Archives for December 2012

Astonishing Facts from the Bible about Christmas

Screen Shot 2012 12 21 at 4 06 41 PMBy Adam Foster, Flickr

As we approach Christmas this year, here’s a couple of astonishing facts from the bible about Christmas :-

1. When was Jesus’ born?

December 25th is an incorrect date for Jesus’ birth. Not in winter for sure. No Roman administrator will allow a census to be taken when the roads are impassable, and when the people then don’t travel in winter.

From Luke 2:8, the angel first appeared to the shepherds in the fields to announce the birth of Jesus, Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. The winter period in Bethlehem is quite chilly, thus no sensible shepherds will want to hang out with their sheep in the cold and wet fields.

Bible scholars put the Gematria date closer to 20 September (yeah! That’s like 3 days after my birthday).

So how did the December 25th date came about?

The date of December 25th was known as the Roman Saturnalia (in honor of the Roman’s god Saturn) and it was the greatest of all pagan festivals. Although Saturnalia may be of Roman origin, the ancient Babylonians also celebrated the feast of the son of Isis (goddess of nature) on December 25. Their celebrations on this day were complete with boisterous celebration, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving as part of the traditions.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?


2. Christmas Tree

Screen Shot 2012 12 21 at 3 53 16 PMMerry Christmas! by Alina Curten

The word Christmas itself is not mentioned in the Bible. The only tree that is decorated with silver and gold in the bible is here;

For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple. – Jeremiah 10:3-4

Who said these words? The text before this sentence started with ‘Thus say the Lord…’ Probably some might argue that God this passage was addressed to the Israelites and not the Gentiles (all other races who are not Jewish).

I am not disdaining the use of a Christmas tree during Christmas, which I think many enjoy the nostalgia and the tradition of putting up decorations on the tree as an annual family activity.  Having a Christmas Tree in a home is a personal choice, and since I have discovered the roots of the Christmas tree almost 2 years ago, I have stopped putting up a tree at home.


3. The Three Wise Men

See these Three Wise Men in this familiar nativity scene,

Screen Shot 2012 12 21 at 3 58 12 PM

The fact is that The Three Wise Men were never mentioned in the bible in the story of Jesus’ birth, as there was no wise men present at the manger scene the night Jesus was born. The shepherds were the one who saw baby Jesus in the manger. The Three Wise Men only showed up later in a house when Jesus was a young child.

This passage from Matthew shows when the Wise Men came to visit the child Jesus and Mary;

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11

4. Gift Giving

Most people associate gift-giving with the wise men, as they presented their gifts to baby Jesus. That practice of gift giving is another of pagan origins, it was part of a “good luck” exchange during Roman Saturnalia celebrations. The rich gave gifts to the poor in honor of the “age of liberty when god Saturn ruled the known world.”

Screen Shot 2012 12 21 at 4 04 43 PMBy top10things Flickr CC

For the last few Christmas-es, gift giving has been more of an extended family tradition activity for me, reserved for extended family members and children. It has also become more reciprocal for close friends who give me presents.

When I finally do become a grandma, I will set a new tradition that gift giving will not be necessary during Christmas, and will only be reserved for the children in my family. I will also introduce the practice of reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and Matthew 2, singing and listening to Christmas carols as part of our family tradition.

What’s a TRUE Christmas?

I hate to be a wet blanket. But it is hard to deny that Christmas with its pagan influences have been commercialized through the ages.

Sounds like I am responding with “Bah Humbug Christmas!” very much like Scrooge from the Charles Dicken’s story of ‘The Christmas Carol.’

Christmas for me is really not about the lights, celebrations, food or presents.

The TRUE Christmas story is how God humbled Himself and walked into this world. Suddenly and surprisingly, born on a dirty floor of a filthy stable. Small, insignificant, unable to feed Himself. Love came down from heaven.

God came down through Jesus Christ to bring us peace with Him.

Screen Shot 2012 12 21 at 5 46 27 PM

“Glory to God in the the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:14

God first brings peace between man and God, through Jesus Christ. And in turn we show that peace towards fellow men, in the same love that Christ gives us.

