God save us all from this, this Christmas time.
1. Where does the word ‘Christmas’ come from?
The answer is b, the name comes from the Catholic Mass held on the supposed date of Jesus’ birth. So all you anti-Catholic Christians need to find a new name for it fast.
2. When was Christ born?
a) is the answer here: Christ wasn’t born. Maybe Jesus was, but ‘the Christ’ is an invention of later Christians (Paul, for example, in Romans 8.3 and John’s gospel, written up to a century after Jesus lived.) The Christ is a mythic, supernatural being who’s always existed. He bears little relation to the itinerant Jewish preacher Yeshua who wasn’t born on 25th December or in the year 0.
3. Which gospel writers didn’t think the nativity story worth including in their accounts?
Mark and John (b & c) don’t bother including it. Did they not know it? The two gospels that do have bits of the story – Luke and Matthew – contradict each other.
4. How well attested are the events surrounding the birth in historical documents of the time?
a) Not at all. You’d have thought the Romans, who were pretty good at keeping records (lots of which have survived) would have noted Herod’s massacre of little boys or the appearance of a new, magic star in the sky – they were, after all, a superstitious lot. Not even Josephus, who, in the late first century, acknowledges the existence of Christians, sees fit to mention any of it.
5. Following the miraculous events of Jesus’ birth, what did Mary do?
According to Luke 2.19, she treasured them in her heart. However, the answer is c) because only a few verses further on, she hasn’t a clue about what her son is up to (Luke 2.48). Later still, she is part of the family’s efforts to ‘restrain him’ (Mark 3.21 & 31). Why, on these occasions, doesn’t she recall his miraculous beginning and think, ‘oh yes, I remember now. He behaves like a lunatic because he’s the son of the Most High.’ She certainly didn’t write down the details of his miraculous birth for later use in the gospels. No-one did. On account of them not really happening. Just sayin’.
6. How many times does Jesus refer to his miraculous birth?
a) Never. Strange that.
7. How many times does the rest of the New Testament refer to Jesus’ miraculous birth?
c) Never, even more strangely. Evidently the story hadn’t been invented when the rest of the New Testament was written.
8. When did Christians first start celebrating Christmas?
a) hundreds of years later.
9. Which of these Christmas traditions originate in the Bible?
None of them. Despite what Kirk Cameron might think, Christmas trees, kissing under the mistletoe and giving presents all have pagan origins. The giving of gifts did not come about because the wise men did it first. The tradition pre-dates Christianity.
10. Which of these groups has benefited the most from Jesus’ birth?
Yes, you’re right; none of them. Not women, not black people and not LGBT people. Christianity has a history of oppressing all three groups.
Speaking of which…
11. What does Pastor Steven Anderson want for Christmas?
c) he’d like to see the execution of all homosexuals so that AIDS – which, as far as the reverend understands it (I use the term loosely) only gay people get – might be wiped out. Peace and joy to you too, Stevie.
12. How will Christians celebrate Christmas this year?
The answer is a, b and c: by fighting the War On Christmas, putting the Christ back into Christmas and by telling us that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Just like they do every year. As you can see, Kirk Cameron’s disaster of a movie, Saving Christmas, has two of these blessed clichés on its promotional poster alone.
So how did you do?
If you scored –
between 10-12: well done. Betcha don’t believe in Santa Claus either.
Between 7-10: your cynicism needs a little work. Order my book for Christmas – it’ll help.
Between 4-6: oh dear. You’re new around here, aren’t you. There’s hope for you though, so stick around. Oh yeah, and order my book for Christmas – it’ll definitely help.
Between 1-3: Like Christmas, you are in need of saving, my friend. May the scales fall from your eyes this holiday period. Amen.