Whose Idea Was This "Celebrating Christmas in December" Thing?
Why do we have to celebrate Christmas in the dead of winter? Wasn't He born in warm weather?
One of these days I may have to move to Australia, because they go about celebrating Christmas -- only the world's most important holiday -- in the early summer. Well, summer Down Under anyway. Most of the Yule-celebrating world has their Christmas celebrations during cold weather.
I suppose the founding fathers of Christendom decided that December 25 was a pretty good day to schedule Christmas, because nobody had Thanksgiving or Halloween to worry about back then, and the whole end-of-the-year timeframe was pretty much empty of formal holidays.
Um, Wait a Second...
Most people believe we hand out Christmas presents on December 25 because that's when Jesus was born. Au contraire, mon frère. That's just when we celebrate His birthday. There's plenty of evidence He was born in warmer weather.
Think about it: would those shepherds watching their flocks by night have been seated on the ground in December? Get real. Anyway, in ancient Israel, shepherds kept flocks in the fields from spring to autumn only. In the winter, they stayed in corrals.
Most pregnant women generally don't travel 70 miles (the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem) by donkey-back in the middle of winter. But Mary might have traveled in September, which was when the ancient Israelis celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacle.
They often made such pilgrimages for the Feast. If Jesus was really born toward the end of September, though, He may have been conceived the previous December. Is that what we're celebrating?
A Humble Suggestion
Nowadays life gets pretty hectic from mid-October on, with so many big holidays from then to the end of the year: Halloween, Thanksgiving (Canada and the U.S. both), Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and oh yeah, Christmas. But since Jesus was really born in warm weather, can't we start celebrating Christmas earlier?
September would be good, since that was when he was probably really born. Or hey, how about August? It's such an empty month when it comes to holidays. I mean, it's a little hot, but it's sooo much easier to have a Christmas barbecue in August. And we all need a break from work right about then, right?
Now, I realize that there's the weight of over 2,000 years of Christmas gifts and traditions working against me here, but let's get with it! Move with the times! If you're my age, when you were a kid you probably never expected the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall to crumble in your lifetime.
But they both did.
If we can do that, maybe we can take the first steps toward celebrating Christmas during a time of the year when we can enjoy the holiday instead of freezing our buns off!