carried knives of beaten gold, and it was their custom to use the white berries and bright green leaves of this parasitic plant to make wreaths around the crude monolithic stones of their altars. Still on Salisbury Plain stands an ancient ring of huge rough stones called Stonehenge, as a continuing reminder of this ancient faith. It was in places like this that the early Britons gathered to venerate the return of the sun. The Druids sent runners across the hills with blazing torches, and with these they lit the new fires on both altar and hearthstone. Through the land, flames blazed from the tops of hills and the depths of valleys. Watching the shadows cast by the sun, the Druid priests found the certain indication that the solar orb was returning.

We have referred to the pre-Christian celebration of the winter solstice festival under the broad heading of “faith.” This is sustained by the attitudes of the worshipers. They regarded the cycle of the sun-god as a direct evidence of divine providence. They neither questioned nor doubted, but accepted with complete gratitude the symbol of the Divine Presence. To them, it was enough to live in the glory of the day, to work and to play according to the seasons and the rules which the invincible sun had established for them. Man lived upon universal bounty; all that he was, he owed to the gods who had created him in their own likeness and had given him dominion over the land and the sea. Every important work was accompanied by worship, for all that mortals could do was to trust in the divine benevolence. They were not burdened by their faith; rather, they rejoiced in the privilege of being grateful and of revealing in all their labors their certainty that the gods were in the heavens and all was right with the world.

The spirit of Christmas descends to us largely through a group of symbols long associated with the festivities of the season. These symbols may well be termed archetypal, for they reveal the gradual growth of fundamental ideas subjected constantly to new interpretations. A symbol must always mean what we understand it to mean. It has no substance of itself, and if analyzed or dissected loses most of its significance. Christmas would be a greater spiritual experience for the average individual if he would make himself receptive to the impact of the legendary and lore surrounding this celebration. Each of the familiar practices has its own gentle and friendly message. It not only gladdens our present festivities, but causes us to share for a moment in the common aspirations of our kind. We have a better total concept of humanity if we permit ourselves to be quiet and to feel our bond with the ages. This may inspire us not only to cherish the nobler ideas of the past, but to advance them and find new motives for preserving our priceless heritage of life and liberty.

It makes no difference whether the Christmas symbols originated in Eastern nations or in ancient pre-Christian times. They belong to a universal pattern of gentle remembrances. They tell us that man has always instinctively longed to love the beautiful and to serve the good. Great and noble souls lived and labored and died ages before the miracle at Bethlehem. There is no ancient good or modern good; there is only goodness itself moving through time. Gratitude is not historical, nor is beauty denominational. Many streams have flowed together; many quaint practices and curious rites have met and mingled. It is good to realize this, for it will help us to broaden our vision, deepen our understanding, and advance such necessary causes as world peace and inter-religious friendship. It is really and truly wonderful if some part of our Christmas came from ancient Egypt or India or even remote China. These are regions on a map, but the people who inhabit them are one creation in God and under law. In their hearts and souls, their hopes and fears are like our own. The fears are ever present, but the hopes we have not yet learned to share.
-Manly P Hall

So know that when you are celebrating Christmas you are celebrating the oldest rites known to humanity. To learn about the Star of Bethlehem, please click HERE

Merry Christmas and Blessed Zagmuk. May your New Year be prosperous. ⭐


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