Then Christianity-a new religion-sprang to the forefront and swept through the civilized world.
A problem was encountered during the conversion efforts, however.
No matter how good the new religion sounded to the Pagan world, they were used to the old ways and their unique lifestyle.
Most important, though, they knew how their deities reacted to every situation, and they trusted Them.
There was no reason to switch to a form of living they didn’t understand, or to a god they didn’t know.
Taking that into consideration, the Christians (former Pagans, themselves) devised a plan to make them feel more at ease.
First, they built their churches on old Pagan worship sites.
Their reasoning was that people had always worshipped on the sites, were comfortable there, and would continue to frequent them, church
building or not.
They incorporated Pagan symbols within the church decor, and added some revised Pagan customs to their rituals.
To help matters further, they changed the names of a few Pagan deities ever so slightly, called them saints, and added them to the Christian pantheon.
It was a great plan, but didn’t work as well as originally anticipated.
In fact, the Romans didn’t take well to it at all. Why? Because they felt that the Christians were making a mockery of their gods.
As a result, the Christians were unable to practice safely and went inro hiding-for a while-until they could figure out what to do.
Finally, around the fourth century, the Christians had a revelation. Unlike the Pagan religions, theirs was based on the workings of their man-god, Jesus, and his death and resurrection.
It had never shown much concern for his birth. Because the birth-death-rebirth cycle had always been a large part of the Pagan belief system,
ignoring the birth factor constituted a missing link.
Another problem was that the Pagans revered goddesses-mother goddesses in particular.
Realizing their errors, me Christians put on their thinking caps and returned to the drawing board.
At last they came up with a series of plans to solve their worship problems.
First, they dealt with the goddess issue.
Admitting a few goddesses to sainthood wasn’t a problem, but they needed something stronger.
What they needed was a real Mother Goddess in the midst of their patriarchal world.
They finally decided on Mary, the mother of their man-god, Jesus.
Previously unimportant to the Christian world, she gained new significance as “the Mother of God.”
To secure their position, they also played upon her ascension tole and billed her as “the Queen of Heaven.”
This gave Christianity a bit of a safety zone because to the outside world it linked them to Isis, the Egyptian Queen of Heaven.
That didn’t solve their problems completely, though. In order to worship safely and gain new members, they needed to meld more evenly with the Pagan practices.
Finally, the Christians hit upon a solution: If they couldn’t beat the Pagans, they’d simply join them.
Since no one really knew when the Christ-child was born, the Christians set his birthday on December 25. 3
This date fell in the middle of the winter holidays, and because some Pagans held a special celebration on December 25th anyway, the new
festival would go unnoticed.
To ensure smooth sailing, the Christians took an added precaution:
They billed the festival as the “Birth of the Son.” Because “Son” and “Sun” were pronounced the same, the Pagans would think the new celebration was just an addition to their own festivals.
The Pagans were happy, the Christians were comfortable, and Christmas was born unto the world!