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December 20, 2013
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Christmas Truths - Uncovered by pipoca6694 Christmas Truths - Uncovered by pipoca6694
EDIT:

Lol, know when you're juggling multiple thoughts at once, and you mix things up? Well, the New Testament was written in Greek, not Hebrew, and I just fixed that little typo. :blush:

/EDIT


I love learning technical stuff about the Bible like this - I never knew that mangers in that time period were actually made of stone! o_O

I was afraid I wouldn't finish in time; I just finished finals last Wednesday, and I've been helping out at home a lot - I really only had about 21/2 days to make this from scratch, so sorry if it looks sloppy in some parts ^^;

It's true: There is nothing Christian about the origin of Christmas itself. There are debates about what exactly were the original traditions, but scholars/historians/etc all seem to agree that it was originally a pagan celebration, until the Catholic church incorporated it into its system so that the church could become more united amongst their members and pagans. It made it easier to "convert" pagans, because their holidays were going on at the same time as the new "Christmas", so they really could just go on with their own traditions.
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:iconcrazy-eel:
Crazy-Eel Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Well, this is very interesting information!
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:icondorkinabubble:
dorkinabubble Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Student General Artist
This is so much fun to read :D makes me wanna do one myself!
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:iconpipoca6694:
pipoca6694 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd love to see you make one too! :highfive:
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:iconedenevergreen:
EdenEvergreen Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013
Christ's coming can be celebrated any day of the year. So why should Dec 25 be excluded? ;P

...

Each of us must choose where to put our own faith. Are we placing our faith in the Scripture, and in Christ, and perhaps a little bit in things that can be historically proven (where the Bible itself remains silent)... or are we placing our faith into traditions?

While traditions can be positive, they can also be historically inaccurate. If we place too much weight upon traditions that lack factual foundation, our faith can be shaken when facts opposing those traditions come to light.

...

I think it was Charles ("Chuck") Swindoll, with a handful of other pastors, who went digging through ancient records (in the original languages, which I can neither speak nor read) out of curiosity. They wanted to separate truth from tradition.

Here is part of what they found (to the best of my recollection, so please feel free to research and verify): **

Shepherds in that era only watched their flocks in the fields by night during lambing. In that region, lambing happened during April and October.

They traced when the census took place, and the dates of the mandatory Census eliminate April as a possibility for when He might have been born.

This means that Jesus would have been born sometime in October, based upon the historical records about the census and the times when Shepherds would be out among their flocks at night.

...

There seems to be some disagreement on precisely when the star appeared with relation to His birth. It partly depends on what each group thinks caused the extra-bright star to appear in the sky...

Some think it was two (or three) stars (or nearby planets) aligning in a way that made the appearance of a single extra-bright star.

Others think a star expanded and later exploded (thus the disappearance of the star).

Still others have theorized that it may have been a vision that had no physical cause.

*shrugs unknowingly* At this point in history, so many centuries later, it may not be possible to prove conclusively what happened in the night skies over the middle-east at that time.

...

One study indicated that the Magi were probably Babylonians. They may have been part of a set of scholars, magicians and astrologers who would study things like the stars in the sky to determine when "it was written in the heavens" that a king was born, or would shortly be born.

If that study is accurate, the Magi were not themselves kings, but instead the designated "King-makers" for their culture.

The fact that Scriptures record them reporting to the current king first would tend to support this theory.

The Magi assumed (incorrectly) that the newborn king would most likely be the current king's son or nephew. Based upon that incorrect assumption, they expected that the king would know exactly where the child was that they had come to honor.

Since he knew the prophecies, Herod knew where to send them to look.

Since Philippians 2:10-11 states that every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord ... it doesn't bother me that these men might not have been following God when they set out to meet the newborn Christ. Their arrival might have been God's way of signalling to the world, in the language of the day, that this baby really is King.

I hope that -- regardless of their religion when they began their journey -- the Magi had things figured out correctly by the end of their trip. :)

...

I have also previously run across numerous historical references about the current date for "Christ Mass" being placed in December for the purpose of making it difficult for people to be hypocrites... either be a Christian or be a Pagan. Don't try to do both at the same time. Either come to church to celebrate Christ, or else go out carousing with the pagans.

Most of the liturgical calendar holidays were placed on what current generations know as their "traditional dates" for similar reasons.

