Letters: Christmas story does not match with history

Nativity play. Pic: Comp
Nativity play. Pic: Comp
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The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Lorna Hood, notes that there is no Birth Narrative in John’s Gospel (One Gospel throws real light on Christmas story, News, December 24).

She could also have pointed out that the Narrative is also missing from the earliest Gospel, that of Mark, indicating, as historians have long pointed out, that it was a later invention designed to give Jesus a background and origin commensurate with his deification by the early church. Perhaps that is why the accounts of Matthew and Luke do not agree: they are separate inventions for different groups of readers.

Santa Claus. Pic: Getty Images

Santa Claus. Pic: Getty Images

Is the Moderator unaware of the conflicts between the Narrative and history? That there is no historical record of a “Massacre of the Innocents”; that the “taxation” was merely a census in 6AD limited to the Roman-ruled province of Judaea which would not have required Jesus’ parents to move anywhere? That Jesus came from Galilee, where there was no census?

When is the otherwise-enlightened Church of Scotland going to admit that much of the story it tells is incompatible with history?

John’s Gospel, the last to be written and which she thinks illuminates the Narrative, shows no interest in Jesus’ origin; its purpose was to make the Jewish Messiah into a universal Saviour God.

Consequently, it cannot have any bearing on the Birth stories and it is a mistake to try to make it do so.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Hopefully secularists will not copy Soviets

Neil Barber, in his attempt to show the pagan origins of Christmas time festivals (News, December 21), leaves out one more modern example.

In the repressive, atheistic and secular Soviet Union between 1917 and the fall of Russia’s communist rulers in 1991, the Soviet ideologues spent much effort, especially under Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s, in trying to erase Christmas as a religious festival. Even Santa Claus was re-named Father Frost and the secular, atheist state in Russia attempted to purge Christianity from Russian life. I hope this is a historical example of intolerance and repression that Mr Barber and his small band of followers do not want to follow.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick

Immigration is good but must be limited

I CAN’T disagree more with A Orr’s letter “Migrants are pawns” (December 24). It seems to me that one of the few things the Tories are doing right is trying regain some control over our borders.

It’s incredible that anyone can think the UK is “less attractive” to migrants with our generous welfare system and access to housing. We are still soft-touch Britain, that’s why thousands of migrants from outside the EU and asylum seekers fly over countless other countries to get here. This will be more apparent in a few days time when thousands of Romanian and Bulgarians arrive. Immigration is a good thing for all countries, but it must be controlled and if that’s what the Tories are trying to do, then what’s wrong with that?

I do agree with him in so much that restricting EU migration is currently almost impossible, that’s why we should have an EU referendum to give the people the chance to have their say.

In 1973 we said “yes” to join the Common Market but not to sign up for the bloated, corrupt, out of touch mess which is the EU today.

D Smith, Tranent

Miliband like ‘useful idiot’ for Syria leader

John Kerry recognises that the Syrian revolution has become a huge sectarian mess. Ed Miliband has helped create this tragic situation. Al Qaida affiliated groups opposed intervention, believing they would be targeted along with Assad’s forces.

After the commons vote the Free Syrian Army lost a great deal of support enabling the sectarian militants to become dominant. David Cameron promised the house a second vote on deployment but that still wasn’t enough for Labour’s support.

Ed Miliband promised that he would keep up the pressure on Assad after the vote. He has been silent for months. He is not a visionary peacemaker. By abdicating any responsibility for resolving Syria’s tragedy he has merely become Assad’s useful idiot.

Brian Devlin, Galashiels

Santa Claus no father figure in Scotland

I AGREE with every word that Helen Martin said in her column “Capital has to save Christmas with tradition” (News, December 23), although if we are to follow tradition then we should not refer to St Nicholas/Santa Claus as Father Christmas, because he was never called that in Scotland.

C Lamont, St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh

Christmas wrapped up thanks to helpers

The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) Lothians gift wrapping team would like to thank everyone who contributed to the total sum of £1410.93 raised by wrapping shoppers’ gifts at Ocean Terminal on December 11 to 13 and at St James Centre on Christmas Eve.

The money raised will be used to help ensure that parents and families of babies lost through stillbirth or shortly after being born will continue to receive support.

Many thanks also to the administration and security staff at both shopping centres for their help.

Jane Lockhart, SANDS Lothians Volunteer