Christ Birth

Many many years ago I viewed a T.V. show with a panel of Catholic priest. The discussion was on the birth of Jesus.
They claim our Lord was not born in December, but sometime in the spring perhaps April.If this is so why do we celebrate Christmas in December?Please would someone elaborate on this. Thank you.
Romie

I don’t think anyone knows for sure when Christ was born. And it doesn’t really make any difference. As I understand history, we celebrate it in December because there has always been an end of year celebration in December, and the Church decided that if we’re going to celebrate, let’s have a Christian reason for doing it.

Due to the events depicted in the infancy narratives, most specifically the account of shepherds tending their flocks by night, historians have concluded that Christ’s birth likely took place in spring, not winter.

Regarding why we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, there are 2 theories. The first has to do with the pagan customs prevalent in the Roman Empire during the first and second centuries. December 25th was a pagan holiday celebrating the birth of Mithras (interestingly enough to a virgin), a god of the sun. The early Christians chose to “baptize” this holiday and instead recount the birth of the Son of God. By making the holiday more recognizable to pagans, it was hoped that they would be more willing to convert.

The second theory has to do with the pious (though innacurate) theory that saints died on the same day they were conceived. This is where the specific month of april would have come in. Christ died the day after Passover. Because of this, Christians decided he must have been conceived on the same day, and 9 months later would have been December.

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Due to the events depicted in the infancy narratives, most specifically the account of shepherds tending their flocks by night, historians have concluded that Christ’s birth likely took place in spring, not winter.

Regarding why we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, there are 2 theories. The first has to do with the pagan customs prevalent in the Roman Empire during the first and second centuries. December 25th was a pagan holiday celebrating the birth of Mithras (interestingly enough to a virgin), a god of the sun. The early Christians chose to “baptize” this holiday and instead recount the birth of the Son of God. By making the holiday more recognizable to pagans, it was hoped that they would be more willing to convert.

The second theory has to do with the pious (though innacurate) theory that saints died on the same day they were conceived. This is where the specific month of april would have come in. Christ died the day after Passover. Because of this, Christians decided he must have been conceived on the same day, and 9 months later would have been December.
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The early Church re-purposed several pagain feasts, including the Saturnalia (Christmas), Samhain (All Hollows Eve) and Oester(Easter.) In the latter case, the feast of the crucifixion and resurrection actually occurs at that time – but other custions, like colored eggs, rabbits and ducklings are all rooted in the original pagan custioms.

The reasoning was simple – people need holidays, and resent it if they are denied them. So use the holiday to celebrate Christ, not some Pagan god.

While many theorize that Christ was born in spring, they can’t rule out winter. Even if there are extra-historical reasons for December 25th, don’t toss out serendipity! That is, the first celebrants got the date right on the money even if they were guessing. That is, don’t let anyone call you bad names if you believe, as I do, that Christ was born on December 25th. (By Julian calender?–who cares? :stuck_out_tongue: )

Scott

Luke’s Gospel gives Scriptural support for a late December Birthday for Jesus, IF Zechariah were in the sanctuary as the lone priest to minister for the Day of Atonement (as found in Lev. 23:27) or possibly the Feast of Booths (Lev 23:33-36). These were celebrated in TISHRI (the 7th Hebrew month) which would correspond to Sept/Oct. We’ll call it late September to make the case.

John the Baptist would then have been conceived LATE SEPT. We know Elizabeth was 6 months ahead of Mary in her pregnancy, so Jesus would have been conceived LATE MARCH.
This would result in a late December birth for Jesus.

Of course, this is not definite proof, if either:

  1. The Jewish people celebrated with a “lone priest” in the Sanctuary SEVERAL times a year, **not **just the time around Day of Atonement. OR

  2. The Jewish people were not celebrating the Day of Atonement anymore at Zechariah’s time, but some other Feasts instead.

If EITHER of these statements are TRUE, then Luke’s account can’t be really used either way for a Birthday proof. BUT

If BOTH statement #1 and #2 are FALSE, then what is wrong with Luke’s proof for a December birthday?

GOD BLESS US ALL!

Well done, Kurt! And Scott, I agree that the Church tends to get it right. I have no reason to doubt her.
God bless you,
Paul

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