The Event Of Christmas – An Analysis
The Tale we keep repeating for over Two Thousand Years.
The simplicity of the tale is what sets it apart; never mind the syncretic copies of earlier such tales. The world was old, in fact, ancient two thousand years ago. The men who ruled it did so with cynical discipline and political economic acumen that would put any of today’s media-savvy power brokers to shame.
Yet somehow in this empire that stretched over three continents, Europe, Africa and Asia, surrounding the whole of the largest inland sea on earth, the Mediterranean, in this empire of millions of men, cities of concrete and stone, of every ethnic group imaginable, of a thousand languages and as many races and religions one woman stood apart.
One Jewish woman was so differently-extraordinary, so unique that there has not been another like her since. She was in modern parlance a mutation of some sort, a being not quite of this world, though all reports suggest that she was very much of our flesh-matter.
She was not co-opted into the power structure, nor was she married off to placate her into some wealthy family and plied with gifts and silken pretty things. In this ancient world where all magicians were tricksters of the sleight of hand, where successful prestidigitation was common and lucrative, where all medicine was already written down in countless scrolls, where the philosophers of the sciences had proven the steam engine and atom theory possible, where everyone who could think knew that the earth was round. Where everything that was worth knowing was already known.
In this place of bread, circuses, slavery, and sexual abandonment, where the superstitious populace believed in the truth of all the Gods; the contemptuous philosophers believed in the equal falseness of all the Gods, and the sardonic political class believed that all the Gods were equally useful… a virgin from the backwoods of a desert people had claimed that she conceived a child with no man’s help, but rather through the will of some invisible deity that her bizarre religion forbade her to draw, paint or sculpt, nay, forbade her even to name – while forbidding her to worship at the altar of the other visible and tangible and necessary Gods of Imperial Rome.
This young virgin refused to back down and admit any liaison with any man. She stated adamantly that she had had no sex and could prove it by the common test of virginity, and that she had quickened with a child. As her pregnancy grew more and more visible, and the evidence mounted that no one would admit of her having been with any man – that in fact, all who knew her said that if she so claimed, it must be so, that no man had ever touched this girl, the wise men of the era heard of it. For there had been prophecies.
But who among the educated trusts prophesy? Prophesy is after all for the ignorant masses, prophecy is the silly ramblings of drunk mystics living in hills eating some bad mushrooms.
Yet the prophesies were there, not only among her own people but also uttered by the Sybil’s themselves, who said in the sacred writings of the ancient Etruscans and the ancient Egyptians that such an amazing thing would once come to be. Where the Sybil’s had heard that this would happen was not known nor was it really cared for, what reasonable man trusts the prattling of old women? But there it was, they had said it would be so. How odd.
There were those few who cynical and skeptical though they were, were also careful to recognize that man was not as powerful as he pretends to be, and that many things were as yet unknown in the world entire. Better to be safe than sorry, such men mused. The day of the birth approached and fearing some mind-boggling calamity the authorities set out to kill the child. Why kill that which you do not understand? Oh, but that is a rhetorical question.
Maybe at first, they sought to study the creature. But finding it proved beyond the abilities of the authorities. How could this be? In a state where spies were omnipresent, where the powers-that-be knew of every rebellion before the rebels knew they were to start one, where no invention could be allowed to come to market if it disturbed the economy where a rumor was heard at one edge of the empire and recorded with startling veracity a day later at the other end, how could a simple young woman burdened with child suddenly vanish?
The woman’s name was Miriam daughter of Joachim and Anne – we know her today as the Virgin Mary – her great enemy was the Roman puppet King of the backwoods she called home, a Roman Imperial dessert province called Iudaea – Judea – the puppet King’s name was Herod, styled the Great.
Before the events that led her to flee to Egypt there to hide until the danger had passed, she gave birth to a son. This event is the first and thus far only known instance of human female-to-male parthenogenesis. A human virgin female had spawned and the child was male. Perhaps a confluence of the stars was in order, perhaps the three Zoroastrian Magi up in Persia or Bactria who saw the conjunction of planets, the unusual arrangement so suggestive in their charts and followed a comet across the plains of Iraq anticipating the birth of Mithras – the Avatar of Arhmudz but finding instead a mother and infant in a pathetic manger filled with cattle and fowl – perhaps it was some cosmic alignment that made it all possible. Mutation born out of cosmic interference. Or maybe it was as the girl had claimed – she was impregnated by the will of that invisible God of hers.
