In 73 BCE the Roman Empire expanded under its Eastern Emperor into the Middle East and over the next decades gradually took control of the Roman province of Syria Palaestina - it was a harsh control. The religious clashes between the multi-god Romans and the monotheistic Jews were continual and in spite of the Sanhedrin making deals with the Roman command the average Jew prayed for the arrival of a messiah. The Messiah is a concept of Abrahamic Religions and is a savior or liberator of the chosen people whom at that time the Jews considered themselves to be.
Around 28 CE there appeared on the scene a Jewish preacher whose name was Yeshua. He wandered the countryside of the provinces of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea talking about a simpler but improved Jewish approach to God and eventual salvation after death in a place of peace with that God. He became very popular with the common people and led an extremely simple life himself showing kindness to those of all walks of life even lepers who quite understandably terrified people. During his wanderings he encountered fishermen repairing their nets at the village of Bethsaida before going fishing in the Sea of Galilee. He rested and chatted with them, when they were going out they invited him to go fishing with them. It was a bit choppy and not unnaturally he got a bit queasy and lay down in the fresh air falling asleep. Sometime later the fishermen woke him up as they were in real trouble due to a nasty storm developing. Yeshua was not too happy about it either so he stood up stretched his arms out and asked God to calm the seas. One would perhaps think that much to his surprise and the complete amazement of the fishermen the seas calmed, all was well and they returned ashore with a really good catch.
Naturally this led to the fisherman asking him to stay with them and he did so which eventually led to him asking them to stay with him. Twelve decided to do so and from then on for the rest of his three year ministry the thirteen of them travelled together. It is interesting that he chose seafarers. By now the Sanhedrin had taken notice and paid great attention to this Rabbi and his Twelve Apostles and their views of the new improved user friendly Jewish faith, today we would no doubt call this the Jewish.1 version. The Sanhedrin were not pleased because clearly their grip on being the Ruling Power of the Jewish Faith was being undermined. To the Romans he was on their Watch List as a troublemaker. One thing led to another until there was a political trial, execution, burial and - well this is one of the big questions of what has become known as Christianity, what became of the physical body of this dead Rabbi.
The Rabbi Yeshua had been accepted by some Jews as the wished for Messiah and the name Jesus Christ (the anointed one) was now used for him and Christianity the religion to follow his teachings. This religion became open to all both Jews and non-Jews without the required procedure of circumcision. All Christians were baptized instead into the Christian Faith however the teachings of this faith varied from place to place and it took time to settle on one teaching of Christian beliefs. Also the Romans were totally set to eradicate all Christians so things were pretty grim for the next three hundred years until in 312 CE the Roman Emperor Constantine got religious monotheism, became a Christian and so of course did the Roman Empire. In 325 he organized the Council of Nicea and there the New Testament Book was put together which finally settled on the Christian Faith teachings and its religious holidays.
Now much has been attributed to Jesus Christ which we are not able to prove, we do not even know if he actually existed or is a combination of Jewish wandering preachers resisting Roman rule in Syria Palaestina as yet no birth record has been found in Jewish or Roman records yet the Romans did a complete and accurate census of their Empire. It is claimed that he is "the Son of God" this is something so complex it is beyond the scope of mans intelligence to conceive let alone to prove, it is something one must accept on faith. The amazing thing is however that the persona of Jesus Christ is so strong that totally without this proof persons from many nationalities and races have accepted his teachings and follow the Christian Faith indeed it is known as having "the gift of faith".
When the Christian Faith made its headquarters in Rome the capital of the Western Roman Empire it adopted and incorporated all the trappings of the Roman Empire building its own Vatican with its own Pontiff, a Western Roman Empire religious term. Gone was the simple life taught by the Rabbi Yeshua and we now had a European style Royalty in the form of the Roman Catholic Church with its Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, its numerous scandals, corruption, external and internal struggles for power. Somewhere amongst all this religious royalty are priests and lay groups of Christians who quietly do their best to follow the teachings of the Rabbi Yeshua who remember him in many ways one of which is to celebrate his possible birth using the date of December 25th. which we call CHRISTMAS DAY.
Therefore this lay person wishes Merry Christmas 2013 and Happy New Year 2014 to you all.
Count D. Peter Boucher Kt. SMOM.