Celebrating Jesus

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Now that Christmas Day is over it will soon be time to pack away the reindeer and snowmen, Santa figures and penguins and anything else that has now become associated with Christmas for another few months until the advertising starts appearing again some time in September. As one sign I saw states, it’s only 364 days until Christmas.

Despite the usage of pagan 
evergreens such as holly and mistletoe, the Yule Log named after the Norse god Jul and the ubiquitous decorated pine tree in every home, the claim is made that these are all ways in which to celebrate the birth of the King of Kings.

As millions in the western hemisphere tucked into pork cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon – “pigs in blankets” – and enjoyed their turkey atop a generous slice of gammon ham, it did not seem to dawn on many that the person they are honouring in their feasting was a Jew, the King of the Jews, and would never have eaten any food items proscribed as unclean. Some folks escape the mayhem and go abroad to sunnier climes for their Christmas holidays, but then complain that it doesn’t seem like Christmas because it’s not cold enough and there is no snow. Actually, there would have been no snow in Bethlehem when Jesus was born either. How could shepherds be outside on the Hills of Judea in late December where it is bitterly cold at that time of year, and how could a young maiden give birth outside in the snow? More Bible scholars concur that it was more likely that Jesus would have been born in September/
October time when it would still be mild enough to be outside.

There is a growing consensus that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and many churches want to “put Christ back into Christmas”. The question is, if this is the wrong date, would Jesus want to celebrate it at all? He asked his followers to remember his death, but he never asked them to remember his birth.

Colin Nevin

Rathgill Park

Bangor, Co Down