They were wise men, the three Magi from Persia, their names variously record as Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar or Hor, Karsudan, Basanater or Kagpha, Badadakharida, Badadilma or Larvandad, Gushnasaph, Hormisdas – strange names to our ears, from a remote time and an alien land. Maybe there were twelve of them, since there are twelve names, not three, in many ways that would make so much sense – there were more than one of this we are certain. Their exact number not.
They were men who were both mystics and scientists, students of scripture and the movement of stellar bodies, alchemists who knew their sulfur from their opiate and mathematicians who could calculate at a level we only passed in the late renaissance of Europe. They had resolved to investigate the disturbances in the firmament and the convergence of ideas that led them to discover this disturbance and having believed the young virgin they approached the child. Tradition suggests that this event took place a fortnight after the birth of the child on the day we have come to call the Epiphany.
This is the moment of the only known investigation of human female-to-male parthenogenesis. It happened in the ancient city of Bethlehem in the Roman Imperial province of Iudaea where the birth event took place – which was at that time under the occupation of the Roman Empire during the reign of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. The event was investigated by Persian Magi over two thousand years ago – so we have only the rumor of rumor and the rise and fall of civilizations to sift through to get at the truth.
However many Magi there were, three as tradition holds, or twelve as their names suggest, it seems certain that at least three were careful enough in their investigation to draw certain definite conclusions. That is, they had a theory or maybe a hypothesis which they set out to present to the world and preserve for posterity. They were men who understood the sweep of history, for how could they not, and had access to libraries now lost to us, a storage of data and information that Plato himself suggested recorded the eyewitness accounts of the sinking of Atlantis.
They had never seen such a thing as they beheld that day. Not only were the Magi convinced of the virginity of the woman named Miriam daughter of Joachim and Anne, they were also convinced of the special nature of the male child she had borne. How they arrived at this conclusion one can only guess, but as stated before they were aware of the length of history and knew that time erases all tangible evidence and men in the ages to be – will doubt the veracity of what they had seen with their own eyes, that the future will deny this event and thus they were concerned to preserve the memory of the truth of what they saw and understood, for they saw value in its uniqueness.
The Zoroastrian Magi valued truth above all, they had spent their entire life looking for absolute truth. They knew that symbols outlast the fall of civilizations, that symbols outlast the metamorphosis and decay of language and that symbols outlast the merger of ethnicities and races and the extinction of nations. Symbols speak more than mere testimony because they circumvent misinterpretation. The Zoroastrian Magi gave Miriam daughter of Joachim and Anne and her infant son three gifts: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
They chose these gifts with special precision, for a Persian never does anything without forethought, and a Persian Magi never leaves the house without a plan. Why these three gifts, why so specific a set given to a simple woman in the backwoods of the Roman Empire. To encode the enormity of their find, to speak to the generations that were to come without the need of an interpreter – to prove that what they saw was truth. To prove that what they witnessed and investigated was not a misunderstanding, nor a trick of stage-magician, nor an outright lie, nor even a confusion on their own part. A hard task indeed as they were not sure of how to explain what they saw and as we know, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
The rarity of gold indicated the rarity of the event, the Zoroastrian Magi chose gold, because it is the simplest way to describe rarity as well as beauty and value – and they believed it is universally understood as such; they had no reason to believe that gold would ever go out of style or be suddenly plentiful. The Persian empire had dealings with the Cathay and Indian civilizations to the East and the European and North African Civilizations to the West and had ventured as far south as the realms of the Ethiopians, and gold was prized in all these realms and had always been so prized.
