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during the consulship of (Augustus) Cæsar and Paulus Our Lord Jesus Christ was born on the eighth before the calends of January (25 December), a Friday, the fourteenth day of the moon. The epact, here XIII, is normally XI; the year is A. Were the day of Christ's birth in the flesh alone there found, it might stand as heading the year of martyrs' spiritual , popular feasts were later inserted for convenience' sake. Liturgical colours varied: black, white, red, or (e.g. The Gloria was at first sung only in the first Mass of this day. The ); the latter Church celebrated a second "prophetical" mystery after Tierce, in which Virgil and the Sibyl join with Old Testament prophets in honouring Christ.
754, a date first suggested two centuries later; in no year between 751 and 754 could 25 December fall on a Friday; tradition is constant in placing Christ's birth on Wednesday. But are not the two entries in the "Depositio Martyrum" also such? Thomas, Summa Theologica III:83:2) to the triple "birth" of Christ: in Eternity, in Time, and in the Soul. The three stations are thus accounted for, for by 1143 (cf. iv)], but the practice of giving dramatic, or at least spectacular, expression to the incidents of the Nativity early gave rise to more or less liturgical mysteries.
In Cyprus, at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius asserts against the Alogi (Hær., li, 16, 24 in P. They had a definitely "Nativity" colouring; the bishop proceeded nightly to Bethlehem, returning to Jerusalem for the day celebrations. But this calculation starts from 6 January, and the feast lasted during the octave of that date. But Julius died in 352, and by 385 Cyril had made no change; indeed, Jerome, writing about 411 (in Ezech., P. Besides, Zachary, who, as high-priest, entered the Temple on the Day of Atonement, received therefore announcement of John's conception in September; six months later Christ was conceived, i.e. Finally, though never at Rome, on authority he knows that the census papers of the Holy Family are still there. Kellner puts this visit in 395; Baumstark (Oriens Chr., 1902, 441-446), between 398 and 402. More important, but scarcely better accredited, is Erbes' contention (Zeitschrift f. Hence, almost universally has it been concluded that the new date reached the East from Rome by way of the Bosphorus during the great anti-Arian revival, and by means of the orthodox champions. The census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion. The twenty-four classes of Jewish priests, it is urged, served each a week in the Temple; Zachary was in the eighth class, Abia. From these untrustworthy data, assuming that Christ was born A. It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Comp.", xix, "O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . Boniface obtained from Pope Zachary their abolition. Besides, it became connected with other usages; in England, a tenant had the right to feed at his lord's expense as long as a wheel, i.e. Gervase of Tilbury (thirteen century) says that in England grain is exposed on Christmas night to gain fertility from the dew which falls in response to "Rorate Cæli"; the tradition that trees and flowers blossomed on this night is first quoted from an Arab geographer of the tenth century, and extended to England.
G., XLI, 919, 931) that Christ was born on 6 January and baptized on 8 November. L., XXV, 18), reproves Palestine for keeping Christ's birthday (when He hid Himself) on the Manifestation feast. G., LXXXVIII, 197) that even in the middle of the sixth century Jerusalem was peculiar in combining the two commemorations, arguing from Luke that Christ's baptism day was the anniversary of His birthday. [This appeal to Roman archives is as old as Justin Martyr ( 34-35) and Tertullian (Adv. Julius, in the Cyriline forgeries, is said to have calculated the date from Josephus, on the same unwarranted assumptions about Zachary as did Chrysostom.] Rome, therefore, has observed 25 December long enough to allow of Chrysostom speaking at least in 388 as above (P. In 379 or 380 Gregory Nazianzen made himself of the new feast, i.e. G., XXXVI) were preached on successive days (Usener, op. The latter relies on a letter of Jacob of Edessa quoted by George of Beeltân, asserting that Christmas was brought to Constantinople by Arcadius and Chrysostom from Italy, where, "according to the histories", it had been kept from Apostolic times. Kirchengesch., XXVI, 1905, 20-31) that the feast was brought in by Constantine as early as 330-35. von Jahre 354, Berlin, 1888), compiled in 354, which contains three important entries. Again, in winter it must have been; then only field labour was suspended. Authorities moreover differ as to whether shepherds could or would keep flocks exposed during the nights of the rainy season. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont (op. But probably the Yule-log in its many forms was originally lit only in view of the cold season. a round, of wood, given by him, would burn, the landlord gave to a tenant a load of wood on the birth of a child; was a present given to children on the birth of a brother or sister, and even to the farm animals on that of Christ, the universal little brother (Tiele, op. In a thirteenth-century French epic, candles are seen on the flowering tree.
L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ's birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created. Dindorf, 1860, II, 483) quotes an extraordinary semi-Gnostic ceremony at Alexandria in which, on the night of 5-6 January, a cross-stamped Korê was carried in procession round a crypt, to the chant, "Today at this hour Korê gave birth to the Eternal"; John Cassian records in his "Collations" (X, 2 in P. 101) she mentions as high festivals Easter and Epiphany alone. In the West, he says, the feast was thus kept, ; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. Though the sermon abounds in references appropriate to the Epiphany (the marriage at Cana, the multiplication of loaves, etc.), these seem due (Kellner, op. 109) to sequence of thought, and do not fix the sermon to 6 January, a feast unknown in Rome till much later. 272) that Liberius preached it on that day in 353, instituting the Nativity feast in the December of the same year; but Philocalus warrants our supposing that if preceded his pontificate by some time, though Duchesne's relegation of it to 243 (Bull. L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. 106, 107) shows how hopeless is the calculation of Zachary's week from any point before or after it. 1588), says: "Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.
Only with great caution should the mysterious benefactor of Christmas night — Knecht Ruprecht, Pelzmärtel on a wooden horse, St. Nicholas and his "reformed" equivalent, Father Christmas — be ascribed to the stepping of a saint into the shoes of Woden, who, with his wife Berchta, descended on the nights between 25 December and 6 January, on a white horse to bless earth and men. But no doubt aboriginal Christian ; the cake in honour of Mary's "afterbirth", condemned (692) at the Trullan Council, canon 79; the Tabulæ Fortunæ (food and drink offered to obtain increase, and condemned in 743), see Tiele, op. viii, ix Tiele's data are perhaps of greater value than his deductions and Ducange (op. Besides the works mentioned in the article see also, Die Geschichte des deutschen Weihnachts (Leipzig, 1893); MANN-HARDT, Weihnachtsblüthen in Sitte u.
Fires and blazing wheels starred the hills, houses were adorned, trials suspended and feasts celebrated (cf. Sage (Berlin, 1864); RIETSCHEL, Weihnachten in Kirche, Kunst u.
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