So – you’ve brought all the presents, stocked up the fridge, sent all your cards and are ready to celebrate Christmas in ‘peace’ – Yes?
What? you haven’t got ALL your presents yet – oh dear!
Doesn’t matter – the Celebration of Christ’s Birth is what all this ‘confusion’ we
suffer; enjoy each year ir really all about and there’s no confusion there – Right? Wrong! (Sorry folks)
Let me explain the problem…
Firstly – when does a day ‘begin’??
Today, what with atomic clocks and digital wristwatches and computers with ITS (Internet Time Synchronisation!) and UTC ( Co-ordinated Universal Time!) it’s relatively easy to say a day begins at either Midnight or as the sun rises at Dawn of the specified date, depending on how you use the word ‘day’.
But how about back when our calendar was being defined and festival days were decided as being celebrated on a specific ‘day’ – how could they tell – especially if many people could not even read or write?
Well back then everyone had the same ‘clock’ consisting of the Sun, the moon and the stars. and since two of those are hard to ‘measure’ during daylight most people ‘waited’ until the going down of the Sun to tell what ‘date’ it was, when the ‘day of a festival actually ‘began’. Hence the long held tradition of Jews and Medeival Europe and many other cultures of counting a ‘Day’ from the setting of the Sun. (So ‘Friday’ for example actually began on Thursday evening! and finished just before Friday sunset. (The Sabbath actually begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday before sunset Saturday when the ‘First Day’ begins).
So back around the time of Jesus a day began on the preceding evening and went through to Sunset.
Now Early on in the beginnings of Christianity it was decided it would be a good idea to decide when the anniversary of Christ’s birth was – strangely enough no-one ever saw this as being particularly important while he was alive so as to record it for posterity! It was left to scholars and theologians to try and work out some centuries after everyone who might have actually had the exact date in memory was dead and buried.
It was considered relatively easy to work out the day he died – being on a very specific Jewish Feast time of Pesach and the year was ‘roughly’ known and set so the date could be fixed and celebrated (as what we now know as ‘Easter’ and Good Friday) as being on March 25th in that year.
It was held as being true that a prophet of God always died on the same day as the day of his Conception, so Christ should have been conceived on March 25th (a Spring conception – almost perfectly timed to the Spring Equinox). Scholars then worked out that nine months later (to the ‘day’!) must have been the day Christ was born and hence Dec 25th was ‘set in stone’ – so to speak.
Problem: if we take EXACTLY nine months as being the average length of human conception (currently believed to be 41 weeks) then the actual day of Birth should be Dec 24!!!, because Dec 25 is actually nine months plus one full day from the 25th of March ( in the same way that Monday to Monday is actually 8 days, not 7!)
December the 25th is the first day of the 10th month from March 25th.
So the Scholars using a Julian Calendar may have made a simple and all too common ‘mistake’ by selecting the day after nine months not exactly nine months. (unless the lunar month of approx 29.5 days was used?? – this doesn’t work as then Christmas would be Dec 15/16!)
Another Problem: as mentioned, back in the day, ‘day’s began the previous evening so that the day of December 25 actually began on the evening of Dec 24!!! So is this the origin of the naming of Christmas Eve as being on the 24th? In which case the ‘START’ of ‘Christmas Eve Day’ actually begins on the night of December 23 as we know it??
Confused yet? – it gets worse!
Just a brief recap: Christ’s Birth was calculated from the day of His death/conception (same date – diff years). Nine months from Mar 25 = Dec 24 so Christmas Day ‘should’ be 24 Dec – which starts on eve of Dec 23 – with me so far?)
Okayyy – now – The 12 days of Christmas, and the 12 Nights also, actually are celebrated on the evening of Dec 25 – which, as we discussed, is actually the beginning of the ‘day’ of Dec 26!!! (because sun set was used to ‘tell’ time/days back then). They end on Jan 5th (daytime) so that Epihphany, the day Christ was supposed to be ‘introduced’ to the world by the 3 Magi (wise men) or, according to some belief, the day He was also baptised, can be celebrated on Jan 6.
Jan 6 is Thirteen Days (inclusive) from Dec 25!
