Why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th
It's hard for us in the modern world to imagine the close relationship our ancestors had with the earth. And I'm not being all mystical here, I am being practical. Our ancestors were farmers. They relied on earth, rain, and sun to provide them with food. This went beyond worship, this was a matter of life or death. For us, the shortening of days means the inconvenience of having to turn our car headlights on earlier, or turning up the furnace in our houses. For our ancestors, it meant so much more.
You don't have to be an expert in astronomy to note that the sun has been coming up later and going down earlier (it's December as I write this). By December 21st, the sun will be at its lowest in the southern sky. Every day up to that has been shorter and colder and the sun seems to be going away forever. If it kept doing this, it would leave us forever and we would die. Again, it's hard to imagine, but it must have been horrifying for people who relied on the sun for life. And it happened like this every year. The elders could reassure you that that the sun would return, but you wanted to see some proof.
If you spent most of your time outdoors, like our ancestors did, you would definitely begin to see the sun returning within a few days after the winter solstice, which is approximately December 21st. If you would like to see this for yourself - do this - put a stick in the ground and measure the length of shadow at midday. After a couple of days you would see the shadow begin to shorten. By about December 25th, you would be certain. The sun is returning!
Now it's time for a huge celebration!
Posted by Brad Hall