Daily Archives: December 23, 2006

Exactly what is Christmas for, anyway?

CHRIST. So, why does it seem that the bible churches, mega-churches (yes, I mean you, Joel Osteen and Ed Young) and most of the other protestant congregations have decided that actually holding a service ON Christmas Day is such a big inconvenience to their members? Is taking an hour or two out of your Christmas morning too much to ask to give for the child Jesus who ultimately gave us Himself? Anyone who says “But Christmas is ‘family time’!” doesn’t get the real reason we celebrate this day. Sure, spend the day with your family. But FIRST, spend it with the birthday Boy. It’s no secret to anyone reading this that I’m Catholic, and proud of it. Catholics, this year, will be attending Mass on Sunday for the weekly obligation, and on Monday for the Christmas Holy Day (at least, they’re *supposed* to….) Now, for a little rambling and perhaps a history story…. It’s widely accepted that Christ was not actually born on December 25, 1 A.D. Which, since the Gregorian calendar we now go by wasn’t even created at the time, makes sense…. If Jesus was born ~5-6 B.C., as is supposed, and Herod had all children under the age of 2 killed shortly before his own death in ~4 B.C., and Herod’s action was triggered by the appearance of the “three wise men”, then the Eastern astrologers didn’t show up in Bethlehem, but two years after Jesus birth, most likely in Nazareth! The “12 days of Christmas” start on either December 25th or 26th, and end on January 5 or 6th, depending on which source you check. January 6th is the celebration of the Epiphany, and also referred to as the “Feast of the Three Kings”. This is at the end of the celebration of the Christmas season, preceding the return the following Sunday to “Ordinary Time” in the Church calendar. And one more related topic…about those Three Kings and their strange gifts. Why gold? Why frankincense (incense)? Why myrrh? If you read the words of the traditional carol “We Three Kings”, you get your answers. Each of the second, third and fourth verses are spoken from the view of each of the kings: Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar. Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain/Gold I bring to crown Him again/King forever, ceasing never/Over us all to reign Frankincense to offer have I;/Incense owns a Deity nigh;/Prayer and praising, all men raising,/Worship Him, God most high. Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume/Breathes a life of gathering gloom;/Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,/Sealed in the stone cold tomb. So, that comes out to: Gold for Christ’s kingship; Frankincense for His divinity, and Myrrh for the sacrifice of the Crucifixion. Prophetic and practical, all in there! Enough for tonight…Merry Christmas, ya’ll!
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