By the way, Christ wasn’t born in December either. What!? Of course, whether or not he was born in December, is irrelevant to many folks. Some will say, we can’t know his date of birth, so one day is as good or bad as another. This being the case, then we should drop the pretense that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. It’s not. It’s all about buying and selling if we’re honest with ourselves.
For the purists to say Christ was born in December and the wise men showed up with presents at the manger in Bethlehem, well, it's a legend or myth. And the Biblical record clearly contradicts the myth. Luke 2 tells us, “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night … So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger … And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
Two things should be carefully noted. One, there is no mention of wise men with gifts when Christ was born. Two, only shepherds who were living out in the fields showed up, and without gifts. As to Christ being born in December, shepherds are not out living in the fields with their flocks, especially at night in the area of Bethlehem in December. It’s too cold for one, with freezing rain and snow occuring that time of the year. And there’s nothing for the sheep to graze on. The very latest shepherds would be out in the fields would be late October. So for shepherds to show up at Christ’s birth, he would have been born months earlier than late December.
The December date was chosen in the 4th century by the Roman emperor Constantine because of religious unrest in the empire. He chose what was the winter solstice then, or December 25th the first day of winter not only for Christians, but for Egyptians and Romans in their religious celebrations. Had he been picking a date out today, it would be the 21st of December. [See the Sneakers article, Birthdays Of The Gods].
In fact, there is no consensus among scholars and historians even as to the year Christ was born. The dates generally range from 1 to 7 BCE. Dating the death of Herod, which the Jewish historian Josephus puts about 4 BCE, then Christ could have been born as early as 5-7 BCE, which seems to be the most commonly accepted time frame. This still puts the actual date in the realm of "best guess." What we know then is that Christ was not born on December 25th, and it is very unlikely the year was 1 CE. Even more importantly, the actual day and date of his physical birth is not essential to the Christianity we find in the Biblical record. None of the apostles mention it nor is there any mention of its celebration. There are other more significant matters for Christians to be concerned with today.
But what about the gift giving, as all this buying and selling is attributed to the wise men at the birth of Christ. In fact, how come there is no mention of them with the shepherds? Well, the wise men weren’t there with the shepherds. The wise men most likely didn’t show up for close to two years. And when they did, they visited Christ who was a young child living in a house. No way! Way.
Let’s see what Matthew 2 actually says. “And when they [the wise men from the east] had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” The Greek word for young child, as in a house, is paidion. The Greek for baby, as in a manger, is brephos.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” Christ was probably about two years old or a little younger when the wise men with their gifts visited him in a house.
So Christ wasn’t born in December. And he didn’t get birthday presents from the wise men either. But, what about the Christmas tree? Well, the evergreen tree was used by heathens in their winter solstice festivals. They thought the Sun was dying each year, and everything else died off except the evergreen trees. They must have special powers, so they would cut them out of the forests each year. The prophet Jeremiah said, “They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.” You can see these trees with little wooden stands hammered to the base of the trees so they won’t fall over, every December in lots everywhere. As did the heathens of old, so-called Christians decorate their trees with gold and silver colored things. [See the Feature article, Our Corrupted Compass].
And it's been my experience that atheists love Christmas, which allegedly celebrates the birth of the Son of God. Go figure. They put lights all over their houses. They put their decorated trees with lights and shiny orbs in front of a window for all to see. They bedeck the foot of their trees with brightly wrapped presents. With their words, they deny the Creator, but then take great pleasure in celebrating the tradition which supposedly marks his birth, to the point of greetings others with "Merry Christmas." Very strange.
What are we told about observing this practice of evergreen trees in the prophecy of Jeremiah? “Thus says the Lord [Christ]: “Do not learn the way of the heathens; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the heathens are dismayed at them.” [ See Jer. 10]. The signs of heaven is a reference to the winter solstice. And what do Christians do? We celebrate the wrong date, for the wrong reasons, wrongly learning the way of the heathens.
What we discover then is that Christ only had shepherds show up when he was a baby in a manger. It wasn’t in December. They had no gifts. The wise men, who did brings gifts, showed up maybe a couple years later when Christ was a young child living in a house. The gifts they brought were for Christ the king, not the birthday boy. And the evergreen tree is a heathen symbol used in pagan observances. As to Santa and Rudolph, why do we, who claim to be Christians, teach our children fairy tales or myths in place of the truth? [See the Feature article, The Love Of The Truth].
For those of you who may care about such things, ultimately, our celebration of this thing called Christmas will result in the opening of the sixth seal according to the prophecies in Jeremiah and Revelation. It is the seal associated with what is commonly referred to as the Apocalypse. For a detailed explanation, see chapter five, The Hijacked Elephant.
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"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."