Yes Virginia there is a CHRIST-mas!
by Carolyn Wyler
More than two thousand years ago Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the Son of God was born on Dec 25th, in a stable, and Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. All over the world, people celebrate his birth, with the hanging of Christmas lights on ….
Justha Facts: uh, umm
Justha Facts: excuse me
exchanging of gifts,
Justha Facts: just a minute
…..arrrgghrrr…….alright Mr. Facts, WHAT is so important that you feel you need to interrupt me?
Justha Facts: If you’re going to go about spewing out words, then maybe you should get the facts straight. Some people have questioned the actual existence of Jesus as most of the life stories of him weren’t written down for many years after his death, having been passed on by word of mouth, which surely would lead to question their credibility and accuracy. But I’m not going to argue his existence. Jesus was not born on December 25th. If you’re going by Mark and Luke’s version of the birth of Jesus, he could not have been born in winter at all. More likely, he was born either in the Spring or Fall, as shepherds were in the fields and the winters in Bethlehem would have been too cold for them to have been out herding sheep.
Many Christmas traditions that we celebrate today came from all over the world and were around hundreds to thousands of years prior to the birth of Christ. Back in ancient times, December was a time of numerous pagan celebrations. Winter solstice was celebrated around the middle of December and lasted for several days to weeks. It was a time everyone looked forward to: longer, warmer days with more sunlight and leaving the cold days of winter behind. The Romans and Egyptians would bring in green palm or evergreen boughs into their home to represent the impending return to spring, and another harvest.
The Germans believed that their pagan god Odin flew across the sky at night in mid winter and would decide who would prosper or perish. (Hmmm, have a bit of a Santa and sleigh bells ring to it?) The Romans celebrated Saturnalia to honor the god of agriculture. It was a time of hedonism and feasting and a period when slaves would become masters and masters the slaves, gift giving, and lighting of candles. Hanukkah was a Jewish festival of lights that was an eight-day celebration during the winter months. It too involved gift giving and lighting of candles. Persians celebrated the birth of Mithra, the unconquerable son god, whose birth was celebrated on Dec 25th. He was considered born of a Virgin birth, having been born from a rock.
When Christianity became popular around the fourth century, Pope Julius I declared Dec 25th to be the date of Christ’s birth, in hopes that Christmas would be widely embraced.
Well hold on there just one minute Mr. Facts. Just because you throw around a lot of fancy fancy-schmancy words that sound really persuasive, doesn’t mean you are right. God says …
Justha Facts: I can’t argue with what “God says”.
Ha, so you admit you’re wrong.
Justha Facts: No, all I said was I can’t argue with what God says. What “God Says” has been misconstrued and twisted, turned into what men have declared “God says”. Some people are going to believe what they want to believe even if I slap them on their ass all the way out the door. (and don’t go charging me with sexual harassment. I’m Justha Facts).
You don’t care who you hurt or offend?
Justha Facts: I’ve never been known to spare anyone’s feelings.
So what if, say, a young, eight year old girl by the name of Virginia was to write you a letter and ask if Christ was real? Would you have sent her an eloquent reply, as did Francis Church, writer for the New York paper The Sun, when she asked him if Santa Claus was real?
Justha Facts: Much as I’m a sucker for wide-eyed, cute kids who come to me with questions, I am only programed to give them honest answers. I couldn’t live with myself, (not to mention would have to change my name) if I didn’t tell it as I see it, direct and honest. If you want a letter written, then perhaps I should leave that up to the writers. Maybe you should write it.
Ok then, I shall, with a little help from you.
Dear Virginia, (or Stacy, Jess, Michael, James, Julie, Thomas or whomever you call yourself):
Though you didn’t send me an actual letter, I am writing in response to the question, is Christ real (and for an added bonus, I will throw in: why we need to get over ourselves and quit being so uptight about using the phrase “Merry Christmas”)
You may have come in contact with my friend Justha Facts and been a bit confused by much of what he has said about Jesus Christ’s birth and the celebration of Christmas, leading you to question whether what much of what you have been told as a child about Christ is correct or even if he is real. Well Virginia, I’m here to tell you that Christ is real and both the Merry and the Christmas needs to put back into the holiday season.
Whether you believe the Bible stories about Christ’s to be fact or myth, the stories exemplify a person who believed in loving your neighbor, giving to the poor, and helping those in need. He is to some the Son of God, Savior of the world, to others a prophet, a man, a rebel, a martyr for a cause. (He was one who, if alive today, would most likely be camped out at one of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, camouflaged in a long gown, sandals, long hair and beard, though most likely not recognized nor accepted, by many of those who profess to believe in him).
Yes, Virginia, as Francis Church told you years ago when you asked about Santa Claus, Christ “exists as certainly as love and generosity and you know that they abound and give to your life it’s highest beauty and Joy.”
Christ exists in that heart of the person who turns to someone who has just lost their home and all their possessions in a fire and offers assistance. He exists in the one willing to sacrifice a kidney to save another, who otherwise would have died without a donor. He exists in the love between a mother/father and his/her child, a husband and wife, friends and lovers. He exists in a smile, a warm touch, and a kind word.
Christmas is an accumulation of traditions and beliefs from cultures all around the world. You might disagree on what name you want to assign to it, but you should not take offense when someone wishes you a Merry Christmas. So I say it proudly and loudly, Merry Christmas Virginia and to everyone!
How did I do Mr. Facts?
Justha Facts: MmmmmNa (*shrugging of shoulders*).