Is 25 Desember ‘n heidense feesdag?

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In C.S. Lewis se Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) is daar ‘n heks wat sorg dat dit altyd winter is, maar nooit kersfees nie.  In Charles Dickens se Christmas Carol is dit Scrooge wat nie van kersfees hou nie.  Ook in dr. Suess se boek is daar ‘n karakter wat kersfees haat; the Grinch.  In die 21ste eeu nog haat die duiwel en die wêreld die ware betekenis van kersfees.  In party lande word mense verbied om merry Christmas te sê.  Dié gesegde word vervang met “happy holidays” en “compliments of the season”.  Kerstyd gaan meer oor familie, geld, kersvader, kersbome, kersliggies, kos, en geskenke as oor Jesus.  Christene in party groepe val kersdag aan, omdat hulle glo 25 Desember het ‘n heidense herkoms.  Sonder enige bewyse sê hulle:  “Ons weet Jesus is nie op 25 Desember gebore nie, want die skape en herders sou nie op ‘n koue wintersnag in die veld gewees het nie.”

Harry Mulder verskil: “During the brief Christmas vacation my wife and I traveled from Beirut… to Jerusalem.  In this connection I can also answer your question regarding the presence of sheep around Bethlehem in the month of Desember… Right near us a few flocks of sheep were nestled.  Even the lambs were not lacking… It is therefore definitely not impossible that the Lord Jesus was born in December.” (aangehaal in Hendriksen, W.; Matthew: New Testament Commentary; The Banner of Truth Trust; EDINBURGH; 1971; p.182).

Alfred Edersheim skryf:

“At the outset it must be admitted, that absolute certainty is impossible as to the exact date of Christ’s Nativity – the precise year even, and still more the month and the day. But in regard to the year, we possess such data as to invest it with such probability, as almost to amount to certainty.  The first and most certain date is that of the death of Herod the Great.  Our Lord was born before the death of Herod, and, as we judge from the Gospel-history, very shortly before that event.  Now the year of Herod’s death has been ascertained with, we may say, absolute certainty, as shortly before the Passover of the year 750 A.U.C., which corresponds to about the 12th of April…More particularly, shortly before the death of Herod there was a lunar eclipse (Jos. Ant. xvii. 6. 4), which, it is astronomically ascertained, occurred on the night from the 12th to the 13th of March…Thus the death of Herod must have taken place between the 12th of March and the 12th of April – or, say, about the end of March (comp. Ant. xvii. 8. 1).  Again, the Gospel-history necessitates an interval of, at the least, seven or eight weeks before that date for the birth of Christ (we have to insert the purification of the Virgin [Leviticus 12:1-8, Luke 2:22-24] – at the earliest, six weeks after the Birth – the Visit of the Magi, and the murder of the children at Bethlehem, and, at any rate, some days more before the death of Herod).  Thus the Birth of Christ could not have possibly occurred after the beginning of February…and most likely several weeks earlier. This brings us close to the ecclesiastical date, the 25th of December…At any rate, the often repeated, but very superficial objection, as to the impossibility of shepherds tending flocks in the open at that season, must now be dismissed as utterly untenable…if the question is to be decided on the ground of rain-fall, the probabilities are in favour of December as compared with February – later than which it is impossible to place the birth of Christ…

… we reach the same goal if we follow the historically somewhat uncertain guidance of the date of the Birth of [John] the Baptist, as furnished in this notice (St. Luke i. 5) of his annunciation to his father, that Zacharias officiated in the Temple as on of ‘the course of Abia’…In Taan. 29a we have the notice, with which that of Josephus agrees (War vi. 4. 1. 5), that at the time of the destruction of the Temple ‘the course of Jehoiarib,’ which was the first of the priestly courses, was on duty.  That was on the 9-10 Ab of the year 823 A.U.C., or the 5th August of the year 70 of our era. If this calculation be correct (of which, however, we cannot feel quite sure), then counting ‘the courses’ of priests backwards, the course of Abia would, in the year 748 A.U.C. (the year before the birth of Christ) have been on duty from the 2nd to the 9th of October.  This also would place the birth of Christ in the end of December of the following year (749), taking the expression ‘sixth month’ in St. Luke i. 26, 36, in the sense of the running month (from the 5th to the 6th month, comp. St. Luke i. 24).  But we repeat that absolute reliance cannot be placed on such calculations, at least so far as regards month and day…” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah; Grand Rapids; MICHIGAN; 1953; p.1527-1529).

Edersheim gee ook verdere bewyse wat ek nie hier aanhaal nie. Hy gebruik onder andere tekste soos Lukas 2:2, 3:1-2, en Johannes 2:20 om sy berekeninge te maak en daardeur te bewys dat Jesus op of naby 25 Desember gebore is.  Nou ja, dis seker maar net vir interessantheid.  Dis onnodig om oor sulke datums te stry of om te sê dat mense wat kersfees vier ’n heidense feesdag gedenk.

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