SO – depending upon your math/way of deciding when a day starts Christmas Day ‘could’ begin either on the Evening of Dec 23 up to the evening of Dec 25 (which would then be ‘Dec 26’!)
And on a Final note… some early Christians believed only sinners celebrated their birth day – seems that tradition did not last all that long.
The words of the Bible have changed hardly at all since they were first written (albeit we mostly read them in a translated language today).
The Wisdom they contain does not vary – it remains constant.
As the Case of Galileo Galilei (man of Gallilee perhaps?) shows: those who are supposedly the best at distributing such Wisdom to the masses – those who live their lives by it and are devoted to extolling it to others from positions of Great Authority – can and do undergo 180 degree turn arounds in their ‘opinions’ and understandings of the Wisdom.
While there are many today who hold the literal interpretation of Biblical Creationism because ‘clearly’ the Bible states this is so, and despise Evolution as unproven ‘theory’ (bordering, to some, on par with a theory of Mars as being the origin of UFO’s) few would today claim that the earth is the centre of the Universe and the Sun revolves around the Earth.
And yet one of mankind’s single most gifted and talented scientific minds, Galileo, who almost single-handedly developed modern scientific method, to which we all owe so very much in our modern lives, was kept under house arrest until his death, for teaching his students this ‘heresy’ against Holy Scripture and against God. (that it was the Sun our Earth revolved around, contrary to Scripture that states in many places ‘the foundations of the Earth cannot be moved’).
This was not a rash and ill-considered view by a single bishop or Pope. The greatest theologians and advisors were long considered and consulted and many people involved in providing all available ‘evidence’ before the Church’s official position on the subject was determined and as a result Galileo was ordered to recant his view, his writings were banned and other scientific work supporting the view was rejected and to be avoided by all ‘good Christians’ of the modern ( 17th century) world.
It took almost 400 years for the head of the Catholic Church to formally apologise for this injustice and false teaching (that the Sun revolves around the Earth) spread by a ‘divinely’ inspired organisation trying to hold to the ‘Word of God’.
The current Pope, Benedict XVI, (who was a mere cardinal at the time) basically said a while back (1990) that his Church had every right to do what it did to Galileo. Yesterday he paid tribute to Galileo on the 400th anniversary of his invention and use of the telescope. He also said: “understanding the laws of nature can stimulate understanding and appreciation of the Lord’s works.”
An understanding of the laws of man’s mind and that those who most of us rely upon to explain the Lord’s Wisdom and Laws to them are also able to, perhaps even with the best of intent, often interpret Scripture to suit their own purpose more than they do God’s Purpose would go a long way to stimulating understanding and True appreciation of the Lord’s Works also.
Scripture is Truth – but all of us are often very poor judges of what is His Truth is, as contained within the words we read or hear, as opposed to our own ‘version’ of the ‘truth’ such words contain. We ‘fit them’ into our own understanding, based upon what we were like and believed before, and in doing so can allow previous misunderstanding to remain within our ‘newer’ understanding – often missing out on getting the complete truth in the process.
In Short: we are human and fallible – subject to making error.
To Err is human – to forgive, Divine.
The Earth Moves – this is Truth! – despite how we could read otherwise in Scripture. Galileo suspected it, tested it and eventually believed it over what His Church tried to force him to agree to and over what ‘everyone’ else ‘understood’/believed, at the time…
Even the ‘infallible’ Authority of the most powerful Church in the world is made up of men – and men frequently don’t understand anything very well.
Which is why Scripture tells us to put all things to the test.
The Church did that in Galileo’s view of the orbit of the Earth – and still got it wrong! It took nearly 400 years for Pope John Paul II to apologise for this error. (1992 – some 23 years AFTER Americans had walked on the Moon and had seen the Earth ‘rise’ over it’s horizon).
Holding onto a Faith in God is one thing – holding onto a Faith of man’s interpretation of God and his Word while rejecting the underlying Truth in a matter is another thing all together.
Put your Faith in God – not your own understanding of Him… and just because you have ‘tested’ something, does not mean you still have it quite ‘Right’! And that can apply even if you are an ‘infallible’ Pope and have consulted ‘experts’.
