Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Absolutely, Christmas is in the same practical category as Good Friday and the Nativity. Permit a little time to express my point about all this in order to substantiate the distinction from history and the culture that has surrounded theses events, which is deception.

Jesus did not die on a Friday, in fact He died on a Wednesday.

GOOD FRIDAY

Good Friday, suggest Jesus died on the cross on a Friday. The reality is that Jesus’ time of death was 3PM - Wednesday AD 31.

When Jesus died He was quickly buried because of the oncoming Feast of Unleavened Bread, a high day which began at sunset on Wednesday to sunset on Thursday - Luke 23:46-54.

Luke 23:54 “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on”

Many have assumed this was the weekly Sabbath and that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. There are two distinct high days or Sabbaths referred to in this week. The weekly Sabbath is sunset Friday to sunset Saturday verses the first day of Unleavened Bread, a high annual Sabbath - Sunset Wednesday to Sunset Thursday.

John 19:31 (for that sabbath day was an high day) - (Exodus 12:16-17; Leviticus 23:6-7)

The annual Holy Days usually fall on weekdays, other than the regular weekly Sabbath days, sunset Friday - sunset Saturday.

Luke 23:54-56 the women saw Jesus’ body being laid in the tomb just before sunset Wednesday

They “returned and prepared spices and ointments”

Preparing spices would not have been done on a Sabbath day, Friday - Saturday, since it would have been considered a violation of the Sabbath.

This is verified by Mark’s account, which states, “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices (which they would not have purchased on the high-day Wednesday - Thursday (Mark 16:1).

The women had to wait until this annual “high day” was over before they could buy and prepare the spices to be used for anointing Jesus’ body. After purchasing and preparing the spices and oils on Friday, “they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56).

The second Sabbath mentioned in the Gospel accounts is the regular weekly Sabbath, observed from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Two Sabbaths

Mark tells us the women bought spices after the Sabbath, Luke states they prepared the spices before resting on the Sabbath—two different Sabbaths.

John 19:31 - The first Sabbath was a “high day”— the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—which, in A.D. 31, fell on a Wednesday.

The second was the weekly seventh-day Sabbath - Sunset Friday - Sunset Saturday

Jesus died at the 9th hour of the day. Matthew 27:45-50 - 3PM

After the women rested on the regular weekly Sabbath Friday - Saturday, they went to Jesus’ tomb early on the first day of the week (Sunday), “while it was still dark” (John 20:1), and found that He had already been resurrected (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:2-6; Luke 24:1-3).

Jesus was crucified and entombed on Wednesday afternoon, just before the Sabbath began at sunset. The high-day Sabbath, lasting from sunset Wednesday to sunset Thursday, rather than the regular weekly Sabbath, lasting from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Jesus rose anytime from 3PM Saturday - He was already gone early Sunday when Mary arrived. Matt 28:1-6, Jesus rose precisely three days and three nights after He was placed in the tomb, you can’t get 3 day and 3 nights from Friday to Sunday morning.

With theses facts, people all around the World still celebrate Good Friday as the day of Jesus death.

CHRISTMAS

The celebration of Christmas suggest that Jesus was born on December 25th.

Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, by the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date that was later adopted in the East.

Today, most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the Gregorian calendar, the day after the Western Christian Church celebrates the Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Jesus as a boy which is considered Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles.

December 25 was the date the Romans marked as the winter solstice, the shortest, and darkest day of the year. Jesus was identified with the Sun based on an Old Testament verse.

The date is exactly nine months following Annunciation, when the conception of Jesus is celebrated.

The Romans had a series of pagan festivals near the end of the year, so Christmas may have been scheduled at this time to appropriate, or compete with, one or more of these festivals.

The Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke are prominent in the gospels, the first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome in 336.

Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century. In the early Middle Ages, it was overshadowed by Epiphany. The feast regained prominence after 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor on Christmas Day. Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century.

It was restored as a legal holiday in 1660, but remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, Christmas was revived with the start of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church.

Charles Dickens and other writers reinvented the holiday by emphasizing Christmas as a time for family, religion, gift-giving, and social reconciliation as opposed to the revelry that had been common historically.

The Significance of the Nativity

Consider this point, it may seem out of context but it will make sense. There were 8 presidents before George Washington, who was inaugurated as President of the United States on April 30, 1789 however, the US had a functioning government that started operating from September 1774 and as a confederacy from July 4 1776. For about 15 years from 1774 until 1789 there were 8 Presidents before Washington. They weren’t called the Presidents of the United States, they were called the President of the Continental Congress, each one served about year in office from 1982 until 1789 respectively, they included..

John Hanson (1782)

Elias Boudinot (1783)

Thomas Mifflin (1784)

Richard Henry Lee (1785)

John Hancock (1786)

Nathan Gorman (1787)

Arthur St. Clair (1788)

Cyrus Griffin (1789)

The point is, just because something is said over and over again or has the appearance on its surface as being a fact, as in the case of the first President of the United States, it does not make it so, particularly if you give it closer examination, as in Good Friday or the Nativity and the birth of Christ.

The word Christmas comes from the Greek word “Christos/Kris-tos” means anointed, the Messiah, or the more complete definition, “the ideal truth that comes as a divine manifestation of God to destroy incarnate sin and evil, or the works of the devil”.

