Is December 25th the actual date of Christ's birth?


#1

Was Christ actually born on Christmas?

What thinkest thou?


#2

[quote=liberal friend]Was Christ actually born on Christmas?

What thinkest thou?
[/quote]

NO!


#3

No. Not even close.


#4

It is thought that he was probably born some time in May, because the shepherds were out with their flocks at that time of year, and the sheep were having babies at that time.Remember, part of the story is the angels appearing to the shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night, the reason being that they wanted to make sure their sheep didn’t get hurt during birth.

So no, he was not born in December.


#5

Remember how there was the Census and that’s why they had to go to Bethlehem? No thinking emperor would ever make all his people travel during the winter. (Winter is pretty harsh over there and hard to travel in, especially without cars and planes and etc.)
More likely He was born in autumn (aka fall), or spring.


#6

Clement proposed that it was May 20th. Others suggested it was as late as November. For the first few hundred years, the Church never celebrated his birth and did not know the date. So in the 4th century, when there suddenly was an interest, they had to guess. They guessed the winter. Why Dec 25th? Most likely to oppose a pagan celebration of the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti [nativity of the unconquerable sun] or the celebration of the “Sun of Righteousness”.

David


#7

Seems to me I read someone who went into a long explanation of how that is the actual date.

Frankly, it doesn’t bother me too much. If it was the spring, then the Annunciation would have to be moved to somewhere in June - August…

But Christmas trees seem to look so much nicer with snow on them…


#8

[quote=otm]Seems to me I read someone who went into a long explanation of how that is the actual date. …
[/quote]

I would be interested in hearing a long explanation of how it is the actual date! I hope someone finds it and tells it here.

According to Poem of the Man-God, by the mystic Maria Valtorta, yes, it is the correct date. They celebrated the Feast of lights on the 25th of Chislev (sp.?) which means December, and thats when he was born, the night of the feast of lights. It was winter. And it was a very cold night that Jesus was born. On this feast they would light many lamps. A night festive with many lights. How appropriate that Christ would be born on the night of lights, and that we still celebrate his birth with lights.

I was so excited to read this, though, while not believing this private revelation when I first started reading it, I believed with God all things are possible and it (the books) could be true. When I got to this part, it was a totally new thought that we might be actually celebrating the birth of Christ on his actual birthday. I had heard of so many “experts” with their sure theories that it was certainly some other date, and the 25th was picked for some arbitrary, pagan reason, because no one had bothered to remember the night of the real birth. Like all I had once heard about Catholicism, when you hear something said in such a sure way by so many you trust, you naturally begin to believe it is true.

A fundamentalist friend once put te date of Dec.25 down in a know-it-all way, saying, of course the birth of Christ is not on this day. I was not Catholic then, but I didn’t like his attitude, and I said that it doesn’t matter, because we have made it His, by our loving celebration of it every year. If he (this friend) had grown up celebrating his birthday on July 1 every year, and , and if years later he had found out his real birthday was Feb.20, still July 1 would be a deeply meaningful day to him, because they had made it special, by celebrating it every year on that day.

But reading Valtorta got me thinking. It occured to me - why wouldn’t God protect and make holy that very special day, the day of the birth of His son. Just like He protected His Word perfect in the Holy Scripture, in the hands of fallible people, wouldn’t He also protect that most Holy Day? Why would he “hide” the day, and make it disappear into the calender, and become a meaningless day, and allow some other meaningless day to become that special day? Look how God sent his angels to protect the house of the Annunciation, which was also where Jesus was raised. (The Holy house of Loredo). Wouldn’t he also hold as sacred, and protect, the day of the birth of Christ?

And the controversy over the day is no surprise. Satan must hate Christmas, and wouldn’t he like to see the real holy day “disappear” and be ignored. Its just like him to supply the proud intellectuals with all kinds of good reasons why its some other day.

The more I think of it the more sure I feel it is the right day - because it would be so like God to preserve that day.


#9

[quote=Eliza10]I would be interested in hearing a long explanation of how it is the actual date! I hope someone finds it and tells it here.

According to Poem of the Man-God, by the mystic Maria Valtorta, yes, it is the correct date. They celebrated the Feast of lights on the 25th of Chislev (sp.?) which means December, and thats when he was born, the night of the feast of lights. It was winter. And it was a very cold night that Jesus was born. On this feast they would light many lamps. A night festive with many lights. How appropriate that Christ would be born on the night of lights, and that we still celebrate his birth with lights.

I was so excited to read this, though, while not believing this private revelation when I first started reading it, I believed with God all things are possible and it (the books) could be true. When I got to this part, it was a totally new thought that we might be actually celebrating the birth of Christ on his actual birthday. I had heard of so many “experts” with their sure theories that it was certainly some other date, and the 25th was picked for some arbitrary, pagan reason, because no one had bothered to remember the night of the real birth. Like all I had once heard about Catholicism, when you hear something said in such a sure way by so many you trust, you naturally begin to believe it is true.

