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Christmas Revisionist History

Story ID:3358
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:OurEcho Community
Location:Bethlehem Juda Israel
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Christmas Revisionist History

My title should keep all but the very brave from clicking onto my latest musing. However, who knows - there may be some who like me are
interested in learning new things. Whether you'll find it here, I can only hope.

First, it is only recently that I found out what is meant by historical revisionism. Per Wikipedia "Within the academic field of history, historical revisionism is the critical re-examination of historical facts, with an eye towards rewiting histories with either newly dicovered information or a re-interpretation of
existing information. The assumption is that history as it has been traditionally told may not be entirely accurate."

Having cleared that up, I have two events I would like to re-examine - one quite
harmless and the other more serious.

The first pertains to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Dick Goddard, our veteran
Cleveland weather newscaster, surprised me yesterday when he spoke of the lore
behind Santa and his reindeer. Since there is a song called "Rudolph the Red-nosed
Reindeer," we all assumed that Santa's reindeer -Comet, Blitzen, Dancer and all
the rest including Rudolph were male. Per Mr. Goddard - this is highly unlikely
since all the bucks shed their antlers at this time of year! If you look at pictures
of Santa and his reindeer - they have antlers. So the reindeer pulling Santa's
sleigh had to be female who will shed their antlers later in the season. So----he
proposes we change the song to RUBY, the red-nosed reindeer! Interesting.

The second topic has to do with the birthplace of Jesus. I bet some of you as I
may have heard some scholars saying that Jesus may have been born in
Galilee's Bethlehem--which is in the northern part of Israel. The Bethlehem of
David was in Juda which is in the southern part.

They base this idea on what seems to be an erroneous account of a census put
out by Caesar during this time requiring everyone to register in the place of their
ancestors. If this census notion was the case, then it certainly made sense for
Joseph and Mary to travel 80 miles to the Bethlehem of Juda -- the city where King David,
their ancestor was born.

However, even if there were no census --wouldn't it still make sense for Joseph
and Mary to travel south to David's city where Jewish scripture had foretold the
Messiah would be born? Both Mary and Joseph knew scripture re the birth of the Messiah and Mary had been told by the angel that her child would be called Emmanuel (God with us).

I think also the commentary I read in Psalms 77 & 78 may also give further credence to accepting the southern Bethlehem as the city where Jesus
was born. During Advent I had decided to read each day THOUGHTFULLY --2 pages of the Psalms. I was surprised to find an answer for me in the commentary of Psalms 77 & 78 which dealt with God's goodness despite Israel's ingratitude.
I read:
"After an elaborate introduction on the importance of handing down the tradition of God's dealings with His people (vs.1-8), the psalmist teaches that the Northern Kingdom of Israel became disloyal to God (9-11)." He
then mentions that despite God working wonders in the Exodus and in the journey through the wilderness that these ancestors were punished
for giving mere lip service to God. He thereby says that God rejected their descendants the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom and chose Juda and the house of David."

I found it interesting that I should read this commentary at this time. I see no reason to entertain the possibility of the northern Bethlehem as being the place where Jesus was born. So when I sing or hear sung "O Little town of Bethlehem" for me, it will still be the Bethlehem of David. But then what really
matters is that I and billions of people-- Catholic, Orthodox, and other denominational Christians believe that Jesus was born in a humble cave-stable among the animals over 2,000 years ago. What a wonderful true story for those of us who believe.

I am writing this on Christmas- so for all believers -- Merry Christmas! And please remember that Christmas is celebrated for an octave (8 days) in Catholic and Orthodox churches and longer for all of us who carry within us the spirit of love and giving every day of the year.