Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Letter to the Editor
The season itself is the reason for the season.
Ralph W. Ardito Sr. (letter, Dec. 22) tells us, "Dec. 25 honors the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jewish child, who grew up to be the greatest man who ever lived." But what was Jesus's actual date of birth?
We can start with the fact that it was definitely not Dec. 25. This date was not celebrated as the birth of Christ until 354 AD, when Pope Julius I chose this date because it coincided with pagan rituals. The main purpose was to supplant the pagan holiday with a Christian holiday. Neither Luke nor Matthew mention a season for when Jesus was born. However, scholarly arguments regarding the realism of shepherds grazing their flock at night during the winter challenge the idea of a winter birth for Jesus.
If you read the Bible carefully, you will recognize that Jesus was actually born in March or April; i.e., at Purim time. Purim celebrates the spring harvest and so the Roman imperial rulers ordered that taxes be paid to them then and the census be taken at that time when families had to return to their place of registration. That is why the inns were full, and Jesus's family had to settle for spare emergency accommodations in the stables.
The winter solstice is the real reason for the season and it is such a beautiful gift from God.
No wonder the early Christians in Europe wanted to rejoice in finding a chance to look to the coming of spring and rebirth of their natural world after the cold and snow of the winter.
Louis T. Sigel