Some readers will recall that last year around Christmas we devoted an episode of the Naked Bible Podcast (#195) to the myth that Christmas was a pagan holiday because of the December 25 (winter solstice) date. As the myth goes, the date was chosen by Constantine to connect Jesus to Sol Invictus (“unconquerable sun”) so as to displace the pagan deity. The podcast episode details why this is not the case and directs listeners to specific scholarly resources.
I just came across an article that, to be blunt, demolishes the “pagan holiday because of Sol Invictus” myth. It’s more thorough than any of the other sources:
Steven Hijmans, “Sol Invictus, the winter solstice, and the origins of Christmas,” Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada 3.3 (2003): 377-398.
This article lays waste to the Sol Invictus / December 25 myth in great detail. I cannot post the article online; it lives in a protected folder for newsletter subscribers.