A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

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A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Bare_Truth » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:26 pm

This matter popped into my head when I saw the topic title "Christmas Approaches" on another strip.
In what sense does Christmas approach.
Well......
Most sources that present an examination the time of the nativity of Jesus of Nazareth seem to claim just about any date but December 25th So then the idea of Christmas approaches may require a bit of examination.

The Online Etymology Dictionary explicitly states the obvious that Christmas comes from Christ Mass meaning a day to hold a mass celebrating the Birthday of Christ. as does Wikipedia but on the wikipedia page at the locationhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas#Choice_of_December_25_date it launches in to great detail in how the date was selected.

There seems to be considerable controversy when the Birth of Jesus actually occurred.

One statement that I have heard repeatedly stated authoritatively is that Christ was born no where near Christmas but rather some time in the spring. Try as I might I have never been able to find any explanation of how this conclusion is arrived at or to whom it is attributed.

So while we might be approaching the assigned day of the Mass for the birth of Christ, there seems to be very little agreement of when Christ was actually born but a whole lot of claims that it was not December 25!

Now if any of you can lay forth the as yet undocumented (to me) explanation about why some claim it was in the spring, I would like to see that argument laid out.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Petros » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:48 pm

There is not really much useful evidence for the date. If the notorious star could be identified and calculated as a naturalistic phenomenon, that might help - but the coordination between the stargazers' visit and the birth is not clear - look at Herod's margin of error. No real indication of season, little of precise year.

Holidays / Holy Days / Saints' Days are often placed at the traditional date of birth or death or some great deed - or arbitrary or principled. Putting the celebration in Spring - that would get entangled with Easter. A good calendar needs a good celebration near each equinox and each solstice.

Nothing Grinchy about it, of course. And the uncertainty does not undermine great Christmas images with the stable covered with snow, any more than what we know of the Mideast destroys art with a blond Mary and Jesus.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby New_Adventurer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:53 pm

One statement that I have heard repeatedly stated authoritatively is that Christ was born no where near Christmas but rather some time in the spring. Try as I might I have never been able to find any explanation of how this conclusion is arrived at or to whom it is attributed.


I have seen several references to the birth of Jesus as being during the lambing season, or mid spring, as in April.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby jjsledge » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:50 am

Those who judge the motives of othere are simply revealing what's in their own hearts. Frank Viola "Revise Us Again" p.89
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Jim » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:23 am

Bare_Truth wrote:One statement that I have heard repeatedly stated authoritatively is that Christ was born no where near Christmas but rather some time in the spring. Try as I might I have never been able to find any explanation of how this conclusion is arrived at or to whom it is attributed.

The explanation is that shepherds weren't out in the fields at night in December. But some say that special flock near Bethlehem raised for temple sacrifice was.
Christ was born. It is good to celebrate. Some find theological reasons to suppose he was conceived at the vernal equinox, making his birth around the winter solstice. I don't know, but Jesus' coming seems a good thing to celebrate to me, and a date to celebrate has been chosen. I'm happy to go with it.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby JimShedd112 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:03 am

I've always heard Christ's birth was at the time of lambing also. I'd never heard of the special flock near Bethlehem, raised for sacrifices.

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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby naturaldon » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:27 pm

Well, here's the thing for me. I know my birthday and my spiritual birthday. We do not know Christ's birthday (earthly) nor His beginning. Men are the image and glory of God (according to Paul), to the extent that we know we have a beginning and Christ (God) does not.

Not knowing the birthday of the King makes the mystery so much more sweeter. I'm just glad He came: He died for our sins, according to the Scripture, He was buried, and God raised Him to life, according to the Scriptures (I Cor. 15:3-4). If we knew exact dates, would we tend to be hung up more on that rather than making the Gospel message the priority? The world has already commercialized the season. Imagine what they'd do with the exact day.

I don't know the answer to that (and yes, I asked myself!). But it's cool that men who follow Christ, and others who are drawn to Him, enjoy discussing any feature of His coming, whether it's His earthly coming or His next arrival.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby c.o. » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:31 pm

naturaldon wrote:...We do not know Christ's birthday (earthly) nor His beginning...

Apologies for something of a side-track to the OP, AND for splitting hairs, but i'd value input on this matter.

The second Person of the Trinity (whom the Apostle calls the Word [logos]), had no beginning, just as the first and third Persons of the Trinity also had no beginning. Christ (as in Messiah, the anointed One) may have had a conceptual "beginning" at some point pre-Creation, as God's plan of salvation predates Creation -- since God knew His redeemed ones before the foundation of the Earth; that is, there may not have always been a plan of salvation. I can't think of any biblical references to humankind being a plan in God's mind forever. Jesus of Nazareth (the logos made flesh) DID have a birthday, a beginning in time; we just don't know the date. The best that scholars can do (to my knowledge, and based on Luke's history and extra-biblical information) is date Jesus' birth between 6 and 4 BC.
...If we knew exact dates, would we tend to be hung up more on that rather than making the Gospel message the priority?

