If you’re not too jazzed about it being Christmas tomorrow, know that you’re not alone.
And hopefully I can help a teensy bit.
So grab yourself a cocktail (Virgin if you prefer), and enjoy the news that however you feel about it, it probably isn’t actually Christmas on 25 December.
Yep. Christmas is probably being celebrated on the wrong date.
So, in fact, December 25th is indeed just another day.
See Christmas only started being celebrated on December 25th back in about the 4th century. That’s a looooong time after the alleged event it was meant to commemorate.
The Bible doesn’t actually say what date Mary checked in to the barn, all cervix dilated and Lamaze a-panting amidst all those lo-ing cattle, but there’s reasonable evidence to suggest that it wouldn’t have been December 25th.
Yes things are mighty warm in the Southern Hemisphere on December 25th, but in Bethlehem, it gets chilly.
Too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks by night while a “Virgin” gives birth. Yes, the shepherding thing actually IS in the Bible (Luke 2: 7-8), but this was long before North Face mass produced adventure gear that could have made these conditions survivable, let alone tolerable. Best-practice shepherding back in the day was for the flock to be outside in warm months, and in barns overnight in winter.
Secondly, Luke also reports (2:1-4) that Jesus’ parents came into Bethlehem to register the birth in the Roman Census. Fast forward 2000 odd years to Australia’s Census in 2016 which saw a massive internet meltdown, and you can see how difficult the Census would have been at this time. It simply didn’t occur in winter conditions because travel was so difficult.
Thirdly, in 2008, Australian astronomer Dave Reneke used his wicked smarts to chart how the night sky would have looked 2000 years ago. Seems that the bright star that guided the wise men to the baby with their gifts, would indeed have been over Bethlehem, but would not have been a star. It would have been an optical illusion with Venus and Jupiter so close in the night sky as to appear as one star.
And it would have been in June. Probably June 17.
Science is the BEST.
So why all the fuss about December 25th?
Well, it’s possible that December 25th was chosen simply to go head-to-head with Roman pagan festivities occurring around the winter solstice.
It’s a bit like scheduling Masterchef against The Voice – you may well be a fan of both, but the networks need you to choose and will throw everything at making you choose them.
So there. I hope that helps.
Meanwhile, due to on-line ordering error, I’m going to be mainlining close to 10kg of pork-products well into 2019 (and bearing in mind Dorothy Parker’s “the definition of eternity is two people and a ham”, I am thinking about an experiment with ham-washing some booze, will report back in the New Year on the results), watching some cricket and reading some books by the beach.
I hope that whether you enjoy Christmas, ignore Christmas or endure it, that you find your drink of choice, some laughs and some rest, and join me back here in 2019 (after first enjoying the classic masterpiece I’ve put below for you to enjoy).