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Featured What do you think the biggest misunderstanding about Christmas is?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by whirlingmerc, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    The Nativity was celebrated on December 25 decades before the Emperor declared the holiday of Sol Invictus.
     
  2. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    The only way to understand the nativity narrative is the realization that Christmas is always in the shadow of the cross.
     
  3. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    No it isn't.

    We have no firm evidence for a festival for Sol on December 25th until Julian wrote his hymn to Helios in December of 362. The entry in the calendar of 354 is probably for Sol, although only the epithet invictus is used (above, n. 4), and probably dates to 354, although it was possibly added later. Circumstantial evidence suggests that a festival of Sol on the winter solstice was not yet included in such calendars in the late 320s. As the Christian celebration of Christmas on December 25th can be attested in Rome by AD 336, at which point it may already have been well-established and the celebration of Sol on that day cannot be attested before AD 354/362 and had not yet entered the calendar in the late 320s, it is impossible to postulate that Christmas arose in reaction to some solar festival. There is quite simply not one iota of explicit evidence for a major festival of Sol on December 25th prior to the establishment of Christmas, nor is there any circumstantial evidence that there was likely to have been one. There is only Julian’s overly emphatic insistence that the celebration was as old as Numa… which is a fabrication and his convoluted explanation for the date is impossible.
    S Hijmans - Usener’s Christmas: A contribution to the modern construct of late antique solar syncretism)

    Christmas 25 Dec: Scholarly views
     
  4. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    There is no reason the nativity accounts of Mt and Lk must be taken literally but understood as vehicles of the Evangelist's theology. They are not only different but are contrary to one another in many details. The non-historical events may be understood as rewritings of Hebrew Scripture; Matthew's magi is an echo of the story of Balaam, a type of magus from the East, who saw the star rise out of Jacob. The story of Herod seeking the life of the infant Jesus and massacring the male children at Bethlehem is a reapplication of the Hebrew story of the wicked Pharaoh who sought the life of the infant Moses and slaughtered the male children of the Israelites, even as the story of Joseph the father of Jesus, who dream dreams and goes to Egypt is a reapplication of the story of the patriarch Joseph who does the same thing. The description in Luke of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of JBap, is taken almost verbatim from Hebrew Scripture description of Abraham and Sarah.
    Think midrash.
     
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  5. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Whats the evidence that "the nativity" was celebrated on the 25th December (By Christians) before the 3rd century if you are actually referring to aurelian.
     
  6. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    The biggest misunderstandings on this matter in my perception are (with my responses to the misunderstandings as well)

    1. All Christians believe Jesus was born on 25th December. - Not true. Many Christians now know that its a symbolic celebration and it should be taken as a symbolic celebration and people must now grow up and leave the Christians alone. Let them celebrate their Christmas.
    2. Christians always believed Christmas falls on 25th December - Wrong. According to Church Fathers, every single month may have been thought to be the birthday of Jesus Christ in history. Even early history.
    3. Christians intentionally picked 25th December based on Pagan Sun God - Wrong. You never know. Ambrose wrote that Jesus was the "True Sun", but that doesn't mean Christianity picked that day just because of this. It could be, but also it may not be. Maybe an old festival evolved into the current Christmas, maybe not. Maybe it happened somewhere around the mid millennium, where the dates are just coincidences. Some even celebrated on the 6th of january (Armenian Kirk).
     
  7. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    One thing that I just learned the other day is that Joseph and Jesus being carpenters is less likely than them being stone workers, and this is due to a mistranslation of a Greek word that actually means a "worker of natural materials", thus not just wood. Archaeologists find little evidence of wood-working in the Nazareth area back during Jesus' time but there's plenty of evidence of stone cutting.
     
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  8. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    What do you think the biggest misunderstanding about Christmas is?

    That what is celebrated today has any remote connection to the birth of Jesus Christ in the first place.

    Reading through the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus (Matthew ch 2; Luke ch 2) we find details from both accounts that fill in different detail but Luke sets the time period, when Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria.
    Quirinius - Wikipedia

    Every male had to return to the place of their birth to register for a census. Mary and Joseph were in Nazareth and had to travel to Bethlehem even though Mary was close to full term for her pregnancy. Because of the all the people who had come into the town, accommodations were full. There was no room in the lodging place for Joseph and Mary to stay, so the innkeeper apparently recognizing their circumstances, allowed them to stay in a place where animals fed since, the baby was "laid in a manger" or a feeding trough for animals. This also fulfilled a prophesy in Isaiah 53:2 concerning the humble circumstances of Jesus' life and his birth.
    (Luke 13:15 uses the same word......"But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall G5336 and lead him away to water him? Strongs)

    It was Jewish shepherds who were informed about the birth of the Messiah by angels, and it was these who journeyed to Bethlehem to see the new born King. There is no mention of the "wise men" being there. If they had been, then the gifts they gave Mary and Joseph would have allowed them to offer the prescribed sacrifice at the temple, but all they offered were two turtledoves, the offering of the poor.

    The so-called "wise men" were Babylonian astrologers who arrived much later and were not directed to Bethlehem and to the "house" where Jesus was then living with his parents, but to Jerusalem and to a jealous king who, when he was informed that a new king had been born, determined that no other king would succeed him but his own sons. He hatched a plot to locate the child with the intention to do away with him. It failed of course because it was not God who sent the star, but the devil, using his own dupes to try and get rid of the Messiah before he even had a chance to grow up. The star then becomes the means that satan used to lead Herod to Jesus, knowing his cruel disposition. The mass slaughter of infants under the age of two, resulted.

