(H/T Rod Dreher)
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I blogged recently about a — let’s call him a “self-proclaimed (and self-made) Christian” who editorialized on why he wouldn’t celebrate Christmas.
Well, ‘Tis the Season, I guess. Responding generally to such things, a Greek Orthodox Priest makes the case that December 25, and especially late-December generally, have pretty good claim to being the actual, historical time of Christ’s birth:
[St. John Chrysostom] then continues his argument from a biblical perspective, explaining the Jewish tradition of the censing of the Temple in Jerusalem by the high priest, who would enter the Holy of Holies only once a year (Hebrews 9:7; Lev 16:29-34) during the Feast of Tabernacles in September. He points to the Gospel of Luke 1:8-15, when Zacharias was selected to enter the Holy of Holies to offer incense (perhaps there was no high priest that year and the group of Levites, who were on duty at the time selected by lot, according to tradition, the priest who would make the offering in the place of the high priest).
Zacharias entered the Holy of Holies to offer incense and there he had a vision of an angel of the Lord who announced to him the birth of his son, whom he was to call John. Soon after that, Elizabeth, his wife, became pregnant.
Continuing with the biblical narrative, Chrysostom points out that six months later, the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary and announces to her that she will bear the Son of God and also reveals to her that her cousin Elizabeth is already in her sixth month of pregnancy (Luke 1:30-37).
Chrysostom concludes that, Elizabeth became pregnant in the latter part of September (after the Feast of Tabernacles) and the Virgin Mary became pregnant six months later in the latter part of March. If we count nine months from that time we end up at the latter part of December, which is the time when Jesus was born. Hence, the celebration of Christmas on December 25 is justified.
But I’ll also repeat my original answer: The argument is utterly immaterial to whether I celebrate Christmas and celebrate it on December 25: That’s what the Church does. I’m in The Church. We should have finished about 4 hours before this posts. I hope the Grinch at least enjoys whatever football airs today.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)