Since I last posted (I know, I know it was a long time ago) my wonderful wife has been officially diagnosed as lactose intolerant.

We were talking the other day about Easter and I was bluntly told that Soy Chocolate for Easter would be Sacriligious.  Now I had to laugh as Easter has degenerated into a chocolate feast more like pagan festivals than a Christian holiday here in Australia.  It is the ultimate long weekend – 4 days and depending where you live, unpredictable to good weather.

Now of course to top this off I had just read Lindsey Davis’ Saturnalia which I enjoyed but it includes some details of the feast of Saturn that sound a bit familiar, the normal rules are turned upside down when a child will lead them, presents are given and good will is to be extended to all people – including and especially family and it happens in December.

This got me thinking and researching the decision to make Christmas December 25th.  The theory is quite simple – Christ is believed to have died on March 25th.  In earlier times as to when you were conceived was a determined by some other observable date.  For the period of time when the date for Christmas was being set the theory was you died on the same day of the year you were conceived therefore Christ was conceived on March 25th and 9 months later was born – December 25th.

This made me realise that some poor pastor in the 2nd or 3rd century was possibly trying to reach out to his pagan neighbours and contextualised the start of Christianity as being similar to Saturnalia.  This contextualisation has continued to this day but rather than being a bridge for the gospel to cross over it has become a barrier and a ridicule.

So what will I do – continue to celebrate the birth of our Saviour as tradition has it, remembering also that Easter suffers from similar problems.

Oh and buy my wonderful wife gluten-free real chocolate 🙂