Monday 27th September 2021

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Some Speculations About The First Christmas

December 19, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By JOHN YOUNG

Matthew and Luke tell us all we need to know about the coming of Christ into the world, but it is fascinating to speculate about things left unsaid — and a vast amount is omitted from their accounts. It is similar regarding our Savior’s life as a whole: St. John emphasizes this with his hyperbolical statement that the world couldn’t contain all the books that would be needed to record all the facts.
We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but it is certain that the traditional date is too late. Herod died in 4 BC, so that is the latest possible date; 6 BC is probably about right. The crucifixion was most probably in the year AD 30.
At Christmas we celebrate the visit of the shepherds and that of the Magi, but the latter actually arrived later than Christmas night. Presumably the first appearance of the star occurred at the time of Jesus’ birth, and after that the Magi had to journey to Jerusalem from their home country. Probably they visited the Holy Family several weeks after the birth, because the Presentation in the Temple was at forty days; but the flight into Egypt presumably happened soon after the Magi came, because it is unlikely Herod would have delayed long to take action after the Magi failed to return to him.
Also, the offering made for the Child Jesus in the Temple — “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” — was the offering of the poor (see Lev. 12:8); but had the visit of the Magi already occurred, surely Mary and Joseph would have spent some of the gold they were given.
Another question concerns the Holy Innocents. Why did Herod order boys as old as two years to be killed? Why not only up to a few months? It may be, for all we know, that the best part of a year had passed after Jesus’ birth before the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. Herod’s agents perhaps searched and made inquiries for some time before he had the babies slaughtered. Also, Herod wouldn’t want to take any chances; he would leave a big time margin.
Another possible explanation is that Herod didn’t want some child born rather earlier than Jesus to be declared in later years to be the promised King. He wanted a sufficient time lapse for such a bogus claimant to be ruled out.
In any case, from what history tells us about Herod, we know he had no regard for human life. By this time he had had many people murdered, including his father-in-law, his mother-in-law, his first wife, and two of his sons. Later he had a third son murdered.
A further question: Did Mary and Joseph intend to settle in Bethlehem? It is usually assumed that they only traveled there for the census, intending to return to Nazareth after having registered. We mustn’t forget, though, that they knew the Old Testament prophecies about the longed-for Messiah, including the prophecy in the Book of Micah that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-4). How ardently they must have studied the passages of Scripture predicting the Messiah! Unlike other parents they had a book, the Old Testament, which gave information about this newborn Child.
After the death of Herod, Joseph was afraid to go to Judea because Archelaus now reigned there, which seems to imply he would otherwise have settled there, and not in Nazareth. Bethlehem held wonderful memories from Israel’s past. It was the burial place of Rachel; Ruth had lived there; and it was the birthplace of King David and the town where he had been anointed king.  Surely it would have seemed fitting that the Son of David should be raised in the town of David.
Instead He chose to be raised in Nazareth, an obscure village in Galilee. The reaction of Nathanael to the idea of the Messiah coming from there is perhaps typical: “Can anything good come from that place?”
Regarding my statement above that the Magi probably arrived much later than the night Jesus was born, a contrary possibility, although unlikely, is that they came soon after Christmas night, and that the Presentation in the Temple occurred after the return from Egypt. This conjecture assumes that Herod died very shortly after the flight into Egypt, and that on hearing this news the Holy Family promptly returned, arriving in Jerusalem in time for the Presentation forty days after Jesus’ birth.
An indication that this may possibly have been the case is the statement of St. Luke, after he had narrated the events in the Temple, that after they had done everything the Law of the Lord required they went back to Nazareth. He says nothing about the flight into Egypt. However, that omission may have no significance, because all the evangelists are very selective in the events they relate: There were such a vast number to choose from.
It may be asked: Why did the angel tell Joseph to go to Egypt, rather than back to Nazareth, which was about a hundred miles from Bethlehem? Evidently because even there the Child Jesus wouldn’t have been safe from the vengeance of the king — which suggests that Herod’s search was far more extensive than we might assume from the brief passage in Matthew.
Speculations like these can increase our interest in Scripture and bring to mind possibilities we hadn’t thought of. They can lead us to delve more deeply. Christmas is a good time to delve into God’s Revelation.

+    +    +

(John Young is a graduate of the Aquinas Academy in Sydney, Australia, and has taught philosophy in four seminaries. His book The Scope of Philosophy was published by Gracewing Publishers in England in 2010. He has been a frequent contributor to The Wanderer on theological issues since 1977.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Load More...

