Monday, December 28, 2009

Some Random Thoughts about Christmas

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done?”

So signs John Lennon is his song Happy Christmas (War Is Over). This song always getting me thinking about what Christmas really is about. And what we, as a nation and a culture, have done with this holiday. Long time ago (2002 to 2015 yrs. ago), a little Jewish boy was born to a young mother far from home.

What have we done? We have a big commercial frenzy that excludes his own people from the celebration! What have we done, indeed!!

So, here’s some random thoughts of mine on the holiday we call Christmas

The Fuss and Whoopla
We have all this whoopla before Christmas: the frenzy to buy presents and the bubble in retail sales; decorations in stores, homes, and public places; the music on the radio; and a few voices trying to remember the reason for the season (oh, this Jesus Christ, known to Christians as “Our Savior” is born!).

And Who’s Missing Out on it All?
But wait a minute, who’s missing out on the celebration? Well, one group is our Jewish friends. Hummmm, but wasn’t Jesus born to a young Jewish mother? So, I wonder what this nice boy Jesus is thinking about our present day fuss about his birthday. And who misses out on it all.....his own people! Oy vey!!!!

And When Was Jesus really born?
My little research of internet sites provided a great variety of results:
  • Jesus was probably born on Sept. 29th or March 1st or June 2nd or maybe Dec. 25th.
  • Jesus was probably born sometime in the 13 year period between 6 BC (6 BCE) and 7 AD (7 CE).

The date and year all depend on which “star” marked his birth, and there are a number of significant planetary conjunctions which may have caught the eye of the astrologers from the east.

But, there is a little contradiction with the biblical text, as Jesus was said to be born during Herod’s rule (and he did in 4 BC [4 BCE]). Yet, the census that required Joseph and Mary to travel in Bethlehem didn’t happen until 7 AD (7 CE). And, for the first couple of centuries, followers of Christ didn’t celebrate his birth, so there wasn’t any real effort to come up with an exact day and year. And some believe Dec. 25th was convenient as it coincided with the Roman solstice celebrations.

Personally, I like the September or June date, as it would give some separate space to think about what Jesus did and said and what it means personally and for the world. I have even considered petitioning the major Christian denominations to move the religious celebration to this date and leave the Consumer Holiday in December.

Why Doesn’t the New Year Start on Christmas Day?
If the birth of Jesus marks the years in the current calendar, why does the year start a week later? Well, January 1st represents the day Jesus was named, the day of his circumcision. Most people don’t think of New Year’s Day as the Feast of the Circumcision…..might through a different perspective on the celebrations.