St. Valentine's Day was assigned to Feb 14 to compete with Lupercon (sp?) (a highly promiscuous fertility celebration, where red was the festival color). Valentine was known for writing small, encouraging messages to his friends... even after he was in prison. Those friendly messages of encouragement were called "Valentines." The "competing" traditions got blended into the holiday as we know it now.

The celebration of Christ's resurrection was placed not to align with Passover (historically accurate), but instead to compete with the annual emergence of a pagan patroness of spring. Her symbols include rabbits and eggs. A variation on her Egyptian name (she appears almost identically in other pantheons, also) is the title for that holiday. Another case of "competition" resulting in blended traditions.

Choosing to celebrate Christian events at the same time as pagan holidays, regardless of historical accuracy, was a very common practice during the centuries when the liturgical calendar was being established.

In fact, that practice is usually considered "common knowledge" among those who research such things. ;P

...

Oh, and for whatever it may be worth... though I live far from the Mediterranean, the local climate is described as "cool Mediterranean." There are an assortment of plants that grow in this region that also grow around the Mediterranean -- but in very few other places.

It is not unheard-of for snow to appear in this region as early as late September, especially in higher altitude areas. A little higher up, it's uncommon to get through October without snow.

So "snow on the ground," even if that proved to be historically accurate, would not require the date to be as late as December.

...

However, precisely when He was born is less important than the fact that He was born, and that He lived among us, and all the things He taught us, and why He died and rose again. :aww:

...

** I would re-research these things myself and cite references, but my health has been so bad lately that I can't sit up that long. Sorry. :blushes: Perhaps providing what I recall will be enough for others to find the information themselves?
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:iconpipoca6694:
pipoca6694 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see nothing wrong with keeping some traditions--as long as it does interfere with truth. ^^

In Jesus' day, they still used the Hebrew calender, and the Hebrew month Tishri lines up with September/October approximately, so it is accurate to what you said. I don't think they would keep the sheep indoors with some snow outside, especially where it's common, but I think that during especially cold times of the year, and most especially during lambing, that they would keep the sheep in shelter. Winter in Israel begins around September/October and often reaches its peek in January or February. So if they were out with the sheep during September/October, either there was little to no snow, or it just wasn't bad enough to keep them inside.

There is a wonderful woman of God that mentions in her book The Desire of Ages that the star could've actually been a group of angels in chapter 6. It's free online, and is a wonderful read! ^^

I don't doubt the possibility that the wise men could've been from Babylon, but since its fall in 539 BC., it remained a province of Persia until 650 BC., which is why I felt it was unnecessary to list the possibilities of them being "Persians" or "Babylonians"

Oh yes, pretty much all of the holidays we have today came from pagan origins, I've known that for a very long time. :) Regarding Christmas, the church members would participate in the pagan customs instead of being in the church, and the leaders ended up having their own celebration as well as a way of not only trying to keep the members in, but also to make it easier for non-Christians to join; it was an intermingling of traditions, you could say.

Definitely. Knowing what day Jesus was born is not necessary for our salvation, and if it is something that gets in the way spiritually, it's better to just drop the topic and work on your spiritual relationship instead. :D

**No worries, we all have our bad days. That reminds me, I totally forgot to leave my sources at the bottom of my page--I'll have to work on that. ^^
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:iconedenevergreen:
EdenEvergreen Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013
*whispers*

Looks like there's a typo in the first sentence... "--as long as it does not interfere with truth" was what you meant, yes? :)

That was the primary intent of my rather long-winded missive, also. :nod:
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:iconpipoca6694:
pipoca6694 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol yes, my bad XD I meant to say doesn't.  Thank you for clearing that up for anyone else reading this! :D
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:iconcbrengan:
CBrengan Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
very nice research! In case the nativity image above is not yours, you might want to give credit to the artist in the comments.  I really enjoyed reading this. :clap:
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:iconpipoca6694:
pipoca6694 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, that is why it says, "artist unknown" right underneath it. I've had that image saved on my computer for about a year or so, and I can't find it online again to figure out who the artist is :( As soon as I figure it out, or if someone finds it and lets me know, I will be sure to give credit, just like I did for the wise men painting.

I'm glad you enjoyed it~ :D
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:iconcbrengan:
CBrengan Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
If I stumble onto it I'll let you know! :)
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