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ELECTION 2022

‘Jesus wasn’t born on December 25’: How Christmas came about

OPINION
By Okwaro Oscar Plato | Dec 21st 2021 | 4 min read

It is December and Christmas celebrations are around the corner. Our families and individuals are planning to spend, feast on special food and even drink excessively.

Painfully though, the birthday and the custom of exchanging gifts (Matthew 2:1-11) they purport to be celebrating has no solid truth if it has Biblical evidence or paganism.

Jesus himself never celebrated Christmas as his birthday the 33 years on earth and he never taught the disciples to remember it as he did on the question of say, the Sabbath.

Luke 1:26 records an angel appearing to Mary in the sixth month and nine months later when she was expected to deliver fell on a February; counting by the Jewish calendar that should be mid-March to mid-April. December 25 is not relevant to Christ’s birth.

Although it is not impossible, it seems unlikely. The Bible does not specify that. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive.

Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.

The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles).

Christmas has its origin in the Book of Jeremiah 52:31. The Bible records the release of Jehoichin, King of Judah, from prison on December 25 by the evil Merodach of Babylon. The original significance of December 25 is that it was a well-known festival day celebrating the annual return of the sun.

Since no one knows the day of his birth, the Roman Catholic Church felt free to choose December 25. The Church replaced the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). Therefore, the celebrations began long before Jesus was born.

In 336 AD, the Roman emperor Constantine converted this pagan tradition into a holiday called Christmas; it entered every Christian home because Rome dominated most of the “Christian” world for centuries, the date became tradition throughout most of Christendom.

The psychology was that, it is easier to take away an unholy (but traditional) festival from the population, when you can replace it with a good one. Otherwise, the Church would have left a void where there was a long-standing tradition, and risked producing a discontented population and a rapid return to the old ways.

The popular argument that it does not matter which day you worship takes us back to the garden of Eden where the devil suggested to Adam and Eve that it did not make any difference which fruit they ate. Some people even claim that the commandments were abolished at the cross!

However, that clarified, as we near the real festive season the television adverts and newspaper inserts are encouraging us to embark on the usual Christmas practice of ‘shopping till we drop’ or these days shopping until our index fingers get tired of tapping in details on internet sites.

Likewise start to brace ourselves for the subsequent financial shock when the credit card bills land on our doormats in the New Year. Overindulging in food and drink is so often matched by overdoing our spending with the result that the first part of the New Year turns into a damage repair exercise for our budgets while parents grapple to raise school fee for their children.

But there are a range of tips that can help turn Christmas into a financial success rather than financial excess. Have a budget for Christmas spending on presents, food, drink and socialising. Fix this Christmas element of your budget within the rest of the household budget so that you can manage the overall effect Christmas spending has on your finances over a number of months.

Kenyans should avoid being pressurised even by their children or family into spending beyond capacity.

Let’s briefly return to Christ’s birth, in Matthew 2:1-11, the “wise men” presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

For those who will follow suit in the name of “Christ-mass” season, enjoy the festive season, however, good financial planning will help you to enjoy not only the festive season’s celebrations but also the New Year too.

It is unsound to let Christmas spending give you a New Year financial hangover.

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