Christmas is a celebration of hope and life, and of course, of gifts which are part of the tradition. An important Christian holiday, Christmas is surrounded by myths and believes. History can’t prove some of them. Discover five such belives and find out what is real about Christmas and what represents just a popular story.
# 1 Christmas – the most important holiday of Christianity
Indeed, to the astonishment of many people, including Christians, Christmas isn’t the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. Despite all the fuss, all the decorations, packages, boxes, carols, rituals, Christmas is the second runner up in the Christian tradition. The most important Christian holiday is the Easter. On Christmas day Jesus was born bringing joy to all the believers, while on Easter day Jesus resurrected from death bringing to the entire humanity hope and life after death.
# 2 Jesus was born exactly on December 25th
It seems logic, isn’t it? If Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, then Jesus was born on the same date, right? Wrong! Nobody in the entire world knows when Jesus was actually born. If you search in the Bible, you will find neither month nor date. What is more, according to some Biblical interpretations it is highly unlikely that Jesus was actually born on 25th of December. For instance, the Bible mentions that at Jesus’ birth, shepherds were in their fields with the animals. It’s really cold in Bethlehem in December and nothing much grows in the fields, so the shepherds would have been inside.
# 3 Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas are one and the same
This is a tricky one. The three are different persons, yet sometimes are considered the same. Saint Nicholas was a fourth-century Turkish bishop who spent his life generously giving money to the poor. He died on December 6th and was proclaimed a saint. In the 16th century, Europeans renounced to the memory of Saint Nicholas, yet the gifting tradition was still alive so Saint Nicholas was shaped as Father Christmas, described as a partying man and often associated with holiday merrymaking. In the U.S., Father Christmas became Kris Kringle.
The final transformation came in the 20th century when Santa Claus was born. While Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Santa Claus may be regarded as one and the same, Saint Nicholas is definitely a different story and is sometimes confused with Santa Claus.
# 4 Three kings visited Jesus shortly after his birth
Gaspar, also named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar are the three kings from East who supposedly visited Jesus, following a bright star and bringing important gifts of gold, incenses and myrrh. This is another Christmas myth that doesn’t have a real basis in the Bible. In the Bible three magi visited Jesus; but magi are wise men, not wealthy kings. Another misinterpretation is the timing of this visit; while generally it is believed that the three kings visited Jesus shortly after his birth, in the Bible we find out that this visit took place when Jesus was a young child, not an infant.
# 5 Abbreviating Christmas as “Xmas” Is Sacrilegious
Don’t take “Christ” out of Christmas! That’s the rallying cry of many conservative Christians: it is a sacrilege to remove “Christ” from the name of this important holiday. If we take a closer look, writing “Xmas” instead of Christmas doesn’t represent a sacrilegious slang against Jesus. For instance, the word “Christ” in Greek is written “Χριστός”. The first letter “X” in Greek is read as “chi”, which in Roman alphabet is written as “x”, making “Xmas” a quite logical and perfectly “legal” abbreviation.
This was our Christmas story for today. What other Christmas myths can you add to the list?
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