One of the most powerful influences on our perception of reality is tradition. We have family traditions, religious traditions, and cultural traditions. You might even have personal traditions, like rituals before playing a baseball game or habits before working out. I know a family whose tradition was to have a crab feast on Christmas Eve.
Traditions are awesome because they bring us a sense of stability and cultural continuity. They bring a sense of calm security in the midst of change and upheaval which inevitably happen either in our own lives or in the ebb and flow of our communities and nation.
One of the most powerful traditions we experience every year is Christmas. It is something most people look forward to and it evokes memories of times with family and friends. What sensations come to your mind when you think about Christmas? What feelings? What sounds, smells, and memories flow through your soul? And Christmas doesn’t just influence one aspect of our lives. It impacts family, religion, and culture. Christmas is an indelible force in our lives and it is almost like a fifth season: we have spring, summer, fall, winter, and Christmas. And yet could one of the most visible features of this tradition be wrong?
The Birth of Jesus
Biblically, the birth of Christ is a much different event than what we celebrate every year at Christmas. The birth of Jesus was anonymous (except for a few shepherds) and there were no gifts, decorations, or little drummer boys. The magi likely showed up almost a year later and they visited Jesus in a house not a stable. And so even if a believer objects to Christmas (the cultural phenomenon that includes Santa, gifts, and trees), a believer should not object to talking about the birth of Christ as a historical event, especially if we can put his birth when it belongs.
Keep the Good
However, I do not want to throw out the good with the bad. The date may be off, but there are some beautiful truths taught during the Christmas season that we should hold on to and that are meaningful no matter when Christ was born:
1. God became a man and the virgin birth.
3. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
4. Jesus was circumcised eight days after being born and then taken to the temple 33 days later after Mary’s time of purification had been completed (Leviticus 12:1-4). There they were blessed by Anna and Simeon.
6. The magi arrived many months later to pay homage to the newborn king.
7. The holy family needed to flee to Egypt.
8. After Herod died, they returned to Israel to live in Nazareth.
These are solid truths that need not be disputed, and what my book 500 Year Journey seeks to describe is the proper timeline for these events. It provides a template upon which we can say with certainty the month, day, and year that Jesus was born as revealed in scripture. And what’s so amazing is that when his birth is put in its correct historical context, all the other pieces fall perfectly into place. Knowing the correct date strengthens the historical authenticity of the Bible and highlights God’s magnificent timing.
When Christ was born was the rarest of moments. It was that moment in history when God became a man and Mary held her creator in her arms, and the date matters. Only God could have planned that moment and like a complex 3-D puzzle, God coordinated all of the historical, prophetic, and celestial events to occur at exactly the right time.
Don’t miss the miracle!
Don’t miss that moment.
Please Order Today!
You can order directly from my website at www.500yearjourney.com. However, I also believe in supporting local bookstores. Both Eighth Day Books and Watermark Books here in Wichita, KS have copies that can also be ordered online, so please check them out! It would also be cool if you were to ask your favorite local bookstore to make copies available.
I also have copies available for GROUP STUDIES at churches or community groups. If your church library would like to carry copies, please contact me directly at email@example.com. We’ll work out the cost and details together. Thank you!
Rejoice in the Lord!