Christmas Coming Early

And so it begins. I’ve seen my first Christmas tree displayed in a Burnley bay window. Last night, the Barnoldswick Christmas lights were switched on, accompanied by marching bands and people brandishing glow-lights (see picture). My heart groans as Christmas, that perennial expense and emotional rollercoaster, arrives sooner and sooner each year.

And so it, too, begins: outraged Christians complaining about unbelievers’ fascination with lights and food whilst skilfully sidestepping Christ’s incarnation. In truth, it was a winter festival of light long before Christ came. And what’s more, a letter in a recent edition of the British Church Newspaper successfully argued that Christ was born in October. Two reasons were offered- the milder October climate conducive to lambs in Judaea and the priestly rotas suggesting that Zacharias’ stint at the temple during the course of Abijah, would have been mid-June. As John was born six months before Christ (around April), the latter’s birth may have been September/October.

So perhaps the shops and light-switchers are closer to the truth than we Christians think.