Even the most orthodox Christian theologians and fundamentalist Bible scholars admit that Jesus' exact birth date is unknown. Why then is His birthday observed between late December and early January around the world? As Christian author Lochlainn Seabrook reveals in this fascinating and exhaustively researched work, the answer is to be found in the Goddess-based vegetation religions of prehistory and their astrological reverence for our neighborhood star, the Sun. Ten years in the making, "Christmas Before Christianity" explores the pre-Christian foundations of humanity's most popular holiday, including the many Pagan gods, goddesses, myths, rituals, legends, ceremonies, customs, and beliefs that contributed to its creation and development. Special emphasis is placed on ancient Egypt, where a majority of our modern "Christmas traditions" can be traced. This sensational 300-page book will not only provoke discussion, but will also inspire a renewed appreciation for both the religion of Christ and for the annual celebration of His birth.
FROM "SMALL PRESS REVIEWS": "In Christmas Before Christianity: How the Birthday of the "Sun" Became the Birthday of the "Son," Colonel Lochlainn Seabrook presents a thoroughly researched examination of the "ingredients" that have, over centuries and millennia, contributed to our contemporary understanding of what many, right or wrong, consider the holiest day of the year. Early on, Colonel Seabrook discusses the paucity of historical evidence surrounding the figure of Jesus in order to subsequently demonstrate the ways in which the relative blank slate of his biography allowed early Christians to incorporate a myriad of other belief systems into what eventually came to be accepted as canon. Chief among these other systems, as the book's subtitle suggests, was a firm belief that the sun was the center of all life. Indeed, the author points out that, in his words, "Jesus' birth on December 25 specifically was not mentioned by any writer, scholar, or historian" during the time in which Jesus lived; what's more, the date traditionally associated with the birth of Christ was not established until the year 534, "not because Jesus was born on that date, but rather because the Christian masses overwhelmingly identified Jesus with the Pagan Roman sun-god Mithras, as well as with other pre-Christian solar deities, all whose birthdays fell on December 25." In addition to investigating the ways in which pre-Christian mythology fed into the story of the birth of Christ, Seabrook also examines the origins of the season's accoutrements including the Christmas tree (a pagan fertility symbol originating in Egypt), the tale of the three wise men (an allusion to ancient astrology and the three stars that comprise Orion's belt), and Santa Claus (an amalgam of Odin, Thor, and various maritime deities). Other topics Seabrook explores include the evolution of Christmas cards, plum pudding, Christmas wreaths, mistletoe, holly, and pantomime from their ancient forms to the ways in which we employ and enjoy them today. Altogether, a fascinating and meticulously detailed read for anyone curious about the origins of Christmas - or, for that matter, about the ways in which myths and legends evolve over time." - MARC SCHUSTER.
AMAZON REVIEW, FIVE STARS: "There's a ton of stuff powerpacked into Colonel Lochlainn Seabrook's book "Christmas Before Christianity: How the Birthday of the 'Sun' Became the Birthday of the 'Son.'" This comprehensive but concise volume is a wonderful go-to for those interested in the Christianization of pagan religious culture. It's no secret, except perhaps among the ignorant (both willfully so and otherwise), that Judeo-Christian traditions did what religions do. It evolved, growing from pagan roots and, even after having established its own identity as a stream of religious culture, continued to appropriate from surrounding and established pagan belief systems. Many aspects of Christianity, including what is now one of its major holidays, were retoolings of extant pagan deities and concepts. From every major facet of the Nativity to the decor and traditions of Christmas celebrations, paganism permeates the Christian tradition and its messianic birthday celebration. Even Santa Claus and his alleged historical analog (St. Nicholas) were Christianizations of pagan ideas. Southern religious scholar Seabrook reveals to the reader aspects of the conversion even the initiated might have overlooked. He even discloses pagan rooted celebrations practiced around the globe today. For a primer and reference volume pertaining to this fascinating evolution in religious thought and culture, "Christmas Before Christianity" is one of Seabrook's several fascinating books on Christianity's oft overlooked foundations." - KRISTOFER UPJOHN.