    The date of Jesus' birth is not recorded in scripture for a good reason. Jews did not celebrate birthdays and it was forbidden to Jews to adopt the customs of the Gentile nations. Birthdates were used in astrology for casting horoscopes and the celebration of birthdays was filled with spiritistic customs which are still carried on today. The birthday wishes were for the spirits to be kind to the newborn....the cake with the candles was to ward off evil spirits......none of these are acceptable to God because of their origins. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

    The northern hemisphere winter customs associated with Christmas are all pagan...the decorated tree...the Yule log....the feasting and merry-making....gift giving....carols....Santa Claus.....none of them have anything to do with Jesus and are all in fact offensive to God and his Christ. Far from honoring them, these pagan adoptions, dishonor them. Knowing all of that...how could they not? :shrug:

    So to me, the biggest misunderstanding is that Christ was ever IN Christmas.
     
    #28 Deeje, Dec 27, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  9. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The trip to Bethlehem is highly unlikely as that's not how census were conducted back then and there, plus the closest census was in 6 c.e. using the Gregorian Calendar's dating. What appears more likely are the authors of the gospels linking Jesus to the line of David figuratively.
     
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  10. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    BTW, bread & wine have "pagan" origins as well, but the vast majority of Christians still partake of them.

    The idea of Christmas being "pagan" really is quite nonsensical since symbols used often are applied other meanings that are compatible with Christian teachings.

    BTW, since the New Testament is written mostly in Koine Greek, is that "pagan" as well? :rolleyes:
     
  11. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    Which opens up a whole 'nother can of beans. That is not the way that censuses work. Not now and not then. The author of Luke got the purpose of the census right. Everything else he got demonstrably wrong. The purpose of the census was for taxation. That was correct. But then as now one does censuses based upon where people live. Not where they came from. If Joseph lived and worked in Nazareth that is where he would have been counted. It makes no sense to go back to where you came from and it would be chaos if one tried to enforce such a law even then. Second his dating was wrong. Romans kept very good records of their censuses. By his description it had to be the Census of Quirinius, which was not a empire wide census. In fact that was another incorrect claim. They did not count everybody at the same time. Christians cannot find an empire wide census at that time. The Census of Quirinius occurred about ten years after Matthew has Jesus born.
     
  12. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Where does it say where the house was located.
    At their annual trip to Jerusalem they could have stayed with relatives in a relative's or friend's house.
    Found in a house as a child (Not as an infant) does Not mean they moved to that particular house.
     
  13. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Or, could the manger be attached, so to speak, to the animal's stall .
    If the manger was the feeding area that would have been kept clean of animal droppings.
    Thus, as the wrong nativity scene shows there would have been No animals in the manger area at that time of night.
     
  14. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    I would say you have No problem with the three wise guys at any manger.
    > First, the un-numbered magi would have been in a caravan. That would have been the only safe way to travel.
    (remember: there were three (3) gifts, it does Not say how many magi )
    > Second, by the time they found Jesus the 'child Jesus' was in a house ( No infant Jesus )
    > Third, was the *star* an actual *star* or a ploy by satanic means.
    That *star* led the magi to Jesus' enemy Herod in Jerusalem Not Bethlehem, Not to any manger.
     
  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    ...that it's celebrated around the world. It isn't.
     
  16. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Living life in silence, observing.

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    The biggest problem is all the changes mundane human beings have done to the original teaching since the time of Jesus. Because what is thought as Christianity is far from what Jesus was preaching. because the words in the bible have been altered and interpreted by none enlighten human beings that do not understand that, even changing one word of Jesu`s teaching mean it is no longer Jesu teaching.
     
  17. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    I find at Luke 2:2 Luke mentions the ' first ' registration, so that ' first 'could have been the earlier registration over which would have happened sooner then the ten years later one.
    Justin Martyr cites Roman records as proof of Luke being accurate regarding Quirinius' earlier or first governorship at the time of Jesus birth.
    There is No evidence about Luke's account being ever challenged by the early historians including Celsus.
     
  18. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Holidays!
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    Matthew 2

    They could have, but that's also completely irrelevant to the story in Matthew 2. They lived in Bethlehem, that's where their house was, that's where the wise men visited them.

    Matthew doesn't say how old Jesus was. That's, again, irrelevant to the fact that in Matthew Jesus is born in Bethlehem because that's where his parents live and have a house, and that in Luke he's born in Bethlehem because his parents live in Nazareth but travel temporarily to Bethlehem for a census and then go back to Nazareth.
     
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  19. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Even early historians did Not challenge what Luke wrote at Luke 2:2. Even Celcus did Not disagree with Luke 2:2
    Luke wrote about the ' first ' or earlier registration.
    Earlier or sooner than the later 6 C.E. census.
    Plus, Justin Martyr cites Roman records as proof of Luke's accuracy regarding Quirinius' being governor at the time of Jesus birth. (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture edited by B. Orchard )
     
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  20. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Please post the verse where it says the house was in Bethlehem.
    They left Bethlehem to Jerusalem where Jesus was circumcised and stayed in Jerusalem for 40 days before returning home to Nazareth.
     
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