Cheryl enjoys giving her readers fun facts that reveal truths about many holiday traditions.
Christmas is not over
Some years ago, I heard a friend of my daughter say that her Christmas was going to be in January. This was because her mother had to wait to get paid again from her job in order to buy presents. As time has marched on I have heard others say the same. More people than I realized did not have the money to shop prior to December 25 and would buy gifts after their first paycheck in January. Not long ago a woman told me it would be after the first of the year before she could purchase holiday presents for her grandchildren. If you find yourself in this position and In case you were not aware of it, there is an official Christmas celebration that takes place during the first month of the year. It is called Epiphany or Littel Christmas and acknowledges the arrival of the wise men to the home of the Christ Child. If for whatever reason you were not able to do what you desired for your loved ones in December and you can in January, you now have an official holiday of sorts to back up your choice. Christmas can be celebrated all year if one chooses but in the first month of the year, there is a distinct reason why.
The Bible says
King James English can at times be difficult to decipher. In Matthew chapter 2 it begins with Now when Jesus was born. It can be assumed that this means at the time of His birth in Bethlehem, or as He was being born but consider the Message Bible version of verses 1-2. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” After, does not denote whether it was a short time or a long period. As you continue to read the chapter it tells us that based on the timeline of what the Magi told him. King Herod killed all baby boys ages 2 years old and under. This could have been a precautionary measure to make sure he murdered the new king. Many Theologians, as well as lay people, believe it indicates that the timing of the star appearing and the time it took the wise men to travel caused them to arrive when Jesus was around 2 years old. Please consider that Luke 2 says the shepherds found the babe in a manger just as the angels told them. But Matthew 2:11 says the wise men found a young child in a house in the King James version. Most nativity scenes and church pageants have shepherds and wise men all together at the manger but scripture and logic does not indicate this happened.
Three kings day
Epiphany is also referred to as Three kings day as well as Little Christmas and is celebrated on January 6. This unofficial holiday originated in the Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire. It began as a feast to honor the baptism of Christ. Around 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote that, there was a conflict on which date to celebrate but that based on Egyptian dates it would be somewhere between January 6 and 10.[ The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian festival was by Ammianus Marcellinus in 361 A.D. While some Americans put up their holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving and take them down on December 26, others put up their decor on Christmas Eve and leave it up until Epiphany. The actual 12 days of Christmas begin on December 26 and end on January 6. It has been assumed that there were 3 wise men because they brought the 3 gifts gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Names have even been given to the kings in stories which are Melchior, Belthazar, and Casper. Historians, however, say that it is highly unlikely that 3 men would travel alone across the dangerous desert and believe there was more than likely a caravan of at least 12 people seeking Jesus. The bottom line to all of this is that Christmas can continue into January with the reflection of the astronomers/aastrologers who were led by the star.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
Nell Rose from England on December 31, 2020:
As Peggy said, dates and times really do not matter. In fact many believe Jesus was born in the summer. Happy New Year!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2020:
Exact dates and times do not really matter. The main thing about celebrating Christmas is the fact of Christ being born. As you wrote, the Bible can, at times, be confusing. Oral histories, being recited over time, and then translated, can account for some of this.