Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holidays

Like millions of other people I'll be celebrating the Christian holiday of Christmas by attending church tonight and seeing family members tomorrow. I've already been to quite a few Christmas parties this year.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus Christ was born. Experts say it's not likely to have been at this time of the year since Caesar Augustus probably ordered people to return to their hometowns to be taxed at the end of the harvest season when they had their profits for the year. The Roman Empire included areas in Europe where travel would have been impossible in late December because of the weather.  Of course Augustus, living in the Mediterranean climate might not have been aware of that.

Anyway I've read that people in the early church celebrated the coming of Christ at that time because everyone else in the area was celebrating the Winter Solstice and worshiping their own gods. Since it was illegal to be a Christian it would have been suspicious for anyone not to be celebrating.  If they didn't show signs of celebrating, Christians would have been more likely to get arrested and/or killed.

Of course there are lots of religions that have holidays when Winter begins and the days start to become longer. And in America all of them are free to celebrate or not.

Even though we don't all agree about our religious beliefs we certainly don't think people whose beliefs differ from ours should be arrested and killed. Of course if, like some ancient peoples, any groups sacrificed humans those would certainly be persecuted, but we don't have that kind of religions here.

While it might be cool to time travel back and actually see the things told about in the Bible happen, I'm glad I live now.

1 comment:

Penelope Cole said...

Hi Jan,
Yes, I'm glad we live when we do. I appreciate all the sacrifices of our predecessors, I'm happy to live now. I'm glad our religious Christmas celebration has survived in spite the rampant commercialism. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!