SURPRISE, but midway in the week to Christmas, I found myself suddenly feeling desperate at not having gone into anything by way of preparing for the event. I had been so busy attending to activities for Barangay Binay that minding the advent of the yuletide season had not at all been part of my agenda. Of particular moment to me particularly at the hour is the fact that Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has made a terrific bounce back to the top of the presidential race, landing the topmost slot in the recent Pulse Asia survey, at a rousing 33 percent.
Quite enthused, I set out to prepare posts for Twitter and Facebook, the social media, about this impressive Binay performance in the poll survey, when as if out of the blue it hits me: three days to Christmas!
OMG, what would I give my kids, my grandchildren Thirdy and Tiffany, Gia most especially, and Jet-Jet, too, by way of making up for all the gifts ungiven these past three Christmases of her life?
And first things first, have I got money left? It seems I have spent every cent of my little earnings providing for the needs of two volunteer organizations I have formed to campaign for VP Binay, though luckily I got a little bank account still intact by which to buy gifts and whatnots for noche buena. Up until last Christmas, it would be Beth who early on would make reminders about the traditional family celebration, but she passed away December 1 and into its mourning period, nobody in the family seems to have noticed we are supposed to be into the month of joy. Glad I remember just in time. Enough time to do some last-minute shopping. It would be nice to spice up our grief with the good old holiday cheers – though ironically lost to me beginning 2011.
Christmas had lost meaning for me that year, when I turned Iglesia ni Cristo and I tried to be a good believer in its tenets. Among the church’s teachings is that December 25 is a bogus date of birth of Jesus Christ, there being nothing said about it in the Bible. It is a cardinal doctrine of the church to abide only by what is stated in the holy scriptures.
Some scholarly study traces the origins of Christmas Day to the celebration of the birth of Saturna, the god of Pagan Rome; the rise of Christianity in that period had prompted the Roman emperor to accommodate his rule into the new congregation, eventually making the celebration of the birth of Saturna a celebration for the birth of Jesus Christ.
Brother Eli Soriano, as his throngs of followers in Dating Daan would attest to, has a logical, truly convincing deduction on the subject: Mary, heavily pregnant with the child Jesus, and Joseph went to Jerusalem to comply with the orders of Emperor Augustus for a census of the Roman Empire, each inhabitant to his own hometown; Joseph and Mary, descendants of King David, came from Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem; there being no inns available because of the heavy turnout of census registrants in Bethlehem, the couple took shelter in an empty sheep barn where her time came. Soriano gives credence to the lyrics of the song, “The First Noel,” explaining that the sheep barn was empty because the shepherds had taken the sheep out to graze on the field for the night.
He then asks, more or less in this manner, “If it was December 25 that Jesus was born, how could the shepherds be out that night in order to make their flock graze on the field which, the time being winter, should all be covered with snow – not with grass to graze on.” Quoting pertinent biblical verses, Soriano calculates the actual birthday of Jesus between last week of February and first week of March, counting nine months from July when the angel appeared to Mary and told her about the child she would be bearing, the time of that appearance of the angel being reckoned as the same time that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and found her to be six months pregnant of John The Baptist, who would be born six months ahead of Jesus Christ.
Interpretations in fact abound about the actual occurrence of Christmas. Back in that year
I turned Iglesia ni Cristo, I viewed a presentation on the internet which advances an entirely different, very radical concept of the Nativity. The film, “Zeitgeist,” actually a documentary which had won an Academy award in its category, postulates that events of Christ’s coming were all myths and were either interpretations of zodiac signs in the constellation or reprises of pagan divinity of earlier times.
The movie puts Jesus forward as an astrotheological literature hybrid sharing with a number of pagan deities like Egypt’s Horus or Greece’s Dionysius common characteristics of existence: conceived by a virgin, born on December 25, started preaching at twelve, began his ministry at 30, had twelve disciples, was crucified, died, and resurrected after three days. Much element of the nativity is an expression of phenomena in the constellation. For instance, the eastern star Sirius is “Bethlehem” in Hebrew which in December aligns with a three-star straight formation called “Three Kings.” The film exposes that for all the renown presumed of Jesus Christ during his time, not a single history book written during that period mentions the name “Jesus” at all. Only three of such books mention not Jesus but “Christus,” meaning “The Anointed One.”
The documentary asks: If Jesus Christ was so great in his time, would any of the known historians then like Tacitus have failed to notice him? Most unlikely, hence, in conclusion, the documentary calls Jesus Christ false. What then does this make of the statement famously ascribed to him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”?
Smart Christian ministers have an easy way dodging the issue. They aver books serve specific purposes, historical books on history, law books on legal matters, medical books on medicine, on questions on Jesus Christ, the Bible. By this criterion, the truth of Jesus Christ must be searched and found nowhere else than in the Bible.
With the Bible, Jesus Christ stands true for all eternity.
Mark 13:31 states: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
One great obstacle I encountered to understanding these words is the immediately preceding verse, Mark 13:30 which states: “Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died.”
Both statements, the apostle Mark attributes to Jesus, and as Jesus says, “…my words will never pass away.” Yet, has Mark 13:30 held true? The statement was made more than two thousand years ago and all the people “now” (which was then) living have all died long, long ago, and still until now Jesus has not made his prophesied second coming.
Such has been my terrible torment, of keeping faith in Jesus’ promised salvation yet continually faced with the prospect of such salvation being not true at all. Deuteronomy 18:22 states: “If a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and what he says does not come true, then it is not the LORD’s message. That prophet has spoken on his own authority, and you are not to fear him.”
[End of Part 1. The conclusion, Part 2, appears tomorrow.]