25 December, 2012

What really happened at Christmas?

(Written by Jack Kelley)
In the past I’ve made the case that Jesus probably was born sometime in September. If that’s the case then what really happened in December? Is Christmas just the result of overlaying Christian beliefs on a formerly pagan holiday as some believe, or is there more to it?

Happy Hanukkah

To find the answer we begin with a look at the Jewish Feast of Hanukkah. Maybe you’ve heard the story of Hanukkah, but if not here’s a brief summary. In 165 BC, during the time of the Maccabean Revolt, the Jews recaptured their desecrated Temple from Syrian dictator Antiochus Epiphanes and undertook a rebuilding and cleansing process to make it fit for worship again. (Angry with the Jews and defiant toward God, Antiochus had captured the Temple, sacrificed a pig on the altar, and erected a statue of the Greek god Zeus in the Holy Place requiring everyone to worship it on pain of death. This outrageous act rendered the Temple unclean and became known as the Abomination of Desolation.)