A fundamentalist friend once put te date of Dec.25 down in a know-it-all way, saying, of course the birth of Christ is not on this day. I was not Catholic then, but I didn’t like his attitude, and I said that it doesn’t matter, because we have made it His, by our loving celebration of it every year. If he (this friend) had grown up celebrating his birthday on July 1 every year, and , and if years later he had found out his real birthday was Feb.20, still July 1 would be a deeply meaningful day to him, because they had made it special, by celebrating it every year on that day.

But reading Valtorta got me thinking. It occured to me - why wouldn’t God protect and make holy that very special day, the day of the birth of His son. Just like He protected His Word perfect in the Holy Scripture, in the hands of fallible people, wouldn’t He also protect that most Holy Day? Why would he “hide” the day, and make it disappear into the calender, and become a meaningless day, and allow some other meaningless day to become that special day? Look how God sent his angels to protect the house of the Annunciation, which was also where Jesus was raised. (The Holy house of Loredo). Wouldn’t he also hold as sacred, and protect, the day of the birth of Christ?

And the controversy over the day is no surprise. Satan must hate Christmas, and wouldn’t he like to see the real holy day “disappear” and be ignored. Its just like him to supply the proud intellectuals with all kinds of good reasons why its some other day.

The more I think of it the more sure I feel it is the right day - because it would be so like God to preserve that day.
[/quote]

December 25 is not his actual birth date and it does not matter when his real birth date is.


#10

To Eliza10.

You should be listening to the Holy See and not Maria Valtorta.
Please note in what you read below is a warning from Pope Benedict while he was still a Cardinal.

Poem of the Man-God


In 1959 when the “Poem” was put on the Index of Forbidden Books, it was described as “a badly fictionalized life of Christ” (L’Osservatore Romano, quoted by Cardinal Ratzinger in a letter to Cardinal Siri, 31 January 1985). Catholics were warned that it was not to be considered as revealed by God, and in fact, under the rules of the Index, no one, not even a priest, could read the volumes without a serious reason (e.g. to refute its errors) and the permission of the bishop or religious superior. Despite Roman judgements against the work its promoters have continued on their merry way, publishing and promoting it without interruption.

In 1966 when the Index was abolished many thought this meant the works listed on it could be read. Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this issue with respect to the “Poem of the Man-God,” in the aforementioned Letter saying,

“After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, people were reminded again in ‘LOsservatore Romano’ (June 15, 1966) that, as was published in the ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis’ (1966), the Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution. A decision against distributing and recommending a work, which has not beeen condemned lightly, may be reversed, but only after profound changes that neutralize the harm which such a publication could bring forth among the ordinary faithful.”

In 1993 Bishop Boland of Birmingham, AL wrote the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about “Poem” on behalf of an inquirer. Cardinal Ratzinger responded by letter, which the bishop then quoted in his response to the person, who shared it with us. The response noted that because of continuing interest in the books the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had requested the Italian Bishops Conference to ask the publisher (who as I noted never in the past has complied with Roman decisions) to have a disclaimer printed in the volumes that “clearly indicated from the very first page that the ‘visions’ and ‘dictations’ referred to in it are simply the literary forms used by the author to narrate in her own way the life of Jesus. They cannot be considered supernatural in origin.” Whether this has been done I don’t know.

So, quite apart from any supposed value that these writings have for helping the faith of Catholics is the promotion of the tendency to self-judgement in areas already judged by the hierarchical authority of the Church. Since the duty of submission to the Magisterium is part of the divine constitution of the Church and necessary for salvation, whereas, private revelations (even authentic ones, which this is not) cannot oblige in faith, it should be an easy call what the loyal Catholic should do. Is it forbidden? In the strict canonical sense (legal prohibition and sanctions for violating), no. Is it grossly imprudent to read things which the Church has discouraged in the strongest terms? Yes. Is it a bad use of time when there are writings of the Magisterium, of the saints and the Catechism that are not being read? Absolutely.

But people claim that never have they understood Scripture as when they have read “Poem.” Understood in a certain way, as explained by Maria Valtorta! But this way the Church has said is not according to its mind. Catholics do well to follow the Holy See in this.


#11

The passage of 2000 years, the changes in calendars and the blurring of time lines make it impossible to pinpoint the dates of biblical events. I would say that they are largely symbolic,and it is the events themselves that are important.


#12

He came. What else matters ?


#13

Good News: Jesus Christ was born on December 25, 1 BC.


#14

[quote=thistle]December 25 is not his actual birth date and it does not matter when his real birth date is.
[/quote]

You have no way of knowing if it is not the actual birthdate. Some experts say it is, some say it isn’t, and all have reasons.

Your opinion is that it does not matter when his real birth date is. But I think it matters. Does it have an impact on our salvation, on what we believe as Catholics? No, but because it is the day of such a momentous occasion, it does matter. If you were celebrating your birthday on the wrong day because you never knew your real birthday, wouldn’t it matter it you, when you found out the real date? And how would you feel, if you found out that the real birthday was in fact the one you had been celebrating all along?


#15

[quote=thistle]To Eliza10.

