NOT, says Pastor Arnold Murray of the Shepherd’s Chapel in Gravett Arkansas.
There was an encore broadcast of an episode of his bible study program (tape 517) on 12/13/05. He carefully was reading Luke to explain the circumstances of Christ’s birth, and particularly to indicate the approximate time of Christ’s birth.
Any resident of the holy land would probably recognize that there were not shepherds abiding in the fields in December. The harvest would occur in September, and there would probably not be grazing food for sheep beyond mid-October, he says.
But, that was not his starting point.
He started at verse 1 in chap 1 of Luke and pointed out that Zecharias’ temple duty was in early to mid June. The conception of John the Baptist (who was a Levite, having Levite parents) was probably around June 25. Then, as the gospel records, Mary conceived six months later, which would be approximately Dec 25. Then, go nine months out, and there you are around Sept 25 abiding in the fields with the shepherds before the harvest is completed.
He closed with an explanation of the symbolism that God uses in the bible. And, indeed, Hosea 14:4 uses the symbolism of a tree (which Murray’s bible translates as a fir tree) for God. Not that a tree becomes an idol. But, because this type of tree does not shed leaves, it suggests everlasting life, and therefore symbolizes God.