FEATURE – St. George News invited members of the St. George Interfaith Council, who represent various denominations and faiths in the community, to share holiday messages with our readers to be posted throughout Christmas Day.
The following holiday message was submitted by Rev. Jimi Keston, senior pastor, at Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship. He also currently serves as the president of the St. George Interfaith Council.
Throughout western civilization Dec. 25 is one of the most profound and meaningful dates on the calendar. For the secular portion of the society it is for most a paid day off of work and a holiday that brings some of our favorite cultural activities, namely eating too much and shopping way too much together in an explosion of excess that can take most of the next year to recover from.
Throw in some jolly songs and an ugly sweater and we can almost forget that this date was chosen as the day we remember the most important birth in the history of the world considering that no one born before or after has had a greater impact on the lives of more people than the birth in Bethlehem of Jesus of Nazareth over 2,000 years ago.
We said the date was chosen because the truth of the matter is that it is almost certain that Jesus, who is called the Christ, was not born on Dec. 25 or for that matter anywhere near December. In Luke chapter 2 we are told that Joseph went with Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census where she would give birth in the manger because there was no room for them at the inn.
People in the 1st Century traveled by foot and the climate there is much like ours and that would make it a death march at that time of year. You can’t collect taxes from the dead so it is impractical that they would call this census in winter. You could not do it at harvest time or before spring planting either or there would be no crops to tax, so the most likely time of year for Jesus to have been born is actually late spring or early summer.
The Bible gives us no indication of the time of Jesus’ birth and we believe that is intentional. The Lord knew that had he given us the exact date of his birth we would turn it into some massive holiday of celebration that would detract the focus off of the real reason He came: to provide redemption and forgiveness of sin through his death on the cross.
In our home we choose to celebrate with all of the trappings of the holiday including the lights and tree and food and gift giving, we celebrate Christmas at our church with songs of the season and candlelight service on Christmas Eve, but we do so with the knowledge that there is no bad date to rejoice over the coming of the Savior and the date we have chosen as a society is a fine one to tell people about him.
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