The advertisements for Christmas-themed merchandise are already penetrating the media two months before the actual event.
Obviously the emphasis is more on making a healthy profit from the season than actually remembering it as the birth of Christ (do our young generation even know who He is?)
A growing number of Bible scholars are concluding that Jesus Christ, or Yeshua to give Him His original Hebrew Name, could not have been born in the “deep mid-winter” or December 25th as it would have been too cold in the hills of Judea where Bethehem is situated to have shepherds out in the fields at night as the Gospel story recounts.
A September or October birth would seem more plausible, a milder time of year.
There are clues in the Bible which help to verify these claims, including the birth date of John the Baptist who was Yeshua’s cousin, and who was born six months before Him.
In I Chronicles 24:10 in the Old Testament (or Jewish ‘Tanach’) John’s father’s priestly cycle of Abijah is listed as being on the eighth week of the Hebrew year, and from this point we can calculate nine months which will arrive at Passover, an ‘appointed’ feast.
Both the special births of John and Jesus were predicted in Scripture to be at the ‘appointed time’ which in Hebrew is the word ‘moed’ meaning an appointed feast or holy day.
It would appear that John was born “at the appointed time” on the first day of Passover and circumcised, as a Jew, on the eighth day of the week-long feast, the eighth day also being a ‘moed’ or appointed feast day, an annual Sabbath or rest day.
Exactly six months later Jesus would have been born in September/October time on the Feast of Tabernacles, or ‘Sukkot’ in Hebrew, on the first day of the festival, an ‘appointed time,’ and circumcised, as a Jew, on the eighth day, the last day of the festival, also an appointed time or annual Sabbath.
The Jewish Messiah and King of the Jews was appropriately born on a Jewish holiday, which makes more sense than December 25th, and which this year fell on 5th October in the Gregorian calendar, the evening part of the day beginning the night before at sunset on the 4th, which would have been the ‘Holy Night’ sung so sweetly about in all the carols.
The event however passed as it does each year without any fanfare.
There will be much glitter and overspending as the festive season approaches, but it is not the ‘appointed time’ when the Saviour of the world was born.
Colin Nevin, Chef, Hilton Tel-Aviv, Israel 1991-2002