Child Birth, Wisemen and Star
By Rudy A. Arizala
Since the observance of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ - , there has been debates on his place and date of his birth. Some even doubt the virgin birth of Jesus by Mary.
To clarify matters, let us look or refer to two holy books. The Christian Bible (New Testament) and the Holy Quran of the Muslims.
Let us first refer to what the New Testament say according to Luke 1:30-36 (Annunciation of the Savior). It states:
And the angel said to her, “do not be afraid, Mary, for thou has found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive n they womb and shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. x x x x. But Mary said to the angel, “How shall this happen, since I do not know man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the son of God.”
What does the Holy Quran say on the Annunciation attesting to the virginity of Mary”?
The Holy Quran under Surah III, paragraphs 45 & 47, say as follows:
"When the angels said: O Marium, surely Allah gives you good news with a Word from him (of one) whose name is the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near (to Allah)."
"She said: My Lord! When shall there be a son (born) to me, and man has not touched me? He said: Even so, Allah creates what he pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is."
How about on the place of birth of the child Jesus? The New Testament according to Luke 24-7, states:
And Joseph also went from Galilee out of the town of Nazareth into Judea to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem---because he was of the house and family of David, to register, together with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass while they were there, that the days for her to be delivered were fulfilled. And she while they were there, that the days for her to be delivered were fulfilled. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Holy Quran with reference to the birth of a child by Marium states in Surah XIX, paragraphs 22 & 23:
So she conceived him, then withdrew herself with him to a remote place.
And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree.
It may be noted that both the Holy Bible and the Quran speaks of the virgin birth of the child Jesus (Isa). The only difference in the narration is that according to the Bible Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and laid on a manger while according to the Quran Marium “withdrew herself with him to a remote place” and “betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree” where she gave birth.
The date of birth of Jesus also varies aside from the place of birth. Was Jesus really born on 25 December?
The Bible does not specify a date or month when Jesus was born. One problem with December is that according to observers and Bible scholars, it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field” at this cold time of the year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. “Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem which is about 70 miles.”
According to them:
“A more probable time would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Thus, it is rather commonly believed (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September. The conception of Christ, however, may have taken place in late December of the previous year. Our Christmas celebration may well be recognized as an honored observation of the incarnation of “the Word made flesh’ (John 1:14).”
Be that as it may, what is important, whether the child Jesus was born on 25 December or not; in a manger of Bethlehem town, or in a remote place under a palm tree, let us rejoice that a Savior of virgin birth was born - in fulfillment of the Word was made flesh - for all mankind. And three Wise Men from the East came to worship him, for “the star that they had seen in the East went before them, until it came and stood over the place where the child was. And when they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly.” (Mathew 2: 9-10).
In the final analysis, Christmas irrespective of time and place, is the virgin birth of a child, adored by the poor and men wise men alike under a heavenly light, the star. And so by tradition during Christmas, a star lantern hungs from the window of every home in towns and villages in the Philippines as shown in the picture below.