Only his whereabouts and the events and activities surrounding it were mentioned. For example, Mathew talked about the engagement of a virgin named Mary to Joseph. But to Joseph’s surprise, he found out that Mary was already pregnant. While Joseph was thinking of divorcing Mary privately, an angle of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and forced him not to do it. It turned out that Mary was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit! (Matthew 1: 18-23).
If we look at the gospel of Luke (Luke 2: 1-20), he talks about a census ordered by the Emperor Augustus to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. Every Roman subject to go to their own hometown or birth place to be registered. Joseph, a descendant of King David, left Nazareth town in Galilee to Bethlehem town in Judea which was King David’s birthplace. Of course Joseph took Mary his fiancée who was pregnant to be registered there. While they were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her first son, Jesus. Unfortunately there were no rooms in the inn for them to stay let alone for Mary to deliver her baby.
The two narratives, however, did not mention any specific dates about Jesus’ birth; only the activities and happenings that took place. But if we look again at the gospel of Luke 1: 26-38, the angle Gabriel appeared to Mary and informed her that she would have a son and called him Jesus. Being a righteous and decent girl, Mary was surprised. “How can this be? I am a virgin!” Mary told the angel Gabriel assured her that the Holy Spirit would come on her and God’s power would rest upon her. The holy child will be called the son of God.
According to Christian traditions throughout Christendom, this is known as the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This took place round about the 25th March in 6th B.C. This is a big festival which every Christian celebrates. They celebrate the virginity and willingness of Mary to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Credit must be given to Joseph too for being the foster father of Jesus. He didn’t divorce Mary but look after her until she gave birth to Jesus. Joseph didn’t mistreat or abuse Jesus either but look after him as though he was really his biological son. He even taught Jesus to be a good carpenter his trade. From building and repairing things, Jesus grew up to be an expert in mending and repairing human bodies and souls.
Now we come to the Christmas Myth Solution – From the medical point of view. According to common knowledge and especially medical doctors’ experience and know-how, they tell us that if a woman is pregnant, she will deliver exactly in nine (9) month’s time. She could have nine months two weeks or more if she has some complications. Otherwise nine (9) months is the norm.
Okay we return to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary which tool place on the 25th March 6th B.C., and we link it to the 25th December 6th B.C. We then come to the conclusion that is exactly nine (9) months which is the birth of Jesus Christ.
The numbering system now in use was developed about AD 525. The plan was that the year of Christ’s birth would be AD1, and then the years would be numbered before and after. For example B.C. would be “Before Christ” and after would be known as A.D, meaning “Anno Domini” which means “in the year of our Lord” in Latin. Unfortunately an error was made in assigning AD 1, and by the time the error was discovered, the numbering system could not be changed or altered. Therefore the correct year of Christ’s birth according to the numbering system is probably about 6 B.C.
Of course there are legends and myths surrounding the 25th December. For example the sun-worship which falls on 17th to 21st December, a day of merriment and gifts-exchange; the day Santa Claus goes round and distributes gifts to children and needy people; the mass of Christ hence Christmas and so on.
So much for the exact date! As Christians, we are happy that God has incarnated in the form of Jesus Christ. He came to experience our human situation: Sinfulness and covetousness, hatred, jealousy, pride, greed, violence, etc. In fact Jesus Christ had a divine and human nature united in one person. Therefore he knows you and me in and out physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Why not tell him your problems, troubles and difficulties?
Back to the Gospel of Luke 2: 10ff which says “Don’t be afraid”. I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown, a Saviour was born for you, He is Christ the Lord.”
Merry Christmas Solomon Islands and a Blessed New Year 2011.
Fr. Neemia K. O’Brien
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