This is in response to the article in the Family section on Jan. 19 titled “The importance of light."
We don’t know the actual date of Jesus’ birth. But, in order to appeal to the pagans, who at the time (354 AD) had many raucous festivals of worship to their heathen gods around the month of December, the Catholic church, with Liberius as bishop, instituted the celebration of the birth of Christ (World Book Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia Britannica; Collier's Encyclopedia).
Nor do we know how many “wise men” (Mat 2:1) there were. Luke 2:17 states it was the shepherds who found Jesus in the manger. The wise men (Oriental scientists) found Him in a “house” (not a stable) where “they saw the young child with Mary His mother” (Mat 2:8).
At the time Jesus would have been a toddler, indicated by the fact that Herod, fearing for his kingship, had children “from two years old and younger” slain (Mat 2:16). If Jesus was a newborn, Herod would have slaughtered only newborns. And the star was the sign that only the wise men were to follow in order to find the young King. It took them approximately two years of travel from the Far East to reach Bethlehem. Just because the gifts of “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” were presented to Him, the only indication of a plurality of wise men we have is that “men” indicates there more than one. Someone can say they received clothes, cake and candy on their birthday but that doesn't necessarily mean that only three people showed up.
That said, Jesus rightly claimed the title of “the Light of the world” (Jn 8:12) so this is to shed a little light on the truth concerning His birth.
Charles F. Yana II