The Frankincense which until the birth of the child had come from the city of Iram indicated that the event they witnessed is of the caprice of God, that is – that it is so unusual as to be unprecedented but only in a twisted unusual way – and of the fragility of man – that is that the event contained in the divine caprice is the mortality of the human condition – and that it can be doubted by those who have not seen, that there is a Fatamorgana effect, an almost intangibleness – a fleeting mirage that can only be believed if seen. How to encode so complex an idea?
With Frankincense, the production of which as stated already was centered in the city of Iram. The city of Iram had just recently been completely obliterated by a massive sandstorm and those who had not seen the city before – unlike the Zoroastrian Magi – would scarcely believe that it had ever existed, for nothing was left of it, buried by the shifting sands it vanished like a mirage, though it was once real. Yet it had been, the fragility of man was no match for the will of God. And in the full span of time, God would uncover the city of Iram as he had uncovered the Pyramids to reveal what was. Here was a complex idea in a single act.
The last choice of Myrrh – which to this day is used as an analgesic and as an antiseptic is obvious, the child is the balsam of the wounds. The child was a mythical being for it spoke much as the mythic Adonis of the East did at his birth to his mother Myrrha whose virtue was doubted so well. By using Myrrh, the Zoroastrian Magi underscore by counter-example. The story of Myrrha is a mythic fantasy tale, and so it is not real, here reality is present strikingly similar to myth, so with Myrrh reject Myrrha and accept Miriam’s claims – for a real Adonis walks among us. It should be understood that the Magi would have to be concerned with the obvious comparisons to existing and known mythic tales, by not ignoring them, by directly addressing these tales with the symbol of Myrrh, combined with the other symbols they make their thesis unassailable: yes, we know it looks like a myth, but it is the real thing.
The Magi departed, and the rest of the tale unfolds in ways as well known to us as this one. But before the other events took place, Herod the Roman puppet-King sought to kill the child. Miriam protected him with her flesh and with her mind, hiding him from those who wished to destroy the threat that the evidence of his birth posed. Here was living proof of parthenogenesis. Here was living proof that such an event produced a being of such quality that it baffled the wisest men of Persia and threatened the most cynical men of the Roman Empire. Why? Why indeed. Miriam claimed that the one true God, sired the male child by willpower alone, and to prove this point so that no doubt could be admitted he did so through a virgin girl whose reputation was unassailable, thus denying any man the credit for fathering the child.
This, of course, would not be enough, as cynical men will laugh at such things, so a third-party-validation was necessary, by examiners from so far away as to be unaffected by the local politics of the city, the province or even of the Empire itself. These examiners had to also be wise enough to not only make an informed investigation but to not be taken in by mere trickery or chicanery but to make a rational conclusion based on the evidence they found. This the Zoroastrian Magi did and set in historical record by the use of symbols rather than mere words or written text, they chose an action, for they knew that an action is more powerful than a story, they responded to the physical event of the birth of an event of a physical transference of meaningful gifts reflective of the event itself. For every action, there is a reaction. Give in order to receive.
And so, on the birthday of the Avatar of Arhmudz – Mithras who is Justice incarnate – we celebrate the birth of the Son of Miriam daughter of Joachim and Anne – the Son of God – for the Magi saw that the child spoke, and it told them of things only they would know, revealed concepts and ideas only the old and wise would be privy to, and so as they recognized human female-to-male parthenogenesis – so they recognized Theogenesis – the birth of God. For what else could it be? Who but God is born by parthenogenesis?
And as the ways of God are impossible to discern by mere men, the Zoroastrian Magi who knew that in each man the balance over the victory of light over darkness hangs, that each man must choose between good and evil to decide the fate of the world, so they made a choice and prostrated themselves before the male child and his young virgin mother Miriam. She alone was tasked with keeping him safe till his purpose could be fully uncovered like the buried city of Iram. Strange are the ways of God indeed that he would entrust his only son to the safekeeping of a young virgin girl – a woman named Miriam, known to us as Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Strange that two thousand years since that event and we still talk of it, write of it, ponder on it, and though we now have many names for the science that describes it, we still gather on this day to celebrate the Parthenogenesis and Theogenesis of the being named Jesus Christ – Son of the one living and unseen God, son of the Jewish girl Miriam the Theotokos – the Young Virgin Mother of God.