I'm not sure "we" would be any more hung up on it if we knew. For believers, it really wouldn't change any of the facts of the Gift, and for the rest of the world, well, you see what "we've" done with the date we use. To much of the world, the gospel message is little considered (if at all) by all who use the holiday. Lately, it's even been used politically as some consider Joseph and Mary to have been "homeless" during their Bethlehem adventure.

As pagan as many believe the celebration to be, my favorite Christmas tree ornaments is a spike. It serves as a reminder WHY this amazing baby made His first advent.
...But it's cool that men who follow Christ, and others who are drawn to Him, enjoy discussing any feature of His coming, whether it's His earthly coming or His next arrival.

We need a "hearty AMEN" emoticon :-).
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Maverick » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:49 pm

I have heard some speculate that Jesus was actually born in September... can't remember where I read that though.

And then there's this documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGUlWa2r-bk) where a lawyer-turned-astronomer thinks he knows the exact date. It's been a while since I've seen it so I could benefit from watching it again myself.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby jasenj1 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:29 am

For an extensive treatment of the topic, listen to this episode of the Naked Bible podcast. Dr. Heiser treats Revelation 12 as astronomical signs/events and pins down the date & time VERY specifically. The episode is over an hour and a half long! I find Dr. Heiser sometimes drifts into conspiracy theory sketchiness, but overall his intellectual rigor is commendable.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby bn2bnude » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:39 am

jasenj1 wrote:For an extensive treatment of the topic, listen to this episode of the Naked Bible podcast. Dr. Heiser treats Revelation 12 as astronomical signs/events and pins down the date & time VERY specifically. The episode is over an hour and a half long! I find Dr. Heiser sometimes drifts into conspiracy theory sketchiness, but overall his intellectual rigor is commendable.

I was just going to suggest the same thing. I found it quite interesting.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Jim » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:45 am

c.o. wrote: Lately, it's even been used politically as some consider Joseph and Mary to have been "homeless" during their Bethlehem adventure.

I'd question the homeless analogy. It was more a difficult transition, I'd think. But maybe -- I don't think we have enough information. Joseph, in all probability, had family connections in Bethlehem, which probably led to the house mentioned in Matthew 2. At the time of the census any guest space had been full, but it opened up.

The "political" analogy that makes more sense takes place later, maybe by a year or more. After the Magi came the holy family fled to Egypt. They were fleeing political persecution from their own government. That makes them refugees.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Ramblinman » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:36 pm

Jim wrote:
c.o. wrote: Lately, it's even been used politically as some consider Joseph and Mary to have been "homeless" during their Bethlehem adventure.

I'd question the homeless analogy. It was more a difficult transition, I'd think. But maybe -- I don't think we have enough information. Joseph, in all probability, had family connections in Bethlehem, which probably led to the house mentioned in Matthew 2. At the time of the census any guest space had been full, but it opened up.

The "political" analogy that makes more sense takes place later, maybe by a year or more. After the Magi came the holy family fled to Egypt. They were fleeing political persecution from their own government. That makes them refugees.

I was studying the gospels recently to figure out the time line.
Jesus was born around 4 BC (thanks to a Medieval miscalculation of the year).
Shepherds came immediately at his birth.
Holy Family remained in Bethlehem until Magi accidentally tipped off Herod. Maybe 2 BC?
Holy Family duly warned by God fled to Egypt until Herod died (Maybe 2 BC ?)
Holy Family returned to Palestine, but settled in Nazareth just to play it safe (even though Herod was dead, his successor was not to be trusted fully). (what year???)
Holy Family made pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover when Jesus was about 12 years old (8 AD presumably).

Your thoughts?
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby jasenj1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:47 pm

Ramblinman wrote:Your thoughts?


Sounds about right.

And let's not forget the magi brought gold, frankincense, & myrrh. Mary & Joseph were likely made very rich by the magi. I don't know if they were made multi-millionaire wealthy, or enough to live on while in Egypt, or what, but it certainly was a lot of money.
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Re: A potentially "GRINCHY" Question

Postby Ramblinman » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:29 pm

Ramblinman wrote:Your thoughts?


jasenj1 wrote:Sounds about right.

And let's not forget the magi brought gold, frankincense, & myrrh. Mary & Joseph were likely made very rich by the magi. I don't know if they were made multi-millionaire wealthy, or enough to live on while in Egypt, or what, but it certainly was a lot of money.


God wouldn't have provided the riches if they weren't going to need it down the pike. Knowing what we do about them, they would not have squandered the money.
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