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Christmas-Myth Busters (pt.1)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2022 9:00 am

Christmas-Myth Busters (pt.1)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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December 20, 2022 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks about the different myths that people tend to bring up around the Christmas season.

If you like this content and want to support the show you can visit us at Don't forget to rate and review our show! To learn more about us, visit us at If you have any questions or would like to contact us, email us at or text us at 252-582-5028. See you tomorrow on Clearview Today!

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30 Days to a New Beginning:


Today is Tuesday, December the 20th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abaddon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at, or if you have a question for Dr. Shah or suggestion for a future episode, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

You can also email us at contact at That's right. You guys can help us keep the conversation in the airwaves by supporting this podcast, sharing it online, leaving us a good review on iTunes, Spotify, any podcasting platform that you're listening to this on, and just help us keep the conversation of Jesus Christ going.

That's right. And share it with your friends. Share it with your family members. Share it with a loved one. Let them know about the show. Invite them to be part of the Clearview Today family.

That's right. We've been seeing a lot of discussion. A lot of you guys are texting in. We appreciate that. We love getting your texts. We love hearing how the show is helping you. We love hearing how you're enjoying it and how you're sharing it and how your family is being blessed by it and your friends are being blessed by it. So, God is really working and moving through the show.

We thank you guys for supporting us. Absolutely. John, you want to do the verse of the day today? Yeah, man, let's do it.

Let's see. The verse of the day is 2 Corinthians 10 and verse 5, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Casting down arguments and every high thing, taking captive your thoughts, taking control of your mind and bringing every thought into captivity. That's such an interesting phrase because a lot of times I feel like we think about thoughts that just are things that happen to us passively.

They're intrusive, right? We have no control over them. We use language like your mind wanders and you lose your train of thought, but the Bible tells us to have an active role, an active handle on our thought life because it can so quickly get out of our hands. It's not the mark of a strong Christian to not have control of your mind. For you to be in control of your mind, I think it shows, number one, your spiritual discipline, your discipline towards God and what you think of God, what you think of the mind that he gave you, and I think just your overall character as a person.

It's not a mark, and I get that there's people with mental disorders. We're not talking about that. We're talking about people who let their mind get away from them and not controlling the thought. Bring every thought captive.

Capture it. You know what I mean? There's an aggression there. There's an intentionality. Yeah, there's a force of subjugation. You are the one in control of your thoughts, not the other way around.

That's right. Speaking of which, I think my wife might have an addiction problem. She got Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch and things ain't looking too good. Ellie is a very, she can become obsessive when it comes to games or when it comes to, yeah, really just games. As big of a Nintendo fan as I am, I've never played Animal Crossing. I have never played Animal Crossing either, but my wife, Elizabeth, loves Animal Crossing.

What is it? The best I understand, and I've only ever watched her play, the best I understand is that you are this settler on an island and you have different people who come to your island who cross a bridge to come to your island. Are these people in real life like other players? Sometimes, but most of them are like NPC characters that are animals, hence Animal Crossing.

And your goal is to, you have to construct a certain number of things and you have to like essentially settle your island and you have resources that you collect and you collect a certain number of animals and display them in like a zoo or a museum. Is it like Minecraft? Is it Minecraft? It's not building in the same way that Minecraft is building, but in the same sense of like you can do whatever you want. That's, at least from my understanding, and now there are people who may love Animal Crossing who are going to tell me that I'm wrong and that is 100% fine.

I don't know much about the game, but my wife loves it to the point that my twins have profiles set up on Animal Crossing and so she would get on their profiles to send gifts back and forth to herself. No she is not. 100% yes. Elizabeth is getting on the baby's game and sending gifts to herself? With prior knowledge she said, hey, I'm going to get on your profile today and we can trade gifts back and forth.

Can't do that. She did. She got on the baby's game. Yep.

Oh my gracious. Because it's not the baby's game anymore, now it's her game. It sounds like... She loves it and everyone that plays it regularly loves it. I can't wrap my head around it. I just, I'm watching it. I'm watching it being played and I just don't, and I don't, this sounds like an old fogey and I'm not trying to. I don't get it. Yeah, me neither.

I don't get it. I'm the same way. I'm like, I don't understand what, what is the point? She's like, well, I mean, the point is to just, you know, be on this island. Yeah, I'm just trying to have a good... But what is your goal?

How do you win? She said, well, I'm trying to do this task and this task and this task. I'm like, what is the story? She's like, there's not a story.

People said that with Minecraft too, but there is a, there is a like objective overall. It doesn't tell you, but I mean, there is a dragon for you to go and eventually kill if you want to. But this, I just don't, I don't, I don't understand the how, I don't understand the why.

