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What is Christmas in fact?

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Coldicote | 12:07 Mon 26th Dec 2011 | Religion & Spirituality
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I have no difficulty in accepting that Christ lived and was the sort of person history tells us about, but why do we celebrate Christmas? No-one knows what a new born baby will grow up to be. I see the story of the nativity, as a beautiful symbolic work of art, created probably years after Christ was born, to fill a gap in the story of His life. Do others have views about this?

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The King James Bible was heavily reworded with the focus more strongly on poetic language than literary accuracy.
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Thank you all for an interesting discussion. The link given by syruphead gives a very scholarly and interesting presentation, although a bit lengthy to read. I'm signing off this one now and wish you all the best for 2012.
The person we call Jesus did exist. At the synod of Nicea (325 AD from memory) Constantine I called all the christian leaders from around the empire to agree upon a standard form of christianity from the disparate forms that had arisen in the 300 odd years since the passing of Jesus. Many of the christian holy events were placed on or near old pagan festivals and pagan holy places to help the spread of christianity. Christmas is on/near the festival of Saturnalia. Many early christian churches were built on old pagan sites . At Avebury (UK), there is a church built not only within an ancient stone circle, but it is built from some of the giant stones itself. Think of it as continuity of worship for new converts to christianity (in antiquity)

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