He discovered that a bright star really did appear over Bethlehem 2,000 years ago - but pinpointed the date of Christ's birth as June 17, and not December 25.
Scientists claim the Christmas star was most likely a magnificent conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter, which were so close together they would have shone unusually brightly as a single 'beacon of light' which appeared suddenly.
The following is part of a short series of devotional items related to the birth of Christ. At that time, Pope John the First asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.'" Who were these wise men from the east?
For some, such material is hardly devotional because it primarily focuses on history. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the my mother on the other end of the phone. Matthew tells us next to nothing about them--he doesn't mention their names, nor how many there were--not even which country they came from. Though Matthew doesn't tell us much, over-zealous Christians throughout church history have dogmatically filled in the blanks. D., these dark strangers were given thrones : Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar were the alleged names of these alleged kings.
The shepherds had been in the fields around Bethlehem, guarding the lambs which would die at the next Passover. In the ancient world, it was used to embalm a corpse. The simple shepherds and the majestic magi believed in this infant Savior--and it was reckoned to them as righteousness.
It may not be too late to send the presents back, as astronomers have calculated that Christmas should not be celebrated on December 25 - but on June 17 instead.
Three questions come to mind as we consider this cruel incident: First, how many babies did Herod actually kill? And finally, why does no other ancient historian record this outrage? Josephus tells us that "Herod inflicted such outrages upon (the Jews) as not even a beast could have done if it possessed the power to rule over men" ( he got the baby Jesus lines up with his insane jealousy for power. Herod thought that he had gained a victory over the king of the Jews.
Josephus might have omitted the slaying of the babies for one of two reasons: first, he was no friend of Christianity and he left it out intentionally; or second, just before Herod died he locked up 3000 of the nation's leading citizens and gave orders that they were to be executed at the hour of his death. Israel was so preoccupied with this that the clandestine murder of a few babies might have gone unnoticed. Yet this was a mere had when Jesus lay dead on a Roman cross.
But we must keep in mind that the Jesus we worship was truly born in time-space history. She can't remember how old she is (and she's neither senile nor very old), but that doesn't make her a figment of my imagination, does it? Meanwhile, in the eastern Church, January 6th was the date followed. This Christmas season, take a close look at a nativity scene once again. But they are mere shadows of the Babe in their midst. As mysteriously as they come on the scene, they disappear. But this has nothing to do with the biblical story: we really have no idea what their names were--nor even their number. But one thing we do know for sure: they were royalty.
And that babe in the manger was truly crucified--and just as surely rose from the dead. Because if she's just a phantom, then for the last three minutes, you've been reading absolutely nothing! Virtually every month on the calendar has been proposed by biblical scholars. The tradition for December 25th is actually quite ancient. But in the fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that December 25th was the correct date and from that day till now, the Church in the , as well as the West, has observed the 25th of December as the official date of Christ's birth. The ancient magi were reilgious and political advisors to eastern kings--but there wasn't a drop of blue blood among them. And didn't God prescribe death to astrologers in the Old Testament? In Deuteronomy 17, God commands his people to execute all astrologers by stoning.