Christmas really is a wonderful time of the year as we focus on the incredible truth that God entered into human history through the incarnation of Jesus and actually dwelt among us to rescue us from our sin and brokenness. That is certain. That we know. But there are things about Christmas that we do not know.
We know that Jesus was born in human flesh, but we do not know it was on December 25. Two things are certain—Jesus was born of a virgin, and the Bible doesn’t give us an exact date.
We know that magi or wise men brought the Christ child gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but we do not know the number of wise men (it could have been three or four or seven—we don’t know.)
We know that Jesus was laid in a manger, but though we think we know that a star hovered over at the time of his birth, there is no reference to this in the Gospels. The wise men followed a star to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, with the inference that Jesus had been in Bethlehem for some time when the wise men arrived. Also, it may have been that the manger was in a stable, but this feeding trough was commonly inside houses at that time (along with animals), and the family would sleep upstairs. We don’t know if the manger was inside a separate stable or inside a house that was acting as a stable.
Many people assume that Jesus was born in 0 A.D. (which stands for a Latin phrase anno domini which means “in the year of the Lord”.) However, Jesus entered into history during the days of Herod the king who died in 4 B.C. So, it seems Jesus birth would have been sometime between 4 and 6 B. C.
Some Christians have come to think that the phrase, “Merry Xmas”, is an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas. Some people may have had that as their goal, but the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ” is Chi, which in the Roman alphabet is represented by the symbol “X”. So, “Xians” don’t have to be flustered by hearing or seeing” “Merry Xmas!” Some people think that saying “Happy Holidays” is an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. However, “holiday” comes from “holy day”. Celebrating the birth of Jesus definitely makes it a holy day!
So, this Christmas (Xmas) have a happy holiday (holy day)! And even more, know that Christmas shouldn’t be a one-day celebration, but rather, a lifestyle of celebrating the truth that Jesus is Emmanuel (“God with us”) all year round.