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17

This is a fairly common question, and there is a very good answer. A detailed answer can be found here and here. These are some of the highlights. It is important to note that Luke mentions that the census to which he is referring is the first census taken while Quirinius was governing. This seems to indicate that at the time of writing, the readers ...


15

Attitudes on birthdays In the early church, birthdays (in general) were not seen as something to celebrate. For example, in Origen's 8th homily on Leviticus he writes: But the saints not only do not celebrate a festival on their birth days, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse that day. According to an article by Andrew McGowan (Bible Review, ...


12

One theory: It's not the easiest thing to follow, but http://bethlehemstar.net has a very interesting hypothesis on the subject. The information is all there, especially in footnotes, but unfortunately it's not presented very clearly on the site itself... they want you to get the video.* The upshot is that the date is most likely 3BC, and maybe 2BC. You ...


11

I don't want to plagiarize, but there is a very good Catholic article on this here. In summary, the significance of swaddling clothes lies both in the fact that it is humble, common, ordinary, and also that it ties to Solomon - specifically the Wisdom of Solomon 7, 3-6. 7:3 And when I was born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, ...


9

Hah! She sounds like a wily one. I'm no expert in Feng-Shui (or your Aunt), but here are some relevant Biblical principles: Wisdom In Silence If a person is not truly interested in seeking/knowing the truth (e.g. a person who just wants to push their views on you), there is Biblical precedence for keeping silent. (Proverbs 23:9, Matthew 27:12-14) ...


8

Signs in tradition and scripture, can have two basic senses. In the first sense, they are often miraculous indicators of the speaker's trustworthiness, which encourage the listener to believe. In the second sense, they embody or represent a larger or more transcendent truth. The general formula for signs in my first sense is that the speaker first delivers a ...


7

As far as I know there is no proof of any certain date of Christ's birth. And it is only by tradition that we accept it as the 25th of December. Now I'm not one for following tradition for traditions sake, but according to this site a lot of the evidence that people provide to rule out December as Christ's birthday is not rooted in fact. I don't think the ...


7

Because both the Gospel of Mathew and Luke agree that the birth took place before the death of Herod (who died in 4 BC), historians generally assume Jesus was born around 5 BC or slightly before. Source: WikiPedia


7

If you read the account in Luke 2:1-20, you'll find no mention of Magi at the manger, just shepherds. There, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. In Matthew 2:1-18, we find the Magi arriving at Jerusalem, from the scribes there they find out the scripture which places the Messiah in Bethlehem (2:5-6), and follow the star, which is low enough to appear over a ...


7

That the wise men did not arrive until Jesus was a child and no longer an infant is derived from several Scriptures, particularly in Matthew. Matthew chapter 2: KJV 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When ...


7

The phrases you point out indicate to the Catholic Church that the Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus' conception: The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time," the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily." The divine response ...


7

This is a good question and has a simple answer. Nativity scenes are intended to be representations of Jesus birth, not a historically accurate depiction. In other words they are there to remind us of the important elements of the birth, not to be a photorealistic documentary. Therefore the shepherds, the wise men, angels are all included because they were ...


6

According to Fredrick A. Larson, this so-called 'Star of Bethlehem' is actually the planet Jupiter. He produced a video documentary called (appropriately enough) "The Star of Bethlehem" that can be found on YouTube (link) and his website. In this video documentary, Rick Larson lays out a detailed case for the Star of Bethlehem being Jupiter, which includes ...


6

It is prophesied by Micah 5:2. Perhaps you're wondering why Micah would prophesy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in the first place. Well, "Bethlehem" is from the Hebrew בית לחם (beit-lechem), which literally means "house of bread." The Messiah is the "bread of life" (John 6:35). I say, what better city for him to be born? And Jesus said to ...


6

I believe that Dr. Richard P. Bucher provides an excellent analysis of this question. Luke 2:1-3 specifically states the purpose of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem (Roman census ordered by Caesar Augustus). And, from extra-biblical sources, we know that Augustus ordered a census in 27 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD. So 8 BC seems the most reasonable answer ...


6

The Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 145, Says that Joseph used a donkey to bring Mary to Bethlehem The day of the Lord shall itself bring it to pass as the Lord will. And he saddled the ass, and set her upon it; and his son led it, and Joseph followed. Protoevangelium of James:17 So we know that from very ...


5

The first question is what year Jesus was born in. The people who devised the Christian calendar reckoned that Jesus was born in 1CE, aka 1AD. (There was no year zero CE). However, there is a lot of scholarship that concludes that Jesus was born sometime between 6-4BCE. You can consult Wikipedia on this. They also have an article on Nativity of Jesus. ...


4

We Three Kings The verses to 'we three kings' are pretty wonderfully theological and wrap across most doctrines. The gifts symbolize aspects of Jesus' ministry and purpose. Born a King on Bethlehem's plain Gold I bring to crown Him again King forever, ceasing never Over us all to rein Gold is the gift to honor a King. It is offered in ...


4

There were several Herod's. The first Herod was Herod the Great. Herod Archelaus, (3 BC – 7 AD) ruled 10 yrs before being disposed by Herod Antipas. Antipas was king during the life of Jesus and killed John the Baptist. Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, is the King whose acceptance of worship caused his death. (Acts 12). He killed James, the ...


4

The following is highly speculative but (I think) not entirely unreasonable. Shepherds might be considered lower class and were likely grubbier than those in other occupations, especially given that these were night-shepherds in the fields (when all the "decent" folk would be sleeping at home). By announcing the message to isolated shepherds, the privilege ...


4

See this wikipedia article, which mentions the Bible account in Matthew. Basically, the Bible refers to Jesus as being a "child" at the time. Also, Herod killed the male population under 2, which is probably the upper limit on Jesus' age at the time. Nothing concrete here, but enough evidence to draw a reasonable conclusion that it was some months after the ...


4

According to this site, the first draft of the song actually had the words In the whiteness of the lilies he was born across the sea And then the final version of the song, which was first published in 1862 had the words In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea That same site references a book by Edmund Wilson entitled Patriotic ...


3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethlehem The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city David was from and the location where he was crowned as the king of Israel. It never occurred to me before, but given that Bethlehem was pivotal in David's history, one could say that any great descendant of his came "from" Bethlehem. It seems awfully literal to ...


3

It's just what people do with newborns: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaddling We found that wrapping our children with slightly stretchy fabric blankets when they were infants tended to comfort them and help them sleep better than when their limbs would flail about.


3

Here is an answer based on the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) and the denominations that follow his theology. The three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were valuable items monetarily, and were thus fine and expensive gifts. But more than that, they had a ritual significance in the ancient world. Gold has always been an enduring symbol of ...



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