Tuesday, December 03, 2013

First Cold Christmas

Merry Christmas! Was the first Christmas morning cold? The truth is that we don't know for sure what time of the year Jesus was born. Someone gave up their manger for a bit, but that doesn't give us a season. Joseph and Mary found a place to have God's baby, probably in a cave also used at times for an animal shelter, but again that does not speak of any particular month. Shepherds abode in the fields with their flocks so maybe not winter. Of course, maybe the shepherds were tough back in the day and slept out under the sheep in the cold. "Cold tonight, Moishe. Hand me another sheep, would you?" Nice weather or the dead of winter does not matter so much as the fact that Jesus was born.

In order to have the cross and the resurrection, some sort of incarnation was needed. Sure, God could have created Jesus as an adult human, but prophecy already spoke of virgin birth, Bethlehem, and a child knowing right from wrong at an early age. God didn't give His Son any shortcuts to the cross, so perhaps the little Jesus was born in the cold of winter. We might think that couples counted months so as not to have the babe in winter time, but Mary didn't get a choice in the timing. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, "baby time!" (my paraphrase) and the process began at the Holy Spirit's chosen time.

Did Mary catch a break on the duration, maybe a six-month term? Probably not. Did Joseph and Mary have to endure the occasional remark about infidelity or jumping the gun? Probably. Unbelievers had their time to scoff, just as they do now. Not only did Mary endure the other stuff, but the time drew close just as they had to pack up and go to Bethlehem for a census. Jesus was born in the usual way in those days, whether we know the day of the year or not, and we celebrate that birth well.


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