For those fond of conspiracy theories, here’s one hatched at the first Christmas where God unveiled his plan for a new global society. He sent Jesus, his son as the peacemaker and saviour so that the world can live in peace and harmony as it was meant to be before the original plan was marred by our refusal to fit into God’s road map.
Those in the Jewish political and religious establishment in those days knew about this plan for it has been already announced by prophets like Isaiah some more than seven centuries earlier. As it came to pass, Jesus came to be born on Christmas day. Those in the know immediately recognised the Christ as the promised king.
The problem is there was already a King of the Jews – King Herod – so there was no room for this new kid on the block. Never mind the fact Herod was not really a king nor even a Jew but a puppet propped up by Caesar to ensure his domination over Palestine and West Asia, the western most flank of the Roam empire. Thus begins the conspiracy at the first Christmas.
Let’s take the story from the Bible from here:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. (Matthew 2:1-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible)
The Bible tells us Herod was “deeply disturbed” but it is difficult to fathom his state of mind as this adverbial phrase was originally written in New Testament Greek. Various English translations have rendered it as – very upset, terrified, greatly troubled, confused, thoroughly shaken and even greatly agitated. Some Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia translations have put it as “terkejut, gelisah, bingung” or shaken, uneasy, confused.
As the story unfolds we find that Herod was later fuming mad when he found out the wise men had given him the slip. Instead of reporting back to him where Jesus was to be found so that he could kill his presumed rival, they went home the other way.
The conspiracy continues:
“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16).
However, Joseph and Mary having been warned by an angel of the Lord, had taken the child Jesus and fled into Egypt for safety.
Thus the first conspiracy to kill Jesus was fortuitously aborted. But that did not stop the final conspiracy against the Christ some three decades later. They nailed him to the cross.
But Jesus refused to play dead and rose from the dead three days later, to the horrors of his conspirators. Immediately new conspiracy theories had to be spun to nail down the resurrection as this was the central claim by Jesus to his divinity. Without the resurrection, Christianity would have been still born.
Fast forward. Two thousand years later, conspiracy theories still abound about the real Christmas and the real Jesus.
Just four days ago Sydney Morning Herald posted online a defence entitled “Christmas message holds true”, by Ross Cameron, the former federal member for Parramatta.
He wrote: “From whatever perspective we come, thinking people ought to be able to agree, the birth of Jesus was a good day for mankind. I suspect I may never quite shake the childlike hunch that there is some uniquely divine imprint on the central individual of the human story.”
Cameron’s piece immediately attracted 132 comments, mostly hostile, for the next 17 hours and 12 minutes following the online post:
…I am a thinking person and I don’t agree that the day Jesus was born was a good day.
…What a load of codswallop. Ross seriously considers how Jesus ‘rose from the dead’. Unbelievable.
…Why is the Herald even running this rubbish? By all means print intelligent articles on religion, but this is wrong on almost every count.
…And for the record, no reputable scholar would suggest that any aspect of the Nativity story can be historically accurate.
…This whole article is based on the assumption that ‘Jesus’ did actually exist.
…What a joke. No one really knows anything about Jesus.
…Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus.
…As a Muslim, I believe in the message that Jesus (may peace be upon him) brought to the world. It was indeed a message of hope and peace and it was directed to every human being that walked the earth then and now.
…I reckon Santa has to be the most influential guy! Apparently Jesus was so hated he was crucified. Not Santa! And Santa is just as faith dependent as Jesus.
Yes, it all boils to a matter of faith which the Bible defined as: “…faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. (Hebrews 11:1).
Is the Christmas conspiracy about Jesus or Santa? Either way it takes faith. The only difference is that Christ requires only a change of heart while Mr Ho!Ho!Ho! wants your credit card.
Merry Christmas and may you be blessed.
Originally published in MySinchew. Republished with permission.