Source: CBCP News
QUEZON City, Dec. 21, 2014—Amid the uncertainty surrounding the real date of Christ’s Nativity, a Catholic lay evangelist highlights the one thing that cannot be denied: “The Savior of the world was born and it was a cause for joy” (cf. Lk. 1:10).
“It is the event that we celebrate, and it is the joy that we relive,” stressed Marwil N. Llasos of the Company of Saint Dominic (CSD), a lawyer by profession and preacher by vocation.
Llasos made the statement in response to criticisms that Catholics and other Christians who have taken up the practice, cannot celebrate Christmas because not a single verse in the Bible supports Dec. 25 as the Lord’s birthdate.
|Christmas is traditionally celebrated on December 25, but uncertainties |
regarding the accuracy of the date remain(Photo: CBCP News)
True. But the lawyer-preacher shares the Church sees the significance of Christmas in a different light.
“Jesus Christ may or may not have been born on Dec. 25, but we have more reasons to believe that He was born on, or within the vicinity of Dec. 25. But it really doesn’t matter because what we celebrate is not a date but an event. The choice of Dec. 25 to celebrate the Birth of Christ is not dogmatic or doctrinal, it is liturgical,” Llasos explains.
“Besides, there can never be any apodictic way to determine dates in the Bible. Even the exact year of Christ’s birth is not known. We can only intelligently guess. Why? Because the calendar has changed! The Jews had their own lunar calendar. Then we had the Julian calendar. Now we follow the Gregorian calendar. On the year the Gregorian calendar was promulgated by the Pope, ten days were taken from October,” he says.
In defending Christmas and similar Catholic traditions, Llasos raises the alarm on the danger that may arise in declaring as true what the Church has not dogmatically settled.
“The Church has no dogmatic pronouncement regarding that [Christmas], so we cannot go beyond what the Church affirms. Otherwise, our enemies will take our word and pass it off [as] Church’s official teaching which is not. It’s more prudent not to affirm what the Church does not affirm,” he shares.
It means the Church is the first to point out that Christmas-on-Dec. 25 is not an article of Faith.
But again, it’s The Event, not the date. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)