Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas: It's an Official Birthday

Jesus, my Lord, was born at a particular time, on a particular date, in a particular place in Bethlehem. It happened in Bethlehem for a variety of reasons, depending on which you want to look at: God willed it; the Roman emperor wanted a headcount; whatever.

Whatever the date was, the odds are pretty good, I'm told, that it wasn't December 25. Or, rather, where December 25 would have been, if we ran our current calendar back to that time. There's an interesting page on the Tower of the Winds, the Gregorian calendar, some cool paintings and an anemoscope at the Holy See's website - and that's another topic.

I've gotten the impression, from time to time, that my faith ought to be shattered by the realization that our current calendar is a relatively recent development; that people didn't dress, act, or even think quite the same way as Information Age Americans throughout history; and that Christmas isn't celebrated on the Christ's actual birthday.

Birthday of the King

As far as I'm concerned, Jesus can have his birthday celebrated any time He wants. He's God - Second Person in the Trinity - Lion of Judah - one seriously well-connected and powerful person.

Besides, and this is just the way I see it, it's a situation like royal birthdays. Take Elizabeth II, Queen of England. Her birthday is April 21. In 2001 her birthday was also June 16. Officially. (BBC) The one is the date of her birth - the other is a public holiday. My guess is that someone decided that it'd be nicer, at least in England, to have a holiday in June, than in April. Particularly if one planned to go outdoors during the holiday.

Back to Jesus, Savior. We celebrate his birthday on a day that's not all that far from the winter solstice. That's an important time for folks in many cultures - in the northern hemisphere, it's a time when there's concrete evidence that winter won't last forever - which is good news.

And that's about as 'spiritual' as I'll get in this post.

Not-completely-unrelated posts:

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.