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Abortion On Demand Act . . . House Set to Vote Friday on Massive Abortion Bill

CV NEWS FEED // Democrats in the House of Representatives will vote Friday to pass legislation that would enshrine the “right” to abortion in federal law. The “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which Republican opponents have dubbed the “Abortion On Demand Act,” would preemptively destroy all future state-level legislation to protect the unborn.  If the bill passes the House, it is not expected to pass the Senate, where it would need a 60-vote supermajority to overcome…Continue Reading

Federal judge rejects Biden admin’s demand to block Texas abortion ban before hearing

A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s emergency request to stop the Texas abortion ban, which has saved anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 babies from abortion. The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state heartbeat laws, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law…Continue Reading

Archbishops criticize ‘outrageous’ claims against St Junipero Serra

A California bill to replace a statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol unfairly slanders the saint’s legacy, two archbishops claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Sunday, Sept. 12.  Last month, California lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to pass Assembly Bill 338, which would replace the statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol with one honoring local Indigenous populations. The bill text claims that 

Catholic health ministry head decries ‘unjust’ federal vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many private employers, drawing criticism from the head of one Catholic health care ministry. “Coercing individuals into making a medical intervention is unjust,” said Louis Brown, executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation and former acting deputy director of the Civil Rights Division of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, in an interview with CNA on Thursday. “And a vaccine mandate that could…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone raises issue of excommunication for abortion advocates

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 5, 2021 / 18:07 pm Calling abortion “the most pressing human rights challenge of our time,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone on Sunday invoked the excommunication of prominent Catholic segregationists in the early 1960s as an example of a legitimate response to Catholics politicians who support “a great moral evil.” In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, the leader of the Archdiocese of San Francisco pushed back against recent statements by Catholic politicians…Continue Reading

Justice Clarence Thomas… Credits Catholic Nuns’ Anti-Racist Example

By KEVIN J. JONES DENVER (CNA) — Catholic nuns and his grandparents’ example helped instill in Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas the belief that all people were children of God and that the racist flaws of American society were a betrayal of its best promises, he said in a lecture Thursday, September 16.“My nuns and…Continue Reading

When Rights Are Wrong

By DONALD DeMARCO There are few topics that are of greater importance than “rights.” At the same time, the topic of rights has been egregiously misunderstood and fraudulently represented. What are rights? Are they the exclusive domain of human beings? What is the basis of a right? How can rights be protected? Can there be…Continue Reading

Are The U.S. And China Stumbling Toward An “Islands War”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In a diplomatic coup, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a deal last week with the UK and U.S. to have those Anglo-American allies help build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia.A $66 billion French deal to provide Canberra with diesel electric-powered submarines, among the largest defense contracts Paris had ever negotiated,…Continue Reading

9/11: A Blazing Hell On Earth

By BARBARA SIMPSOM (Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on WorldNetDaily on September 10.) + + It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since that awful day — 9/11 — this country was massively attacked by an enemy most Americans didn’t even realize we had.The responsibility for that ignorance should be placed squarely on…Continue Reading

New FDA Records Show . . . Purchases Of Fetal Organs, Heads And Tissue for ‘Humanized Mice’ Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced September 14, that it received 198 pages of records and communications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involving “humanized mice” research with human fetal heads, organs and tissue, including communications and contracts with human fetal tissue provider Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). Most of the records are communications…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A New Creation

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Genesis 2:18-24Hebrews 2:9-11Mark 10:2-16 In the first reading we have the story of the creation of Eve. There are a couple things to note here. First, God creates all the animals and brings them to Adam for him to name. At this point, Adam is newly created and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This completes our lessons on the Commandments and Sacraments. We hope that you found them informative and were able to put them to good use. We will have another series, on Apologetics, ready shortly, but in the meantime, we will continue to welcome your questions for the column. Please send them either to the postal mailing address or…Continue Reading

“Abortion is Murder”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning.” was the Pope’s answer to a question from a reporter on the return flight from his recent apostolic journey to Slovakia and Hungary. The context was a question posed: “What must the pastor do?” in reference to pro-abortion politicians. On the subject of abortion, the Pope repeated the Church…Continue Reading

The Exorcistic Effect… Of The Word Of God

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on September 8 and it is reprinted here with permission. His blog is found at https://msgrpope.com/.) + + Many often think of exorcism only in relation to driving out demons from possessed people using ancient prayers. But, truth be told, we all have afflictions, oppressions, temptations, and other…Continue Reading

Love God With Your Whole Heart

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Numb. 11:25-29James 5:1-6Mark 9:38-43; 45, 47-48 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that if our hand or foot causes us to sin, cut it off; if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. Obviously, our hand, foot, or eye cannot be the cause…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Nicholas Owen

By DEB PIROCH First you see him…and then you don’t. Dangerous times call for dangerous measures. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I of England, St. Nicholas Owen was the expert at creating what became known as “priests’ holes,” or secret hiding spots for clergy. Located in the homes of wealthy recusant Catholics, these were hidden compartments or…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mariam Of Jesus Crucified

By DEB PIROCH Her parents had tried so hard to have a child. Again and again they had a little boy, one after the other dying in infancy. After losing 12 boys, Mariam’s mother said to her father: Let’s go to the Holy Grotto in Jerusalem and pray to the Blessed Virgin to intercede for a girl.Mariam’s parents were Greek…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)