“Mas” means to assemble in a large group.

The actual date of Christ birth is unknown and lost in antiquity, the common depiction of the Nativity, is that of shepherds, 3 wise men, Jesus in a manger, Joseph, Mary, Angels and a animals round about.

Just as the depiction of Washington as the first President, the display of the nativity and December 25th as the date of Christ birth is equally as misleading.

According to the biblical accounts, the Shepherds and wise men were never actually in the same place, neither did they see Jesus on the same night. Their encounters were actually months if not years apart.

The Shepherds saw Jesus in a manger the same day of His actual birth if not a day or two later. A water trough is something that animals drink from.

Luke 2:7-16

7 “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

There are some defining details here that will help us with understanding the age gap of Jesus during the encounter of the Wise men, who are assumed to be three people, but this is also an extrapolation, not revealed in scripture. Most make this leap because of the number of gifts presented to Joseph and Mary for Jesus.

Matthew 2:7-13

7 “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him”.

This is the entire account that refers to the wise men, and in no place is it reveled that the number of them is three. It could be 2, 5 or even 50 wise men, but the nativity reference of 3 is supposition, guess work.

Luke 2:7 “and wrapped him in swaddling clothes”

The Greek word for “swaddling” is ‘Saparganoo/Spar-Gan-oo

Which means to wrap in straps, which is typically associated with infants or new borns. The word “babe” in Greek is “Brephos/Bref-os

Which means infant, new born child, which is to say under 30 days old.

By the time the wise men saw Jesus he had already left Bethlehem, had gone to Jerusalem which is 98.5 miles away, roughly a 34 hour walk.

He had been circumcised 8 days after his birth according to Jewish law and had travelled to Galilee to the city of Nazareth.

Luke 2:21-23

21 “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

The days of purification are 33 days, which means they were in Bethlehem for a little over a month before they went to Jerusalem.

Leviticus 12:2-4

2 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled”.

Luke 2:39

“And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”

Its 15 miles from Bethlehem to Nazareth which is approximately 5 hours in walking time. The average person would travel 3-7 miles a day, but this trek would be slower because Mary and Joseph were carrying Jesus. Many suggest that they traveled with a donkey, but that is more supposition, guess work, the scriptures don’t say that.

They also traveled from Jerusalem to Nazareth, The mileage from Jerusalem to Nazareth and Capernaum and vice versa is: Approximately 120 miles. The most direct route would be about 90 miles, however this would be through Samaria.

This was an area between Jerusalem and the Galilee area to the North. The Jews as a whole hated the Samaritans and they the Jews. Travel through Samaria was to be avoided because of the mountainous conditions and the racial hatred. It would have been to dangerous with a woman and a child.

The travel route would have been from Jerusalem down to the Jordan valley ‘called the Jericho Road’. Then across the Jordan River into the area known as Perea (part of present day Jordan and once a part of Israel).

One would then go north on the east side of the River Jordan on up into Decopolis, still on the east side of the River Jordan.

Just below the Sea of Galilee the route crossed back over the River Jordan and then split. One route went on Northwest to Nazareth the other route passing along the West side of the Sea of Galilee past Tiberias and on through Magdala to Capernaum. Both these routes are about the same mileage.

When the wise men saw Jesus he was in Nazareth, NOT Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Egypt.

It is typically assumed that the wise men saw Jesus in Bethlehem because Herod dispatched the wise men to Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:7-8

7 “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also”.

The wise men never even went to Bethlehem, they followed the star in the East to where Jesus was, Galilee in the city of Nazareth. (Mathew 2:9-12, Luke 2:39)

Matthew 2:9-12

9 “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way”.

By the time the wise men saw Jesus, he was a young child in a house.

Matthew 2:11

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother”

A young child means one who is between he ages of 3 months to 2 years of age. Jesus was not in a barn when the wise men met him. There were no Angels, shepherds or animals at the house.

The approximate age of Jesus is supported by Herod’s decree to kill every child in Bethlehem from a new born to the age of 2 years.

Matthew 2:16

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men”.

After the encounter with the wise men, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt to wait out the death of Herod.

Matthew 2:13-15

13 “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15 and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son”.

Only after Herod’s death, did Jesus return to Galilee.

Matthew 2:19-23

19 “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

20 saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

23 and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene”.

Its important to note that Herod was unaware of the travels of Jesus, he only knew of the prophesy that the Christ would come out of Bethlehem. Those children who Herod killed, died in a futile quest by Satan, as Jesus was by this time, already in Jerusalem.

These actions by Satan reveal the depth of his lack of understanding of prophesy and the scripture, as all that God does is done so in plain sight, in this case thousands of years in advance, but revealed to those who are filled with the Spirit of the Lord, which demons are not.

1 Corinthians 2:7-9

7 “but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”.

So when you see the nativity simply know, it is a cute story, but is of no more consequence then the fables of Santa Claus, Good Friday or Christmas.

There is no harm in celebrating these events in and of themselves, the key is to understand the truth that surrounds them. The actual dates are irrelevant to the recognition of the work of the Lord.

Celebrate all the dates and enjoy the holidays..just know the truth behind what you believe!

Why Christians Believe What They Believe 

© Tony - W.A.M