I just don't get it. I remember distinctly, she was playing one night and it seemed like nothing was going on. And then the credits started to roll. On Animal Crossing? Yeah. And I was like, oh, did you beat the game? She's like, I guess. And then we got, and then the credits got to the end and then it just went right back to what she was doing. I'm like, what happened? I don't understand.

What was the mile mark? I have had that with Borderlands. Borderlands one was like that.

It's a, just a bunch of side quests and to, and then the credits roll and it's like, oh, I guess I beat the campaign. I said, I thought it sounds like Minecraft. And I wondered because Ellie's got what I like to call a little problem with Minecraft. I'm talking about way late into the night, like getting on my Xbox, going and taking my resources, diamond that I've farmed, which I mean, granted, she farms way more diamond than me, but Ellie's got a little problem with Minecraft.

We've got to, we've got to limit our mind. She is a very driven person and when she sets her sights on a goal, it's going to get accomplished. Oh yeah. Sometimes that goal is Minecraft. She's carved out an entire cave for all her stuff.

She's a hoarder, I think in real life, but she won't let it come through unless it's in Minecraft. Right. So which is fine because then you can just hit the power button. Oh yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. Well on today's episode with it being Christmas week, we're going to talk about some of these myths that hang around our Christmas traditions.

You know, things like hanging mistletoe or Christmas trees or stockings on the fireplace, things like that. We're calling this Chris myth busters. Oh, that's cute. I had to, I had to very carefully say that Chris myth busters, Adam Savage style, right? Crisp St Nicholas style. Exactly.

Very cute. So we're going to bring Dr Sean in just a minute, but if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, text us at two five two five eight two five zero two eight or you can visit us online at clear view today We'll be right back after this.

Hey there listeners. My name is John and I'm David and we just want to take a second and talk to you about Dr Sean Nicole's new book, 30 days to a new beginning daily devotionals to help you move forward. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.

You're going to have goals that you just can't seem to reach and you're going to be looking for some new way to start over. Unfortunately, life does not have a restart button, but here's the good news. God's mercy is new every day, right? And so that means every day is a new chance for you to start over. Now, Dr Sha and his wife Nicole have written a new 30 day devotional in their 30 day series designed to give you practical tools for starting over. No matter where you are in life's journey or what pitfalls you've encountered, this devotional is going to help you move forward. Refocus your mind on God's truth and meditate on his word and you guys can pick up a copy right this second on unless you're driving. Yeah, don't shop and drive unless you're driving, in which case, wait till you get home, but we're going to leave a link for you right here in the description of this podcast so it'll be waiting for you when you get home. That's 30 days to a new beginning daily devotionals to help you move forward. For the remainder of November and all through December, we'll be sending a free copy to anyone who supports the podcast by visiting us online and donating to the show at Clearview today

That is a very, very good incentive gang. That's 30 days to a new beginning daily devotions to help you move forward by Abaddon and Nicole Shaw. Thank you guys so much for listening. David, you want to jump back into the show? Let's go.

All right. Welcome back to Clear View today with Dr. Abaddon Shaw, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at Clear View today or if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028. Dr. Shaw is with us in the studio today. Dr. Shaw, how are you today?

I'm doing very well. It's Christmas time. Really excited about Christmas this year.

Our family's going to get together and we're really happy. That's awesome. Well, if you guys are joining us for the first time today, Dr. Abaddon Shaw is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show. You can follow his work on his website. That's

That's right. And speaking of his work, we have these sitting on the table in front of us today. Look how sleek.

Nice. Man, that would look great on your bookshelf. That would look great on your bookshelf. Look at that spine right there. Look at that right there.

Yeah. This is on your bookshelf. Your bookshelf is on your bookshelf. Imagine your bookshelf with this on it. Take a minute.

30 days to a new beginning, available now, wherever books are sold online. Cut me off, man. I was in the middle of anything. I'm so sorry.

Take a minute. Close your eyes. Picture that on your bookshelf.

Not if you're driving. Feels good, don't it? That's a good feeling, that on your bookshelf right there. Where can you get it, man? You can pick it up on Amazon. It is available as both a paperback and an ebook, so you can get it on your digital e-readers, whatever you use for that.

If you have an app on your phone or tablet, it's available there. It will be available as an audiobook very soon, so you can listen to it read to you. On Audible. Read to you by Dr. Shaw and Nicole. By Dr. Shaw and Nicole. By the authors. That's always a fun thing when the authors read the book to you.

Unless they don't know how to read. They don't know how to narrate. I'm not going to say who, but I'm listening to an audiobook right now.

