Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Reflections

One year while preparing a Christmas message, I ran across some interesting information.

Clement of Alexandria said some people believe Christ’s birth was April 20th, others say it was May 20th, and others say January 6th.

The Eastern Orthodox church reportedly chose January 6th – Epiphany – which some say was the date Jesus was consecrated and the three wise men arrived (Matthew 2: 9-12 and Luke 2:39).

The Western church based in Rome claims December 25th as the date to celebrate Jesus' birth.

In the 4th century, Christmas tide – 12 days of Christmas from December 25th through January 6th -- was established.

During the 6th century, Dionysius Exigus (a monk) invented the calendar system AD & BD to calculate the correct date for Easter.

  • The death of Herod was established as 4 BC (Matthew 2: 19).
  • The Epiphany - the star (Matthew 2: 1-2) = a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in 6 B.C.
  • 6 B.C. was also about the same time that Herod reportedly slew children 2 years old or younger (Matthew 2:16).

The term CHRISTMAS comes from the Old English term Cristes maesse meaning Christ’s mass -- a festival service of worship held on Dec 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Saturnalia -- an ancient Roman pagan festival – Dec 17th – Roman winter feast of merrymaking and gift exchange

Christmas Colors of Red & Green --Green denotes continuance of life through winter and Red symbolizes the blood Jesus shed at His Crucifixion\

Holly -- prickly leaves and red berries reminded people of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and the berries symbolized droplets of blood.

St. Nicholas

  • lived during the 4th century in Lycia, a province on the southwest coast of Asia Minor.

  • Traveled to Egypt and Palestine.

  • Became Bishop of the church at Myra.

  • During the period of Christian persecution he was imprisoned by Diocletian but later released by Constantine the Great who issued the Edict of Milan in AD 313 which called for a toleration of all religions.

  • Protestant churches in Germany transformed St. Nicholas into Father Christmas -- Kriss Kringle -- Christ Kindle, meaning Christ child.



Laura said...

Very interesting! I never knew all of this!

We'll be home soon ;)

Cherai said...

Hey Dad.
Glad you liked Bryan. I like him too. Loved coming home and hanging out with you. we'll have to do your cell phone shopping later on! Love ya1