Home > Uncategorized > The Christmas Myth, Part 2

The Christmas Myth, Part 2

Here are a few more quick observations which show that not even the biblical birth narratives support the popular images of Christmas as it is celebrated today:

  • Most nativity scenes feature three “wise men,” or magi.  The birth narrative in Matthew 2, however, makes no mention of the exact number of wise men.  The number three comes from the three gifts presented to the infant: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  (If  somebody had brought a fruitcake I’d find the story more believable.)
  • Mega-churches which present  nativity scene extravaganzas frequently feature live camels as the mode of transportation for the wise men.  The text makes no mention of them riding camels.  They could have been hoofing it.
  • Singing “Silent Night” is a sacred Christmas Eve ritual in most congregations.  The text does not indicate what time of day Jesus was born. “All is calm, all is bright” is also not found in the Bible.
  • The genealogies of Jesus in both Matthew and Luke trace his lineage to King David through his “father” Joseph.  But if Jesus was born of a virgin, why would Joseph’s bloodline matter at all?
  • The virgin birth of Jesus was supposed to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14.    The Greek version of the Old Testament (The Septuagint) which Matthew quotes uses the word “parthenos” (virgin) but the original Hebrew text uses the word “almah” which simply means “young woman.”  (The Roman church has always insisted on the perpetual virginity of Mary throughout her life.)

Oh, well.  I could go on, but you get the point.  Christianity’s most sacred celebration has almost nothing to do with the events described in Christianity’s own holy book.

Let me anticipate so criticism.  Why be a Scrooge?  Why ruin the “fun?”

To which I would respond, why does the fun of the season need to be predicated on untruth?   Anyway,  it’s not like Scrooge exactly became a born-again Christian at the end of the story.  Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has almost nothing to do with religion.  It lifts up the values of charity and good will toward all people.  That’s something we can all celebrate.

 

 

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 8, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I laugh about it, too. Mostly because X-tians will get all sanctimonious about “Jesus is the reason for the season”, yet have no idea what the solstice is (or Saturnalia, or Yule, etc.).
    How sad to be such a persecuted Christian at this time of year. ha ha

  2. Andrew
    December 8, 2011 at 3:08 am

    “The virgin birth of Jesus was supposed to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14.”

    When only non-Jews think that a passage was “prophecy,” exactly how does that count as Jewish religious prophecy, anyway? Reading Isaiah 8 readily clarifies that it wasn’t prophecy and was not intended to refer to someone born 400 years in the future, but instead someone born in the next chapter.

    Some non-Jews cherry-picked and badly paraphrased a book they didn’t understand (the Septuagint) to justify their “savior.” And this is supposedly the rock solid “historical” basis of the world’s largest religion?

  3. December 10, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Look a little closer at the genealogies from Matthew and Luke. One goes to David, the other back to Adam, if I recall correctly. However, there are very few common names between the two.

    • December 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Yes, that is correct. Matthew’s genealogy traces Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham and Luke’s traces it back all the way to Adam. David is included in both accounts as part of the attempt to link Jesus to the perpetual establishment of the Davidic monarchy in 2 Samuel 7:16. Claiming that Jesus was a descendent of Adam seems pointless, however. If Adam is supposed to be the first human, wouldn’t that mean that all of us are descended from Adam?

  4. Andrew
    December 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Jesus’s supposed genealogy is one of the most outrageous things in the NT. First, the utterly impossible idea that anyone living in that time could somehow trace their genealogy beyond a few generations, much less a thousand years; second, that they don’t even agree between the different gospels; and third, they are irrelevant anyway since Joseph was not the father!

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