What did the Romans ever do for us?
Sometime late in the 2nd Century AD two things of significance happened. The Roman Cult of "Sol Invictus" appeared and was endorsed by Roman Emperors.
Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274AD the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults.
The god was favoured by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine I. The festival was celebrated on December 25th!
At about the same time, Christians began celebrating the Birth of Christ.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.
Was there a connection. Some think that the "success" of the Roman knees-up encouraged the Christian community to start up in competition on the same date. We shall probably never know.
The prophet Malachi (last book in the old testament; last to write before Jesus came) wrote some "challenging" words ...
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
And we actually sing those words every Christmas.
Malachi's prophetic vision was that Jesus' coming would be like the Sun rising to bring light, healing and a leaping life to all who accepted Him as Saviour. Just to complicate things, many versions of this "Hark the Herald" verse change "sun" to "son" because they think, wrongly, that is what Charles Wesley (its author) intended.
He didn't; he was quoting Malachi.