Merry Christmas Myths

"Even knowledgeable Christians may expect to find the familiar story of Christmas in each of the four Gospels: the journey of Mary on a donkey accompanied by Saint Joseph, the child's birth in a manger surrounded by animals, shepherds and angels, with the Wise Men appearing shortly afterward.

Want happiness, joy, bliss, harmony, and love.

But two of the Gospels say nothing about Jesus' birth. The Gospel of Mark - the earliest of the Gospels, written roughly 30 years after Jesus's crucifixion - does not have a word about the Nativity. Instead it begins with the story of John the Baptist, who announces the impending arrival of the adult Jesus of Nazareth.

When eyes close, think of the good that was and why,
and dream of making others’ dreams come true.

The Gospel of John is similarly silent about Jesus' birth.

The two Gospels that do mention what theologians call the "infancy narratives" differ on some significant details. Matthew seems to describe Mary and Joseph as living in Bethlehem, fleeing to Egypt and then moving to Nazareth.

Was Jesus an illegal immigrant?

The Gospel of Luke, on the other hand, has the two originally living in Nazareth, traveling to Bethlehem in time for the birth and then returning home.

...Catholics, myself included, believe that Mary's pregnancy came about miraculously - what we call the "virgin birth."

...Catholics also believe that Mary remained a virgin her entire life, though many Protestants do not.

So when Catholics stumble upon Gospel passages that speak of Jesus' brothers and sisters, they are often confused.

In the Gospel of Luke, someone tells Jesus: "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."

They don’t care how much you know,
until they know how much you care.


In Mark's Gospel, people from Nazareth exclaim: "Is not this the carpenter's son? ... Are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

And are not all his sisters with us?"

Even Saint Paul called James "the Lord's brother."

...Many Catholic scholars maintain that Jesus indeed had brothers and sisters - perhaps through an earlier marriage of Joseph.

Gift-giving, for example, was seen as problematic as early as the Middle Ages, when the church frowned on the practice for its supposed pagan origins.

Sing, laugh, cry, don’t worry, let go, feel good, love,
and have as much fun, with the least amount of risk,

as soon as you can, for as long as possible.

...The first few Christmas stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in the early 1960s featured not the familiar Madonna and Child, but a bland wreath, an anodyne Christmas tree and sprigs of greenery.

...How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - have little to do with the birth of Christ and are more about vague holiday celebrations and, mostly, gifts.

The fastest I have ever driven a car was on Christmas day, somewhere in the early 1980s


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Wear flip-flops, support locally owned restaurants, get wet in warm summer rain, take alternate routes, promote, participate and attend neighborhood athletics, chew intellectual cud, run a car out of gas on purpose, read by miniature Christmas lights, eat with your neighbors outside, make the mundane entertaining, hope everything happens the way it does, read every book that won the Hugo Award, turn a few options into numerous possibilities, enjoy possibilities of what could be, begin at a goal and prepare backward, slow down, make routine trips adventures, simplify and minimize, forget what you give, value what you get, return what you borrow, replace what you break, own more of what lasts longer and less of what doesn’t, give anonymously and forgive quickly.

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