Do the good folk from Stagecoach Yorkshire read this blog? Or did someone in their office spot their bludners? Whatever the prompting we now have a Service 2 on the Sheffield pages ...
Get to the point, fbb, why December 25th?
Three explanations are often offered. When fbb was at school he vaguely remembers being told that Church Leaders, seeking to create some sort of order in the ecclesiastical Year, simply pinched a pagan festival and labelled it Christmas.
One carol illustrates the idea.
So this ancient carol links the features of the holly to key parts of the Christian Christmas narrative.
We have a spot of eternal rule with a crown, the purity of Mary, the blood of redemption, the pain of the Cross and the bitterness of the world's sinfulness.
Not quite the pretty pretty Nativity Scene that graces many a Christmas card! But using the pagan greenery as a parable of the theology of Christmas.
So it was that the pagan "Green Man" ...
But hang on. Winter festivals were either celebrated on the Winter Solstice (21st December) or at New Year.
Whilst many pagan activities became Christmasified, the date is different. In the Bible, Luke gives a clue to the actual date ...
At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.
Unfortunately any attempts to match this with today's calendar leads to utter confusion because of different Calendars, multiple censuses and the fact that our record of Quirinius seems to be later than the Birth of Jesus. He may well have been a long-term census-freak and set up more "numberings" for tax purposes - the Romans were a dab hand at taxation - but no records now exist.
It is worth remembering that the birth of Jesus was utterly insignificant at the time; It would barely warrant a one-liner in "The Jerusalem Times"!
Maybe explanation 2 offers a better clue as to "Why December 25th". It might well be one of the things that the Romans did for us.