|Date / Universal Time||Event|
|July 13, 1995 6:07||Probe released from Galileo|
|July 27, 1995 7:37||Orbiter engine fired to adjust course|
|Oct. 11.1995 19:18||First picture transmitted|
|Nov. 19, 1995||Orbiter crossed Jupiter bow shock|
|Dec. 7, 1995 14:01||Closest approach to Jupiter's moon, Europa|
|18:38||Closest approach to Jupiter's moon, Io|
|22:59||Transmissions begin from probe|
|Dec. 8, 1995 1;19||Engine fires for orbital insertion|
|11:22||Galileo dissappears behind Jupiter|
|14:52||Galileo re-emerges on the other side|
|Dec 10, 1995||Jupiter dissappears behind the Sun|
|Dec 29, 1995||Jupiter re-emerges from behind the Sun and transmissions resume|
|Jan. 3 to Mar. 13||All probe data playback|
|Mar. 18, 1996||apojove maneuver|
|May 14, 1996||to mid-July Jupiter approach data transmitted|
Christmas marks the birth of Christ, and it is celebrated by Christians around the world. But this holiday has close ties to an older festival known as the "Unconquered Sun." The impact this Pagan tradition had on how Christmas was celebrated is one of the ways in which The Christian tradition changed as it developed through the ages.
The winter solstice is the time when the Sun reaches itís southernmost rising and setting points in the northern hemisphere and the Suns apex at noon is at itís lowest point of the year. The days are shortest and the nights are longest.
December 25th was the date of the winter solstice in the calendar Julius Caesar devised for Rome in 46BC. Today the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21st. Although Caesar used a 365 1/4 day year, a year is actually a little shorter, and this made the solstice occur a little earlier over the years. There was a discrepancy of 1 day in 128 years.
The pagans celebrated the winter solstice as the Unconquered Sun. After this day, the Sun would begin to stay in the sky longer each day, and there would be less cold, and less night; the Sun would win the battle of night and day. There would be feasts, evergreens would be brought into the house to be decorated and lighted with candles to pay tribute to the Sun.
There is nothing in the Christian Bible to specify the day of Christmas. Prior to the fourth century, Christís birth had been associated with Three Kingís Day on January 6. But the pagans and the newly converted were being a major problem to the church because they were still celebrating the Unconquered Sun. Nothing the church did or said made a difference; the winter solstice was just too important a festival.
What the Christians did in this dilemma, was execute a move seen over and over in history. If you canít defeat them, and refuse to join them, at least make it appear that you defeated them. Sometime between AD 354 and 360 a few decades after Emperor Constantineís conversion to Christianity, the celebration of Christmas was shifted to the day of the Unconquered Sun. But the tradition of the Sun god lived on a long time.
The Romans got the idea of the sun god from the Syrians. Their Sun god, Deus Sol Invictus, became the chief god of the Roman State under Aurelian. The Fathers of the Church however, insisted that Christ was the true Sun God, and said that any celebrations for the Sun, were really in celebration of Christ.
Both the Sun worshipers and the Christians saw the solstice/birthday as a transition from darkness to light. Christ conquered the darkness, as did the Sun. Since the theme was similar, the traditions of one blended well with the other.
People have still carried over these traditions, though their earlier pagan roots have mostly long been forgotten. "Christmas" trees are still brought into the house. Colored lights and candles light the darkness. The Yule Log is lit.
In some Christian churches, on Christmas eve, the electric lights are dimmed. In the semi- darkness, the Christmas story is told, and near the end, a single candle is lit. It signifies the movement out of the darkness.
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