Although I am not a Christian, I spiritually and especially culturally respect Christianity.
I also respect Christians, primarily because the rebel Nat Turner was one as was the agitator MLK.
In addition, and most pertinent in terms of this article, I respect Christmas because it’s a holy day that brings many Black families together and puts a smile on the faces of many Black children.
But I don’t respect Christmas myths. Therefore, I’m writing this article not to disparage Christmas in any way but to tell the truth about it because, as that great spiritual Black Palestinian revolutionary named Jesus once said, “Know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
Accordingly, here’s the truth about eight of the most common myths about Christmas and the Christmas season:
Jesus ain’t white.
He was a Black man with the woolly hair and brass/brown skin described in Daniel 7:9 and Revelations 2:18 who was a Palestinian born in Bethlehem (which is in the central West Bank, which in turn is in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is precisely where Palestine is located). He also was a revolutionary executed by way of capital punishment (like many other Black men throughout history) for defying and subverting the government’s laws.
Jesus wasn’t born on December 25.
First of all, the Bible doesn’t mention a date or even a month for Jesus’ birth. Instead, it merely says that, during his birth, shepherds were in the field. But shepherds couldn’t have been in any Bethlehem fields in December because it would’ve been too cold to have their sheep exposed outside and nothing grows outside that time of the winter season there. Also, the Bible points out that Jesus was born while Mary and Joseph were traveling to participate in the census. But during that time, censuses took place only in September or October.
The truth is that December 25 was selected in 325 AD by Roman Emperor/Conqueror Constantine because he and the church leadership wanted to stop people from celebrating the widely popular December 25 pagan festival honoring the annual return of the sun following the December 21 winter solstice. The week before the solstice was the Saturnalia, which was celebrated with an alcohol-filled and sex-fueled party and feast that concluded with gift-giving and candle-lighting. In other words, Constantine and church officials stole that date from hedonistic party-goers and then distracted people for so long that people eventually forgot what that date formerly represented.
By the way, most Biblical scholars, after reviewing ancient writings, have concluded that Jesus was born sometime around the last week in September.
Christmas initially wasn’t about Jesus’ birth.
Originally, it was about “Christ’s Mass,” which comes from the Old English word “Cristesmaesse” that was first printed in a public document in 1038. “Christ” means the “anointed one” and “mass” means the “feast day” or festival, which was a major social event that gluttonous wealthy people organized. Consequently, Christmas means the food festival (supposedly) in honor of the anointed one. It was (allegedly) based on his work, not his birth. Incidentally, during the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations weren’t solemn and religious. They were rowdy and secular, similar to today’s Mardi Gras parties. Moreover, from 1659 to 1681, Christmas celebrations in Boston were so out of control that they were declared illegal.
The use of “Xmas” in place of “Christmas” wasn’t and isn’t disrespectful or sacrilegious.
In the Latin language (from which English is derived), the Greek word for Christ is “Xpiotoc” and Christians often referred to themselves in writing as “Xian.” That first letter, “X,” is “Chi” in the Greek alphabet. Hence, “X” and “Chi” are synonymous.
There wasn’t any “no room in the inn” event.
There was no pubic inn or innkeeper involved. The building that was used was actually a private home. And the reason there was no room is that another family was already occupying the only “upper room” space in that home long before Mary arrived. And that room was the only space in the home where visitors could be comfortably lodged. Most homes in Palestine during that time had a common area on the main or lower floor that included a manger where animals were kept. The only space inside the home that Mary went to was a section inside or adjacent to the manger.
There were no three wise men named Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar who followed a bright star and traveled to see the newborn Jesus.
Although the Bible does indicate that some “magi” (meaning astrologers from the East) did come seeking the “King of the Jews,” it doesn’t indicate how many there were and doesn’t indicate what their names were. People assume there were three of them simply because three gifts, namely gold, frankincense, and myrrh, were given to Jesus. And most important, the Bible doesn’t indicate that these maji arrived when Jesus was an infant. Instead, it states that the arrival occurred when he was an approximately one or two-year-old toddler. Also, it doesn’t indicate that they greeted him in a manger or stable. Instead, it states that this scene happened inside a house.
Christmas trees weren’t ever part of the story of the birth of Jesus.
In fact, there were no evergreen trees in Palestine. But there were in Germany. And they were quite popular in pagan rites long before Jesus was born. Much later, during the German Renaissance, Christmas-celebrating Protestants in that country began a tradition of cutting down trees, bringing them home, and decorating them. German emigrants later carried their decorated tree tradition to England and ultimately to the US in the mid-1700s where Americans a century later began widely copying it.
The jolly fat guy in the red suit wasn’t the original Santa Claus.
Nickolas of Myra, who was born in Turkey about 270 years after Jesus’ birth, was a wealthy man who dedicated his life to helping the poor. As legend has it, he would toss bags of gold into chimneys of poor people’s shacks and those bags would fall into wet washed stockings that were drying over fireplaces (which was how people dried clothes back then in that region). Following his death, he was canonized as St. “Nicholaos,” which subsequently became known as St. Nicholas and then St. Nick. Later, Dutch immigrants to this country called him Sinterklaas, after which Americans pronounced it Santa Claus.
There’s much more for me to say here. But I’ll end it with this: Merry Christmas, Conscious Kwanzaa, Wonderful Mawlid, Happy Hanukkah, and simply Peace & Prosperity to everyone. And remember to constantly seek truth.