I have always loved Christmas, even when I didn't understand what it meant. As a religious holiday for Christians, it has been celebrated for two thousand years. But for many more centuries before it became a Christian holiday the Yule season was celebrated by ancient people in many parts of the world. In the middle of winter in the parts of the world that are dark and cold people celebrated light and rejoiced during the winter solstice knowing the worst of winter was behind them and the light and warmth of Spring and Summer was ahead of them. Feasting, drinking and fires were all part of the celebrations. Even in the warmer regions where the weather was not so harsh, the God of agriculture, Saturn, was celebrated
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside. Also in ancient Rome, Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, was thought to have been born on Dec 25th and was the most sacred day of the year. Regardless of what religion or belief system we have, I feel the 25th of Dec should be celebrated around the world as a day of Peace and Hope, for the future of all living things on earth.