Monday, December 24, 2012
Re-telling the Christmas Story
With Christmas finally here once more, what has gotten you busy running around this year? Buying presents? Attending parties? Going places to reunite with family? Or even going to church for Christmas service? In the middle of all this, do you really understand why we're celebrating this holiday?
For those of you who grew up in the western hemisphere, I have no doubt you are familiar with the story of Jesus' birth and understand that Christmas is a time of giving (And the whole deal about Christmas is celebrating Christ's birth and not about santa Claus because he's not real blah blah blah). Therefore I am going to skip the usual discussion about that and bring to you a different topic: Common misconceptions about the nativity story.
We can do this a few different ways:
1. I have here a link that takes you over to a website I found which explains everything I am trying to get across pretty well for those of you who wants to read about it. I will talk briefly over everything on the bottom but this is a Q&A format: http://christiananswers.net/christmas/mythsaboutchristmas.html
2. Here is a video that my church showed today which pretty much motivated me to write this blog:
3. Keep scrolling and you can read what i have to say about them.
-Mary rode a Donkey into Bethlehem: In the new testament of the Bible, there was no real evidence that Mary actually rode a Donkey, it was only assumed. In fact, it was probably unlikely that she did because of the long trip and Mary was also pregnant (That's right, you try telling a pregnant lady to sit in the back of your truck while going 60 off road for an hour. You get the idea). The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is approximately 96.3 miles!
just a btw in case you want to be checking the Bible for all this in the process of reading, flip open to Luke ch. 2 because out of the four Gospels only Luke and Matthew talks about Jesus' birth and Matthew very brief.
-Jesus was born on the night Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem: The Bible simply said "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born," (Luke 2:6) (NIV). for all we know, they could've been there for a couple of nights already.
-Joseph and Mary has talked to Innkeepers: In the church play put on by the children, there's usually innkeepers that Joseph and Mary talk to that turn them down because of not having rooms in their inn/hotel, but the Bible did not have a mention of these characters, and there is a chance there wasn't even an inn in the first place
-Jesus was born in a stable: Scholars have argued over and over for this part of the scripture and the Bible only said it was a Manger, because of no room in the inn, which the word in Greek actually is Kataluma Which means more of a guest room in a house rather than an inn or hotel. Another interesting thing, the manger back in the days were actually caves rather than stables that we imagine it to be, sooo.... Jesus was probably born in a cave.
-Jesus was a peaceful and quiet baby: false, the Biblical reference offers no such claim and it only exist in modern Christmas music
-Three kings brought three expensive gifts for Jesus at his birth: there are a few things wrong with this common belief. One being there were three Magi (wisemen) not kings (The three kings idea is from another Christmas carol). Number two there might've been more than three magi since the Bible only mentioned three kind of gifts and no certain amount of magi. Three nobody said anything about the magi being there at Jesus' birth. Scholars actually suggest that they met Jesus when he was a child and not a baby. (only in the Gospel of Matthew does the Bible even mentioned about the three Magi that came from the East)
-Jesus was born on December 25th: Historical evidence suggests that Jesus was actually probably born around March or April and not December . To read more about it here's another link since it'll take a long time going that whole other argument: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/biblical-evidence-shows-jesus-christ-wasnt-born-dec-25/
Now I would like to clarify that I'm not writing this to confuse you and to suggest that the Bible is a confusing piece of literature, but to merely inform you of this trend of commercialization and the twisting of our Christmas traditions. If the most basic and important story of Christ's birth is mostly wrong, what can we expect to be right about what we do this time of the year? In this sick society we live in, people buy ravishing gifts to each other even when they're out of money and kids write a list of unnecessary things that they want. But that's not Christmas. I thought Christmas was suppose to be a time of giving, not "hmm, I want this and that and in exchange I'll give you this and that" time. I love getting presents because it shows how much people know about me and I get things I usually would feel wasteful buying. But why not use this money for something more meaningful? Use it on something that'll actually change a person's life? Christmas just so happen to fall on the season of winter, the coldest time of the year, the most dangerous time for weaker and poorer people in the society. While we are at white elephant gift exchange and laughing over gag gifts bought with pocket change, some people are out in the cold figuring out how to stay warm of even alive for another night. Has materialism and commercialism really defeated us?
My hope is that next time when you pick up a Christmas card that has the manger scene on the cover, you point it out to the person next to you and explain to them on how important this holiday really is and ask them if there's anything you and help them with instead of "What do you want for Christmas?"
On that note, I end my Christmas rant/blog and hope everybody to have a safe and wonderful Christmas season!
(Leave a comment if you have any questions or interesting criticism that will help me in my writing. Also if I got anything wrong please let me know and point me in the right direction)