Despite its Judeo-Christian overtones the ‘festive season’ that hosts the ‘Mass of Christ’ or ‘Christmas’ has more pagan rituals and links with the decorations and traditions than any direct ecclesiastical practice.
Other anomalies such as carols depicting ‘Three Kings’ when the Bible just mentions ‘wise men,’ not an actual number, also include descriptions of ‘sailing into Bethlehem’ and the town where Yeshua (Jesus) was born in hilly Judea being described as ‘Bethlehem’s plain.’
Also countless references to ‘winter,’ ‘snow,’ and basically inclement weather all give the impression that a winter birth of Jesus is an accepted fact.
However, there is no Biblical warrant for such conjecture, when, according to I Chronicles 22:10 we can calculate from the priestly cycles when John the Baptist’s father would have served in the Temple when the angel announced John’s miraculous birth (John’s mother, Mary’s cousin, was barren), which would then have been at Passover in the Spring.
Six months later, according to the Gospels, Yeshua (Jesus) would have been born in Autumn, when the Feast of Tabernacles falls in September or October.
Surely this is the date, which still exists in the Hebrew calendar, (Tishrei 15), that believers in Yeshua should be celebrating at the ‘appointed time’ rather than in December when pagans heralded the Winter Solstice.
That way the majority of atheists, agnostics and neo-pagans could continue to celebrate ‘Yule,’ named after the pagan deity ‘Jul’ or ‘Yul’ with all its commercialism and razzamatazz in a secular way and those who truly follow Yeshua could recall the truth of the Incarnation of the Jewish Messiah at the annual Feast of Tabernacles.
It is also good to remember that Jesus never asked anyone to venerate His birth, but rather clearly instructed His disciples to remember His death as often as they celebrated Passover, (Nisan 14).
Even that has been altered with the later adaptation of ‘Easter,’ also named after a pagan god.
Colin Nevin, Bangor