Galileo was a man, a man of God, a scientist, and acclaimed and treated as a heretic by other ‘holy men of God’. He was a prophet who spoke God’s Truth truly and was punished for it by those who claimed Authority over God’s Word.
I have to wonder what God was saying to those who accused Galileo, why the accusers could not see for themselves how Truth was newly being revealed to them, by a man who had Faith in his own method over ‘accepted’ Wisdom of the time.
Much like the Man Jesus had when facing His Accusers.
The majority view of man is not always that of God.
for those at the top, of course.
Some interesting ‘quirks’ in the article:
No Municipal water supply in areas of the capital city and people are starving but poor kids make money by selling iced lollies on the street’? (Melted?)
A man tries hard to gather wood and plastic to burn to cook on, yet another man points into an alley at a mass of ‘worthless’ Zimbawe banknotes (inflation has exceeded 231m% (that’s MILLION percent) per annum!) Money to burn perhaps?
The statistics at the end make for hard reading.
My Country currently has 9000 armed troops fighting some of the indigenous population of a rugged mountainous country called Afghanistan, far away in the middle of Asia. I’m having considerable difficulty justifying this as it enters it’s 8th year of warfare and little seems to have improved there over much of that time (although the region’s Heroin Supply has come back to normal after the Taliban reduced it by 95% by 2000!), while we are seemingly happy to tell Mr Mugabe what a bad man he is and do nothing effective. The people of Zimbabwe might wonder what the West truly believes when it comes to defending ‘Freedom’ in the world.
Despite the fact that MILLIONS of Zimbaweans are ‘illegally’ escaping their country’s borders taking disease, poverty and the opportunity for exploitation of truly desperate people looking to get some way to live or feed their children, into the countries surrounding them Zimbabwe’s situation is apparently considered a ‘Civil’ matter or at worst merely a ‘local’ problem. Certainly not a ‘threat’ to my democracy way down here.
So no troops.
African countries seem to have remarkable ‘success’ at throwing off the shackles of white colonialism but are stupendously bad at coming to equitable solutions when they have their own minorities oppressing the majority?
Sanctions by the West do not appear to stop Mr Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cronies from taking holidays overseas or owning property there either? They certainly have done nothing in helping Mugabe’s victims… or reducing the luxury Zimbabwe’s ruling elite continue to enjoy at the expense of the lives of their own countrymen (but likely differing tribesmen).
My Turkey and Christmas Pud with brandy custard won’t taste quite as good this year (even though i was made aware of Mugabe many years ago)… but i’ll give thanks and ‘struggle’ on here in my safe luxury (by comparison to ‘most’).
…and a Happy Christmas to all.
I can already hear the smug,-self-satisfied expressions and derisive comments of Apple users and Unix/Linux programmers, not to mention Netscape Mozilla or Omega browser proponents as they hear about the latest MASSIVE security breach Microsoft users are having to learn to defend themselves from so if you MUST comment try to do it without being full of pride for your foresightedness – ok?
For any Windows users who browse the web via Internet Explorer you should probably read this… ( Quickly! – and get some tech savvy person to explain what to do if you are none the wiser after viewing)
‘Only 0.2% currently ‘known’ or suspected to be infected might seem like good odds to you but put into perspective – that amounts to some half a million computers and users affected – and that’s just the ones Microsoft are admitting to! And this latest bug has only beeen monitored very recently. 🙄
So is anyone else finding irregular things happening with their comments ‘moderation’ since WP 2.7 was released? (and before that come to think of it?)
Today i had two comments from B4DGUY posted within 2 minutes of each other.
Since i have previously approved his comments on my blog – heck why not, he seems harmless? 😉 – his first comment, naturally went up no problem, but the second one was ‘culled’ by WP for ‘moderation’ and did not post until i had specifically told WP i wanted to approve it from my dashboard after logging in!??
Some sites i regularly visit and comment at have started showing the ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ tag after being submitted.
So – is is just me? Something i’ve said? Something i’ve done? Anyone know what is going on? Will WP eventually get around to fixing this little ‘bug’?
Talk to me! 🙂 (and i hope your comments are unmoderated! Wait – did i say that right?)