You should be listening to the Holy See and not Maria Valtorta.
… Catholics do well to follow the Holy See in this.
[/quote]

Thistle, there are two sides to this issue, too. Many in positions of Chruch authority support this book. It is not true that those who support it are “not listening to the Holy See.”

For lots of commentary on both sides concerning the letter you reprinted here [a letter that has been reprinted so many times by those who are not in support of these books, and has been thoproughly examined by those who are], see the thread in this forum on the Poem of the Man-God.

You will see also that those who are in support of this work are in most excellent company. It is private revelation, and you can chose to believe it or not.


#16

[quote=buffalo]Good News: Jesus Christ was born on December 25, 1 BC.
[/quote]

Wow, thanks Buffalo! :clapping:

:dancing: I knew it had to be true!!!


#17

[quote=Eliza10]Wow, thanks Buffalo! :clapping:

:dancing: I knew it had to be true!!!
[/quote]

I hate to burst the bubble, but Sungenis isn’t exactly the definitive authority. He recounts the history of calculated guesses that have been put forth over the centuries and deemed Dec 25th to be the most accurate in his view. Who cares? Last I heard, Sungenis isn’t infallible and all’s he did was report on other people’s guesses. No one knows - period. The earliest Christian report was from Clement who said it was in May. So unless Mary told John who told Irenaous who told . . . and we have it on Apostolic Tradition, then we have no idea.

The early church rejected celebrating births because that’s what the pagans did and they didn’t want to do anything similar to the pagans. But by the 4th and 5th century, they suddenly cared, but had no date to work from. So they began the oft-repeated effort to figure it out from historical clues. So no matter how well-researched the effort, the absolute best anyone should dare claim is that December or perhaps late December “seems” to fit the clues we have.

To definitively state 12/25 as fact is just intellectually dishonest and it’s undermines that person’s statements.

David


#18

[quote=DavidB]I hate to burst the bubble, but Sungenis isn’t exactly the definitive authority. He recounts the history of calculated guesses that have been put forth over the centuries and deemed Dec 25th to be the most accurate in his view. Who cares? Last I heard, Sungenis isn’t infallible and all’s he did was report on other people’s guesses. No one knows - period. The earliest Christian report was from Clement who said it was in May. So unless Mary told John who told Irenaous who told . . . and we have it on Apostolic Tradition, then we have no idea.

The early church rejected celebrating births because that’s what the pagans did and they didn’t want to do anything similar to the pagans. But by the 4th and 5th century, they suddenly cared, but had no date to work from. So they began the oft-repeated effort to figure it out from historical clues. So no matter how well-researched the effort, the absolute best anyone should dare claim is that December or perhaps late December “seems” to fit the clues we have.

To definitively state 12/25 as fact is just intellectually dishonest and it’s undermines that person’s statements.

David
[/quote]

He shows several ways to get to it. Rather than discrediting him, look it over and do the math yourself. Is there a particular objection you have?


#19

[quote=DavidB]The early church rejected celebrating births because that’s what the pagans did and they didn’t want to do anything similar to the pagans. But by the 4th and 5th century, they suddenly cared, but had no date to work from. So they began the oft-repeated effort to figure it out from historical clues. So no matter how well-researched the effort, the absolute best anyone should dare claim is that December or perhaps late December “seems” to fit the clues we have.
[/quote]

Supposing this is as you say, and they had to come up with a date from “historical clues”. But, it is all so very suspiciously how we do things *these *days. We like to rely solely on researchable historical facts.

But, in true historical fact, our Church has a tradition of relying on tradition. We hold fast to the traditions handed down to us by the Apostles of Christ.

We also have a tradition of relying on prayer, as well as a tradition of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

So who is to say they divorced themselves from all of these long-standing traditions, and relied instead solely on what was available of cold, hard historical clues, alone?

Just suppose they did rely on tradition, and, that the Christians, in fact, hadn’t forgotten the momentous day that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" .

After all, its not just a birthday - its a pretty defining moment for Christianity. In the same way, Passover was defining for the Jews. And *they *didn’t forget that.

And just suppose they had did pray over the matter and trust in the Lord’s guidance.

And then their prayers would have been heard, and why would the Holy Spirit not grant their desire to choose the right date?

Then you begin to see that there is a pretty glaringly good chance that the right date was chosen.

[quote=DavidB]To definitively state 12/25 as fact is just intellectually dishonest …
David
[/quote]

Yes, sure. And also to definatively state 12/25 is *not *the date, as was done elsewhere on this thread, is intellectually dishonest. And both are completely unimaginative, aren’t they?


#20

[quote=Eliza10]You have no way of knowing if it is not the actual birthdate. Some experts say it is, some say it isn’t, and all have reasons.

Your opinion is that it does not matter when his real birth date is. But I think it matters. Does it have an impact on our salvation, on what we believe as Catholics? No, but because it is the day of such a momentous occasion, it does matter. If you were celebrating your birthday on the wrong day because you never knew your real birthday, wouldn’t it matter it you, when you found out the real date? And how would you feel, if you found out that the real birthday was in fact the one you had been celebrating all along?
[/quote]

My father did not know the day he was born. He chose a day and it didn’t matter. What mattered was honoring his life.


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