As we have observed the Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Currier & Ives, mega-church production, go into debt, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Santa, Rankin/Bass, Saturnalia, solstice, Roman, Germanic, American civic pride, holiday season, any attempt to shoehorn the historical Jesus figure in there through acrobatic reverse engineering is laughable.
I choose, as an exercise of my faith practice, to believe that there was an historical Jesus. There is absolutely no way, even in the most conservative Christian circles, to pinpoint the date and year of his birth. The calendar we currently observe in most of the western world was incredibly fluid for most of what we refer to as the first 400 years a.d. (or now, more commonly c.e.). The adjustment from Anno Domini (year of our Lord) to common era is but one reflection of the understanding that how we count time today may or may not have any direct link to the exact year of Jesus’ birth.
I’m okay with that. We just don’t know. In fact, in terms of importance on the “Church” calendar, Christmas was a minor and late addition for much of its history. The centerpiece of my faith remains the idea and belief in the resurrection. Indeed, if the bible accounts are true, Jesus, birth was miraculous, and should be acknowledged as such. That, somehow, divinity chose to dwell amongst, as us, is an astounding thing. That being said, that it was part of a plan to become the perfect sacrifice to save us, is even more astounding.
I have many friends with many different faith practices. I wish you all the best throughout the year. If these next two weeks carry some significance for you and yours, I hope that you are able to celebrate accordingly, whatever that looks like. If you claim to follow Christ, I hope you find yourself drawing nearer to him and the truth of his purpose for you. But please, please, don’t try to tell me about putting him back into something that really hasn’t been about him for a long, long, time.
Blessings and Happy Holidays to each of you.