Jesus’ Birth and December 25
A- Jesus’ birth was connected to John the Baptist’s birth. Zechariah, John’s father, was a priest who took his turn to serve in the temple when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that Elizabeth, his wife, would conceive a son (Luke 1:8–13). Zechariah “belonged to the priestly division of Abijah” (Luke 1:5). The priests in the Abijah division served from June 13—19.
Elisabeth conceived (Luke 1:23–24). Then Mary also conceived by the Holy Spirit and visited Elisabeth, and this visit came in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:26, 36). If we assume that Elizabeth conceived shortly after Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah, her sixth month—the month that Gabriel visits Mary—would be December or January. And if Mary conceived right after Gabriel’s announcement to her, Jesus would be born in August, September or sometime in the fall.
B-The Bible tells us that the birth of Jesus was around the time of His baptism (Luke 3:23). Jesus ministered 3 1/2 years and died during Passover. If we take away 3 1/2 years from the spring time when He died, this would take us to the fall.
C-The Judean winters (December) were too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks by night (Luke 2:8). Therefore, it’s more likely that the shepherds were out sometime in the fall.
D-It is not likely that Augustus Caesar would have required people to travel for a census (Luke 2:1–4) during the winter time where there would be severe cold weather and poor road conditions which would make traveling more difficult.
The significance of December 25 comes from ancient and pagan traditions. In ancient Babylon, on December 25 Tammuz, the child of the sun-god, was born. With time, the birthday of Tammuz, became the alleged birthday of the Christ child.
There is no violation of a Christian principle in remembering the birth of Christ. However, there is no Bible command to do that either. If a person’s conscience bothers him regarding remembering the birth of Jesus on the 25 of December, then, he should not do so. The important thing is that Christians should rejoice in remembering the birth of Jesus every day of the year because it is “good news of great joy… for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
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In His service,