It's narrated by the author. I was like, you know what? They shouldn't have did this. No. They should have contracted it out.

Yeah, they should have contracted it out. But we've already done one Audible with Dr. Shaw and Nicole, and it was very well done. That's right. As we were talking about Christmas, we are examining some Christmas myths today. This is from a sermon that you preached a while ago, and it was called Christmas Myth Busters. I love that title. I loved that show when it was on, so as soon as I heard that title, I was like, immediately yes. Hashtag, Adam Savage Christmas.

Really love it. But there's a lot of myths that people have just kind of adopted, believing about Christmas. You know, people talk about how Christmas traditions are derived from paganism and, oh, we can't celebrate this because of X, Y, and Z. So Dr. Shaw, can you kick us off today and just kind of talk about where some of these misconceptions come from?

Absolutely. Well, the one that we're trying to address today is regarding the date, December 25th being the Christmas day. It's claimed that this was originally a pagan holiday, and maybe connected to the Roman festival of Saturnalia, or the feast of the sun god souls, the winter solstice and all that. And Jehovah's Witnesses, right? They love to say, oh, why do you celebrate these pagan festivals?

So we know what motive they have, right? If you don't believe in Jesus Christ being fully God, fully man, I'm sorry, I'm not listening to you. And I'm not listening to anything else you have to offer as a corrective to our understanding of Christmas.

Sorry. It's just, you're not a credible source for me. But having said that, sometimes even believers get on that bandwagon and they say things without thinking. Pastors do that. We don't know when that Christmas could have been. It could have been some other time of the year because shepherds wouldn't be out in the field because it's wintertime or whatever. And it's like, wait, have you really thought through or are you simply parroting what you heard somebody else say?

Don't be so quick to give away one of our traditions. Why exactly would you hear something? It's one of those traps I think Christians fall into is we hear something new and exciting, but it's not explicitly heresy. So I should jump on it right as a truth. Because even if I go against it, I'm not really harming anything as it were.

So why not? It's a fun, new, trendy thing to say that something in the Bible or something in our Christmas tradition might be wrong. Yeah, I feel like a lot of people even wear that as a badge of honor. Like they're like, oh, I'm poking holes in the tradition because I want to shake up the establishment because I want to get back to real Christianity.

But I'm not poking any damaging holes just so in case I'm wrong that the Lord won't be mad at me or something. Yeah, I believe Jesus is God and he died on the cross. But the Christmas stuff and even the Easter is like the some, some, some festival to the God of start, you know, that's where Easter comes from. And I'm like, really?

Did you do some good research? No, you just, you just saw two words that sort of sound the same and you went with it right for Easter. But here today we're talking about Christmas. So let's stick with Christmas.

Absolutely. So, you know, that myth is circulating around. Sometimes Christians even say it without realizing that there's inherent danger in what they're saying. But what are the, there's two different arguments as you approach this myth. There's two different arguments that people typically fall into. One of them, Dr. Shah, you mentioned this, is the history of religion's view. Can you talk about that a little bit?

What does that view mean? Well, so, you know, it's claimed that somewhere by the fourth century after Constantine converted to Christianity, that, you know, this is when December 25th was claimed to be the birthday of Jesus. And the first, I covered this in a message sometime back. The first line of thinking comes from the history of religion school and our view, according to this view, which actually goes back to like the 1600s. In AD 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian built a temple in honor of the sun god, Sol Invictus, the unconquered sun. And he did this because he had won some victories in battle and he wanted to honor the patron god.

So he built this temple and he even constituted or instituted some special games in this god's honor. And want to know what date it was? December 25th. So it's claimed based on that, that, you know, this must be the date. And it's furthermore, you know, this was also the time of Saturnalia, which ran from December 17th to the 23rd. As I mentioned in the opening in honor of the Roman god Saturn, who was the god of wealth and agriculture. So taking all that into account, the winter solstice as well, it is claimed that it had to be coming from that origin because winter solstice, you know, you go in from December 21st, 22nd. And if you, for those of you who do not know what that means is the earth is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. That's the winter solstice.

The day is short and it kind of symbolizes the death and rebirth of the sun. And so it is claimed that this was a day that was usually spent in carousing and craziness and drinking and parties. So the church fathers and pastors felt like, you know what, let's claim it for the birth of Jesus. So yeah, so my question then is, because that sounds like it lines up great, but just because something seems to line up, is that actually evidence that it was, that that actually happened that the church father, because I'm with you up until we say the church leaders Christianized these holidays, but is those being similar in date enough evidence to say like, Hey, that's probably, that conclusion is probably true. For one, we have absolutely zero evidence.