Blessed Christmas friends. May this Christmas surround you with love, and most importantly, bring you peace with God, through repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ.

True peace is when we know that our eternal salvation is secured through Christ.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. – John 14:27



Share it:

Related posts:

Photo *Heart* Fridays – Childlike

Photo 1All it took was 2 vanilla ice-cream cones and it got him happy for the rest of the day. Learning to be as easily contented like my child, a day at a time.


Share it:

Related posts:

Hope in Sadness

Just imagine, picture your little one. Picture helping your child get to school one morning, it is a regular day, just like any there day. You help to dress him/her up, prepare the tooth brush at the sink, then make sure things are packed in the school bag.

You bring your child downstairs to take the school bus, hearing the little chatter and laughter as he gets on the bus, you hug your little one and tell him, “Bye! Enjoy your day at school!” You take the lift back home, walk into your kitchen and have your breakfast while reading the papers.

1 hour later. A phone rings, and the policeman on the other line tells you something happened at school and you need to make your way there asap. Your heart beats rapidly, not knowing what to expect, but you quickly make your way down to your child’s school.

As you get to the school, you see the throngs of cars and police cars parked outside the school. Many parents walking around, some teary, others with eyes wild with fear, many screaming at the policemen at the scene for answers. You see a policeman, and you ask, “What happened? Is my child ok?” Policeman tells you he doesn’t know yet and walk away. You try to get into the school, but the policemen outside tell you to wait.

After a hour of what feels like eternity, a policeman walk towards you, ask you for your name. He looks at his list and a look of empathy crosses his face, your heart drops when you see his expression. “This can’t be happening…what has happened to my baby. Please let this be a nightmare, please I have to wake up!”

And all you can think of at that moment is – My baby is gone. He is gone! He will not be home after school, you don’t have to worry about what he is going to eat today, or what time he is going to bed tonight. You will never be able to hug and kiss him on this earth, you will never be able to laugh at his little jokes. No more opportunity to tell him how much you love him, and feel his little arms hug you back to tell you he loves you too.

Please take a moment now to say a prayer for each parent who lost their child in the tragedy in Connecticut.

Most of us go on with our lives after a day or two when the news settle, thinking that ‘stuff like that will never happen to us here in Singapore…’ or ‘it has nothing to do with me, it is in a foreign country,’ or simply, ‘thank goodness, it did not happened to me,’ or ‘US government should just ban guns,’ or simply get caught up by indiscretions publicized by the local media of people in our country.

I mourn with the parents who mourn for the loss of their children.

There have always been a lot of positivity in this blog. But there are times like these when I find it hard to only address the good and not look and reflect on the real things that happen in life. My Twitter updates are assailed by updates after updates of tragedy of deaths of innocents daily, through wars or violence. And it is easy to start being apathetic, since we live in a safe country without conflict or wars, and tragedies like that usually does not happen to us.

If some of you are the more reflective sort may have this question at the back of your minds, “If there is a good God, why does He allow such tragedy to befall on the innocents?’

What happened to those innocents were pure evil. And we live in a broken world where good and evil exist. This causes a huge hole into the blind optimism of ‘Every Cloud has a silver lining,’ as there are some clouds which are black all through.

This is how hope comes in the face of unthinkable wickness-ness and sadness. It comes by the way of knowing that God is there, and He is comforting those even now with such deep and stabbing pain. So close to Christmas, perhaps presents are already wrapped under the tree. These parents’ Christmas will never be the same, their lives here will never be the same again.

“Thus says the LORD:  ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’” Jeremiah 31:15

This tragedy is compounded by the fact that it comes in such close proximity to Christmas, but I am reminded that there was the mass murder of children in the Christmas story as well. King Herod’s murderous decree that all baby boys under two years of age should be killed prompted Matthew to cite this very verse from Jeremiah. That Rachel was weeping for her children.

But this is not where either Jeremiah or Matthew leaves us. By God’s mercy, for those of us in Christ, there is hope and the promise of full restoration in Christ.


I know God will bring good out of this evil. We can’t know when, and don’t know how or what. But I know this is how God works, as this is who and how He is.


Share it:

Related posts: