I have covered some of the bigger myths about Christmas so far. In this blog I am going to tackle some smaller but still common myths about the holiday. Think of this as myths told in a drive-by shooting style.
Myth #6: The Roman Census
I touched on this briefly in the last myth. The idea that “Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world” is unfounded. The Romans kept detailed records of such events and no such event exists. This isn’t even how Rome handled these types of things. The local governors would be responsible for taxation so that they would impose their own census. This also is the reason Joseph would not have left Nazareth for a census. They would want to know what property Joseph had in order to properly tax him. Herod had his own tax collectors and census takers. He would have paid tribute to Rome with the proceeds from the taxes he collected.
Myth #7: No Room at the Inn
You know the story, poor Joe and preggers Mary can’t get a room at the inn and they are told to go away. Meanies! I guess everyone is in town for the phony census. But that’s not really what happens. Luke uses the Greek word kataluma which means ‘guest/upper room.’ This is the same word used to describe the room Jesus and the disciples ate the Last Supper. So it would seem he went to a friend or a families home and they didn’t have room in the guest room. The story isn’t that exciting when you read it correctly. So why do you think history paints a picture that the Holy Family were unwanted in Bethlehem? I have some ideas but maybe you could provide thoughts in the comments below.
Myth #8: Born in a Manger
Jesus was not ‘born’ in a manger. He was ‘laid’ in a manger. What is a manger? A feeding trough for animals. Ewwwwww! So the question remains, where was this manger? Some say that the homes during that period had a section for the animals. Think of it like a garage in a modern home. So Joe and Mary couldn’t stay in the upper guest room so they went out with the animals where Jesus was born. You would think that she could convince someone to let her have the room. I mean, she is pregnant. Also, this goes against Jewish custom. Joe and Mary’s hosts wouldn’t be so rude. So why would have the author set it in a stable? We don’t even know the manger was in a stable or a room. Justin Martyr (don’t you just love how they make Martyr sound like his last name?) during the second century placed the birth in a cave. Now that is interesting. Why do you think a cave matters? If you look further into this you will notice parallels within the savior god cults and births in caves.
Myth #9: Jesus: The Perfect Newborn
In yet another Christmas song I loathe, Away in a Manger, we hear the line, “But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” Silent Night calls Jesus “tender & mild.” And, I hate to bring it up again, but O Little Town of Bethlehem has the following lyrics:
how still we see the lie
Above they deep and dreamless sleep
I suppose we are to believe that Jesus, being divine, didn’t cry as a newborn. Bullshit! The dude is supposed to be human. He whined like a little bitch on the cross, he cried as a baby. Period.
Myth #10: Keep Christ in X-Mas
The myth that people are taking Christ out of Christmas by substituting the holiday’s name with X-mas is completely unfounded. X, is the first letter in the the Greek word for Christ or ‘savior.’ It has been used throughout history as a shorthand for Christ. Xians was used in stead of Christians. Epic fail Christians. That said, if you ever see me using X-Mas, it isn’t the old school way. I am totally trying to take Christ out of Christmas. I hope the word becomes so secular that we don’t even think of it as having religious origins. The same way we don’t think about the fact that the days Tuesday through Friday are named after Norse gods.
Only two myths to go…