Historically, there's no document. There are no minutes at any council that said, you know, I'm concerned about our young people drinking and carousing on December 25th. Why don't we just make that a Christmas day? Why don't we say that's Jesus's birthday so we can keep them from driving drunk or, or I don't know, whatever they were driving at the time.

Horseback riding drunk. No, there's zero evidence. Secondly, which to me is kind of like, really closes the case on that. In parts of the world where the Romans were not in charge, guess what day they were also claiming as the birth of Jesus?

December 25th. So what was their motivation? Why would they take that as a date?

Right? I mean, we know about the schism of the church. I mean, that would be one thing they would have said.

Absolutely not. Now I know there are some parts of the world that do have different dates for Christmas, but it's still in the vicinity of that time. And who's to say that Saturnalia wasn't instituted on the 25th to conflict with Christmas. If Christmas was really being celebrated in Rome from the beginning, then there's nothing to say that it's not actually the other way around. Right.

You could do that. That's a great point. Where's the, where's the evidence that the opposite isn't true. Yeah, exactly. That all the Saturnalia festivals were actually set to conflict with the birth of Christ. You mentioned two views. What's the second one?

Yes. So the other one, you know, this was based on some research I did, is the calculation view. And according to this view, the church leaders sort of determined December 25th by taking it from the date of the Annunciation, you know, when Gabriel came and announced to Mary and then the conception of Jesus and then taking it backwards.

So it was sort of the early church fathers figured that Jesus died on March 25th. And, you know, then the calculator there, I mean, it's all, it's a mess by the time you, you, you, you go through those calculations, you go, wait, that doesn't make sense because you're like overlapping and crisscrossing. It's not, it's not adding up and it doesn't add up. The maffit and maffin. Yeah, the math.

It is actually a big mess. Are they trying to calculate the actual conception or just the announcement? Well, they start with the Annunciation and the conception of Jesus. And then these dates were then taken from the date when Jesus was crucified.

Right. And then, then based on some rabbinic tradition that all the great prophets of Israel died on the same day as they were born, which is, I was trying to figure out how the crucifixion figured into that. Like why, why are we using that to calculate the date of birth? But that if that's a tradition, it's called the integral age. So this is like a rabbinic thing, but not all rabbis believe that, but some did that they, those, those great prophets of Israel died on the same day that they were born. So taking that into account, you know, Jesus died on March 25th and the calculator from there nine months. And then that's how they got to December 25th. Huh? Kind of weird.

That seems like a math problem that's put in front of me that I don't understand. How in the world would you come up with a bunch of people all over the empire to say, okay, this is why we're, we're picking December 25th. Okay.

Run that behind me again. So wait, he died nine months to the day or yeah, that he was crucified. That's when he was born like, yeah, it makes perfect sense.

If he was crucified on the 25th, he must've been born on the 25th. Okay. Huh? Yeah.

All right. So we've talked about these two different views. What is the, what is the motivation, I guess, to try to move away from December the 25th? I mean, I would, I would say it's just the desire to peel back the layers of deception that the church has instituted through the century. You know, there's that, there is that sense of the hermeneutic of suspicion, you know, always suspect the church has something to hide. Yeah. What if they don't?

What if there's no reason to lie about that date? Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. It's crazy. It's crazy. But if they're telling the truth, just hear me out on this one. What if the early church fathers weren't hiding it? What if they didn't have anything to gain by making up a false date of his birth? That's so crazy.

I don't know. By the way, the biblical archeology or archeology review had an article in this month actually, winter 2022 article by T.C. Schmidt. And in this article, he kind of explains, takes the same line of reasoning that I use. And he talks about how Hippolytus of Rome, you know, it's often claimed that, you know, that he had something to do with this.

But again, when you read his writings and you study his stuff, yeah, he actually was simply carrying on the December 25th tradition, not creating something new. So, I mean, when you go back to the gospels, let's go back to the gospels. Let's see very quickly.

Our time is short. Matthew chapter two, it talks about, you know, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea and the days of Herod the king. Behold, wise men from the east came and said, where is he?

He was born King of the Jews, where we have seen a star in the east, have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled in all Jerusalem with him. So when did Herod die? Let's begin with that.

Okay. Josephus tells us of an incident before the death of Herod. There's a situation that took place where he had set up a Roman eagle above the gate of the temple. And this was sort of a slap in the face of Jewish people. And Herod was getting sicker by the days. And some of the rabbis called on the young men to tear down the eagle from the gate. Kind of sounds like the world in which we live today.

