Jesus's Birthday


#1

I heard that there’s been people who examine biblical scriptures and have come to the conclusion that Christ wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. Is this true? Is there evidence that Christ really was born on the 25 of december?


#2

I was always under the impression that Christ was not born on this date, but following the practice that God first had the Israelites do, take pagan holidays and turn them into Godly ones, we took a pagan holiday where people celebrated the Sun, and gave them the Son to celebrate instead.

Could be wrong. But that was my understanding.

Maria


#3

[quote=MariaG]I was always under the impression that Christ was not born on this date, but following the practice that God first had the Israelites do, take pagan holidays and turn them into Godly ones, we took a pagan holiday where people celebrated the Sun, and gave them the Son to celebrate instead.
[/quote]

There is no historical evidence that December 25 was chosen as Christ’s birthdate because it coincided with the pagan celebration Natalis Invicti. In fact, documents as early as A.D. 200 say that December 25 was celebrated as Christ’s birthdate because that was the day on which Christ was born, although it is possible that these documents are not entirely authentic.

In any event, Scripture does not reliably testify as to the month, let alone the exact day, of Christ’s birth. Other early traditions, for example, placed Christ’s birth in May and January. We do not know for certain if any of these dates are accurate.

Which, of course, isn’t the point. The point of the Gospels is that Christ was born, lived, died, and rose again from the dead. The details that obsess modern historical inquiry aren’t relevant to the Evangelists’ purposes or methods.

– Mark L. Chance.


#4

It’s simple deductive reasoning, really. If he were born in December, the shepherds wouldn’t have been out in the fields with their flocks; it would have been too cold.

Everything I’ve read has led me to the conclusion that he was probably born in the springtime but the actual date isn’t a matter of faith, morals, or dogma so feel free to draw your own conclusions.


#5

[quote=Sweetcakes]It’s simple deductive reasoning, really. If he were born in December, the shepherds wouldn’t have been out in the fields with their flocks; it would have been too cold.

Everything I’ve read has led me to the conclusion that he was probably born in the springtime but the actual date isn’t a matter of faith, morals, or dogma so feel free to draw your own conclusions.
[/quote]

No, no. Think about where Jesus was born: Palestine. Palestine is very close to the Equator, therefore it is warm year round. I think, unless this particular winter was wicked cold, that the temperature stayed around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit even at night.

Simple deductive reasoning, really. He may not have been born on December 25 (we can never tell because they used Caesar’s calendar back then), but IMO I think we’re close.


#6

Some of the Early Church Fathers saw Zachary as performing the Day of Atonement ritual in Luke chap. 1 and this usually takes place sometime in September. So, if we extrapolate it thusly, Zachary’s wife gets pregnant in late September, then the Blessed Virgin Mary visits her 6 months later, late march, and Jesus is born in late December.


#7

[quote=Finex]I heard that there’s been people who examine biblical scriptures and have come to the conclusion that Christ wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. Is this true? Is there evidence that Christ really was born on the 25 of december?
[/quote]

It doesn’t matter when Jesus was born, the Church is celebrating the birth of Jesus, moreso than the birthday.
The Church has it’s own time for different celebrations, like Easter and so forth, the Church calendar is different from our own everyday calendar.


#8

[quote=SilentRick15]No, no. Think about where Jesus was born: Palestine. Palestine is very close to the Equator, therefore it is warm year round. I think, unless this particular winter was wicked cold, that the temperature stayed around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit even at night.

Simple deductive reasoning, really. He may not have been born on December 25 (we can never tell because they used Caesar’s calendar back then), but IMO I think we’re close.
[/quote]

Actually, Winter can be quite frosty there. Look at weather.com.
Also, I believe that the Eastern Church celebrates the Nativity on Jan. 7.


#9

Here is some scriptural logic offering “some” support to the tradition that Jesus was born on December 25:

  1. John the Baptist’s father, the priest Zechariah, was serving in the sanctuary… (Luke 1:8-9)

  2. The Sanctuary was a holy place (Lev. 16:3) in which incense was offered (Lev.16:12-13)… Zechariah was offering incense (Luke 1:9)

  3. The priest had to be alone in the sanctuary during this time (Lev.16:17)… Zechariah was alone (Luke 1:10 says the “whole assembly was praying outside…”)

  4. This was to be observed on the 10th day of the 7th month (Day of Atonement, Lev.23:27). Also, the Feast of Booths began on the 15 day of the 7th month and ran for 7 days (Lev. 23:33-36).

  5. If Zechariah was performing priestly duties related to either of these events, then he would have been alone in the sanctuary during the 7th month (Tishri = Sept/Oct)

  6. If we say this was late September, then John would have been conceived at that time, and born in late June.

  7. John was 6 months older than Jesus (Luke 1:26, Luke 1:36). Jesus would then be born 6 months later than late June, meaning late December.

OK, so it’s a little difficult to follow, but, hey, it makes sense to me!

God Bless Us All…


#10

[quote=RBushlow]Actually, Winter can be quite frosty there. Look at weather.com.
Also, I believe that the Eastern Church celebrates the Nativity on Jan. 7.
[/quote]

On EWTN, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, who has visited the Holy Land numerous times, says that sheep are in the fields year-round. Besides, in ancient times, where else would they go, anyway? They all can’t stay in caves all winter. :slight_smile:

But to the point: no, it doesn’t matter when he was born. The important thing is that at a point in our history, the Word really took on flesh and dwelt among us.


#11

Well, Jesus’ birth would have been reckoned by the locals according to the Hebrew calendar, anyway. And the Roman Calendar of the time was… what? The Julian? Something even older than that? At any rate, even if Jesus was born just after the beginning of winter, for sure there would have been very few people in Bethlehem who marked the day as December 25th, and possibly nobody in the world would have!

Regardless, I can’t imagine a more beautiful time than the Winter Solstice to celebrate the return of Light to the world. Our dear Chruch hit the nail on the head, IMO. (Same with Easter!-- although I guess that date was kind of locked in :))


#12

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