Author: James Tichenor
As the Christmas season rolls around upon us once again, I thought this a smashing time to revisit a question as old as the holliday itself. Is December 25, truly Jesus Christ’s birthday? As many biblically curious intellect’s know, the evidence that the exact day of Jesus’s birthday is never given in scripture. In fact, it is fairly well known that in the effort to integrate Christianity into the Roman empire as seamlessly as possible, many festivals and high holy day’s were changed so as to co-inside with popular Pagan festivals. The Pagan religion, if your so inclined to call it that, was a nature based poly-theistic false doctrine. One of the main, if not the most important festival, was the festival of Saturn which ran from approximately Dec. 19-25th. This was of course based around the Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. This was obviously a compromise to satiate the Pagan’s, and give Cristian’s some level of recognition but, was never intended to reflect the true historical date of the birth of our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ.
The Pagan festival of Saturn appeared to hold elements of tradition that mirrored the thing’s we’ve been brought up to believe were started around the event’s that took place at the birth of Jesus. The Winter Solstice represents the observation that the sun has reached it’s furthest southern extent on the horizon, focusing it’s most intense energy on the Tropic of Capricorn. To the Pagan’s, this symbolized the start of the new solar cycle, in essence their new year. To honor the God Saturn, (Hmm, what does that sound like? could it be, satan!), people would give gift’s to one another and were described as being in a time of merry-making. I can only surmise church leaders propagated the idea that because Jesus was given the gifts of gold, frankensense, and muir, that we should in turn give gift’s to one another. Now certainly, I am not advocating against celebrating the birth of our Lord and savior Jesus, he who is are only hope to be reconciled with God the father. But, this notion that the Christmas celebration should be a time to show our affection and appreciation of the Lord by trying to have, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men,” was another slight play of words to blend the custom’s of the people.
So if we can’t depend on the Gregorian calendar to pin point Jesus’s birthday, we must then follow the clue’s given to us in the Biblical text. The passage’s that can lead us to the true date are few but, the Hebrew’s kept some of the most accurate historical records for at least the last six thousand years. The first written account’s to take into consideration trying to find the true date are in the story of Mary’s conception itself. Luke 2:7-8King James Version (KJV), “7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Now in this passage lies our first clue as to the time of year Jesus came into the world. Judea is often thought of as having an desert like, warm climate year round. In fact Israel does go through a cold and rainy season during the winter month’s. Most biblical and climatology scholars agree that shepherd’s were highly unlikely to have been out in the fields with their flocks at night during December. The best time for shepherds to spend long night’s out in the fields with their sheep would’ve been late summer or early fall. By the time winter had set into Judea the shepherd’s would’ve moved their flock’s down into shelter. The next passage that give’s us a clue to the date lies in, “Luke 2:1-4King James Version (KJV),2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)” The Roman’s would’ve known that too calculate an accurate number, the census should have been held during a time of year with relatively good weather. To try and accomplish this during months of bad weather and unpassable roads would’ve yielded an erroneous number.With some basic agricultural knowledge in mind, these verse’s from the book of Luke, would seem to point at the months of August, or September.
The best timeline to be built to pin-point the true birthday of Jesus, can be constructed by examining the parallels and history of the birth of John the Baptist, and the biblical scriptures concerning his birth. We know the Bible makes a point of correlating the lives of John the Baptist and Jesus. The story of John the Baptist relays that his father Zacharius, and his mother Elizabeth, never had a child. Because John’s parent’s had found favor with God, they were blessed with a child when they were thought to be far too old. Luke1:5-14 states, “5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abija: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.”
Now here is a very important bit of information to get a correct date for the birth of Jesus. Luke 1:36, tells us that the angel Gabriel visited Mary, in Nathareth, and related to her, that her cousin Elizabeth, was six month’s pregnant at the time of his appearing to Mary. He then states that Mary has been blessed by God to mother his only son Jesus. So, how can we then calculate the approximate birthday of our Lord? Zacharius was part of an order of priests named the Abija. The responsibility of entering the temple that held the Ark of the Covenant, and burning insence as well as presenting burnt offering’s, was on a schedule broken into specific month’s and week’s by priestly order. The order of Abija, to which Zacharius belonged were responsible for this duty during the first week, of the third month, of the Hebrew calendar, Sivan. The Hebrew calendar uses a seven day week, twenty-eight day month, lunar cycle. 1st Chronicle’s 24:3, provides us with a detailed schedule that show’s this information. Therefor, knowing when Zacharius’s duty would be over so he could return and conceive john, gives us an approximate date of 15-21st of Sivan, or June. Now that we have an educated guess when Elizabeth conceived, we can make a simple calculation based on the written history. June,15-21st, plus 6 months is January, 15-21st. This is important because we know that Elizabeth is 6 month’s pregnant when she see’s Mary and, “The child in her belly jumped for joy, knowing Mary was pregnant with the Lord.” So we have January plus nine month, arriving us at a date of September, 15-21st, approximately for the birth of Jesus Christ!
I don’t write this trying to denigrate the festival of Christ, a.k.a Christmas in any fashion. As a Christian I have always held Easter, the day our Lord defeated death, hell, and the grave, as the most high holy day to be observed. I just believe we should know the lies of the enemy, and how we’ve been manipulated and deceived by our, “leaders,” for thousands of years. Of course I think it’s important to meditate on the fact that our Lord Jesus came into this world to save us with the new covenant. But, be knowledgeable of truth, light, and the divine mysteries that are hidden from king’s and yet revealed to the eyes of babes. Merry Christmas and God’s blessings be upon all of you!