And they did, but they got caught and Herod sent them to Jericho along with the rabbis and ordered that they be burned alive. Wow. Wow. Hey, this dude was serious. Yeah. He was, he was raised here. The date of the execution was January the 10th, 1 BC, but he's getting worse.

Okay. Herod was getting worse. He's getting sicker. So he decides to head out of town to the mineral Springs beyond Jordan in the middle of February, which is February 1 BC. So then there's a statement we have by an ancient writer by the name of Macrobius. And he recorded some witty sayings of the Roman emperor Augustus. When he heard that, you know, one of the sayings is on hearing that the son of Herod, king of the Jews had been slain when Herod ordered that all boys in Syria under the age of two be killed, Augustus said, it's better to be Herod's pig than his son.

It was kind of a play on words there. Uh, who's his pig and who y'all's his son. So we have the date when Herod had his son Antipater executed and Herod died just five days after his son's execution. And this would place his death on April the 8th, 1 BC. But don't stop there.

Let's go, let's go a little step further. When did Herod have those two year old and younger killed? Well, Matthew 2 16, it says inherit when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men. Um, he was exceedingly angry, sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem on and on. And so how does this help us with the birth of Jesus? Exactly where we have always believed.

It comes right back to December 25th. Okay. You know, we're going by the April the 8th, 1 BC, but back it up. Now the second evidence is Luke chapter one, verse five. It talks about the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias of the division of Abijah. This is, uh, you know, is referring to the priestly course.

Okay. So coming from the division of Abijah. Um, so it is complicated, but when you study the priestly calendar, it puts Zacharias service around September 5th through the 11th, 3rd BC. According to tradition, John was conceived around September the 22nd, 3 BC. Now, what does it have to do with the birth of Jesus? Cause we're talking about John the Baptist, Baptist or baptizers birth being September 22nd, 3rd BC. Well, Luke chapter one, verse 26 says, now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David.

The Virgin's name was Mary. So, so count six months from September, where does it come to March, March, March, the sec of the second BC. That's when Jesus was conceived.

If he's conceived March the 2nd BC, when is it about nine months after that? It's literally December, December. So I'm not going to say necessarily like December 25th.

What's the date that I, okay, what, what if it was 26th? Does that mean the whole idea of December 25th being the date that we consider as the birth of Jesus being like, Oh, that's a pagan holiday. Yeah. We don't even know when he was born. No.

Once you take the account of Herod in Matthew chapter two, then you take the account of Zacharias in Luke chapter one, we get a pretty good indication that somewhere in that December into January period is when Jesus was born. Wow. You know? And so the whole idea of the shepherd's thing, let me just address that very quickly. You know, watching over the flocks by night, you know, Oh, how can you do that in the winter? According to the Mishnah, the shepherd, the sheep around Bethlehem were outside all year. So the ones who keep saying about the, you know, it's too cold out there. Well, apparently they're out there all year.

And this was especially true when it came to the Passover sheep, which had to be outside for 30 days before Passover. So this would be in February, the coldest and wettest month of the year, December would not be a problem. So February they were out there. So December it's not as cold yet guys. It's like for us, it would be sometime in October. Would you have a problem?

Being out there tending sheep? No, it's probably colder in February than it would be in December. Yeah. Right. And they're out there. So why would December be a problem?

It's like, Oh, I can't be out there. It's 60 degrees. Right. So celebrate on the 25th. Yeah. It is fine.

That is when Christmas is. I just want to tell people, please don't let anybody keep stealing our traditions based on, can I just say it? Yeah, go for it. Dumb argument. That's true. That's true, man.

A dumb argument ain't worth stealing your Christmas joy. That's right. You don't gain anything. No, you don't gain anything. It's just a loss. That's right. Don't don't bank your life on a loss.

That doesn't make any sense. That's right. If you guys enjoyed today's topic or you have suggestions for future topics, send us a text at two five two five eight two five zero two eight. You can also visit us online at and you can support us financially on that same website. We're grateful to you. We're grateful to all of our giving partners.

And we want you to know that what you do in giving and supporting us financially goes directly to benefiting people nationwide and reaching countless people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's right. Can I leave you guys with a quote today? Yeah.

All right. Here's, here's my quote for you today. The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship talking about Christians consists of listening to them just as love of God begins with listening to his word. So the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them. Wow.

That is From Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Oh, wow. Very cool. That sounded pretty cool.

I love that. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my, one of my favorite historical guys, historical Christian figures. Very cool guy. Very nice.

Pastor. Very courageous too. Very courageous. Worked, worked very hard to make sure people were taken care of. So very cool. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clear Read Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 08:46:23 / 2022-12-22 08:59:07 / 13

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